Measurement Collection Specialists
MobileCollect is a wireless measurement collection system consisting of one or more Bases (receivers) connected to PCs receiving wireless data from multiple Mobile Modules or Remotes (transmitters). MobileCollect supports a wide range of digital gages and RS-232 devices from manufacturers including Mitutoyo, Mahr Federal, Ono Sokki, Fowler, INSIZE, Starrett, Sylvac, Ohaus, Mettler Toledo, etc. and our own GageWay line of interfaces.
These FAQ questions are linked to the answers below.
How do wireless measurement collection systems work?
Wireless measurement collection systems allow data to be sent from gaging devices into a software application without physical connecting cables. A basic MobileCollect wireless system consists of three items:
Receiver connected to the data collection computer
Transmitter attached to the gage device.
Cable that connects the transmitter to the gage data port
Why should I consider MobileCollect wireless?
The primary reasons to consider MobileCollect are reliability, compatibility, flexibility, and ease of use as follows:
MicroRidge has over 30 years of DAQ and gage interface experience and is dedicated to your success and customer satisfaction. We introduced our first wireless system in 2006 and have a proven track record with thousands of wireless systems installed throughout the world. It’s not unusual to hear from customers that are still using our first generation wireless products.
MobileCollect was designed to connect with a wide variety of gage brands and models. We currently offer compatibility with over 2,000 gage devices from 35+ different manufacturers. MobileCollect can move data into any Windows program - from Excel spreadsheets to computer or cloud-based SPC/DAQ application software. MicroRidge is constantly researching new gage models and software applications to identify compatible products.
MicroRidge is the only US manufacturer that focuses exclusively on measurement collection solutions. Because of this, we’re constantly enhancing MobileCollect to provide the greatest range of product features and components for our customers. We offer three Base receivers and five transmitters; most of our competitors offer a single receiver and transmitter only. All product enhancements are posted on our website and are available for any customer to install at no charge.
Ease of Use
Our goal is to simplify the measurement collection process. From the initial setup process to the physical action of collecting measurements, each enhancement is made with the end user in mind. In fact, many of our product improvements are a result of customer input, providing feedback while using our products in real-world situations.
Base receivers - what are the three models?
They are the USB Base, the USB MicroBase, and the RS-232/USB Base. Each Base receiver can connect to a computer USB port. The RS-232/USB Base can also connect to a computer DB9 serial port. Refer to the “Base Receivers" section of our website for more information.
Transmitters - what are the five models?
We offer three Mobile Module transmitters (battery-powered) and two Remote transmitters (AC adapter powered). Each transmitter was designed to be used with a specific gage output or in a specific situation. More information on each transmitter is provided below. Also refer to the "Mobile Module Transmitters" and "Remote Transmitters" sections of our website.
Can multiple transmitters send data to a single receiver?
Yes, MobileCollect is designed to allow multiple transmitters to send data to a single Base (receiver). All Bases are compatible with all transmitters, so you can have a mixture of transmitters sending data to the same Base.
How many transmitters can be linked to a single Base (receiver)?
It depends upon the information included in the data transmission packet. If you need to include a “Channel ID” with the measurement, there is a maximum of 30 transmitters per Base. If you do not include a “Channel ID”, an unlimited number of transmitters can be linked to a single Base.
Mobile Module transmitters - tell me more.
The Mini Mobile Module, the RS-232 Mobile Module, and the Command Mobile Module are battery-powered transmitters, used primarily with handheld gages like calipers and micrometers. Each transmitter requires a short gage cable to connect the transmitter to the gage data port. Mobile Modules mount on the gage, allowing the operator to take the gage up to 133 feet from the Base (receiver). More information on each transmitter can be found by visiting the “Mobile Module Transmitters” section of our website.
Remote transmitters - tell me more.
The Digital Remote and the RS-232 Remote are AC adapter powered Remote transmitters, designed for use with non-mobile gages such as scales, height gages, or digital indicators placed in stands or fixtures. Use the Digital Remote with digital output gages and the RS-232 Remote with serial output devices. Each Remote transmitter can initiate a gage reading by pressing the “Send” button on the gage device or gage cable, by using an external foot/hand switch, or by issuing a software command. More information on each Remote transmitter can be found by visiting the “Remote Transmitters” section of our website.
Mobile Module gage cables - are they included with each transmitter?
Gage cables are a consumable item – they can wear out due to excessive use or become damaged if abused. Because of this, gage cables and transmitters are ordered as separate items, making it easier to order replacements. If fact, many customers order more cables than transmitters, allowing them to quickly replace a non-functioning cable.
Transmitter gage cables - how many types are available?
There are over 50 different gage cable options for MobileCollect. Some work on a specific gage only; others are used with multiple gage brands or models. The more common gage cables are listed in our MobileCollect Wireless Store. You can also download the free MobileCollect Selection Tool software for a listing of all transmitter gage cables and compatible gages.
What is the range of MobileCollect?
The theoretical range for the Mobile Modules and Remotes (transmitters), and Bases (receivers) for indoor line-of-site measurements is 133 feet. The actual range that you achieve may be different due to environmental issues – physical walls or large equipment between the transmitter and receiver, or potential RF interference from motors, lighting, etc. The only way to determine the actual range you will achieve is to test the equipment in your operating environment.
What gages and RS-232 devices can I use with MobileCollect?
MobileCollect is compatible with virtually any gage device with an SPC data port that is supported by the gage manufacturer. Our MobileCollect Selection Tool software program (free download) lists every gage model researched for compatibility with MobileCollect. This program is updated 1-2 times per year to include new gage models. You can contact MicroRidge if your gage is not listed in the MobileCollect Selection Tool. MicroRidge will research the gage for you and include the results in the next update.
Can I send data in real-time from MobileCollect into Microsoft Excel?
Yes, this is a common request. We include our free WedgeLink Xpress keyboard wedge software program for this purpose. To send a gage reading, simply activate the WedgeLink Xpress program and open your Excel worksheet. WedgeLink Xpress will automatically convert the incoming gage data into the “keystroke” format that Excel recognizes.
What SPC/DAQ software will MobileCollect work with?
MobileCollect will work with any software that accepts ASCII strings; virtually all SPC/DAQ software accepts this kind of input. Most SPC/DAQ software providers recommend MobileCollect for sending measurement data to their applications.
How does the gage user know when the data is accurately received by the Base?
MobileCollect provides visual feedback using LED’s on each Base receiver and each Mobile Module and Remote transmitter. For example, when sending a reading from a Mobile Module, the left LED will flash red once to confirm the data was received from the gage, and the right LED will flash green to confirm the reading was received and accepted by the Base. In addition, the Base Receiver LED will flash yellow once to confirm the data packet was received.
What if I forget to turn the Mobile Module off after I finish using it?
You never have to be concerned about turning the Mobile Module (transmitter) off. As soon as the measurement transmission is complete, the Mobile Module automatically turns itself off.
How long will the batteries last in the Mini Mobile Module?
Our tests with Mitutoyo gages indicate that you should be able to get at least 500,000 readings from a battery, which means years of use from each battery for most users. The Mini Mobile Module uses a CR2032 Lithium Coin Cell; this is a common battery type available at most retail locations that sell batteries.
What operating system do I need on my computer in order to use MobileCollect?
There are two MobileCollect Setup programs; each requires Windows 7 or later. The computer receiving data from a MobileCollect Base (receiver) must have a physical serial port or support communications via a USB port. If you are using a computer other than a Windows-based PC, contact MicroRidge about the availability of the required USB drivers.
Can I use multiple Bases in close proximity to each other?
Yes, MobileCollect is designed to allow multiple Bases (receivers) to operate in close proximity without concern. Each Base operates within its own Personal Area Network (PAN). The data for one PAN is ignored by all of the other PANs. More information on PANs is provided below.
What is a PAN?
A PAN is short distance wireless network designed to support portable and mobile computing devices. The range of a PAN typically varies from 30 to several hundred feet. The Base (receiver) has the role of the controller, and this controller is in charge of the operation and communications within the PAN. The Controller also determines whether a new device can become a member or associated with the PAN. Multiple PANs can be operating in the same area and the data from one PAN is not processed by the other PANs.
What spare parts do I need in order to keep MobileCollect up and running?
There are no spare parts recommended for Bases or Remotes. If using Mobile Modules (transmitters), there are two spare parts that you may want to have available, batteries and gage cables. The Mini Mobile Module uses a CR2032 Lithium Coin Cell and the Command Mobile Module and RS-232 Mobile Module use a CR2 Photo Lithium Battery, both are readily available in most places that sell batteries. Gage cables should be considered consumable items; their life expectancy is directly related to the environment they are used in. For example, high volume or hostile environments will likely result in a shorter cable life.
Does MobileCollect encrypt the gage data I transmit?
All measurements sent in the MobileCollect system use a 32-bit encryption scheme to ensure data security. You can be confident that no other receiving device will be able to capture your measurement data.
What frequency does the equipment run at and do I need to obtain a license?
MobileCollect operates at 2.4 GHz in the ISM (Industrial, Scientific & Medical) frequency band. MobileCollect has been approved for use in North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. You do not need any additional license. Contact us if you require use in other countries.
I already have a lot of WiFi communications in my facility. Since MobileCollect is using the same 2.4 GHz frequency, am I going to have interference issues?
While this is a common concern, MobileCollect users rarely experience RF interference issues with installed WiFi networks. MobileCollect channels operate between WiFi channels so there is little opportunity for conflict. In addition, MobileCollect radios are only “on” when sending a data packet or receiving an acknowledgement. Each data packet transmission and acknowledgement takes approximately 20 msec. This means 5,000 readings per day would use less than 2 minutes of actual “air” time.
What channel should I use for my MobileCollect system?
We recommend that you start by using the default MobileCollect channel 21. If you want to see what kind of wireless activity is actually occurring on each of the MobileCollect channels, you can run the MobileCollect RF Sniffer Program for a channel usage analysis. The RF Sniffer Program is included with the Xpress and Extended Setup Programs.
Everyone says they offer excellent technical support. What makes your technical support different?
You will always reach a real person when contacting MicroRidge for technical support during our business hours (Mon-Fri, 8:00 am-4:30 pm Pacific Time). We provide free and unlimited technical support on all of MicroRidge manufactured products before, during and after your purchase.
How can I be sure that MobileCollect is the solution I need?
MicroRidge offers a MobileCollect “demo kit” program that allows interested companies to evaluate MobileCollect wireless for a 5-day period. A standard demo kit consists of a USB Base receiver and Mitutoyo caliper with attached Mini Mobile Module transmitter. MicroRidge will cover shipping to and from your location. This is a “no-cost” program available to USA and Canadian locations. You can submit an on-line “demo kit” request form from the MicroRidge website.
Is there a MicroRidge representative in my area?
MicroRidge has established resellers throughout the globe. Please contact our Sales Department for the name of a MicroRidge reseller near you or to discuss the advantages of becoming a MicroRidge reseller or distributor.
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Revised October 4, 2017