Is it too hot? Monitoring temp in kennels or homes remotely

How hot is your kennel?


In the wake of the dog show tragedy where 12 dogs were killed when the van they were in overheated, I got to thinking about the heat and The Waystation. What would happen if the AC cut out on a hot day when the dogs were put up? Usually we'd lose power at the house at the same time and I'd know, but what if the AC malfunctioned? What if The Waystation lost power alone? What if I weren't home?

So I went in search of something that would monitor the temperature and power status in The Waystation and notify me if it were too hot or too cold.  First on my list was that it had to work without a telephone line (we've been cell only for years) and without WiFi or internet access. That eliminated a lot of choices.

Here are the ones I checked out: 


Marcell 500

MarCELL® not only contains a temperature, humidity and power monitor, it is also essentially a cell phone. It calls our server immediately if there is an issue. Once the server has this information, it automatically contacts you via a text message, e-mail message or even a voice phone call to let you know what's wrong. It has an internal long-life battery so when power is knocked out, it keeps operating providing notification so that you can take immediate action to protect your property from damage.

 MarCELL®™ constantly monitors its environment and communicates to the Sensored Life servers using the nationwide network of cell phone towers. You use our website to set up ranges for temperature and humidity and also who should be notified (and how) in the event of an issue. A monthly connection fee (as low as $8.25/month) is required There are no long term contracts required and you pay only for the months you would like service.   Available just monthly for $14.95/month. Allows breaks in service. 

Cost: $199 on ($219 on their website with a discount coupon) $8.25/month for service for a 12 month contract billed at time of registration, or $99.  Total: $298


iSocket 3g

 iSocket 3G will work with any 3G network anywhere on the planet. iSocket 3G will text or call you wherever you are - even in the middle of nowhere - where only texting is available. It requires a micro-SIM card and a cheap cell account, probably about $45 for one of those prepaid talk plans. And it may not use that amount of credit up in a year. 

Cost: $219, sale apparently going on now at their website, $45 for talk plan, ?? for micro-SIM card.

Overall, this might cost a bit less but the bit about which SIM card etc sounded like room for problems. On the other hand, I like the flexibility of working with any 3G system, because god knows where you'll be and what the cell phone coverage will be. 



It wasn't immediately clear to me how this would work, but it appears to need WiFi to contact you to tell you that the temp is too low or high, using its Nest Thermostat to control your heating and air. I don't think it's set up to work with a system like ours and it appear to need a landline or WiFi, so not a candidate. 



This looks like a really great set of products but it got too complicated too fast for me. I'm pretty sure it'll do what I want if I add the right components. I've got an email in to them to ask what I'd need and what the pricing is and I'll update when I know more. I'm sorry, Sensaphone, I just need a completely plug and play option. 



In the end, I decided to go with the Marcell 500 because it sounded like the easiest to set up and use. If it doesn't have good connectivity, we will switch over to the iSocket and I will deal with SIMs and talk plans.