Read the following guidelines carefully to get the most out of running controlled fire tests using the hardware of the Silvanet solution.
Ensure Internet connectivity
Ensure the deployed Border Gateway is connected to Internet:
The deployed Border Gateway MUST has a reliable power source and is fully charged before testing. (When the border gateway is powered only by the solar panels, then it most likely enters power saving mode during the night. Allow it time in the morning to come back to full charge before testing.)
Fire alerts will be handled with priority and will wake up the modem from power save mode.
The Border Gateway MUST be online with a stable connection either through cellular modem or POE (Power Over Ethernet).
After the sensors and Border Gateway have been deployed and charged, ensure they are communicating with the Silvanet Network. You can verify this using the Site Management app. Open the Site dashboard and select Sensors. Active sensors appear as green icons. Inactive sensors appear as gray icons.
DO NOT INTERACT WITH SENSORS BEFORE OR DURING A FIRE TEST
AFTER SENSORS HAVE BEEN DEPLOYED, CALIBRATED AND SETTLED, DO NOT INTERACT WITH THE SENSORS AS THIS WILL CAUSE ERRORS WITH SENSOR VALUES AND COULD ALSO RESET THE SENSOR CALIBRATION.
The gas sensor in the Silvanet sensor is very sensitive to outdoor changes. Consequently, moving, touching or interacting with the sensors beyond what is necessary influences the sensor readings and also the sensor calibration settings.
For the sensor to return to normal values so that a valid test can be performed, the sensor needs at least 1 hour to stabilize and return to its base readings. Consequently, the sensor does not measure any changes in the environment if a test is run during this stabilization period.
Furthermore, the 1 hour stabilization period required after touching or moving sensors can cause an interference with the test which results in faulty test results. So, we strongly advise to leaving the sensors alone once they are deployed.
Use homogeneous material for test fire
Use a collection of homogeneous material (uniform in size and composition) for the test fire that creates smoke and is freshly cut.
- Collect between 5 and 10 kg of typical plant material similar to the final deployment location, including smaller and bigger twigs, leaves as well as freshly cut and previously dried branches with needles.
- Dry out in advance the collected material and store them in a cool, dry location. Use the duration of the calibration period to allow the material to dry out and to be ready for burning.
- Weigh the branches with a scale before placing them on the fire pit. This allows for using the same material with the same amount for each test.
- Collect sufficient material to keep the fire burning for up to 30 minutes.
Ensure calibration period is complete
Confirm that the deployment is complete and the deployed sensors have completed their 14 days initial calibration period.
No testing should be conducted prior to the completion of the initial calibration period since the sensors will not provide accurate readings.
Burn a realistic test fire
Ensure you have sufficient homogeneous material to burn and maintain a test fire. To reflect conditions of real wildfires, the test fire should not diminish as the test runs. The fire should not resemble a BBQ fire.
As the wind direction cannot be controlled, provide sufficient time for smoke from the test fire to hit the sensors.
Ensure test fire burns for at least 30 minutes
Ensure you continually feed the fire with material to keep the fire burning for at least 20-30 minutes to allow smoke from the test fire to reach the sensors. The sensors are built to detect fire at the smoldering phase - before there is an open fire.
Normally, time to detection is within minutes (less than 1 hour from ignition). This is dependent on fuel volume, wind speed and wind direction. A denser deployment will decrease the time to detection and detection rate.
Use an initial and a modified test setup
Before beginning the test fire, ensure you allow the sensors to perform the 14 day initial calibration period. Sensors will not provide accurate readings when tested before or during the calibration period. Afterwards, start the test fire and begin testing Silvanet.
After obtaining results from the initial round, perform additional tests by modifying only one aspect of the test. Possible modifications include:
- Distance from fire to the sensors. The further away the sensors are from the fire, detection time becomes longer.
- The location of the fire within deployment. Take into consideration the 2-4 hour cool-down period of the sensors between tests.
- Burning different materials in the test fire.
For modified tests, the same type and weight of material for burning MUST be identical to that used in the initial test.
Allow at least 2-4 hrs for sensors to settle
When performing fire tests, it is common practice to repeatedly light a fire and check the response. However, repeatedly exposing the sensors to smoke in short time intervals results in poor sensor performance. After being exposed to smoke, the sensors need time to settle and restore their original fire detection sensitivity.
Consequently, after completing a test, give the sensors time to return to normal values. Any smoke retained inside the sensor mesh and housing needs to dissipate to allow the sensors to return to normal values. Ideally, the longer the wait, the more smoke can dissipate from the sensor.
The minimum necessary time gap between tests MUST be 2-4 hours. Original sensitivity will be restored only after approximately 3 hours. Any modification of the test setup requires that the environmental sensor in the device needs time to settle back to normal values (its baseline).
Weather conditions may influence the time required for the sensor to return to baseline settings.