Remote monitoring and data logging for CO2 level in incubators and shakers have been quite challenging. On one hand, CO2 measurement, particular at high level and in presence of moisture, is intrinsically hard. As a result, CO2 sensors are quite expensive. On the other hand, software packages that read CO2 level from internal sensors are usually expensive and have limited cloud functionalities. When multiple manufacturers are involved, end users have to juggle between multiple software packages. Or try to implement their own software and end up suffering from personnel turnover in the end.

In light of all these challenges, we developed a cloud for incubators and shakers, a cloud that works with most models (some pictured on the right) from major manufacturers at a fraction of software packages from manufacturers.

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How It Works

At the core are a large collection of machine adapters for each incubator/shaker from major manufacturers. From those adapter onward, operational parameters such as CO2, temperature, humidity, motor speed, water level, etc. appear as if they are captured by external sensors, are transmitted via wireless sensor network and IoT gateway into our cloud servers. By closely working with our early customers and manufacturers, through our innovative rapid development and test process, we made this traditionally unattainable strategy to work to our advantage.

  • Machine Adapter

    Interfaces with each individual incubator/shaker via machine specific physical connector, communication standard, and application layer protocol then outputs standardized digital signals.

  • Scout – Universal Monitor

    Takes standardized digital signals from machine adapters, then display locally, perform alarm logic and cache data when needed before relaying signals to IoT gateway via wireless sensor network.

  • Base Station – IoT Gateway

    Aggregates data from multiple scouts through individually encrypted wireless sensor network then relays to one of our standing-by server, or caches data locally when none is available.

Pros & Cons

When it comes to remote monitoring and data logging, the first option comes to mind is usually to use external sensors. While this strategy works well with cases like temperature, unfortunately it doesn’t work well with CO2. Due to the limitation of technology available, special treatments need to be in place to make CO2 sensors to work reliably. Incubator and shaker manufacturers go great length to get this done right. If not, CO2 sensors suffer from inaccuracy, drift, early failure. Additionally, other type of sensors like temperature and humidity need to be bundled, and other parameters like motor RPM almost impossible to read by external sensors.

Another option is software packages from equipment manufacturers. This would be presumably the best option. However two factors work against this option. First, high cost of software development and low adoption rate. Each manufacturer needs to invest then recover cost from a small portion of customers. Some manufacturers just opt to no develop software package. Second, end users usually need to deal with equipment from multiple manufacturers, sometimes 4 or 5, and other types of equipment as well.

External Sensor Mfg. Software FenoLabs Cloud
Initial Cost
Operational Cost
Remote Alert Available Typically Not Available
Remote Control Not Possible Available Not Implemented
RPM, Other Param. No Yes Yes
Support for Multiple Mfg. Yes No Yes

Additional Monitoring Service

Remote Monitoring via NO/NC Alarm Contacts

For many existing incubators and shakers, the only available interface is NO/NC alarm contacts, that outputs a binary normal/alarm signal. We have them covered as well with NO/NC adapter and the same universal monitors for other type of parameters.

CO2 Tanks Pressure Monitoring

The most common threat to CO2 incubators and shakers is CO2 supply runs out. One solution is automatic tank switching system. Such switch system while solves the problem most the time, suffers from high upfront cost. Remote monitoring of CO2 pressure in supply line offers cheaper alternative.

Unified Monitoring

A typical laboratory usually has a complex set of equipment and environmental parameters to monitor. There are usually CO2 incubators and shakers from multiple manufacturers, many different other types of equipment like freezers, LN2 tanks, and occasionally environmental parameters like temperature and humidity. Through our modularized design and universal monitors, we offer a unified solution to monitor data from various sources including directly from equipment internal measurement, external sensors manufactured by ourselves and other sensor manufacturers. The following is a list of monitoring capabilities we carry.

Category Probe Name Description
Machine Adapters DS-API-TF-160i Support Thermo Fisher Heracell VIOS 160i/250i via on board USB port
DS-API-TF-150i Support Thermo Fisher Heracell VIOS 150i/240i via on board RS232 port
DS-API-NB-44 Support Eppendor/New Brunswick Innov 44/44R via on board RS232 port
DS-API-EG-170 Support Eppendof Galaxy 170R/S via on board RS232 port
DS-API-Infors Support Infors shakers via on board RS232 port
DS-API-Kuhner Support Kuhner shakers via on board CAN port
DS-BMS-NC/NO Support any equipment with NO/NC remote alarm contacts.
External Probes DS-T-RTD-L RTD based wide range temperature probe, -90 ~ 37C, +/- 0.5C after calibration, for monitoring of typical lab fridges and freezers, compatible with C&V Cloud
DS-T-RTD-XL RTD based low temperature probe, -200 ~ -90C, +/- 0.5C after calibration, for monitoring of LN2 freezers, compatible with C&V Cloud
DS-TH-2305 Based on AM2305, suitable for commercial environmental monitoring, low cost, compatible with C&V cloud
DS-TH-9602 Base on Telaire-T9602, suitable for harsh environment
DS-THC-GSS Based on GSS wide range CO2 sensors, suitable for high level CO2 environment
Customized Adapter/Probe DS-API-TBD Please inquire if your particular model of equipment or combination of parameters can be monitored.

Coming Next: A Connected USB Drive

For some incubators, the only available way to get data out is to export log files onto USB flash drive before installing expensive data acquisition add-ons. To not leave those incubators behind, we are developing a connected USB drive that can automatically upload log files to FenoLabs cloud once exported onto them. If you are interested in, please leave a message in the following contact form.


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