Remote Terminal Unit: The Definitive Guide

You’ve come to the right place if you want to know more about the Remote Terminal Unit. Perhaps you are searching info about remote monitoring and came across this word a lot? 

Well worry no more, we will explain to you what Remote Terminal Unit is.

Let’s get to the basics of it.

What is Remote Terminal Unit (RTU)?

remote terminal unit

RTU is a microprocessor-controlled electronic device that interfaces with physical objects. 

Let’s go word by word of RTU so that you’ll understand better.

  1. Remote

From this word, you’ll know that an RTU is a device that is installed at a remote location. It is able to control various devices and systems for automation. 

  1. Terminal / Telemetry

An RTU acts as a terminal that collects data, codes the data into a format that is transmittable and transmits the data back to a central station.

The data that is sent to you is known as ‘telemetry’.

  1. Unit

An RTU is just a single unit or device that is able to perform the functions that were described earlier. It is able to provide a very stable and dependable network monitoring system.

Basic Terminology

There are 5 basic terminologies that we will explain in this section. By understanding this, it will help you increase your knowledge on remote terminal units.

  1. Serial Terminal Server

Usually in many companies, they will have a lot of technology that varies in generations. This may be because of how long the company has been established or just simply to save money.

That may be a problem but an RTU can help this. 

For example, if you have equipment that is LAN-based and equipment that can only communicate by serial connection, an RTU can act as an intermediary between them. 

It will be able to be accessed at your fingertips!

  1. Control Relay Inputs and Outputs

A big benefit of a remote terminal unit is that it functions much more than just monitoring remote equipment. 

Completing a response with control relay outputs is also easier because you can use the data that was collected through remote monitoring.

Some of the things you can do include unlocking doors, activating generators, adjusting an antenna and much more things. 

The RTU is basically acting as a regular physical switch that will save you a lot of time and energy.

  1. Dual Power Inputs

It is important that you have dual redundant power to ensure that your RTU won’t fail in the event of a power shortage.

By having 2 power sources, your RTU will still be working even when one of the sources is not available.

  1. Contact Closure Inputs / Discrete Alarm Inputs / Dry Contact Inputs

How does your RTU know when there is a problem? Well, these 3 ways are the most basic ways for equipment to do so.

To use discrete inputs, you will have to connect a pair of wires from the dry contact on your equipment to one of your remote terminal unit inputs.

Whenever there is a problem, the appropriate relay of your RTU will be triggered. 

It will then connect the circuit between the two pins (1 is constantly outputting 5vDC, the other is looking for this voltage). An alarm will be triggered which will notify your RTU. 

This is one of the ways that your RTU knows when there is a problem.

  1. Analog Voltage / Current Input

Some data need precise numerical/percentage value as opposed to the binary (yes/no) value. 

Due to this, it is best if you have an input that can measure voltage or current flow through its pins.

With an RTU, you will be able to input these values. What will it do? The Remote Terminal Unit will translate the voltage/current into sensor reading that will be able to be understood.

What Does It Do?

remote monitoring

A big advantage of an RTU is that it will allow you to manage your network more effectively. 

Since it is in a remote location, some remote terminal units are able to remotely control site gear as mentioned earlier in the article. Think of how efficient that is! 

Not only does it save time, it can also save a lot of money used on transport.

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems are used to monitor and control equipment and processes at remote sites. RTU’s are a vital component of it. 

Since it collects data and information, it is one of the most crucial components because the SCADA systems starts off with the RTU. 

The RTU collects information in many ways to ensure that it functions the best of its capability. 

As mentioned earlier in the article, it has many functions and capabilities that make life so much easier.

How to Find the Right Size for Your Site?

It is crucial that you have the right capacity size so that it can work perfectly at your site. How to know? 

These are the different options and rough estimations that are available if you want an RTU. You can refer to this when choosing from remote terminal unit manufacturers

  1. Small RTUs

For cell towers, remote huts or enclosed cabinets, you should select a small remote alarm unit.

  1. Medium RTUs

Medium RTUs are suitable for remote switches.

  1. Large RTUs

Select large RTUs for central offices or regional hubs.

In conclusion, an RTU is a very useful component that you should consider having on your site and for your company. 

It has many benefits and functions which help a lot in daily operations.

Are you looking for a company that specialises in electricity solutions and help? Look no further than Progressive Impact Technology (PITECH)! 

PITECH provides technology solution Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) to monitor and control the performance of your site.

The choices of the RTUs that PITECH provide are:

  • RTU C50
  • RTU SCD5200
  • HU250
  • HU_BI
  • RTU600

Should you need to find out more about PITECH, you can visit their website.

You can also click here to read more about our remote terminal units:


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