Terminal Considerations and Guidelines
Use of solar power for parking terminals
Using Solar energy is a green and efficient way to power your parking terminals, and can save you installation costs. Metric parking systems are designed with the environment and society in mind – with the increasing use of solar power to satisfy an ever increasing array of payment and user interfaces. Our machines are designed to minimise power consumption from all components within the machine (display, credit card devices, modems etc).
For installations where a permanent mains feed is not possible due to site restrictions, or where it may not be desirable due to environmental considerations the parking terminal can be supplied equipped with a integrated solar panel positioned at the top of the terminal housing where it is able to make best use of available sunlight.
The solar panel is used to deliver current to a 12V battery that powers all features within the parking terminal. The effectiveness of the use of solar energy is based on the premise that the parking terminal will rely on the battery to power it’s functionality. The amount of power that the battery is capable of delivering to the machine is wholly dependent on the amount of power supplied by the solar panel. The solar panel, in turn, relies on the maximisation of any solar energy that it may convert into electricity for use by the parking terminal.
If selecting solar power for parking terminals, it is essential that the following factors are considered:
- The Inclusion of a card payment device plus their transaction throughput at the terminal will increase the power draw on the Terminal.
- The suitability of the install position is critical for the effective functioning of the solar panel. The terminal should be in an open area, preferably not shaded by trees, walls or buildings, all of which can significantly impact the performance of the solar panel and thus the parking terminal.
- Solar powered terminals are NOT suitable for indoor use (including positioning under any kind of shelter or tree).
- The optimal facing direction for charging effectiveness is south facing if at all possible.
The following recommendations will improve solar terminal operational performance:
- Addition of a second battery to extend the terminals performance (strongly recommended)
- Due to local environmental factors and the changing seasons it is recommended that a battery monitoring, charging and management regime is put into place. Metric can supply a battery charging device and recommendations for best practice. Mi-Office, Metric’s latest back office system, offers advanced battery monitoring features as standard, which allow you to manage and schedule such practice if necessary.
- Consider whether a mains only or dual power option terminal is more suitable than solar. The latter allows a terminal that has been installed to use solar power to be mechanically switched to accept mains power without the requirement for a hardware upgrade. Please be aware that a configuration change will be necessary.
- If you wish to discuss further or have any queries, please contact Metric Sales (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please note that Metric cannot be liable for solar powered terminal performance if these recommendations have not been followed.
The strength and quality of mobile communication signal can vary greatly subject to several factors, including geographic location, network coverage, immediate surroundings (e.g. buildings, trees etc), and bandwidth issues (e.g. in heavily populated areas, times of day) & network priorities. These factors can have a significant impact on the practicality of using mobile communications rather than other means (e.g. fixed LAN), and careful consideration should therefore be paid to the proposed location of the parking terminals. We recommend that you take advice on this issue. Metric are able to carry out a signal survey to provide supporting information and make recommendations.
Signal strength is dictated by the proximity of the modem to a mobile communications mast and the surroundings of the proposed location. In particular, re-inforced concrete and built up areas will adversely affect the strength of the signal.
Metric use industry best practice to ensure that you have the most comprehensive set of information available to make decisions in this area.
Our process for establishing the suitability of your proposed location for the use of mobile communication is as follows:
- Your BDM will discuss with you your proposed location for your solar powered terminal at time of quotation to establish your objectives and key criteria. They will highlight any concerns or opportunities for maximising the effectiveness of mobile communication in your chosen locations
- If necessary, Your BDM may decide to carry out some sample signal surveys and will show you results to support or dispel initial concerns.
- For maximum confidence in the effectiveness of mobile communication in your selected locations, we recommend a full site survey, either by your Service provider, or by a qualified Metric engineer. Please contact our Service department or BDM for more information.
- A full site survey will provide a range of readings and advice for every proposed terminal location. Metric uses the latest signal test equipment manufactured by Siretta (https://www.siretta.com/products/cellular-network-analysers/4g-lte-analyser-network/snyper-lte-graphyte-eu/)
- Following the results of the signal survey, your Metric technical specialist will evaluate the findings and suggest options if certain sites may need optimising. This may be:
Use of 3G/4G router
Use of fixed LAN
Please be aware it is the customer’s responsibility to satisfy themselves over the quality of the signal in the area prior to installation. If the customer chooses their own provider or does not follow METRIC’s recommendations, then METRIC cannot be liable for further costs associated with either rectification or investigation.