Design of a remote monitoring and diagnostics platform for air conditioning installations

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Faults and inefficiencies in air conditioning installations account for between 2% and 11% of allenergy consumed by commercial buildings in the United States each year. Diagnostics systems havebeen proven to improve the performance of air conditioning plants but the high costs of purchasing,retrofitting and maintaining such a system results in limited market adoption of such systems.This thesis discusses the design, implementation and results of low-cost remote monitoring anddiagnostic platform for use in air conditioning installations. The design of the various hardwarecomponents is presented along with the structure of the framework developed for each device. The thesis also contains information regarding the selection, integration and installation of the various types of sensors required on the various installations. A specially-designed protocol was also developed to handle communication between the hardware devices. Both the physical configuration and details of the protocol structure are presented in detail in this thesis. The mechanism through which the device uploads data to a server is also described in this thesis and includes details on both the hardware and the server technologies used in the upload process. The system has been installed on two different sites in Cape Town, South Africa and has produced meaningful diagnostic information since November 2007.

Includes abstract.

Includes bibliographical references (p. 127-129).