Server Room Control

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Server room monitor is a critical task for those who need to administer servers, network devices and so on. Temperature is the most important physical aspect to monitor: if room temperature increases above a critical threshold, servers could stop and services may discontinue. Another critical thing to monitor is power failure. Almost any server room is equipped with UPS systems that kick in when the main power supply goes out. However knowing when this occurs is a different thing. While the more expensive UPS systems have some kind of management and alerting system, the most popular ones don't have it. Humidity is one more important physical parameter to monitor: high humidity can be more dangerous than a high temperature. Finally, it could be useful to control main door status both for safety reason and to avoid waste of conditioned air.

This application shows a simple but effective solution to control a server room. It allows user to detect:

  1. Temperature in two room points
  2. Humidity
  3. Status of main door (opened/closed)
  4. Main power failure

The application shows also how set up following alarms:

  1. Send SMS (text message) to mobile number if room temperature is higher than 25°C
  2. Send E-Mail if humidity is higher than 60%RH
  3. Turn alarm bell on if door is left open for more than 5 minutes. Bell is turned off after 3 minutes
  4. Send SMS (text message) to mobile number if door is left open for more then 15 minutes
  5. Send SMS (text message) to mobile number if power is done


Required stuff

We need following things to setup this application:

  • N° 1 AirQ 101 sensor (for point 1);
  • N° 1 AirQ 112 sensor (for point 1 and 2);
  • N° 1 AirQ 300 board with Li-Po battery (for pont 3 and 4);
  • N° 1 AirQ 200 control unit
  • N° 1 magnetic reed switch
  • N° 1 12V alarm siren
  • N° 1 DIN Rail swtiching power adapter

It's important to clarify that this list component list is not mandatory: if humidity control is not critical, AirQ 112 is unnecessary, as well AirQ 300 if power failure and control door is needless. On the contrary, it should be important to increase the number of temperature sensor to monitor temperature in each rack.

Step by step instructions

Next paragraphs will show how setup both hardware and software.

Hardware setup

Let's start with simple tasks: to install AirQ 101 and AirQ 112 sensors. Being battery powered sensors, they can be placed where needed. As rule of thumb, we suggest to try different places before to decide final position. An important trick is to avoid to place sensor too close to air vent or sources of heat.

How to connect alarm siren to AirQ 300

Next step is alarm siren and AirQ 300 board. The first aspect to take in account is powering: both AirQ 300 and alarm siren need a 12 V power adapter to work. Since AirQ 300 come in a DIN rail mount, maybe the best option is to use a DIN rail switching power adapter that powers both AirQ 300 and alarm siren. Wiring is shown in the picture on the side. GND pole can be shared for both AirQ 300 and alarm siren. +12V pole is connected directly to AirQ 300 board. To power up siren we use AirQ 300 RELAY 1 output: siren will be turned on only when an alarm is fired.

Next magnetic reed switch has to be mounted. This kind of switch are usually NO switch: contact is open until door remain closed. However, some of them give user the choice providing three contact: COM, NO, NC. In the wiring schema NO setup is shown.

Finally, AirQ 200 control unit must be installed close to a network outlet using an UTP cable and powered up using a switching power adapter.

Software setup

In order to configure software, you have to access to Pingu application, provided by the control unit. Pingu is a web application, so you can access to it by a browser typing in the address bar:

The first screen is the login, for the first time use admin for user name and console for password.

After login, dashboard is showed. In the dashboard you can see real-time system status. You can see a box for every component you've installed.


In sensors boxes you can see the last data detected and the last detection time. For control board box, if you have installed hardware as described before, if you click on relay1 button, the siren turns on and in1 turn to green; clicking another time on relay1, the sirens turns off and the in1 turn to red.

If you go in Setup page you can set a lot of configuration parameters, like Pingu user and password, system language etc...

Assign names

You can assign names to the sensors, to the board and its inputs and relays.

To change the name of the AirQ 101 sensor, click on Name it and insert a name, for example rack 1 temperature.

To change the name of the AirQ 300 board, click on Name it and insert a name, for example controller. Click to IN1 to assign name open door. Click to RELAY1 to assign name Siren.

Define system logic

To alarm definition, you need to set more complex behaviors by using Pingu rules. To add a new rule, from the dashboard click on the icon Rules.png of the rules of the board purchased.

Send SMS (text message) to mobile number if room temperature is higher than 25°C

From the dashboard, click on rule icon for the temperature sensor to access managing rules page grouped by the temperature sensor.

In the add new rule box, you have to define a rule name, an expression and an action.

Rule name definitionBoard selectionValue type selectionComparison operator selectionNumber definition (for the threshold)sendSMS action selectionSMS details buttonAdd rule buttonRule1 1.jpg
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When you click to the SMS details button, a popup is showed to define the SMS:

Phone prefix selectionphone number definitionSMS text definitiontemperatue value keyword selectiontemperatue value keyword selectionclosing pop-up button (to save all the rule and SMS details you have to click on add button of rule)Rule1 2.jpg
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From the previous image you can see the <V>Rack 1 temperature (</V> string. This string is inserted when you click a board value from the list on the left of the pop-up. In the example it's selected the temperature of the board. When SMS is sended, the <V>Rack 1 temperature (</V> string will be replaced with the current temperature detected by the board.

By default, Pingu sends SMS and E-Mail with a frequency of 1 hour. If you want to change these settings, goto Setup page and change values in Messages sending frequency section. Not that time values are expressed in seconds

Send E-Mail if humidity is higher than 60%RH

You have to the define a rule:

  • Expression. "if humidity is higher than 60%RH"
  • Action. "Send an E-Mail"

Send eMail

Expression: if humidity detected by sensor is higher than 60Action: send E-Mail by definition of sendEmail actionRule2 1.jpg
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Turn alarm bell on if door is left open for more than 5 minutes. Bell is turned off after 3 minutes

IN1 is ON because the door is open
RELAY1 is ON because the door is open for more than 5 minutes

You have to define 3 rules for the control board:

  1. Turn alarm bell on if door is left open for more than 5 minutes.
  2. Turn off alarm bell after 3 minutes if it's turned on.
  3. Turn off alarm bell if the door is closed. This rule is useful for turn off the bell automatically if the door is closed during the the 3 minutes of alarm.

The door status is detected by a magnetic reed linked to IN1 of the control board. If the door is open, the contact of the magnetic reed is closed and IN1 is ON.

Next image shows the definition of the rule 2:

Expression is: If siren is ONAction is: turn off the sirenTurn off the siren with a delay of 180 seconds (3 minutes)Rule3 2.jpg
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Next image shows the definition of the rule 1:

Expression: if door is openAction: turn on the sirenTurn on the siren with a delay of 300 seconds (5 minutes)Duration is 10 seconds. When the expression matches, the rule is valid for 10 seconds; after this time rule is invalid and never evaluated until the expression unmatch; when the expression is unmatched, the rule return into the initial stateRule3 1.jpg
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Take a look to the duration specified for the rule 1: when the siren turn on, the must be disabled because if there is not duration (0 stands for always valid if the expression matches) the action of the rule 2 starts, after 3 minutes turn off the siren, but the expression of rule 1 (if door is open) is however valid and siren returns on. Instead with a duration different to 0, by rule 2 siren turns off.

Next image shows the definition of the rule 3:

Expression: if door is closedAction: turn off the sirenRule3 3.jpg
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Send SMS (text message) to mobile number if door is left open for more then 15 minutes

You have to define:

  • Expression. "if the door is open": if IN1 of control board = True.
  • Action. "send an SMS": you have to define an SMS message action;
  • Delay. "for more than 15 minutes": you have to delay the action for 900 seconds. During this delay, if the expression doesn't match (because someone closes the door), the rule is resetted and the delay count restarts.
Expression: If door is openAction: send an SMSDoor is open for more than 15 minutes (900 seconds)Rule4 1.jpg
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Send SMS (text message) to mobile number if power is done

You can define a rule for alarm if power is off (if control unit is powered by safe battery instead of power supply).

Access to rule management page for control unitRule5 1.jpg
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Expression: if power offAction: send an SMSRule5 2.jpg
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Data observing

Pingu application offers to you a lot of utilities for data observing. Read Pingu documentation for complete informations.

For example, you can observe temperature trend of the rack, status history of door etc...



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