automatic meter reading

AUTOMATIC METER READING

Discover the benefits of wireless solutions making meter reading smarter.

Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) is a technology of collecting consumption data automatically from electricity, gas, water, heat, flow meters and transferring it to a data server of your system.

The advantage of radiocrafts modules

Efficient Energy Operations

Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) and Smart Meters use a variety of communication technologies depending on system requirements and local practices. Its basic purpose is to simplify meter reading and billing, but it also helps to improve energy efficiency and prevent loss and leakages in the grid or distribution network. Radiocrafts provides several wireless solution used in AMR, ranging from standardized protocols Wireless M-Bus, ZigBee and 6LoWPAN, to proprietary solutions such as Tinymesh.

Long Range Performance

Wireless M-Bus (EN13757) is used in fixed network installations as well as drive-by and walk-by systems. The narrowband Wireless M-Bus solution at 169 MHz is a long range high performance radio particularly used in battery operated water and gas meters, providing the best range and coverage even when meters are installed in basements or pits.  New frequency definitions in OMS (Open Metering System) meeting local regulations in countries outside Europe, has turn the standard into a global solution. The low power features of these modules make them ideal for battery operated meters.

Cloud Service

Tinymesh is typically used for reading and controlling electricity meters, covering a large area with a single reader or gateway. The mesh protocol form a mesh network where each meter is a node in the mesh network forwarding messages to and from the gateway. The self-configuring and self-healing properties of the mesh, makes a robust solution. Even if Tinymesh is a proprietary protocol, it can be used to transport standardized application layer data transparently. Tinymesh also provide a cloud service for management and data collection. Radiocrafts has large deployments of Tinymesh networks particularly in India.

ZigBee is a standardized protocol using a mesh network at 2.45 GHz, and has defined a Smart Energy profile for meter reading. The ZigBee standard has achieved wide acceptance in USA and UK for linking electricity meters to gas meters and in home displays.

6LowPAN is a new standard-based protocol defined by the Internet Task Force bringing IPv6 communication all the way to the meter.

Examples of applications

Electricity Meters

Radiocrafts supply many technologies for meter reading. Electricity meters typically transmit their metering data to a concentrator, or they are gateways themselves for data from other meters. Wireless M-Bus modules can be used in both cases, as they support Slave and Master modes. Also they support Repeater functionality if required. Tinymesh can be used to set up a full mesh network between the electricity meters to cover a large area. ZigBee is a standard used typically to connect electricity meters to a gas meter and an in-home display.

Water Meters

Water meters are battery operated, and need a low energy solution. Wireless M-Bus at 868 MHz (with T mode or C mode) can be used for short transmission times to achieve long battery lifetime. Because water meters are often installed in basements or underground, the long range achieved with 169 MHz Wireless M-Bus using a combination of high power and narrowband radio, is often a preferred solution. Radiocrafts also offer a pulse counter module (MPC1) that can be connected directly to a mechanical water meter with pulse output.

Gas Meters

Gas meters are battery operated, and need a low energy solution. Wireless M-Bus at 868 MHz (with T mode or C mode) can be used for short transmission times to achieve long battery lifetime. Because gas meters are often installed in basements or far from the gateway, the long range achieved with 169 MHz Wireless M-Bus using a combination of high power and narrowband radio, is often a preferred solution. Radiocrafts also offer a pulse counter module (MPC1) that can be connected directly to a gas meter with pulse output.

Heat Meters

Heat meters and heat cost allocators (HCA) are normally using Wireless M-Bus at 868 MHz. The C mode with the efficient frame format B combined with a compact frame (removing redundant data), can be used for very efficient data transfer, with lowest current consumption, and is a preferred solution for low cost and small batteries.

Data Concentrators

The Data Concentrator (sometimes called gateway) receives the metering data and sends it back to the billing system. For Wireless M-Bus meters, the same module as in the meter can be used, but in Master mode. The Radiocrafts module can handle two way communication and encrypted data for a large number of meters (slaves) with very short response times, using patented technology. For a ZigBee or Tinymesh network, the RF module will be the network controller, and act as a gateway to a cloud service.

Displays

In Home Displays (IHD) are usually connected to the electricity (and gas) meter using wireless technology. A battery operated display can poll the electricity meter for updates using the Wireless M-Bus protocol. The ZigBee mesh protocol is also popular for IHD, often as a part of a Home Energy Management tool.

Top 5 AMR Questions Our Customers Ask

1. What wireless technologies are used for AMR?

There are different wireless technologies used for AMR systems in the world today, based on the specific needs, availability of power (battery driven or not), local radio regulations, density of meters, how often meters need to be read, the infrastructure, etc.

2. What is the most commonly used wireless technology used in Europe for AMR?

The most commonly used wireless technology in Europe for meter reading is Wireless M-Bus. The installation base is tens of millions. The first solutions used mode S and T on 868 MHz. These has later been complemented with mode C.

3. What is Wireless M-Bus?

Wireless M-Bus is a European Norm for utility meter communication. It is standardised in EN13757-4. It is widely used for electricity, gas, water, heat meters and heat cost allocators. It also supports other types of environmental sensors.

4. What solution should I use for battery operated meters, such as for water, gas and heat?

The preferred solution for battery operated meters is Wireless M-Bus. For in-house communication between meter and a local concentrator, mode T and C at 868 MHz are most commonly used.

5. What solution should I use for electricity meter reading?

Electricity meters with constant access to power (and back-up battery during black-outs) may use mesh protocols to extend the network coverage. Radiocrafts offer Tinymesh, ZigBee and 6LoWPAN solutions.

Proven solutions for AMR

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