Environmental Monitoring - temperature alerts for my server room

I have a small server room with about two racks. A 25U & 45U rack. I have some older APC UPS. One of them is a SMARTUPS.

I desperately need a device to monitor temperature. I was hoping to use something as simple as a USB device that reads air temp. But all I find are these Environmental Monitoring systems from APC which have all the bells and whistles.

I am simply trying to go for a solid inexpensive solution in order to receive temp alerts.

t
tobe1424Asked:
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joelsplaceCommented:
If you just need to know when it gets hot and not actual air temp you could use a motherboard temp monitoring program like speedfan.  Once you get a feel for what the motherboard temp normally runs you can see when it gets hotter.  I've found speedfan isn't very accurate at the temps it reports but it is good for seeing something that gets hotter than it's normal reported temp.
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joelsplaceCommented:
A lot of motherboard manufacturers have their own temp monitoring and reporting software also.  Asus has one I run.  You can set trigger temps for alarms.  Speccy gives temps also.
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Nick RhodeIT DirectorCommented:
There are actually quite a few out there.  I use the APC environmental cards but you can purchse items that are USB or PoE.  I assume your looking to monitor your Server room temperature (like if the AC unit failed and your room gets 100 degrees etc).

Kind of like this:  http://www.avtech.com/

or

http://www.itwatchdogs.com/
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pjwallisCommented:
I used a fire door electromagnet to hold the server room door closed. There was a counter weight to pull the door open when a bimetal strip sensed over temperature. It was 12volt operation and easy to setup and adjust. The bimetal strip senser was from an old heater but units can be purchased as a complete box with knob which is calibrated. This was a very cheap setup and saved out gear multiple times.

This bypassed a lot of electronic and computer things and processes, that might not work in some conditions, as this was simple, mechanical, and failed with the door open.

The door opened into a secure area for exchange of cooler air from an air conditioner in that space. You could use a temperature sensor (mentioned below) fan extractor vent into the ceiling if the door system could not be used.

Yes we did have a high temperature alarm that want back via our security alarm system to the monitoring people who started to ring a list of numbers. We were able to get someone onsite in 30 to 60 minutes with this, but the door magnet setup took the sheer urgency out of the over temperature situation.

But this provided an almost foolproof system to catch the temperature before things got too hot. Almost foolproof! Well I had a red tape on the floor where the door opened and instructions to NEVER place anything there. The cleaner occasionally pulled a chair out from the table and left it in this space till I mentioned it to them.

It did work on a number of occasions, protecting things, when the airconditioning failed. I also installed a parallel system with two 12" 240volt exhaust fans with closing flaps that dropped shut when not in use. These were on different electrical phases of the building electrical supply. We had a few occasions where the area lost one of the 3 phases feeding the College. Depending on which phase was out, we could have no air conditioning and still have everthing working off the other phase via the UPS's, resulting in heat buildup. These fans had 2 bimetal temperature boxes for the ceiling with knobs to adjust. This just vented into the ceiling space and drew in cooler air under the entrance door.

I was spurred on as a local government institution just up the road had a airconditioner fail and they lost well over $50,000 worth of computer servers.  Without the door opening we had a temperature rise to over 35 degrees C in under 20 minutes and it was soaring up to 40 in another couple of minutes.
Hope this gives you some things to think about.

pjwallis
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Tony GiangrecoCommented:
We use the Room Alert 3E Monitor. It works great

http://avtech.com/Products/Environment_Monitors/Room_Alert_3E.htm
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aleghartCommented:
You can get a 9619 management card with temperature sensor for 120 bucks:

http://www.refurbups.com/AP9619-UPS-Network-Management-Card-w-Environmental-Monitoring

It's the old version.  The 9631 is the new model.  But, if your APC UPS is older anyway, the 9619 is a cheap upgrade.  I've bought cards, batteries, and 110v and 220v UPS units from that vendor.
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tobe1424Author Commented:
thanks much for the feedback. It has been tremendous help.

question:

does speed fan send alerts?
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Nick RhodeIT DirectorCommented:
I am not aware of it sending alerts other than prompt notifications on the PC itself.  Even if it did it would only post for that 1 server vs the entire room itself.
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Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Room Alert 3E provides email alerts

Advanced alerting by email, email-to-SMS, SNMP, web page update & more options for alerting via text, voice or GSM (satellite) modem.

http://avtech.com/Products/Environment_Monitors/Room_Alert_3E.htm
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TimberJonDirector of ITCommented:
I might be late here but nobody mentioned temperaturealert.com. I have the USB version running smoothly, the 10 min snapshots are awesome and it provides email notifications although a bit of a bear to setup on SBS '08. I've attached a snapshot of what it looks like. While I didn't have it setup right for email notifications I would just leave the app running and remote into the server from my phone periodically to see how its doing.
tempalert.jpg
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