Monitoring SATV with the SuperGoose

One thing that is very important to any IT shop is environmental monitoring.  There are too many instances of overheated or soggy servers these days, especially as more servers are outside traditional datacenter spaces as in them.    We wanted our cablecast area, and other critical areas like our server room to be monitored for temperature and water detection.

We went with an inexpensive box from ITWatchdogs.com:

This is the SuperGoose.  It can accept 16 digital sensors and three analog inputs.  In practice, we use digital temperature sensors and analog water sensors.  It is web-based and allows alerts to be sent based on conditions.  As you can see, it also has a digital display and an alarm.

To avoid running more wire throughout the building, I built some breakout boxes from common network components from Home Depot and Radio Shack so I could use an unused network drop to run both the digital and analog sensors to remote locations and permit expansion in the future.

This is the master breakout box that goes to remote sensors in the Control Room and Engineering.  I’ve made the wiring diagram available [PDF].

One thing you need to know if you do your own sensor wiring with this system:  The documentation is wrong! Documents on the ITWatchdogs site give two different pinouts for the digital sensors.  Neither one is correct. 

The digital sensors need conductors 2, 3 and 4 passed straight-through to the Goose—no crossover cables!  You’ll probably run into this when you reuse old RJ11 phone cables for your sensors;  almost all of them are crossed.  MilesTek sells straight-through RJ11 cables cheap—use them!

The analog sensors are straightforward;  just one contact and ground.

The SuperGoose works fine;  the only thing I wish for is a web page on the Goose that indicated active alarms at a glance.  The Goose makes the data and log available so it’s possible I could write an app or a Vista gadget to indicate alarms. 

It’s an inexpensive solution that I highly recommend for small shops. 

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