CHRONOS

LOW POWER. LOW COST. HIGH RELIABILITY

REDUCE INSTALLATION AND RUNNING COSTS USING SOLAR POWER

About

CHRONOS

REAL-TIME DISPLAYS - DESIGNED TO BE SOLAR POWERED

CHRONOS is our range of incredibly low powered displays that have been specifically developed to be capable of running all year round using solar power, and yet deliver better functionality than is available from equivalent grid powered units.

All CHRONOS display types are based on our own ultra low power transport computer: HERMES Lite. This module, developed entirely in house to meet our own stringent requirements, supports a range of display types, including:

  • LTN-LCD – A transflective LCD which comes in different shapes and resolutions and from which we can build displays of any number of lines, with customised line lengths, and using display modules with different resolutions.
  • Flip Dots – An old technology that is superb at showing large text which changes rarely. Once set, the flip dots absorb no power.
  • E Ink – Used with care (it’s not suitable for some functions) it can provide useful functionality at transport sites.
E Ink screen showing Transit Map

Our integrated computer can not only drive a real-time display, but also a secondary e-ink panel, allowing for timetable, maps and other content to be provided.

Due to the refresh limitations of e-ink, it is currently not suitable for continual update, as panels degrade if they are on a continual, rapid refresh cycle.

Presenting the ever-changing real-time information on the larger LTN-LCD panels is preferable – also preferable – as many more customers can see the display at the same time. The LTN-LCD real-time sign (which can be mounted outside as well as inside the shelter) also serves to visibly promote the real-time information.

Reducing the amount of power systems consume ultimately leads to improved reliability as low power electronics do not radiate heat – therefore, heat-related contraction and expansion due to the power consumption of the unit is virtually eliminated.

When there is excess heat due to local weather conditions, there is enough excess solar energy to allow for fans to extract warm air.  Additionally, the units themselves are designed to allow for natural convection, which also introduces cooling by airflow.

DISPLAY FORMATS AND MOUNTINGS

We don’t restrict your options. Our displays are designed to be adapted to your requirements – type, size, mountings, content, all can be adapted. We can even mix technologies in the same sign.  We provide different mounting options – we have designs for all sorts of shelter and wall mounts and have even designed our own ATLAS column for free standing installation.

SOLAR POWER/GRID POWER

CHRONOS displays are designed to use solar and to make best use of the power available. To do that we designed our own power supply hardware. So we can support both easily, it’s your choice.

  • Where you have grid power available, you may as well use it – these displays use less energy than an LED light bulb! So a connected display will not cost much to run.
  • Where you haven’t got permanent power, but do have access to street lighting circuits, we can offer battery backed systems that charge at night and run the systems during the day.
  • And if neither is available (or just too expensive to provide), our solar power hardware can run from an independent pole mounted panel or from an array mounted on the  shelter roof.

These options give you the choice and help you make the best of your available budget.

ALWAYS ON, ALWAYS CONNECTED

Our signs never stop, never go to sleep, and they connect over any network (wired, mobile, WiFi). So even if solar powered, there’s no waiting while a dormant system wakes up.

ALWAYS MONITORED

Our displays connect to our servers and because they are always on, you have access to them at any time.

INSTALLATION

We can either arrange installation on your behalf or work with your team to ensure it all runs as planned first time. We have experience of installing systems in the USA and Europe, working with local contractors and working to local requirements. We supply the hardware and the training, and where necessary work with clients, contractors and specialists to ensure work is to code and certified for the locality. 

Naturally we supply the displays and the associated specialist hardware. We can also provide all the related fitting hardware and solar hardware (including panels, mountings and control and monitoring electronics), and have experience of working with manufacturing shops to create any bespoke elements.

Naturally we support our clients, providing training on our software and support.

CHRONOS - EXAMPLE DISPLAYS

ADA COMPLIANCE

In common with all of our other hardware supplies, the signs are not only visually ADA compliant, they also include audio hardware and software which can render speech either as scheduled announcements or on demand – the systems support buttons as well as radio triggers.

SYSTEM MANAGEMENT

All systems connect via our Display Administration Suite (DAS). The DAS provides clients with monitoring tools showing status and content as well as tools for messaging, calling pattern display management, adjustment of audio pronunciation etc.

CASE STUDY

PACE BUS

CHRONOS signs consume a fraction of the power of other equivalent technologies.

Therefore, as well as reducing power costs significantly when connected to 24/7 grid power, the systems are able to operate when only night switch supply is available.  The systems runs of the power source when available at night, and also charges up a local battery, which it then seamlessly runs off during the day, when the night switch power is turned off.

The same battery technology, due to the low power demands of the signage, interfaces to our solar equipment. Therefore, a decision on whether to take 24/7 grid power, power from a local night switch source or from locally mounted solar panels can be done purely on economics. If the solar equipment costs less than the cost of trenching and brining 24/7 grid power to the shelter and sign, then choose solar.

The argument for solar becomes even more compelling if whole life costs (including power) are taken into account.

Pace take the CHRONOS Shelter system. The signs are the same, regardless as to the source and nature of power supply, so supply is consistent across all shelters.

By the end of 2018, Pace will have rolled out approximately 30 signs with more planned for 2019 and beyond. City Lights are the installation partner in Chicago.

FAQs

A simple question with a complex answer, this very much depends on local climate. We have systems operating in northern Scotland and are developing hardware for Chicago. So you can see we don’t need a California climate to support them. We assess the climate using NASA data and design the panel and battery support to match. And if we really do not think it will work, we’ll tell you! Having said that, we have system running reliably where other vendors have failed entirely. 

Our mini computer (HERMES Lite) supports audio as standard, as does the rest of our system and all our displays. So all you have to do is ask us to get it going. We use TTS (Text To Speech) but you have to define what you want the system to say, when you want it to speak and what TTS voice to use (there is a limited choice, but that includes several male and female US accents). The system will announce transport data and messages. You’ll also have access to our Display Administration Suite (DAS) which includes tools for your to improve pronunciation, which is of particular use for place names which are not spoken as written.

The simple answer is yes. If we can get the data we can push it to the signs. Our systems are designed to be very flexible so we can support integration more easily than most.

We have many data importers for both US and European data formats. We have systems in the USA using GTFS data which is increasingly the default standard, but we have also connected to proprietary data feeds from other system vendors. And if we don’t already do it, we have the skills to implement an importer.

Frequently the use of solar limits the functionality of systems, for example they may have to shut down and activate on demand, which means waiting while the computer boots up. Or the displays are small, hard to see, unreadable at night etc. Aside from the impracticality in most locations of using solar power for large high bright LCDs, we employ technologies that do their job day in, day out, always on, always connected and always ready and up to date.

We wanted a support post that looks great but which also offered some other functionality. So ATLAS was designed to provide functions off the shelf posts just cannot offer:

  • It’s big enough to fit batteries inside
  • We can integrate buttons, speakers, even small screens, with ease.
  • It’s strong – and will support our signs and solar arrays
  • We have also designed a sign slider – you can fit the sign at ground level and wind it up to full height, and back down again if required. This makes installation and maintenance a great deal easier (hence saving money and reducing risks), particularly in difficult environments such as railway platforms, confined spaces etc.

CONTACT US

Nexus Alpha USA supplies real-time information systems for use in public transit. Follow us on social media, or please use the contact form to get in touch.

Nexus Alpha USA
T: +1(727) 286 9909 F: +1(727) 538 4237
A: 4500 140th Avenue North, Suite 101, Clearwater, FL 33762