Advantech WISE-4012E IoT Developer Kit - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Advantech WISE-4012E IoT Developer Kit

Author: MARK2011

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: no comparison

What were the biggest problems encountered?: Time synchronization after power on, some doubts concerning frequency measurements using DI

Detailed Review:

Introduction

I have a honour to show you results of my experiments with Advantech WISE-4012E IoT Developer Kit.

Advantech is well known worldwide brand in automation, famous as i.a. system integrator. Their signal converters (e.g. ADAM series) could be find in most industrial installations or laboratories.

According to modern trends, they went deep in the realm of IoT. The WISE-4012E is the small but encouraging example of this line. The Developer Kit  could be very helpful tool to befriend with Internet of Things Solutions.

According to the specification it combines simplicity of use with wide spectrum of applications. It can be introduced in purpose of IoT training, as well as professional module for developing of smart technology in e.g. Home Automation but also in some industrial applications. Measure, indication and switching functions combined with easy data logging and remote storage and alarming in addition, made this module really amazing.

I’m not a writer thus I do not plan to use too many words. I will try to show Wise 4012 functionalities using pictures and charts.

Basic technical specifications

WISE-4012E  is 6-ch Input/Output IoT Wireless I/O Module. According to its commercial name, the module is designed especially for IoT Developers.

This wireless device works on 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.11b/g/n WLAN. It supports wireless client and server mode that can be accessed directly without AP or router.

It is equipped with 2-ch 0÷10V Input, 2-ch DI, and 2-ch Relay Output.

The supply basis on 5 VDC Micro USB standard.

The maximum load is 1.5 W.

It can operate in the hard  (industrial) conditions environment -25 ÷ 70°C (-13÷158°F) and 0 ÷ 95% RH (non-condensing).

 

The developers set among the main module is accompanied with very useful extension board for simulating sensor status. The set Includes also WebAccess 8.0 suite with demo project for developing purpose.

WISE-4012E supports Modbus/TCP with RESTful web service / API, which make developing activity extremally easy.

Data Logger makes this small module powerfull SCADA equipment. Logger functions are described in separate chapter.

WISE-4012E can be configured using ADAM/Apax .NET Utility but simple webbrowser is good enough for all necessary settings.

 

I’m not planning to copy and  write back the  Advantech WISE-4012E datasheet or manual.

It is available on the Advantech’s site:

 

http://www.advantech.com/products/cff2131f-4a19-433f-b404-b7875680a53c/wise-4012e/mod_4e936d58-a559-4c1a-9022-e96698c2930b

The first stage of the roadtest, after unpacking maybe, was evaluation of the technical documentation. You can find it in the following chapter.

Unpacking

There is nothing better than opening the package with brand new, sophisticated electronic device (for me at least…)

fig. 1

 

 

 

fig. 2

I would like to emphasize, that not only electronic by Advantech is smart.

Look at quite simple but functional inbox transport protection, made of one piece of cardboard.

fig. 3

 

 

In the box, next to the module, I found short setup manual, micro USB supply cable, convenient screwdriver…

and  very useful extension board (fig. 4) for simulating sensors & peripherial status.

fig. 4

On the fig. 4 you can see (from the left) two potentiometers for AI simulation (0-10V) two microswitch (2XDI) and two LEDs connected to module relays (2XDO).

Technical documentation overview

On the fig. 5 you can see the main page of the WISE 4012E on the Advantechs website.

fig. 5

 

For me, both - Datasheet of WISE-4012E

http://www.advantech.com/products/todatasheet/4e936d58-a559-4c1a-9022-e96698c2930b

and Manual for WISE-4000 Series (WISE-4012E has no individual manual): UM-WISE-4000-Ed.4-EN.pdf

http://support.advantech.com/support/DownloadSRDetail_New.aspx?Doc_Source=Download&SR_ID=1-W5ALRV

are great papers. They describe and depict in an easy way all details related to the module.

For the roadtest purpose I have been provided also with documentation of WebAccess 8.0 suite as well as instruction of  WebAccess demo project.

Thanks these documentation, the  setup of the module, installation of WebAccess and using it was really simple. It basis on the step by step concept. Playing with the demo using the set was the pleasure indeed. Detailed review of that activity you can find in the  WebAccess chapter of this report.

First switching on

After power supply, the module is immediately recognized in the wireless net.

The wifi connection is stable, when in the AP mode, no setup is needed to access the device.

Wifi name includes last 6 characters of the UUID (fig. 6)

 

fig. 6

When in the initial mode, there are no obstacles to login

fig. 7

you can watch it on the short video below:

Basic information about the device status as well as the current settings are clearly available on the WISE website.

fig. 8

Sometimes I experienced communication loss. I didn’t find the certain reason but it seems, the WISE don’t’ like if you leave the applet untouched for a longer while …: (fig. 9).

fig. 9

No worry: only re –login is requested to continue.

 

Basic, preliminary tests

- Supply & electric measures

This is the place to comment the supply conditions during this roadtest. I found the simple mobile charger suitable for the basic tests. I used also my laboratory supply, equped with the micro USB plug.

Another energy source I tried to use was simple powerbank. Unfortunatelly two banks I used, swithed off automatically after short time because of very low power requirements of the unit.

Then I made semi battery source based on 12V accu and 5V "low noise" converter.

The first roadtest measures was check of the supply voltage and the current.

Depending on the supply, Average voltage and current was:

U = 5,1V

I = 0,05A only!

 

The firmware

At the beginning of my adventure with the WISE 4012, I noticed that the new firmware is available.

It was good time to test the module upgrade functionality.

The process went smooth without any problem, it is described on fig. 10 ÷ fig. 13.

 

 

fig. 10

 

The last firmware is released in the appropriate page:

fig. 11

 

fig. 12

 

fig. 13

 

Review of configuration functions – The settings

I checked most of configurations of the module. There are really lot of possibilities of the work modes.

There is no room and time for detailed assessment of all of them. On the other hand, It is described extensively in the manual.

I choose some most important.

Wireless settings:

There are two modes of work of the module:

AP and infrastructure. It can be switched very simple

fig. 14

fig. 15

fig. 16

fig. 17

fig. 18

After switching the infrastructure mode, our wise could be worldwide accessible, all cloud functions etc. are available now.

fig. 19

On the other hand it should be mentioned, that if something went wrong with WiFi/ WEB settings …

…we can come back to the “initial mode” where the WISE is easy accessible.

 

fig. 20

On the above picture you can see the microswitch (P1) for “Normal” or “Initial” mode forcing.

 

Short review of remaining configuration settings you can watch below:

 

WebAccess 8.0 suite with demo project for developing purpose.

 

The set was accompanied with Demo of WebAccess software.

According to the Advantech’s definition:

“Advantech WebAccess, as the core of Advantech’s IoT solution, provides users with a cross-platform, cross-browser data access experience and a user interface based on HTML5 technology. With WebAccess, users can build an information management platform and improve the effectiveness of vertical markets’ development and management.

Advantech WebAccess provides an HTML5 based Dashboard as the next generation of WebAccess HMI. System integrators can use Dashboard Editor to create the customized information page by using analysis charts and diagrams which are called widgets. After the dashboard screens have been created, end user can view the data by Dashboard Viewer with any browser for a seamless viewing experience across PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones. [1]”

The WebAccess SCADA is great environment which is the subject of separate roadtest(s). “Advantech WebAccess is a browser-based software package for human-machine interfaces HMI, and supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA. It is used to automate complex industrial processes for situations where remote operations are needed. All the features found in conventional HMI and SCADA software packages are available in an ordinary browser including Animated Graphics Displays, Real-time Data Control, Trends, Alarms and Logs.[1]”

 

Using delivered instruction (WISE-4012E-IoT-startup.pdf)

I installed step by step both the WebAccess 8 and the demo project. It was swimmingly indeed!

This process is documented on the pictures fig. 21 ÷ fig. 26.

fig. 21

The process is well described in the manual, there are lot of additional informations during installation process and setup (fig.22 - 26).

fig. 22

You can leave remotely access code empty or put your own:

fig. 23

I didn't change IP, the module was in AP mode.

fig. 24

fig. 25

fig. 26

THE DEMO

The DEMO project is very simpy way to undrstand of WISE 4012 functionality and operation.

It is possible to expand it and freely develop using WebAccess.

There are two projects:  " Intelligent Agriculture System" and the example of "Illumination Control System".

Only the first -The Intelligent Agriculture System may be connected with our WISE-4012E module.

The starting page of the demo looks very promising

According to the instruction I went to the intelligent "greenhouse" .

After switching the AUTO mode I could check demo alghoritms. In this mode all actions are conducted from the WebAccess. (DI0&DI2 are diabled), only temperature simulations are set using potentiometers on the demo board. All functions as alarm triggering, acknowledging and automatic turning Lights/ Fan ON/OFF works perfect.

 

In the manual mode we can control outputs (FAN/ Light) from the WISE module (using switches on the DEMO board).

Automatic turning Lights/ Fan ON/OFF is disabled in the manual mode.

Possibilities of WebAccess software are great. Equiped in open interfaces give unlimited possibilities for smart application developer. It exceeds beyond WISE module demands, but allows easy creation of professional designs for this device.

 

Data storage using the Cloud

WISE has great data logging capabilities, it was one of the important point to be tested.

The logging functions guarantee colleting all data related to the module usage. Besides the I/O parameters, there is long list of internal “system events” logs which can be tracked and stored (fig. 27 and fig. 28 ).

 

fig. 27

fig. 28

There is a lot of log-data setup parameters. The picture below shows only the simple part of it.

fig. 29

 

It is possible to query the device for collected data in direct way.

fig. 30

The “local” log data file has .json format (fig. 31)

fig. 31

 

 

Trying to export huge amount of data, I experienced Log Data viewing restrictions:

fig. 32

I must remark, that it isn’t possible to upload previously logged data results from the module memory retroactively to the server/cloud.

"Old" logged data could be queried and then "exported"/ saved only with the Query/Save function on the WISE webpage (*.json format).

 

Additionally you can control the condition of data logger:

 

fig. 33

 

The Cloud

I decided to check the cloud log data storage using my Dropbox account.

As usual with the 4012E functionalities, it is quite simple, besides you must remember to be in the INFRASTRUCTURE mode!... The  AP(SSID) must have the internet access.

fig. 34

I was provided with the code to get access to my Dropbox account

fig. 35

The view of the datafiles folder on the cloud

fig. 36

the structure of the csv:

fig. 37

 

 

Timestamps and time settings

This is the place where one important thing, related to the WISE 4012E module, must be said. The WISE-4012E is the one module (in the family) that does not have a battery or capacitor to retain the time.

Everytime you power-cycle it, the time is reset to 1970!

Before setting up Cloud configuration you have to set the time on the WISE module!

The Data Looger/Logger Configuration I/O Log will use the same time to upload entries to dropbox. If the time is at the default then the IO entries will also have that 1970 date/time

During the tests I experienced some trouble with faulty timestamps. It must be clearly stated Wise must have proper clock settings to have correct data logging.

 

Look at the picture fig. 38 , We have the file stored when the module onboard clock was late… a little

 

fig. 38

But in some circumstances, data inside the file could have proper timestamps:

fig. 39

I experienced above depict situation after uncontrolled time reset after power offs.

 

Time setting issues are described in the next chapter.

 

Nevertheless, if the clock works correct, the module operate very well even if network/ cloud communication is lost.

I  tested the behavior of data synchronization/ upload when communication is broken.

Great! - after wifi link re-estabilishing, our device sends the new package supplemented with "late" data. Well done, I was hoping for such a solution!

fig. 40

On the fig. 40 you see packages stored every 10min. Communication was broken for several minutes but data are saved.

 

But Honestly I’m still not satisfied very much from the given solution. Possibilities of timestamps-based errors are possible especially when power supply is unreliable enogh.

Maybe my settings were wrong and I still need any advise how to configure the clock and particularly SNTP. But I experienced some troubles related to incorrect timing in the module.

 

Time and the SNTP

As the device without clock retain, the time setting and time recovery is crucial.

 

As previously mentioned, WISE configuration procedures are clear and easy.

Also here, during SNTP configuration, it is really simple to give links to time servers:

fig. 41

after one click we have current time onboard:

fig. 42

There is a little disadvantage, The WISE does not observe Daylight Saving

In my case I had to skip to one zone later.

 

I have also doubts related to the polling interval.

Even with really short period, The delays in time synchronization after power on, are unacceptable long. Without regular checks I got many data “missdatastamped”.

Maybe one advice to Design Team:

The function of immediate time synchronization after supply retrieve, would be very helpful!

 

Analogue Input (AI) tests

AI parameters:

Accuracy

±0.1 VDC

Channels

2-ch (Differential)

Input Impedance

100 kΩ

Input Range

0~10V

Input Type

V

Sampling Rates

10 Hz (Total)

Resolution

12-bit

Now we reach the accuracy tests stage.

I decided to focus the analog inputs and see if they are reliable and credible.

fig. 43

The AI settings are simple.

Besides the input visualization/ registration they can act as the alarm triggers specially using cannel masking.

 

The subject of my interest was accuracy of the AI readouts.

As the delivered demo board is very convenient for simple tests and check of behavior of the module, It would be rather difficult to use them for accuracy measurements.

I decided to connect the WISE module to the temperature sensor with 0-10V transducer.

The project installation is very simple.

fig. 44

 

According to restrictions related to analog input sensitivity on noise rejection,

fig. 45

The experiments was divided into three parts:

  • Mains power supply AC without GND to V0-; V1-
  • Battery supply
  • Mains power supply ACwith GND to V0-; V1-

 

I didn’t change the scale of the device, charts have raw scale in [mV], it is enough for estimation of the measurement quality on this stage.

 

Mains power supply AC without GND to V0-; V1-

[mV]

fig. 46

[mV]

fig. 47

 

Above charts show very unstable readouts when analogue inputs are without grounding (V0- and V1- to GND).

This variant is forbidden, comments are useless...

 

so let’s check now -

Behavior when battery supply:

[mV]

fig. 48

fig. 49

fig. 48; fig. 49 – proper readouts of water temperature (scale in mV !), the noise is negligible

 

You can see this process in different timescale of the same period fig. 50- fig. 52

[mV]

fig. 50

fig. 51

 

fig. 52

 

Test of suggested solution when AC supply:

Mains power supply AC with GND to V0-; V1-

The results are comparable with battery variant.

[mV]

fig. 53

fig. 54

 

fig. 55

fig. 56

Above charts show the level of measurements instability.

It is less than 0,75% which is perfect value!

 

Digital Input extended functions check

Digital Input parameters

Channels

2-ch Dry Contact

Counter Input

3kHz (32 bit + 1 bit overflow)

Frequency Input

  1. 0.1 ~ 3kHz

Inverted DI Status

Support

Keep/Discard Counter Value when power off

Support

Logic Level

Dry Contact: Logic 0: Open, Logic 1: Close to GND

 

As written in the documentation,

DI Supports Frequency Input Function (Maximum frequency 3 kHz)

And also 32-bit Counter Input Function.

Let’s check this functionality!

I used simple laboratory generator and connected 2,77kHz signal to the WISE digital input DI1.

fig. 57

My first reaction when I saw the result on the WISE page was enthusiasm…

But here I have really doubts!

I expected 2770Hz on the screen. What is the scale of the measurements?

OK let’s change the generator frequency. I set it to 66Hz

Here is the readout:

fig. 58

Very strange!

To be honest – this is still unclear to me, I did’t find the solution of these mistakes... or misunderstanding.

 

The counter

After frequency input failure (or misunderstanding),

I checked how the DI counter in WISE 4012 works.

Using the previously used 2,77kHz signal (close to the boundary value).

I compared the counter registers and timings at the start and the end of the experiment.

 

Beginning of the test is shown on the fig. 59 when the end on fig. 60

The timescale is at the bottom of pictures.

 

fig. 59

fig. 60

here are calculations:

starting parameters (fig.59):

counter:              358

clock: 5:32,20

 

finish (fig.60):

counter: 391148

clock: 7:54,02

 

We got 390790  pulses during 141,82s

it means... 2755,5 Hz

Looks GREAT!!! 0,2% of difference.

The counter works perfect.

 

Access  using mobile device

All the previously presented actions could be conduct both on the PC or mobile device.

Look at very convenient AI visualization on smartphone (fig. 61, 62)

fig. 61

fig. 62

or simple presentation of the DI status:

fig. 63

as well as relays control from the mobile

fig. 64

Remote relay control from mobile: RL0 LED on demo board switched ON:

fig. 65

There are no problems with access to other important settings using the mobile:

fig. 66

Advantech provides many training materials of their product. Among them, there are lot of manuals but also films.

I found many of them very helpful.

Here is one of the example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-zGNReOsm8

 

Test the Wifi quality/ immunity

I didn't experience any problem with communication when the unit was in relative close distance from the wifi router when in infrastructure  or laptop/ mobile using AP mode.

 

The outdoor range is declared on the level of 110m (L.O.S.). But in my case 30m distance (10m light building+20m outdoor) caused communication problem.

fig. 67

On fig 67: signal strength low (pl: "Niski") when the distance was around 30m.

 

The solution could be change of the antenna. The socket is accessible under the gray plastic cover.

There is reverse SMA antenna connector.

fig. 68

Anyway I didn't use external antenna.

 

Conclusions

After two months of dealing with Advantech WISE-4012E IoT Developer Kit, we became quite good friends. Therefore It's hard for me to criticize that device.

I found it as the great system to develop simple IoT projects. I agree that only double AI, double DI and two relays can't fulfill requirements of extended SCADA system. But  when you want to introduce some smart technology in your home automation or just want to test simple IoT design - WISE-4012E is "must have" device for these purpose. On the other hand the WebAccess suite is very powerfull system for wide IoT systems development. I complained a little concerning lack of time retain, which is extremely annoying when power supply fails. The wifi range and curious behaviour of readouts when you use DI as the frequency meter - are stil "open question".

 

pros

I must confirm, that "The Advantech WISE IoT Developer Kit is a complete hardware & software solution to help users develop IoT applications and simulate their projects in the simplest way."

It fulfills advanced concepts of data A-P-P, data Acquisition, data Processing to data Publishing, easy adoptable for mobile monitoring and controlling needs under an IoT framework.

And also: offers intelligent processing and publishing features, data can be logged in the I/O module and then automatically pushed to the file-based cloud;

Supports both wireless client and server modes that can be accessed directly without AP or router;

Supports Modbus/TCP with RESTful web service;

Is delivered with huge WebAccess software suite with demo project for developer;

Includes extension board for simulating sensor status.

 

cons

Lack of clock retain  ("Product Performed to Expectations" -2pts of score).

Unclear results of frequency meter.

Wifi range ("Specifications were sufficient to design with" -2pts of score)

 

 

 

[1] - ADVANTECH documentation

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