Summary for Temperature Sensing Autodialer

From: Chi Ching Chang (chiching@CS.UCLA.EDU)
Date: Tue Mar 17 1992 - 16:26:18 CST

Thanks for EVERYONE who replied to the

    "Temperature Sensing AutoDialer"


I am sorry to have posted the request and
to post the summary now in this newsgroup.
I will be careful to choose the right newgroups
for message posting.

A couple of people ask me to post the summary.
Here it goes!

Various products were mentioned in the replies.
Among them I called up three companies to request
for more info::

      Network Wizards's temperature sensing product:
      TEL: <415-326-2060>
          No autodialer.
          Connects to computer (eg Sun) via RS232 port.
          (products from International Gizmo, 303-499-7014,
           and Seiden and Associates, 203-329-2722,
           provide similar functionality)

      Best Power Technology's EnviroCom I & II
      TEL: <800-356-5794>
          Work with their UPS or standalone.
          Autodial upto 4 numbers.
          Battery backup upto 15 hrs.

      Phonetics's Sensaphone series product.
      TEL: <215-558-2700>
          Standalone units
          (product description is on the way to us)


Following are the replies:

>From Thu Mar 12 17:16:18 1992

We've been using Sensaphones for the past 7+ years and have
only had one problem with them (one of the three we had suddenly
went berzerk -- couldn`t store the info anymore, got very confused
about what it was sensing - and we ended up replacing it).

The last we bought was in 10/91 from:

        Phonetics Inc
        901 Tryens Road
        Aston PA 19014
        FAX 215-558-0222

It cost $287 for the unit (P/N FGD1000) and $20 for the remote temp
sensor (P/N FGD0005). We can program 4 numbers for it to dial
when any of the alarm conditions go off (power failure, temp goes out
of range -- you pick the correct range yourself, loud noises - like a
burglar alarm or explosion - it went off once when we had a head crash
on an old RM05 disk pack). When it calls you at home (or whereever),
you have 30 seconds to call it back or it calls the next person in the
list. It keeps going around in circles until someone calls it back.
When you pick up, there is a recorded message telling you what the
problem is. It's also nice in that you can call it anytime and it
gives the current status of things -- temp., if the power's on, if the
batteries are low and then it lets you listen to the sound level for
15 seconds.

>From Thu Mar 12 17:53:23 1992

Get a product called Sensaphone. It is available in many of the computer
supply catalogs such as Immac under other names. We've used one with
great success for about 10 years. I think the cost is around $200-300.

>From Thu Mar 12 18:58:10 1992

Sounds like a job for Sensaphone. (Available from many computer
supply houses for about 250.00. It will call up to 4 numbers
repeatibly (until called back and acknowledged) and report
temp, power status, etc when a limit is exceeded.

>From markets!keith@uunet.UU.NET Thu Mar 12 22:53:42 1992

Best Products had two such products when I checked last year (we haven't
bought one yet):

        EnviroCom I $275 autodialer with voice synthesizer,
                                temperature sensor, dial-in status monitoring

        EnviroCom II $1200 as above, plus has allows remote control of
                                a Best UPS and has a built in modem for dialing
                                other sites

        Best Power Technology (800) 356-5794 [USA & Canada]
                                (608) 565-2221 [anywhere else]

These units are designed to work with their UPS products, so I have no idea how
well they work as standalone units, or with some other vendor's equipment.

>From David.Miner@East.Sun.COM Fri Mar 13 08:04:21 1992

Radio Shack used to sell such a thing for < $200. Haven't looked in a long
time, htough, so don't know if they still do. I used it when I was managing
systems at Michigan State and it worked well enough. It also had battery
backup and would call you when the power went out, and had some other optional
sensor inputs.

>From algol!amir@uunet.UU.NET Fri Mar 13 08:15:23 1992

I am using the SensaPhone 1000 in our computer room and it is working very well.

Phonetics, Inc.
901 Tryens Road
Aston, PA 19014-1597
Phone: 215-558-2700
Fax: 215-558-0222

>From Fri Mar 13 09:12:53 1992

contact phoenetics inc.
        101 state rd
        media, pa 19063

all i have is the technical service phone # 215-565-8520
and i can't remember where we got it (some computer catalog).

the unit is called the sensaphone.

it can sense temp, humidity, power, sound levels, water leaks,
and intrusions. it then can call up to four pre-programmed
phone numbers until someone calls it back. our computer room
has been saved a couple of times by it.

>From Fri Mar 13 09:15:17 1992

funny you ask: I just requested some info on the same product. I found
that a company called Network Wizards has just what you are looking
for at a price of $249. This is their address:

PO Box 343
Menlo Park, CA 94026

I don't have bought their product yet, but I think I will. Good luck.

>From maximus!andy@uunet.UU.NET Fri Mar 13 11:06:21 1992

        There is a nice device call a "Sensaphone" (?) from a company called
        Phonetics (?) that will do what you want. Base model price was around
        $350.00 as I recall (there are several models). I use to own one when
        they were sold by Radio Shack (no longer) for $100.00. Worked great
        for many years and then died.

        I don't have the Phonetics (?) catalog in front of me... e-mail back
        to me if you can't find their name/address and I'll send it along.

>From mce@sdcc10.UCSD.EDU Fri Mar 13 12:13:29 1992

I saw a product designed to execute an automatic shutdown at a pre-determined
temperature. This was shown at the 1988 USENIX trade show. Try contacting
Rich Morin (he contributes articles to UNIX Review regularly). Rich was
heading up work under the heading of "/dev/scsi". I'm confident that between
his products and a cheap Hayes compatible modem you can achieve what you want.

>From era@niwot.scd.ucar.EDU Fri Mar 13 08:53:58 1992

About August 7 last year, put out a summary about
temperature sensors on sun-managers, from a request he had posted.
You might try mailing him, or seeing if you can find out where the
sun-managers archives are. (They used to be on but are
no longer there.)

mmmm Comments from Chiching::
mmmm bounced with user unknown
>From kalli!kevin@fourx.Aus.Sun.COM Sat Mar 14 18:15:13 1992

Here is what I got for my "gadgets" survey a while back - the general
method seems to be to either use the scripts to have modem annoy you,
or hook it up to Sun Net Manager, which will do the same, and understands

>From! Sat Aug 17 10:06:08 1991
>Subject: /dev/thermometer
>want to monitor the temperature, or the rate of change of temperature
>in your machine room? or your lab freezer?
>you can do it with wiztemp:
>small package with plug in sensor, connects to any serial port (of
>sun, mac, pc, other unix systems) -- velcro it to the side of your
>machine ... reported temperature range is -40 C through 88 C with .5
>degree C (i.e. 8 bit) resolution.
>we supply an X11 perfmeter for temperature, chart recording software
>(in c and postscript), sample shell scripts for exception conditions,
>an online manual describing installation, interfacing, and calibration.
>costs $250 (quantity 1) including software. (Discount for sizeable
>(after your first machine-room meltdown you ought to be easily able to
>justify the cost...)
>2 yr mfrs warranty, 30 day money back guarantee.
>available from
>Seiden and Associates, Inc
>16 Woods End Rd
>Stamford, CT 06905-2727
>203 329 2722
>fax: 203 322 1566.
>From nw! Thu Aug 29 03:27:47 1991
> Here is the complete info on the WizTemp-1. You can order it with a
>standard US 120v wall transformer or a European style 240v transformer, or
>take off $10 and find your own. I suppose neither of the two we have will
>work in Australia. All you need is a wall transformer that supplies
>between 7.5-9 vdc thru a standard tubular DC power jack, probably
>available at your local Radio Shack or Dick Smiths.

> WizTemp-1 RS-232 Temperature Sensor
>- designed for machine room temperature monitoring applications
> and replacement of mechanical chart recorders
>- extendable sensor with range of -40C thru 88C with 0.5C resolution
> can be used for a wide variety of temperature sensing applications
>- standard RS-232 serial interface at any baud rate provides
> simple connection to most computer systems
>- software continuously monitors temperature changes and reports
> out of range conditions in a user configurable fashion
>- daily temperature charts using Postscript or ASCII printers are easier
> to read and analyze than circular thermograph charts
>- software for BSD based UNIX systems includes source for custom
> applications (similar software is available for PCs and MACs)
>- includes X-Windows real-time temperature monitor
>- small package fits almost anywhere (3 x 4 x 1 inches)
>- two year warranty and 30 day money back guarantee

> WizTemp-1 Hardware
>The WizTemp-1 is packaged in a blue 3.75 x 2.5 x 1 inch box. It has a DC
>power jack for connection to the supplied 7.5-9vdc wall transformer. An 8
>foot serial cable comes out the back and is terminated with an RJ11 modular
>plug. This mates with the supplied DB25 connector in your choice of male or
>female DCE. The WizTemp-1 operates at any baud rate and requires DTR
>signalling. On the front, an LED glows green when the unit has power and
>flashes red when reading the temperature. Also on the front is a small jack
>into which the temperature probe fits.
>The temperature probe is about 1 inch long and 3/8 inch in diameter. The
>temperature probe can be extended 20 feet by ordering the optional extension
>cable. If used outdoors it must be protected against rain and direct sunlight.
>The WizTemp-1 is calibrated for a range of -40C thru 88C with 0.5C resolution
>(-40F thru 190F).
>Software is described in the sections below. We recommend the Unix version
>for computer facility monitoring applications. The Mac and PC versions may
>be more useful for laboratory experiments and monitoring, or other custom
>applications. A VMS version may be available shortly.
> UNIX Software
>The WizTemp software for Unix includes several programs. wiztest is used for
>testing purposes to verify proper operation of the WizTemp-1. wizmon is a
>process that runs in the background and collects temperature data in daily
>files. wizmon also watches for various user settable alarm conditions (low,
>very low, high, very high, decreasing rapidly, increasing rapidly) and starts
>a subprocess to handle signalling of each alarm. Alarms can be programs or
>shell scripts.
>Temperature data can be reported in several ways for the current day or any
>previous day. wizwhat displays the low, high, average and last temperature
>recorded in a day. wizchart makes a page-sized ASCII character graph of a
>temperature file which can also be displayed in 24x80 character size for
>terminal viewing. wizgraph plots a temperature file (or any number of
>temperature files) for output to a Postscript printer. The xtemp program
>provides a real-time temperature monitor for workstations running X-Windows.
>Full source code is included. The software compiles for Unix/C systems
>using a BSD-based tty interface (including SunOS and Ultrix).
> PC Software
>The WizTemp software for the PC differs from the Unix version in several
>ways. Two different monitoring programs can be run. One runs as the main
>application, thereby making your PC unusable for anything else. The other
>version runs as a TSR and collects data in the background. Neither version
>has the capability of starting subprocesses to signal alarm conditions. The
>rest of the software is very similar to the Unix version description.
>Source code is provided and requires Borland Turbo C for compilation.
> mmmm order form deleted
> mmmm order form deleted

>From kooros@refuge.Colorado.EDU Sun Mar 15 15:09:49 1992

Your need was brought to my attention by Sean.Welch@Eng.SUN.COM.
I thought you might be interested in a gizmo I make called
/dev/thermometer. It is a thermometer on a serial port.
It may or may not suit your particular needs; in particular, it does
not at this moment support autodialing, although we use it here at the
University of Colorado in conjunction with a modem to dial out to a
pager number and touch-tone a number indicating the problem.

        * Fahrenheit temperature sensed to +/- 1 degree.
        * RS-232-C interface (25 pin D connector) DCE female type.
        * 16 popular baud rates, as well as parity, selections.
        * UL-listed AC adapter included.
        * Comes with free daemon software to monitor temperature.
        * Cost: $159.00
        * 90 Day unconditional money-back guarantee.
        * 2 Year Warranty (parts and labor) on manufacturing defects.
Hardware description:
        /dev/thermometer is plugged into any ordinary RS-232-C port,
        and requires only the signals TX, RX, and GND (pins 2,3, and 7)
        to communicate. For each byte it is sent, it returns a byte,
        the ASCII value of which is the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.
        For example, if it returns the character 'A' (ASCII value 65),
        it is reporting a temperature of 65 degrees. It senses
        the temperature through a sensor located on the device.
        /dev/thermometer's case measures 4"x3"x2", approximately.
        The case is made from tinted plexiglass, and the sides are open
        to provide for airflow over the temperature sensor.
        The device was designed with machine rooms in mind, but has
        been successful in other applications.

For a demonstration of /dev/thermometer from any internet host:
                telnet 451
for the outside temperature in Boulder, Colorado. Or:
                telnet 451
for the temperature in a certain wine cellar.

If you have any questions or comments, please address them by email to:
Or by USMail at:
                Paul Kooros
                International Gizmo
                500 Manhattan Dr. D12
                Boulder, CO 80303
                (303) 499-7014

Of course, I welcome any and all inquiries. Suitably large entities may
also request evaluation units.


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