How to make your existing analog meters smart

With the current energy transition, many plants are switching to Industry 4.0 in which data becomes the guiding principle. Solutions such as Energy Management Systems (EMS) are used to measure energy consumption and improve performance, whereby existing meters need to be made smart. Although many plants have old meters, surprisingly this is often not a problem. In this blog we will cover two common sensors: pulse sensors and optical sensors, by showing how our Sensorfact wireless smart sensors can be easily installed on old meters. Our sensors are designed to measure energy, gas and water consumption, and to send this data wirelessly to your personal online dashboard.

Pulse sensors

Many existing (sub)meters have a pulse output. This meter can have multiple types of connectors, but usually has a 3-pin DIN connector, 6-pin DIN connector, screw terminals or pulse generators. The resolution of this meter is measured by the number of pulses per cubic meter, and can vary per type of meter.

To make this meter smart, you just need the right connector with cable to connect the meter to the pulse sensor. During the technical assessment, the correct configuration and conversions will be set and your energy consumption can be displayed and compared.

Advantages of making pulse sensors smart:

  • Sensorfact’s sensors work for many existing pulse sensors, even meters of 30 years or older.
  • No downtime during installation, you only need to connect a small cable between the meter and the pulse sensor.
  • No power supply required to the sensor, as the sensor runs on batteries.
  • No issues with different meter protocols.

Disadvantages of making pulse sensors smart:

  • Depending on the conversion factor, the resolution may not be high, resulting in less data points.
  • Unable to measure the direction of the energy flow: feed-in will not be measured.
  • You must have the right connector and cable in order to install the pulse sensor.

Optical sensors

An optical sensor has an optical eye hanging above a light, that counts light flashes and is mainly used for electricity. The number of flashes is in fixed proportion to the energy consumption.

Advantages of making optical sensors smart:

  • No downtime during installation, you only need to connect a small cable between the optical sensor and the Sensorfact Pulse Sensor.
  • No problems with different meter protocols.
  • For main meters, the seal doesn’t have to be broken to make your main meter smart.

Disadvantages of making optical sensors smart:

  • Unable to measure the direction of the energy flow: feed-in will not be measured.
  • Placement of the optical sensor can be unreliable due to the sticker holding the optical eye in place could fall off after some time.

Do you want to read out your existing meters?

If you are unsure how you can make your existing meters smart, we can easily check this for you for free. Check if your current meters are compatible with our Energy Management System by filling out the form below, and we’ll get back to you soon:

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    Written by Annick Sprokkereef

    Annick Sprokkereef

    Marketing Assistant