Review: Monitor pins in storage – BlueMaestro Tempo

Many pinheads have got more pinball machines than space to set them up in. It’s a simple fact of pinball life. One is never enough, and many of us go on buying them until all the available space is filled. And then go out and buy a few more.

The result is that you may well have one or more machines folded up and stored away somewhere: in your garage, or perhaps a garden shed. That’s all fine, as long as your machines aren’t subject to rapid temperature changes, they don’t get  damp or covered in condensation, and they don’t experience extreme temperatures.

The Tempo looks like a rock

The Tempo looks like a rock

And that’s where the BlueMaestro Tempo environment monitor comes in. It’s a small battery-powered device that you can put in your storage area to monitor temperature, humidity and also barometric pressure to check that your lovely machines aren’t being destroyed by damp or cold. Or heat, for that matter.

The Tempo is a Bluetooth device, and once in position it sends the data it records to a companion  iPhone or Android app. The range is up to 50m line of sight, and that makes it ideal for checking on the conditions in your shed or garage, without having to leave the comfort of your house.

Setting up the Tempo is as easy as pie

Setting up the Tempo is easy

If you find that it’s too damp in your storage space or it gets too cold then you may want to think about putting in a heater or dehumidifier (or both) rather than abandoning your storage space.

Unlike most Bluetooth devices, getting the Tempo working is a breeze. A quick press of the power button switched the thing on, and the iPhone app Pavlov Pinball tested with started displaying its reading instantly.

In the Settings section of the app you can give your device a name (which could be useful if you have more than one), choose the temperature units, and calibrate the sensor values (although that wasn’t necessary as they were pretty accurate out of the box.)

Pinball machines in these conditions should be OK

Pinball machines in these conditions should be OK

There’s also the option to set an alarm if the temperature falls outside minimum and maximum temperature thresholds.

The device will record and timestamp 30 days of hourly data (or 60 days of two-hourly data, etc) which you can download to your smartphone automatically or manually whenever you are in range. And using that you can display graphs of readings over time – useful for checking how much and how quickly temperature varies over the course of the day and night, for example.

And that’s all there is too it really. Stick it in your storage area, and start monitoring. The monitoring app is free, and the device is available in white, grey or black for $65/£54, or Euros 59+VAT, with free worldwide shipping.

A couple of things worth considering:

  • The Tempo runs on a battery, and the manufacturer estimates that this will last about a year. That, of course, has not been verified by Pavlov Pinball.
  • The range is touted as up to 50m, which surprisingly does seem to be realistic. But that’s for line of site, so don’t expect it to work at that distance through too many stout brick walls.
  • The device is Bluetooth, not WiFi based, so you won’t be able to connect to it when you’re away from home to check up on your machines – this is only for short range environmental monitoring. That also means that if  the temperature in your storage area falls above or below your threshold values, you’ll only be alerted if you are in range of the device and run the app.
  • The device also works as an iBeacon, independently of its monitoring function. That may be an added attraction to you.
  • The Tempo does look a lot like a rock, so there’s a danger that someone could throw it away. That would be annoying.

Verdict: Overall positive. This is a no hassle monitoring solution for anyone who wants to make sure their pinball machines don’t come to any harm while they are in storage nearby. The price isn’t cheap, but it’s not ridiculously expensive given that a pinball machine damaged by temperature or damp could cost you thousands.

For more info check out BlueMaestro

Photo by Ruth and Dave

1 Comment on Review: Monitor pins in storage – BlueMaestro Tempo

  1. And don’t forget, pull out the batteries!

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