Vibration Condition Monitoring Using Your Android Smartphone

Ever been lying on the beach and begun to wonder about the state of your LP turbines? Or out on business and anxious to know if that troublesome exciter bearing has settled down? Well with a Prosig PROTOR system and a smartphone anything’s possible. Many of you will be familiar with using your phone as a camera, music player, web browser, email client, calculator or even a navigation device, but not many will have anticipated using it for vibration condition monitoring!

Here we will explain how to use one of the new Android based phones to connect to a PROTOR system. For the purposes of this example we used an Android-based phone and a WiFi connection. It is equally acceptable to use the network providers 2G/3G data connection. And although we chose an Android based phone, similar VNC-viewer apps exist for the iPhone and other smartphones.

All PROTOR servers are configured to support VNC access through a dedicated server. Provided the PROTOR server is also configured for Wide Area or VPN access then connections can be made via any VNC client. The following shows how to connect to the PROTOR server using a VNC client.

First we need to launch the VNC client application. Various VNC clients exist for Smartphones and PDA’s. These are available free or paid from the appropriate app store. Here we are using the VNC client available for the Android system downloaded from the Android Market. You can find more details on the android-vnc-viewer webpage.

Figure 1: Running the VNC client (highlighted)

Now we launch the client (see Figure 1). As with any VNC client we need to supply the name or IP address of the server we want to connect to. We can also supply the port number to connect to, for PROTOR the default of 5900 is usually sufficient (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Connecting with VNC

Now press Connect and the client will attempt to contact the server. If a connection is made then you will be presented with the PROTOR login screen. Note that you may need to pan/zoom to see the complete login box. You are requested to supply the PROTOR username and password.

Figure 3: The PROTOR login screen

Once the username and password have been entered the PROTOR desktop will be displayed (Figure 4). Again, because of the small size of the screen, you may need to use the available pan and zoom controls to view the options available. This is done in an identical way to navigating large web pages on the phone.

Figure 4: PROTOR Home screen (with Operator button highlighted)

Assuming you wish to view the current state of the machines being monitored then select the Operator option which shows current real-time data. Use the on-screen button to navigate around the PROTOR screens and use the pan and zoom functions on the phone to move around the screens. Figures 5, 6 & 7 show some typical screens.

Figure 5: PROTOR Home Page
Figure 6: Mimic Diagram
Figure 7: Waterfall Display

When you’ve found what you needed then close the PROTOR displays, logout in the normal fashion and disconnect the VNC client.

The size of the average phone screen means that you won’t be throwing away your PC or laptop just yet. You will need to pan and zoom a little to see all the screen, but to quickly check on things, or if you can’t get to a computer, it’s perfectly usable. It certainly beats jumping in the car and driving to the office or, worse still, the power station itself. Of course, phone and handheld technology is advancing rapidly and gadgets such as the iPad and forthcoming similar devices will bring larger screens and other improved features. Additionally, newer phones are now offering VPN support which will broaden access to corporate networks. The future possibilities are intriguing.

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Don Davies

PROTOR Product Manager at Prosig
Don Davies graduated from the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at Southampton University in 1979. Don specialises in the capture and analysis of vibration data from rotating machines such as power station turbine generators. He developed and is the Product Manager for PROTOR. Don is a member of the British Computer Society.
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