A more autonomous Telraam

outdoor • Written by Dave Driesmans on 16 July 2021

UCLL experiences on power supply and connectivity when setting up an outdoor, autonomous operational Telraam: great results with battery and solar panel...until it rains!

At Telraam, we not only attach importance to the data stories that citizens provide in the creation of our counts, but also to co-creations by other partners.
This academic year, for example, a final test was carried out by a number of IT-students of the UCLL University College located at the Researchpark in Leuven (Proximus campus).

The research question for this thesis was twofold:  

  • to investigate whether the abacus can run more autonomously in terms of power supply;
  • to contribute with permanent traffic counts (in daylight) to the mapping of the mobility on the business park with only two in/out access roads, the Interleuvenlaan and the Technologielaan.

Autonomous operation refers to two aspects: on the one hand the energy supply of the Telraam device by a solar panel and on the other hand an outdoor setup using a wifi beam connection instead of a wifi access point in the living room.

As far as the mobility aspect is concerned, C-Valley, the business association and the city of Leuven were all asked to map out the traffic intensities.

This document (in Dutch) contains the technical explanation that IT/telecom students wrote when defending their final thesis. The examination jury has now judged that they have amply earned their points and have therefore passed.
You will get an idea of how technically the abacus can be converted to do counting in an outdoor setting. It will be explained how the Telraam is equipped with a battery module; how a solar panel is used; how a charge controller connects the two and finally how the set-up looks with the current beam connection on the UCLL campus.
Earlier than this trial set-up, there were already citizens who worked on realizing a Telraam in an outdoor set-up. One of these experiences (Grensstraat in Kessel-Lo) was also described on our website.

At the end, some recommendations are formulated for the construction of an outdoor Telraam in an 'off-power grid' with a Wifi beam connection and finally a conclusion.

An autonomous(er) Telraam is a realisation of UCLL University College, led by professor Wim Debbaut in cooperation with Telraam and C-Valley and thanks to the support of the city of Leuven. The data of the outdoor Telraam can be consulted via this link.