A new firmware version of the EtherMeter has been created that is tailored to transmit flow metering data over the Iridium Satellite Data Network.

Iridium is a constellation of Low-Earth-Orbit satellites capable of receiving data from virtually anywhere in the world.

JouBeh Technologies 9602W SBD Satellite Transceiver.

JouBeh Technologies 9602W SBD Satellite Transceiver.

Validation was successfully performed at a Water District in rural North Dakota. Value-added SCADA sofware and services were concurrently developed by Preferred Controls Inc. (Albany, MN).

Useful Links:

Application Note

Press Release

When totalizing the total accumulated flow through a non-absolute-encoder flow meter, it is generally preferable to interface with a pulse-per-volume signal (eg. 1 pulse per gallon). However, certain flow meters only offer a 4-20mA signal that is proportional to rate-of-flow. Examples include certain WH Power Meters, Parshall Flume-Type Wastewater Flow Meters, Differential-Pressure Flow Meters, and many others.

While it is certainly possible to program a computer or PLC to perform a running time integral of the rate-of-flow signal, this technique is difficult, time-consuming, and fraught with pitfalls. A straightforward and elegant hardware-based solution is to convert the 4-20mA signal to a pulse, and utilize the EtherMeter’s sophisticated pulse-processing capabilities to provide both totalization and rate-of-flow.

Interested in learning more about this technique? Check out our new Application Note in the Documentation Library: App Note #20

Accumulating Flow Totals From a 4-20mA Flow-Rate Signal.

Accumulating Flow Totals From a 4-20mA Flow-Rate Signal.

 

This article describes how to use an EtherMeter to connect a Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge to a SCADA System, yielding a realtime rainfall measurement system that communicates using Modbus, DF1, and EtherNet/IP.

This rain measuring instrumentation was a component of the new SCADA System at the DesMoines & Mississippi Levee District (Alexandria, MO).  The electronics were installed at the Levee District’s new Pumping Station, where accumulated water within a network of ditches is pumped over the levee and into the Mississippi River.  The station has a pumping capacity in excess of 100,000 GPM.

Rain Gauge at DesMoines & Mississippi Levee District Pumping Station

Rain Gauge at DesMoines & Mississippi Levee District Pumping Station

In this application, the Rain Gauge was an 8 Inch Tipping Bucket, Model RG600, manufactured by Global Water (Gold River, CA).

Internal View Of the RG600 8 Inch Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge.

Internal View Of the RG600 8 Inch Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge.

The RG600 provides a contact closure for every 1/100 inch of rainfall; and the contact output was interfaced to one of the EtherMeter’s pulse input channels.

The EtherMeter was configured to measure total accumulated rainfall (1/100 inch increments), as well as the realtime rainfall rate (inches/hour).  The data was transmitted to a master RTU using Modbus/RTU over RS-485.

Additional Modbus Devices Within the Pumping Station:

  • Two Toshiba VFD’s (Variable Frequency Drives)
  • Two Keller America “AccuLevel” submersible pressure transducers for measuring water levels within the ditch and the river.
  • Two Shark-100 energy meters.
  • Three ADAM-4000 multichannel analog and digital I/O modules.
Rain Rate (Inches/Hour) was measured and transmitted to the SCADA System.

Rain Rate (Inches/Hour) was measured and transmitted to the SCADA System.

Rain Total (Inches) was measured and transmitted to the SCADA System.

Rain Total (Inches) was measured and transmitted to the SCADA System.

Screen Snapshots Of SCADA Rain Data That Was Collected By The EtherMeter.

Screen Snapshots Of SCADA Rain Data That Was Collected By The EtherMeter.

The Boone IA Firmware was created to provide a simple solution to a customer who desired a high-flow alarm annunciator for an encoder-type custody-transfer water meter.

By handling the high-flow alarm logic within the EtherMeter, there is no need for an external setpoint controller or PLC, thereby reducing costs and wiring complexity.  It is noteworthy that the EtherMeter can discern flow rate from most meter makes/models, including those with encoder-type and/or pulse-type signals.

Meter 1 High-Flow Alarm Operation:

When FLOW1 is below the ALARM1 threshold (GPM), then the AUX1 output is low (0V).  When FLOW1 exceeds the ALARM1 threshold (GPM), then the AUX1 goes high (+5V).

 

Meter 2 High-Flow Alarm Operation (if present):

When FLOW2 is below the ALARM2 threshold (GPM), then the AUX2 output is low (0V).  When FLOW2 exceeds the ALARM2 threshold (GPM), then the AUX2 goes high (+5V).

 

In the above schematic, the EtherMeter is used to signal a high-flow alarm lamp. The flow meter is an Octave ultrasonic by Master Meter. The meter is co-connected to a radio-based AMR system via an RRF-50 Radio-Read Filter.

Setup Menu Settings:

  • SET AUX1 FALARM (activates AUX1 as a high-flow alarm output for meter 1)
  • SET AUX2 FALARM (activates AUX2 as a high-flow alarm output for meter 2)
  • SET ALARM1 NNNNNN (sets high-flow 1 threshold as nnn.nnn GPM)
  • SET ALARM2 NNNNNN (sets high-flow 2 threshold as nnn.nnn GPM)

Note: The Boone IA Firmware does not feature DF1 or EtherNet/IP support.

Are you interested or do you have a similar application?  Don’t hesitate to call.  We’ll be glad to discuss the solution in more detail.

In instances where the pulse input signal is derived from a mechanical contact (eg reed-relay pulse signals from many gas meters), it may be necessary to install a “de-bounce” filter on the pulse-input wires to remove false pulses caused by bouncing and/or arcing contacts.

The capacitor value is selected based upon the expected pulse duration. If the capacitor value is too high, then true pulses can go undetected. If the capacitor value is too low, then false pulses will not be filtered away.

The purpose of this blog entry is to illustrate the correct wiring and to assist in the selection of the filter components.

 

Illustration Of A De-Bounce Filter Applied To A Dry-Contact Pulse Input (Click to Zoom).

 

Limiting Inrush Current Through The Dry Contact:

In the above schematic, a 100 ohm resistor is placed in series with the dry-contact (reed relay). The purpose of this resistor is to limit the capacitor discharge current through the dry contact. It is recommended that this resistor have a value of 100 or 50 ohms. Note that a 100 ohm resistor limits the peak current to 5V/100ohm = 50mA max, and a 50 ohm resistor limits the peak current to 5V/50ohm = 100mA max.

In order to set up an EtherMeter, you will need a computer equipped with a serial port, terminal emulation software (eg HyperTerminal), and a SCADAmetrics Serial/Setup Cable.

A convenient way to add a serial port to a notebook or desktop computer is with a USB-Serial Adapter.

In my experience, the make/model that provides the best combination of performance and compatibility is the Model# USA-19HS by Keyspan (a division of Tripp-Lite).  The USA-19HS is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.

Keyspan/Tripp-Lite Product Page Link

Newegg.com eStore Link – Click To Buy Online.

In most cases, EtherMeter users will collect flow rate data via the device’s digital Ethernet and Serial communication channels.  Digital communication protocols include MODBUS (TCP/RTU/ASCII), DF1, and EtherNet/IP™.

However, in some instances, the user may wish to interface to 4-20mA analog signals that are proportional to flow.  Replacement of Sensus ACK-PAK instrumentation is just one possible use.  However, in this case, the EtherMeter is capable of deriving the 4-20mA signal from either an encoder-type or a pulse-output-type flow meter.  Within the Setup Menu, the EtherMeter also permits the user to specify the 4-20mA span (the flow-rate that corresponds to 20mA).

When used with an encoder-type flow meter, it is important to recognize the limitations of this type of 4-20mA signal.  Because it is not based upon a hard real-time flow-rate signal, the user should therefore exercise caution when using the 4-20mA signal to drive a PID control loop.

SCADAmetrics Analog Flow-Output Demonstrator Panel

This document describes the wiring procedures and EtherMeter settings that are required for 4-20mA output signaling.  Note that the EtherMeter requires Special Firmware plus an ADAM-4024 module (by Advantech) for this option, and so the purchaser must ensure that the Analog-Output Firmware+Module option is selected when buying at the eStore.  Also, it is important to note that when using this option, the ADAM-4024 module consumes the serial port; and therefore any digital communications to the EtherMeter must occur via the Ethernet port.

Detailed procedures are available in a new Application Note posted in the SCADAmetrics Documentation Center:

LINK TO APP NOTE

 

In addition to its ability to read most encoder-type flow meters, the EtherMeter also features pulse-input support.

Sensus High-Speed Pickup

The following Application Note details the procedures for connecting a Sensus High-Speed Pickup (Pulse) Register to an EtherMeter; and it also describes an example of modified Setup Menu parameters for the High-Speed Pickup:

http://scadametrics.com/PDF/App_Note_014.pdf

Note that the Sensus High-Speed Pickup requires an external +12VDC power supply.  In this application, we recommend using a single +12VDC power supply to power BOTH the EtherMeter and High-Speed Pickup.

A new application note has been posted to scadametrics.com that describes how to set up one of the EtherMeter’s analog input channels to collect temperature data from a thermistor:

http://scadametrics.com/PDF/App_Note_011.pdf

This type of application could be particularly useful in building automation and industrial control applications where full use of the EtherMeter’s auxiliary I/O channels could potentially save the integrator from the necessity of adding a full-featured controller.

Each EtherMeter contains 2 meter input channels (Each provides totalization and flow-rate), 2 analog input channels (4-20mA or 0-5V), and 3 digital I/O channels.

Thermistor Demonstration Panel. AIN1 = 52.13%, Which Corresponds To 9183 Ohms (Thermistor) And 80.5 degF.

Recently, an interesting project was completed at the water custody-transfer point between Williamsville (IL) and Springfield (IL), where Williamsville purchases bulk water from Springfield and transmits it through a system of water towers, pumping stations, and distribution mains.

Williamsville (IL) Pumping Station. Station features a Ground Storage Tank and Altitude Valve, a Master Meter, 2 Pumps, and a Bypass Valve. Williamsville’s station is run by an intelligent RTU connected to their Radio SCADA system. Springfield, the bulk seller, monitors the master meter using an Itron radio AMR system.

In the scope of this project, Williamsville installed EtherMeters into their existing distribution SCADA system for the purpose of automated report generation, flow monitoring, and leak detection.The custody-transfer master meter was a Badger 6 Inch T2000 Turbo Meter outfitted with an ADE Encoder Register and supplied by Midwest Meter (Edinburg, IL).   Springfield concurrently wished to read this meter using a 60W ERT Endpoint (manufactured by Itron) as part of its radio-based AMR system.  It was important to both parties that Williamsville’s SCADA/metering system and Springfield’s AMR system coexist without disruption to the other’s system.

Vault-Set Master Meter: 6 Inch Badger T2000 Turbo Meter. Meter is equipped with an ADE encoder-type register and an Itron 60W ERT.

To achieve harmonious sharing of the master meter, it was necessary to split the meter signal using a SCADAmetrics RRF-50 “Radio-Read Filter”.  This unit was installed within a small junction box within the master meter vault, essentially allowing the two meter-reading devices to be connected in parallel to the single encoder-based register.  The vault did not contain power, but this was not  a hindrance, since the Radio-Read Filter does not require an external power source.

SCADAmetrics Radio-Read Filter. This device allows two endpoints to share the meter readings. In this case, the two endpoints are the Itron 60W ERT (Seller) and an EtherMeter (Buyer). Although the Radio-Read Filter is not rated for an uncontrolled vault environment, the customer potted the unit with a two-part 3M epoxy compound to resist moisture.

Vault-Set Junction Box containing the Radio-Read Filter.

The flow-metering upgrade to Williamsville’s SCADA system provides tracking of total and zoned consumption — a vital tool for detecting and pinpointing leaks.

The Buyer’s EtherMeter. Error-free meter totalization and flow-rate is transmitted to the local RTU via MODBUS/RTU. In this photo, the LCD Display is showing totalization.

In this photo, the LCD Display is showing flow-rate.

A Few Useful Application Notes (Courtesy of Itron Technical Support):

1. The Badger ADE register for the 6 Inch T2000 Turbo Meter was pre-fitted with an Inline Connector for the Itron W60 ERT Endpoint.  The internal conductor color-coding for this type of cable is non-standard.  The color-coding is as follows: BLACK (Tx or CLK), RED (Rx or DATA), SHIELD/DRAIN (CMN).

2. Before initially connecting an Itron 60W ERT endpoint to the ADE register, ERT initialization is sped up applying the Itron-supplied shorting cap to the ERT.  This places the ERT into fast-mode for 15 minutes or until the ADE register is recognized (whichever time period is shorter).  Internally, the cap places a jumper/short across the Rx/DATA line (RED) and the CMN line (SHIELD).

3. Hookup Diagram:

This Wiring Diagram Shows How The EtherMeter (Williamsville) And ERT (Springfield) Were Connected To The Shared Badger 6″ Meter.

The EtherMeter contains an RS485 port for Modbus/RTU and DF1 communications in multi-drop applications.

When using the RS485 port, the following EtherMeter terminals are used:

  • 19  –  RS485A (-)
  • 20  –  RS485B (+)
  • 21  –  Signal GND Reference (contains current-limiting resistor)

In order to use RS485, attention should be given to the EtherMeter’s dip switch positions:

  • Switch 1  –  DOWN (Run Mode), UP (Setup Mode, Modbus/DF1 OFF)
  • Switch 2  –  DOWN (RS485 Mode), UP (RS232 Mode)
  • Switch 3  –  UP (Use 120 Ohm Terminator for RS485), DOWN (No Terminator)
  • Switch 4  –  UP (LCD Backlight ON), or DOWN (Power-Saver Mode)

In my experience, it is preferable to use a single, centralized 24VDC power supply to power the Modbus Master — along with all the remote RS485/Modbus Slave devices.  This ensures that signaling between all devices are referenced to a common ground potential.  In order to most-easily achieve this, a single jacketed cable can be used to transmit both the 24VDC power and the RS485 Modbus signals.

For the most demanding (higher baud rate and/or long distance) applications, I generally recommend Belden 3084A cable, which contains two shielded/twisted pairs plus an overall copper braid.  The 24 gauge pair (Blue/White) has a characteristic impedance of 120 ohms, which is optimal for RS485 transmission.  The 22 gauge pair (Red/Black) is designated for 24VDC and GND.  The cost is generally around $1/ft.  And for especially long cable runs, a more stout version is available, the Belden 3082A cable, whose power and data pairs are 15 gauge and 18 gauge respectively.  The cost is generally around $3/ft.

For more economical 2-pair wiring, I recommend Belden 8723 cable.  It consists of two 22 gauge shielded/twisted pairs (red/black and green/white).  Although it has a characteristic impedance of 52 ohms and therefore does not conform exactly to the RS485 specification, it can work very well for  shorter distances and/or lower baud rates.  The cost is generally around $0.40/ft.

In situations where it is not feasible to power the Modbus master and all remote slave devices from a single DC power supply, then all devices should be powered locally and individually using isolated DC power supplies.  Furthermore, the signal grounds of all devices should be tied together to a common voltage reference.  Each reference tie should utilize a resistor to prevent large currents from traveling on the reference wire.  For this purpose, Terminal 22 on the EtherMeter functions as a signal reference point with a built-in 100 ohm current-limiting resistor.

An EtherMeter Connected To A JACE-Tridium System Via Modbus/RTU over RS485. The System Is Monitoring Total Consumption And Flow-Rate For Two Connected Water Meters (Sensus SR and Sensus Compound). This Facility Houses A Fortune-500 Software Company In The Boston Area. A Pair Of SCADAmetrics Touch-Read Filters Allow Both The Utility AMR System And The Building Automation System To Share The Meter Signals.

I highly recommend that anyone using Modbus/RTU over RS485 should browse the web for further information.  Here are a few articles that I’ve found to be particularly useful and interesting:

EtherMeter Connected To A Remote Controller Via Belden 8723 Cable. The EtherMeter Is A Modbus/RTU Slave, And It Shares The Same 24VDC Power Supply As The Modbus/RTU Master.

The Connected Meter: A Neptune 6″ HP Turbine, Outfitted With An E-Coder Register.

The “E-Coder” is an excellent water meter register, manufactured by Neptune Technology Group, that features an all-digital LCD display activated and powered by an integral solar cell.  The register as a whole does not contain a battery, and it is entirely powered by a combination of hydroelectric energy (water passing through the meter) and the solar cell.

Neptune Meter Equipped With E-Coder Register

In order to minimize power consumption, the E-Coder register only activates its LCD when exposed to sunlight or another compatible light source.  When the LCD is activated, the display alternates between meter totalization and flow rate.  When inactive, the LCD is simply blank.  While the ECoder is being interrogated by a SCADA device (eg “EtherMeter”) or AMR endpoint (eg “R900″), the LCD will go blank until the interrogation is complete — usually no more than 1 or 2 seconds at a time.

Note that if a flashlight is to be used for activating the LCD, the beam should be pointed directly at the solar cell at close range (10 inches or less) and from directly above.  The beam should be held steady until the 9-digit totalization is displayed.  SCADAmetrics recommends a Xenon-based flashlight which emits a “white” light whose spectrum is similar to sunlight — and therefore produces better results when attempting to energize solar cells.

The Model 2000 “Super SabreLite” flashlight by Pelican is a Xenon-based lamp that is powered by three (3) C-Cell batteries and produces 33 lumens/12,000 candelas.  The Pelican 2000 may be purchased from Grainger as Part No. 4JC10, or from another Pelican supplier.  A set of new Duracell C-Cell batteries are recommended.  (Batteries are not included with this flashlight.)

The ECoder’s glass cover should be kept as clean as possible, as any residue or debris will weaken the light that is intended for the solar cell.  If the ECoder register is interrogated automatically at short polling intervals (for instance, the EtherMeter’s default meter polling interval is every 8 seconds) — then the LCD may cease to display the meter totalization and flow-rate, even when activated with direct sunlight or a bright flashlight.  If this poses a problem for the user, then the EtherMeter polling interval should be increased to 20 or 30 seconds.  (eg. SET SAMPn 30)  On the other hand, the user can always rely upon the EtherMeter’s LCD display, since it echos the flow-rate and an exact duplicate of the totalization from the ECoder.

Ultimately, your experience may differ from ours, so let us know what you observe.  You may also want to solicit advice from Neptune technical support and/or your local Neptune distributor.

Pelican 2000 "Super SabreLite"

The Preciseline Pressure Transducer (manufactured by Keller-America ), like our EtherMeter, offers a digital Modbus-based solution to a water telemetry problem that was previously solved by analog (4-20mA) instrumentation.

In the case of the Preciseline, the water pressure signal is converted into Modbus; whereas in the case of our EtherMeter, error-free totalization and flow-rate data is collected from a compatible flow meter(s) and converted into Modbus .

As I/O counts grow and instrumentation complexity increases in water plants and pump stations, the addition of smart Modbus sensors is a natural solution that can simplify control system integration challenges.

For example, using a multi-drop Modbus/RTU network, a single shielded cable (+24VDC/Gnd, RS485A/RS485B) can be routed throughout a water plant or pump station to communicate with (and provide power to) an assortment of Modbus-based devices.

As an example, Jersey County Rural Water Company (Jerseyville, IL) recently completed construction of a new pumping station at Godfrey, IL.  The control system at the station features a Modbus/RTU multi-drop network that communicates to 3 Preciseline transducers which monitor station effluent pressure, influent pressure, and the level of water in the ground storage tank.

The same network also includes 2 EtherMeters, which report totalization and flow-rate from 4 flow meters (2 Sensus Omni-T2 meters and 2 Neptune HP Turbine meters), along with a SolarBee (Medora Corp) active mixer.

3 Preciseline pressure transducers and 1 EtherMeter connected to the pump station’s multi-drop Modbus/RTU (RS485) network. The transducers are monitoring effluent pressure, influent pressure, and ground storage tank level. (Click to zoom.)

Had this project been addressed using legacy analog methods, then the aforementioned signals would have required 9 shielded cables connected to an RTU via 4 analog-digital converters, 4 pulse-counting channels, and 1 digital input channel.

Therefore, the use of Modbus may significantly reduce the costs associated with wiring, conduit, and instrumentation.  Furthermore, the future addition of other Modbus-based devices is highly simplified.

An EtherMeter-connected, 6″ Sensus Omni-T2 meter. One of four meters in the pump station. (Click to zoom.)

In this application, Jersey County’s potential upgrade plans include tying the 3 variable-speed drives, 3 motorized valves, backup generator, power meter, and Chlorine Monitor into the Modbus network.

Modbus/RTU network schematic. (Click to zoom.)

On 03 Sep 2010, Jersey County Rural Water Co. is hosting a Dedication Ceremony and Open House for the Pump Station featured in this article. The described Modbus flow metering and pressure monitoring technology will be displayed at this event. If interested in attending, please contact Jim Mimlitz at SCADAmetrics 636.405.7101.

For further information on the Preciseline and other Modbus-capable pressure transducers, please contact Chris Lilly at Keller-America 757.596.6680.

The EtherMeter is the only known device that can calculate, transmit, and display rate-of-flow and totalization from all the major encoder-based water meters.  And this fact can come in handy for a multitude of applications.

For example, there are often occasions where bulk water users wish to visually monitor flow rate through a variable speed pump or a throttled valve.  Furthermore, while viewing the flow rate, the user may wish to modify the pump speed or control the valve to achieve a desired flow rate.

Recently, a Coal-Fired Power Plant in Northern Arizona, assisted by Dana Kepner Co. (CO, AZ, MT, NV, TX, WY), accomplished that very objective.  A simple Flow Rate Display Unit was built using an EtherMeter coupled with a Sensus Propeller Meter installed upon its bulk cooling water pipeline.

Because the plant is not permitted to exceed a certain flow rate, its personnel manually adjust a gate valve while visually monitoring the flow rate on the EtherMeter.

The particular EtherMeter was staged in a location where 120VAC power was not readily available, so the unit was powered by solar energy (The EtherMeter’s power consumption is ~1.5W in power-saver mode.)

The EtherMeter in this application was not connected to the plant’s SCADA system — although it is always a future possibility, given the unit’s robust Modbus and Allen-Bradley protocol support.

The EtherMeter, Enclosure, Solar Panel, Battery, Solar Charge Controller, and Sensus Propeller Meter were provided to the customer by Dana Kepner Co. (CO, AZ, MT, NV, TX, WY).  Power plant personnel performed the panel integration and installation.  Photos courtesy of Dana Kepner Co.

Solar-Powered EtherMeter.

Closeup of EtherMeter, Charge-Controller, and Battery.

Windowed Enclosure Provides Visual Flow Rate Reading To Power Plant Personnel.

Flow-Rate Display During Actual Operations.

A new application note has been posted to the support page of scadametrics.com.  The note documents the procedures for programming a Sensus “ICE” register (index) for maximum metering resolution and EtherMeter compatibility.

Maximized resolution improves the connected SCADA system’s ability to monitor realtime flow-rate and totalization from both water and gas meters.

While it is preferable (and simpler) for the customer to request pre-programming by Sensus personnel, it is important to note that Sensus meters may also be programmed in the field with one of Sensus’ field programming devices.

This document details the field-programming procedures for Sensus water and gas meters.

Link to Application Note (#009)

In response to customer requests, pulse-based batching capability has been added to the EtherMeter.  This new ability will be included on all future EtherMeter shipments dated 01 Feb 2010 and beyond.

In most municipal water applications in which a pulse-based water meter is used, the pulse count is generally preferred to totalize without reset.  However, in certain automated plant/process situations, it is desirable to halt the flow of metered liquid after a certain quantity and then to re-zero the metered total.  These applications are often described as “batching” operations.

When the EtherMeter is used in pulse-counting mode, the pulse count may now be reset to zero remotely and automatically.  In Modbus-based control systems, writing a ‘1’ to Modbus Coil 9 resets CNT1 to zero, and writing a ‘1’ to Modbus Coil 10 resets CNT2 to zero.  In Allen-Bradley-based control systems, writing a ‘1’ to B10:0/8 resets CNT1 to zero, and writing a ‘1’ to B10:0/9 resets CNT2 to zero.

A detailed Application Note (#008) has been posted to the support page at scadametrics.com.

The EtherMeter can be used to enable a SCADA system to collect both water and gas meter totalization and instantaneous flow-rate — even simultaneously.

An interesting application is the use of a single EtherMeter connected to an encoder-based water meter plus an encoder-based gas meter.  In the example illustrated below, a Sensus SR-II water meter and a Sensus R-275 temperature-compensated gas meter are connected simultaneously to an EtherMeter.

The water and gas meters are equipped with Sensus ICE™ (Intelligent Communications Encoder) registers, enabling the EtherMeter — and therefore a connected SCADA system — to collect water and gas consumption data with revenue-grade accuracy.  In other words, the SCADA system’s data will always be a perfect match to the data displayed on the physical meters.

All Sensus water meters — from 5/8″ residential-sized meters all the way up to 16″ turbine and 72″ propeller meters — can be outfitted with an encoder-based register.  The range of Sensus metering equipment supports flow capacities from 0 to 90,000 GPM.    (See sensus.com for details.)

Sensus also manufactures an ICE™ register for natural gas, which may be fitted to a wide range of diaphragm-style meters manufactured by Sensus, American (Canadian), and Schlumberger Meter Company.  These various gas meter product lines support flow capacities from 0 to 630 CFH.  (See sensus.com for a detailed list of compatible gas meters.)

In order for the SCADA system to read the finest resolution totalization and flow rate data available, both the Gas and Water ICE registers should be pre-programmed with a Sensus Programmer/Interrogator so as to transmit 8 totalization digits and a standard consumption message string.

 

The above photo illustrates Water Meter totalization (cubic feet) on the EtherMeter’s LCD display.  (Click photo to zoom.)

The above photo illustrates Gas Meter Totalization (cubic feet) on the EtherMeter’s LCD display.  (Click photo to zoom.)

At times, it’s necessary to splice a meter’s integral signal cable with an extension cable to increase the overall cable length.

For splice hardware, I recommend the UY2 Scotchlok connectors by 3M:  Datasheet Link

For 3-conductor extension cable, I recommend 5521FE cable by Belden (Part No. 5521FE 008 1000): Datasheet Link.  Note that this Belden cable has three (3) solid, 22-gauge, copper conductors with color-coded insulators (RED, BLACK, WHITE), an outer foil shield and a drain wire.  This cable is riser-rated (CMR).  The drain wire should be tied to ground on only one end (preferably the control cabinet end).

For 4-conductor extension cable (for certain Radio-Read Filter applications), I recommend 5522FL cable by Belden (Part No. 5522FL 002 1000): Datasheet Link.  Note that this Belden cable has four (4) solid, 22-gauge, copper conductors with color-coded insulators (RED, BLACK, BLUE, BROWN), an outer foil shield and a drain wire.  This cable is riser-rated (FPLR). The drain wire should be tied to ground on only one end (preferably the control cabinet end).

An alternate 4-conductor extension cable that features stranded conductors (for certain Radio-Read Filter applications) is the 5502FE cable by Belden (Part No. 5502FE 008 1000): Datasheet Link.  Note that this Belden cable has four (4) stranded, 22-gauge, copper conductors with color-coded insulators (RED, GREEN,BLACK,WHITE ), an outer foil shield and a drain wire.  This cable is riser-rated (CMR). The drain wire should be tied to ground on only one end (preferably the control cabinet end).  However, keep in mind that the other solid conductor-type cable will likely work better with Scotchlok splicers.

All of the above hardware may be purchased from Newark Electronics or other electronic supply vendors.

Elster-AMCO evoQ4 Magnetic Flow Meter.

Elster-AMCO evoQ4 Magnetic Flow Meter.

The evoQ4 MagMeter by Elster-AMCO — when combined with the EtherMeter — can be efficiently connected to a SCADA, Telemetry, or Building Automation system.

The evoQ4 offers three (3) SCADA signal connection methods:

  • Elster-AMCO encoder protocol (K-Frame)
  • Sensus encoder protocol
  • Pulse-output

The EtherMeter is capable of interfacing with each of these methods.  This article will focus on the Elster-AMCO protocol module, although the procedures for the Sensus protocol module are virtually identical.  If you decide to use the Sensus protocol module, we recommend that the 8-digit module be purchased from Elster-AMCO, as it will consequently provide more accurate rate-of-flow data.

Connecting an Elster-AMCO evoQ4 MagMeter to an EtherMeter is straightforward.  First, the Elster-AMCO protocol encoder module (or Sensus protocol encoder module) should be installed onto the meter:

Module_Art_003

(Click to zoom.)

The following photos demonstrate the above procedures:

Step_01

Step_02_03

Step_04

Step_05

Assembled_View

After the module is successfully installed, follow these simple steps:

1. Strip away a couple inches of outer cable jacket, exposing the three inner conductors, and connect them to the EtherMeter.  When using meter channel #1, connect according to the following key: WHITE (Terminal 14), RED (Terminal 15), BLACK (Terminal 16).

Alternatively, when using meter channel #2, connect according to the following key: WHITE (Terminal 17), RED (Terminal 18), BLACK (Terminal 19).

Apply power to the EtherMeter, and watch the EtherMeter auto-detect the MagMeter:

EtherMeter_evoQ4_001

The evoQ4 test meter used in this article was provided courtesy of Elster-AMCO Water.

Connecting an Elster-AMCO (ABB-Kent) ScanCoder water meter register to an EtherMeter is straightforward.

ABB_ScanCoder_001

Just follow these simple steps:

1. Expose the communication wires by cutting the cable short of the ERT communication adapter:

ABB_ScanCoder_002 

2. Strip away a couple inches of outer cable jacket, exposing the three inner conductors, and connect them to the EtherMeter.  When using meter channel #1, connect according to the following key: BLACK (Terminal 14), RED (Terminal 15), BARE-SHIELD (Terminal 16).

Alternatively, when using meter channel #2, connect according to the following key: BLACK (Terminal 17), RED (Terminal 18), BARE-SHIELD (Terminal 19).

Apply power to the EtherMeter, and watch the EtherMeter auto-detect the meter register:

ABB_ScanCoder_003

When connecting a Sensus Omni Meter (T2, C2, or F2) to an EtherMeter, it is important to connect to the proper Omni cable.  A potential point of confusion is that the Omni meter features two identical, integrated cables.  In order to clarify the wiring, an application note (Application Note #6) has been published on scadametrics.com with wiring details.

Omni_Meter_001sm

Here is the link to the App Note:
http://scadametrics.com/PDF/App_Note_006.pdf

And here is the link to the support page:
http://scadametrics.com/support/support.htm

Sample photos of an EtherMeter within an enclosure, connected to a 2″ Sensus Omni-C2 (Compound) Flow Meter, monitoring process water consumption (Application photos courtesy of Pfizer Corp.).:

Over at control.com, a PLC engineer was working to troubleshoot the connection between two PLC’s.

Having done this way back when, I decided to post what I think was a pretty nifty solution.

(Besides, this could be useful for troubleshooting communications between any two pieces of computer equipment, including an EtherMeter.)

In my case, I had both a master and a slave PLC connected via RS-232 serial (null-modem) cable; and I planned to use my notebook computer’s two serial ports to “snoop” the data transmitted from each of these PLC’s.

I cut open the RS-232 cable and used alligator clips to “snoop” the TxD lines from both PLC’s plus the GND line. I did not break the connection, though.

On my notebook (snooper) COM1, I connected my RxD and GND to the Master PLC’s TxD and GND…. and on my notebook (snooper) COM2, I connected my RxD and GND to the Slave PLC’s TxD and GND.

COM1 would listen to (and log) data from the Master; and COM2 would listen to (and log) data from the Slave.

This eliminated the need to have my “snooper” software receive and re-transmit data.  I only needed to listen to, and log data from, each of my notebook’s COM ports.

The reason that this works is because a single RS-232 TxD line is capable of driving two RS-232 RxD lines.

My “snooper” program was written in C++ and compiled with MS VC++ 6.0

Here is a link to the “snooper” source code file…

http://scadametrics.com/src/snooper3.cpp

Welcome to the SCADAmetrics Blog… the home of informal news and discussion pertaining to SCADAmetrics’ products and their use.

This section of the website is new, so keep checking back in, as I hope to keep it updated with fresh and useful information.