Case studies

Nortroll elevates electricity grid management with an easy-to-integrate positioning solution

Nortroll is advancing power grid monitoring by leveraging u-blox’s GNSS technology for reliable positioning.  

electricity grid management case study u-blox

For over 45 years, Norwegian Nortroll, a member of the Sicame Group, has been developing tools to reduce the duration and impact of power outages by detecting and locating faults in electricity networks.   

Nortroll’s LineTroll series of fault passage indicators detect short circuit and earth faults on overhead lines. Mounted onto electricity poles, these battery-powered devices continuously monitor the line voltage and current, raising an alert when faults occur on the line.  

Nortroll’s most advanced fault passage indicator, the LineTroll R400D, goes one step further, leveraging its integrated global navigation satellite system (GNSS) module for reliable positioning and optional time synchronization. By issuing time-stamped alerts with accurate location information, the LineTroll R400D speeds up remote fault detection and empowers grid engineers to swiftly locate faults and expedite repairs.

nortroll device for electricity grid management

The challenge: Integrating positioning functionality typically requires vast RF expertise 

Nortroll has established itself as an expert in electrical network fault detection. The company saw an opportunity to expand its product’s functionality and drive innovation in its field by integrating satellite-based positioning technology into its product.  

Typically, implementing a good GNSS solution requires deep radio frequency (RF) knowledge and high development efforts, as the choice and implementation of the antenna can ultimately play a significant role in GNSS performance. That’s why Nortroll was looking for a supplier that could support them with a reliable, low-power turnkey positioning solution requiring no in-house RF expertise.  

The turnkey solution: u-blox’s ultra-low-power smart antenna module for easy and reliable integration 

ultra-low power smart antenna module

Already in 2017, Nortroll found their fit in a u-blox module with an integrated GNSS antenna. Now, three technological generations later, Nortroll has completed the migration of their LineTroll R400D to the latest GNSS technology: the u-blox SAM-M10Q antenna module.  

Thanks to the concurrent reception of all major GNSS constellations, SAM-M10Q offers maximum position availability and ensures exceptional sensitivity and fast acquisition times – even in challenging signal environments. The robust RF front-end design, with an integrated front-end SAW filter and LNA, delivers excellent out-band jamming immunity, making the module ideal for devices located near a cellular modem. Measuring 15.5-by-15.5-by-6.3 mm, the compact turnkey SAM-M10Q GNSS solution fits well into size-constrained devices. 

Drawing less than 37 mW without compromising GNSS performance, the SAM-M10Q antenna module leads the pack in terms of power efficiency compared with similar products on the market.  

Solution benefits:  

  • The SAM-M10Q module’s compact footprint, integrated GNSS antenna, and robust RF architecture facilitated its design into the LineTroll R400D product line.  

  • The module’s ultra-low power consumption prolongs the device's battery life, reducing maintenance efforts.  

  • Accurate positioning performance enabled by the concurrent reception of GNSS constellations allows Nortroll’s customers to quickly pinpoint faults in their electricity networks. 

The outcome: Effortless integration thanks to a reliable customer-centric solution 

For Nortroll, the u-blox positioning module’s integrated antenna – designed and validated for optimal performance – significantly minimized the development efforts required to integrate positioning functionality into the LineTroll R400D.  

Pin compatibility across the SAM antenna module family reduced the effort required to migrate from u-blox’s previous-generation SAM-M8Q antenna module to the new ultra-low-power SAM-M10Q solution. Leveraging the advanced u-blox M10 positioning technology allowed Nortroll to benefit from improved positioning performance and a lower power profile. 

We continuously choose u-blox’s antenna module because of its embedded antenna, its reliability, and its ease-to-use as a turnkey GNSS solution.

sam-m10q features and benefits

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