While the Harting MICA may be the main start of this RoadTest, it’s also important to take a good look at the Bosch Connected Industrial Sensor Solution (CISS) as it is in itself a separate product which has capabilities beyond that exposed within the present version of CISS Gateway.

 

Bosch CISS

As mentioned earlier, the Bosch CISS is an IP54-rated puck-shaped device incorporating six sensors (Accelerometer BMA280, Gyroscope BMG160, Magnetometer BMC150, Temperature sensor, Humidity sensor, Air pressure sensor BME280, Light sensor MAX44009, Microphone AKU340) with USB or Bluetooth Low-Energy connectivity.

 

The sensor offers sample rates of <=100Hz for accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer and <=1Hz for temperature, humidity, pressure, light and noise. A special 2kHz mode for accelerometer-only operation is available as well. Microphone data is not accessible via USB. Internally, it is powered by an ARM Cortex M3 32-bit microcontroller with 1MB Flash and 128kB RAM and 2MB of user data memory.

 

Measurement ranges are:

  • Temperature: -20 to 80°C
  • Humidity: 20 to 90% (non-condensing)
  • Pressure: 300 to 1 100 hPa
  • Accelerometer: Up to 16g / 14-bit resolution
  • Gyroscope: 2 000 degrees/second
  • Magnetometer: 1 300µT (X/Y axis), 2 500µT (Z-axis)
  • Light: 2 112 800 Lux

 

The CISS can be purchased individually online from various distributors with pricing approximately US$530. The online documentation includes brochures, datasheets, quick start guides, firmware updates, BLE and USB communication protocol specifications, Python sample code and the Virtual CISS App. It seems the quality of the documentation is generally quite good.

 

Bosch CISS Python Code

The Python code is not difficult to get running and communicates to the CISS over USB, logging output to a .csv file by default. It can be modified by the end user for their needs – in my case, I even added a UDP socket output. I was able to run the code successfully on the Harting MICA under a Debian container (after a lot of troubleshooting due to a silly mistake on my part) as well as on my Windows 10 computer running WinPython.

CISS Python Sample Code

 

Bosch Virtual CISS App

The more exciting part of the offering, perhaps, is the ability to use the Bosch Virtual CISS app to work with the CISS over BLE. In this way, there is no need to connect to the CISS physically to read sensor values although USB power is still necessary to run the sensor. It seems that Bosch are also working on a model of the CISS with an internal battery to allow for cable-free use.

 

I had no problems installing the app via the Google Play Store onto my phone. Upon opening the app, we are greeted with this screen:

Virtual CISS Searching

In order to begin using the app, we must search for and connect to our CISS device. Initiating the scan, my Bosch CISS unit with the default name has been found.

Virtual CISS Scanning

Once connected, the sensors need to be configured. Report intervals and sensors active can be configured – in fact, the CISS also permits disabling the BLE radio entirely, but the CISS Gateway package does not currently expose any of this functionality.

Virtual CISS Configure

Once the sensor is configured, it won’t seem to be doing anything. That’s because we need to put it into streaming mode first.

Virtual CISS IdleVirtual CISS Streaming

Once in streaming mode, the values for the sensors will show on screen. Unfortunately, logging is not implemented in this version of the software and appears to be a requested feature judging by the reviews on the Virtual CISS app.

Virtual CISS Logging Not Supported

In the diagram view, we can get a plot of the values over time which can be scaled by pinching in the graph. Plotted values can be changed by pressing on the icons on the sides to add or remove them.

Virtual CISS Plot 1Virtual CISS Plot 2

The app itself is quite a basic app without the ability to log, but it does serve to allow you to remotely connect to and visualise the data coming from a CISS sensor in real-time and over the shorter term. It’s also good for testing and checking that your CISS sensor is working, although for more serious applications, it would probably make better sense to write your own app.

 

Conclusion

The Bosch CISS is an IP54-rated puck-shaped device incorporating six sensors, connecting via USB or BLE which aspires to be a sensor for the Industry 4.0 revolution. It offers sample rates of <=100Hz for accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer and <=1Hz for temperature, humidity, pressure, light and noise. A special 2kHz mode for accelerometer-only operation also available. Microphone data is not accessible via USB. Internally, it is powered by an ARM Cortex M3 32-bit microcontroller with 1MB Flash and 128kB RAM and 2MB of user data memory. The CISS can be purchased individually online from various distributors with pricing approximately US$530, and comes with good quality documentation online including brochures, datasheets, quick start guides, firmware updates, BLE and USB communication protocol specifications, Python sample code and the Virtual CISS App.

 

I had no problems using the Python sample code on the Harting MICA in a Debian container (once I had sorted out some silly mistakes on my behalf) or on my Windows 10 machine with WinPython. Likewise, the Virtual CISS app worked just fine on my phone via BLE, allowing for immediate remote viewing of the sensor data in real-time and plotting of data over the shorter term. While the Virtual CISS app is lacking in some functionality, it is useful as a test of the capabilities.

 

The CISS is capable of more features than the current CISS Gateway container currently offers. It allows for changing of sample rates, enabling/disabling sensors and the BLE radio. I can envisage some instances where having active BLE radios that can be accessed openly in a factory environment would be considered unwise, so I have made a request to Harting to see if they can update the package to allow for more configurability of the sensor to make the most of its capabilities.

 

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This post is a part of the Harting MICA CISS Complete IIoT Starter Kit RoadTest