My package from Conserv has arrived! Now what?
Congratulations! 🎉You've just made a giant step toward better preventive care for your collection by subscribing to Conserv's monitoring service!
Getting prepared for your Conserv package to arrive is simple. Here's a checklist.
- Login to your Conserv Cloud software account. Someone from your team should have been invited via email. If you are unsure about your account, please reach out to our support team.
- What spaces need to be monitored? A space is just what it sounds like: a place within your building that you need to monitor. This could be a storage area, a lab, a gallery, etc.
- Where are the sensors going to go in each space? It's best to place the sensor where your collections are. If you have one sensor for a space, you might select an area where collection storage is densest at a similar height to where things are stored. If you have multiple sensors, you may want to use the additional one to measure a potential microclimate where collections are stored (an area with lesser airflow, or an area that might be impacted by external temperature and humidity such as an external wall). If you have an RH/T sensor that can give you an immediate readout, you can walk around the space to observe if there are any large differences in your space to determine if there are microclimates where collections are stored that you want to watch a little closer. Some of our customers like to monitor near loaned objects or highly sensitive materials so that you can get good data on what those objects are experiencing. If you have questions about this do not hesitate to reach out! Our team of conservators have a lot of experience deciding on where to place sensors.
- Where am I going to put the gateways? The gateway is the heart of the system, and should be centrally located relative to the sensors so that the signal can get through. If your facility is particularly large or if there are some spaces that have lots of dense materials (metal shelving), it may take more than one. You're also going to need to place it in a location that has either good cellular coverage (closer to an external wall or window) OR near a router or ethernet port to create a hardwire connection. Be sure your IT department is on board with plugging in equipment if you choose to do this! Here are some frequently asked IT questions.
If you need some help deciding where things should go, Conserv's support team is ready to help! If you have a floor plan or building map you can share with us, all the better.
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Step 1: Set up your Conserv Cloud account
This is the most important part of the process; you'll need to make sure you've gone into your account and gotten everything ready for your monitoring system to come online. You can take our free online course, or you can watch a recording of a webinar here. These options will serve as great tools to train other staff on the software.
💡If you'd like more information on any of these topics, don't hesitate to reach out to your Customer Success Manager! We're always happy to walk you through any of these processes.
Step 2: Open your Conserv equipment packages
When you open your box(es) of Conserv equipment, you'll notice several different parts and attachments alongside your sensors:
💡 Your package probably contains multiple Conserv sensors and might also contain water leak, outdoor temp/RH, or cold storage sensors.
Step 3: Set up your Conserv Gateway
In order to start your monitoring system properly, you'll need to connect your Conserv Gateway first and make sure it's online. You'll notice on the Sensors dashboard in your Conserv account that you have a card for each of your gateways at the very bottom of the page. Once a gateway is connected, its card will update to reflect its connection (this can take a few minutes and may require a refresh).
NOTE: The card for the gateways and sensors should show up in your account before you try connecting any of them. If you don't see anything please contact customer support (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To set up your gateway, first decide whether you are going to use your building's network or if you're using the gateway's built-in SIM card. If you're using a network, you'll need to attach the gateway to a port using the ethernet cable included in your Conserv box. If you're going to use cell service, you don't need to attach the ethernet cable. Many of our customers rely solely on the SIM card due to internet challenges. However, if it is possible to utilize the ethernet port, it can be helpful (from a network redundancy standpoint) for your gateway to utilize the hardwired connection alongside the SIM connection.
If your IT department has questions about connecting to your network, please refer to our Information Technology FAQ article.
Next, screw the included antenna onto the gateway and direct it upwards. And, finally, attach the included power cord, and plug it into your power source. You should start seeing a flashing green light on the top left corner of your gateway.
Conserv's gateway is set up to automatically connect if you are in an area with good cell service or if the gateway has a hardwired connection to the internet. If, for some reason, it's not connecting, Conserv support can work with your IT team to get it sorted out. Before you contact support, though, make sure to check out these gateway troubleshooting tips.
Step 4: Bring Your Conserv Sensors Online
Once you are ready to place the sensor, pull the plastic battery tab out of the back of the device. Within about 15 seconds you should see a blue light on the back - that's the signal that the sensor is starting up, and will start sending data soon. After 10 minutes your data should be flowing into your Conserv Cloud account on the sensors page.
Step 5: Using Your Sensor to Check on the Gateway's Connection
It's a good idea to check the gateway connectivity before moving the sensors to their final location. You can do this by leaving at least one of the now connected sensors near the gateway for at least 1 hour. The sensors should be updating every 15 minutes. You can check to see if they're doing this by going to the analytics page by downloading a CSV of the non aggregated data from the analyze tab to see if it reports every 10-15 minutes (see image below).
If there are any gaps showing up in the data for that sensor then there is likely a gateway connectivity issue. You can try moving the gateway closer to an external wall or if it's possible, a hardwired internet connection with the ethernet cord should help with this.
If the connectivity this point it's a good time to start walking around with the sensors to see the range and place them in their final locations.
Step 6: Place Your Sensors
We find it's helpful to note the serial numbers (as seen below) of the sensors when you're installing them, so you'll know which sensor goes in which space.
You have a couple options in terms of how you can install these sensors. There are command strips included in your kit that have proven to be very handy, and there are also built-in magnets in the sensor for easy installation to metal objects, such as cabinets (if you choose to use the magnets, try to drag them off the metal surface instead of pulling them off directly as this can reduce the risk of glue failure). It's up to you to determine the best method of installation for your institution. If you are interested in having the sensors match exhibition designs, reach out about paintable sensor covers!
Step 7: Evaluate the Range of the Sensors
On our sensors page in the "Card" view you can see a little symbol within each sensor card that shows the "range" (see image below). This indicates how well the range is from the sensor to the gateway. Akin to your cell phone, it will show three bars if the range is good and as the bars disappear, the connectivity lessens. You'll also be able to see the last time the sensor updated in the software (they should update every 15 minutes but you may need to refresh the page).
Do not be deterred by 1 or 2 bars on your sensor range symbol. It is possible that you may still reliably connect. If you want to confirm this, you can use the same method we used above with the CSV file to see if the readings are complete.
If you want to use your sensors to experiment with range in your building, please check out this article: How to use my equipment to test range?
If you're seeing a lot of gaps in your data, you might want to move the gateway or sensor so they are closer in proximity. It also helps to put the gateway up higher in the room or the floor above so the signal does not have to go through as many materials to get from the sensor. If you're still running into connectivity issues, please reach out! We're happy to help you troubleshoot.