Designed to foil centre-pivot crime

The theft of cables and control systems from centre-pivot irrigation is a serious problem for irrigation farmers. The total economic impact could be many millions of rand a year, especially considering loss of production and damage to crops. D igital Supe

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The theft of cables and control systems from centre-pivot irrigation is a serious problem for irrigation farmers. The total economic impact could be many millions of rand a year, especially considering loss of production and damage to crops. D igital Supervision Systems, a PE-based company specialising in developing and manufacturing centre-pivot control systems, has spent the last 18 months perfecting the Acwagro electronic centre-pivot alarm and alerting system, now available nationwide.

The Acwagro system protects the overhead power cable and control panel of the centre-pivot irrigation system. It was specifically designed for centre pivots in conjunction with Senter 360 Irrigation, manufacturers of the Senter 360 centre-pivot system, though it can be used with other systems. It’s manufactured by Digital Supervision Systems. The Acwagro automatically logs six events: cable tampering or theft, door opening, system armed, system disarmed, low battery, low or no signal. A log, retrievable via SMS, records all events. An engineering function can remotely diagnose problems and adjust tolerances, reducing technical callouts. These functions are all passcode protected.

Notification by phone

Any change in the resistance of the overhead power cable, or illegally opening the control panel door, will trigger an alarm, automatically reporting it to one of three cellphone numbers nominated by the user. The phone numbers are passcode-protected and can be changed remotely. The numbers are phoned consecutively – if the first is unavailable, the system calls the second and so on. If the third number isn’t answered, the system will retry the first number, then send it an SMS. When a call is answered, a recorded voice clip reports one of three events: cable tampering, door opening or critical level of the system’s battery. Other systems leave the user guessing what’s triggered the alarm, but with voice notification the user can psychologically and materially prepare for the situation. The 24-hour test message sent at a preset time assures the operator the system is working properly – so it’s not just an alarm, it’s a management tool.

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The system is battery-powered for up to eight hours after interruption of the mains electricity. The battery is continuously charged from mains power, and the system reports mains failure and restoration. The system incorporates an internal booster antenna. No additional wiring is needed for the alarm to protect the overhead cable. Installation time is about 20 minutes. The system should be installed by a certified installer for security and insurance reasons.

Technical features

Hardware consists of an on-board GSM module, battery back-up, voice storage device, cable resistance sensing, small DIN-rail-mounted unit, internal charger and battery. battery extender unit is optional F irmware consists of a multitasking real-time operating system with microprocessor control; 12-level event history log with date and time; 24-hour test message indicating system status, arming status, signal strength, system time and arming status; audible panel-door-open warning; three user-nominated reporting numbers; and cellular signal monitoring. As the system is modular in design, only the defective module is replaced in the event of lightning. detailed operator’s manual is included. The system carries a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects. – Chris Nel For more information contact Auriel Mitchley on (011) 889 0796 or e-mail [email protected]