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how do you measure gas and water consumption?


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#1 Mr Spock

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 12:28 PM

I'm a homeseer user (newbie to HS, long time X10 user) and expanding my system. I want to measure my AC power, natural gas, and water consumption. Since I have Bert's RFX dual band (310/433 MHz) receiver I was thinking of using his RFXMeter product to monitor my 3 utilities.

The problem I'm having is that it seems this is mostly a European centric product. I've not found anyone who is using it in the US for this purpose. I've posted questions on the Homeseer forum in a couple places and no-one has stated their using it. So here are a few questions for anyone here who might have some advice for me.

1) How do you measure your AC, gas, and water utilities? Gas and water seem to be the hardest.
2) Is anyone using the RFXMeter product in the US (California to be more precise)?
3) What sensors are you using?
4) I may have to add a special water meter in my garage since my utility's meter is at my curb. Any recommendations on what to use?

Thanks in advance.
Jeff.

#2 drvnbysound

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 12:50 PM

Just some quick google browsing brought me to this site:

http://www.agilewaves.com/index.html

I cant exactly figure out if they provide the whole gamut (sensors, software, etc) or what products exactly, but I think its a good starting direction.

EDIT: This may be another good starting point:

http://www.advancedi...monitoring.html

Edited by drvnbysound, 12 March 2009 - 12:51 PM.


#3 3tones

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 12:52 PM

First Post for me!

I just ordered some hall effect sensors from digikey that I am going to attempt to use to monitor gas and water. Somewhere on the internet someone used a compass to detect if the meter has "moving magnets" that could be read by a sensor. They used a sensor they had lying around, so I had to take a good guess on what to order. I will post in a few days and let you know if I figured anything out. I am very close to buying a Brultech 1240 and I hope to use one of the aux inputs to pickup these meters.

#4 drvnbysound

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 12:56 PM

Apparently the best terms to search for are:

"Water flow meter"

"Gas flow meter"

They seem to net a bunch of different products. I have no idea on the diffilcutly of integration effort this would take, but I doubt its going to be easy.

#5 hucker

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:10 PM

http://www.omega.com...alpdf/M0504.pdf

Supports 20gal/min and has pulse ranges from 1pulse per 0.5gal to 1pulse per 10 gal depending on model. I suspect that this low pulse rate would be pretty easy to track with a 1wire pulse counter.

BTW that advancedinformation link looks pretty cool but it looks like a vapor company. All they show is a pretty picture saying the monitor everything in real time and show it over the web. No details, pictures etc...

Edited by hucker, 12 March 2009 - 01:15 PM.


#6 SteveQ

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 03:25 PM

1) How do you measure your AC,

Jeff.


Are you asking about Air Conditioning? If so, I have a current sensor/DS10a which sends an ON and OFF message. I then use a spreadsheet to add up the ON time and calculate the amount of power used.

Steve Q

#7 Mr Spock

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 09:36 PM

Thanks for the replies guys.

I looked at the Agilwave and Advancedinformation web sites. Agilewaves is interesting, but very devoid of details. I sent them an email to get more details and will post here what I find. The Advancedinformation is industrial strength and very expensive looking.

For AC I want to measure the whole house power. That means both phases (inductive coupling) or by way of the meter spinning wheel itself.

3Tones, the hall effect sensors sound very interesting. Hall effect sensors are not usually too sensitive though, they need to be very close to the moving magnetic field. Please keep us posted on your results.

Good find on Omega, Hucker. I forget about that company. They make a wide variety of great high quality sensors. I must investigate further...

#8 3tones

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:27 PM

I found the link where I got the idea:
http://www.edcheung....utoma/water.htm
(the whole site is worth a browse)

I'm crossing my fingers the sensors come tomorrow so I can screw with them over the weekend. I have a USB scope to assist, but when it comes time to interface the sensor with another device, I may need some help on the electronics.

#9 dBeau

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:39 PM

I'm very interested in measuring my water consumption too. I've read Ed Chung's water meter article. I've played with the hall effect sensors like he suggests, but had no luck. However, when I put my HTC G1 (google phone) near the meter and watch a chart of the compass, I do get a really nice sine wave when there is water running. So, I'll probably move on to his gauss sensor idea. However, I'd really rather just buy something ready made. I've considered installing a new meter but I cant seem to find one that will give the kind of resolution that Ed is talking about. I'm more interested in drip/leak detection than actual consumption information so the resolution is important.

#10 sda

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:30 PM

However, I'd really rather just buy something ready made. I've considered installing a new meter but I cant seem to find one that will give the kind of resolution that Ed is talking about. I'm more interested in drip/leak detection than actual consumption information so the resolution is important.

This has been mentioned before:
http://www.jerman.com/dljsjmeters.html
1 pulse/gallon

Hays water meters can be configured down to 100 pulses/gal, or just over an ounce per pulse.

#11 dBeau

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:47 PM

Hays water meters can be configured down to 100 pulses/gal, or just over an ounce per pulse.


That would do the trick. I've tried using the google but am having trouble finding a link to a specific device that would give that resolution with a 1" feed. Do you have a link or a model number?

#12 Mr Spock

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 02:15 AM

The DLJ SJ75C looks perfect! The default choice is 1 gallon per contact closure. I'm going to see if they offer 0.1 gallon per contact closure.

One down, two to go.

#13 sda

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 06:02 AM

Hays water meters can be configured down to 100 pulses/gal, or just over an ounce per pulse.


That would do the trick. I've tried using the google but am having trouble finding a link to a specific device that would give that resolution with a 1" feed. Do you have a link or a model number?


did you google the obvious? [hays water meter]

here's one (found through the obvious google search)
http://www.watertrea...cts/MTR3-08.htm
they ain't cheap

spec sheet
http://www.haysfluid...ts/m meters.pdf

IIRC, the pulse rate can be field configured. I have a 3/4 in a box with the how to instructions. I will look it up and report back.

#14 hucker

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 09:17 AM

On this topic I'm wondering what resolution is good enough. It looks pretty easy to get 1gal/pulse and a little extra for .5 gal/pulse. Is that good enough? Seems so to me. If you had the .5 you should see toilet flushes, showers, dishwasher no problem. Do people put in two of these things, one on the hot water and one on the cold?

On the other side of this, when we built our house I thought about putting in a cistern to catch all the water that was going to the drywell so we could water the garden and the lawn for free. Did some math and determined that water is really cheap. You would have to do this to 'feel green' rather than to save money over any reasonable timer period.

#15 dBeau

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 10:16 AM

IIRC, the pulse rate can be field configured. I have a 3/4 in a box with the how to instructions. I will look it up and report back.


The part that wasnt obvious was which meters could be configured to report 1/100 of a gallon. Thanks!




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