What is d-Tech?

d-Tech is a digital instrumentation platform developed by YieldPoint Inc. that embeds a microcomputer in every instrument so creating truly SMART geotechnical and structural instruments. The microcomputer performs tasks such as:

  • Sensor excitation
  • Sensor multiplexing
  • A/D data conversion
  • Temperature compensation
  • Digital signal transmission (RS485).
  • Provides a unique ID for every instrument.

d-Tech represents the modern approach to geotechnical instrumentation that enables clusters of instruments to be easily networked together using technologies such as Ethernet and wireless mesh. With simplicity comes lower cost especially with respect to implementation and maintenance. The advantages permeate to all aspects of data monitoring and management.

How we build geotechnical instruments

d-Tech Instrument architecture involves interfacing a myriad of transducer technologies (some SMART digital, some analog) with an embedded microcontroller running at 40MHz, and an output transceiver, usually RS485 or Zigbee wireless. Every instrument we build is individually calibrated and the coefficients written to memory on the microcontroller. Each instrument is then given a unique ID which will be used to tag every reading.

RS485 Output signal/Lead-wire

The interested reader can discover the intricacies of RS485 in the papers provided on this website. The key points are:
  • The digital signals can be sent using RS485 over long distances, theoretically up to 1200m, but YieldPoint recommends less than 500m. Also, if severed, lead-wires can be twisted back together.
  • Signals are transmitted on a balanced twisted pair of wires designated RS485-A and RS485-B.
All YieldPoint instruments, regardless of the number of channels, have a 4 conductor lead-wire. Two of these conductors carry +Pwr(red) and Gnd(black), the other two are RS485-A(white) and RS485-B(green).
The output signal is a standard serial (9600,8,N,1) string of the form:
The first entry represents the sensor manufacturer, in this case YP standing for YieldPoint.
Unique Serial Number
The second csv field is the unique sensor ID which is constructed:
The first 4 digits are the year and month of manufacture, the next 2 represent the Sensor_Type with the 5th digit representing the number of data channels. The final 3 channels are factory assigned sequential IDs.
The next csv represents the Sensor_Type: e.g. d4Cable, dGMM
Sensor_Type ( Numeric)
The first character of sensor type numeric represents the number of channels and the second represents the type of channel ( 1-displacement, 5-load).
Data, Units
The remaining characters represents the data from the instrument with alternating values and unit. The values relate directly to the units.

Reading the d-Tech Instruments.


d-Reader is rugged hand held readout device with a back-lit LCD display.


YieldPoint's SensorViewer software can be used to read and store data on a Windows tablet. d-Tablet can also be used to download from d-Loggers.


d-Logger is a very simple data logger available in 1 instrument (d1Logger) or 4 instrument configurations (d4Logger). The data loggers require minimal configuration and can log data from any type of d-Tech instrument. Up to 10,000 readings can be stored in 32Mb of Flash memory. The data is downloaded to individual .txt files corresponding to each instrument ID e.g. 110321001.txt. If different instruments are plugged into the d-Logger during the same session the download process will write these to different files.


d-Mesh is a 900MHz wireless radio network based on Digi International's Xbee radio. The low cost radio nodes wirelessly enable a d4Logger.

The d-Tech Advantage

In summary d-Tech sensor architecture provides the following advantages over legacy analog geotechnical instrumentation systems:

  • Improved Accuracy (i.e. Linearity, Temperature Compensation)
  • Improved Reliability (e.g. non-contact technology, MEMS sensors)
  • Output in Real World Units. All digital sensors have standard readout signal.
  • Output signal includes unique SensorID+ SensorType
  • Multiplex many channels on a single leadwire pair.
  • Simplified low cost peripherals (e.g.data loggers)
  • Simplified data transmission (Ethernet running TCP/IP,WiFi)
  • Simpler data management

YieldPoint Inc. provides mine operators worldwide with tools, technology and service. YieldPoint's Digital (direct-to-digital) sensors combine accuracy and durability while keeping costs low.

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