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Remote monitoring of a water meter?

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3 replies to this topic

#1 Nords



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Posted 26 March 2010 - 12:06 PM

  My apologies if this is the wrong forum for a question about water meters... not sure where else to put it.

I'm looking for a way to display our water meter's status through a remote monitor on a PC or a kitchen countertop box. Either constant monitoring or on-demand monitoring would work as long as it was real-time. It'd require an RF transceiver attached to a water meter plus another transceiver to sense the RF signal and display it on a monitor. I could also make it work with a wired connection. Or maybe this is just an electronic geek fantasy, not available in any stores, and I'll have to build my own.

It's for our yard's sprinkler system. I just finished fixing a nasty leak from a cracked irrigation control valve. Our sprinkler system is 20 years old and the valves are hidden in various hard-to-reach places. Our water bill (which is only read six times per year) showed that this one had been leaking for weeks before it got big enough to hear. We have eight sprinkler zones and two of the other control valves are getting mighty frail.

I know how to look at our street water meter's little spinning triangle for a leak, but I only do that if I think there's a problem. It's not easy or convenient to pry up the meter's sidewalk cover, chase away the centipedes, wipe off the meter face, and watch the little triangle. I don't have the discipline to do that every week. If a meter had a remote display on our PC or on our kitchen counter then I'd check it every day when I opened my frosty beverage.  Several times.

About five years ago our water company put a small transceiver on the face of their analog meter. The meter is a Sensus SRII (¾") and the transceiver is a Sensus RadioRead. I guess it's queried from a vehicle's driveby system, so a monitor could tap into that signal instead of directly into the meter. Of course I don't know if the water company uses some sort of password or encryption, and I don't know if the meter transceiver detects small leaks or just reads in increments of hundreds of gallons.

It would probably be easier to install a meter/transceiver on our sprinkler supply line, but the transceiver would need to sense small leaks-- say from a drippy sprinkler or a clogged vacuum breaker or a valve/piping crack. Maybe I'd want to detect a leak as small as eight ounces per minute. This Inovonics MetraMeter (http://www.byramlabs.../MetraMeter.pdf ) reads one gallon per count.

  If an affordable remote-display system doesn't exist then I could build my own like this guy (http://www.edcheung....utoma/water.htm ) Or I could just mount a meter (with a spinning triangle) aboveground on our sprinkler supply pipe next to the house. At least I'd check it every time I walked by it. But I like the idea of doing it from the kitchen or the computer, where I spend a lot of my time!

Anyone know of a retail system like this for homeowners, not for water companies?
Eventually I'll put something witty here.

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#2 appl.tech.29501



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Posted 26 March 2010 - 12:59 PM

We normally help with household appliance issues not sprinkler systems or metering devices however you may be able to go with a rain bird system with an inline flow meter, transducers..maybe even a plc..whi knows imaginations are limitless.
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#3 kdog



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Posted 26 March 2010 - 06:36 PM

Such a system is used to monitor water use through water softeners, pretty simple really - as water flows through the pipe it forces a small turbine to spin, the turbine has 2 magnets attached to it, one a north pole, the other a south - each time the wheel makes one revolution it impinges a reading upon a sensor which is isolated near the magnets in a jacket - sensor carries information to the controller which can show flow, avg daily gallons etc.
Many Kenmore, Ecowater, Whirlpool, G.E. etc. units are equipped with these devices. With a bit of engenuity, I'm sure something could be cooked up using previously discarded units (i.e. due to resin tank rupture)

See Kenmorewater.com for details on systems
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#4 Tim M

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 06:40 AM

You don't have to hook up something to your water meter. You can hook something up in your basement where the water branches off to your sprinkler timer.

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