As part of their regional roll-out Portsmouth Water recently installed a Water Meter outside my house. My head, of course, instantly filled with ideas of how I may be able to remotely read the readings from this new meter as I do with my Electricity and Gas meters. However this may be more difficult with the meter being in an underground pit in the (public) pavement outside.
The meter is a Sensus 620c, part of the Sensus residential range it is used by a number of different water companies in the UK. According to the technical specifications the 620 has a number of features such as high accuracy register, fog proof glass and tamper proof design the only feature that really took my interest was the ability to adapt the 620 for AMR (Automatic Meter Reading). Initially I had no idea what AMR was but its name suggested it would help me remotely read my water consumption readings.
According to Wikipedia Automatic Meter Reading, or AMR, is the technology of automatically collecting consumption, diagnostic, and status data from water meter or energy metering devices (gas, electric) and transferring that data to a central database for billing, troubleshooting, and analysing. AMR technologies include handheld, mobile and network technologies based on telephony platforms (wired and wireless), radio frequency (RF), or powerline transmission .
More information about the Sensus 620 can be found here: http://sensus.com/en_GB/web/uk/product?division_id=water-and-heat&product_line_id=residential-and-submetering&product_id=620.
The Sensus website has a couple of different variants of AMR devices for the 620 but I don’t know if there is such a thing as an AMR to Zigbee/Z-Wave gateway?
As an alternative there is a chance I could use knowledge gained from Gas and Electricity meter ‘pulses’ as discusses in a previous post. There is a small spinning disk, half of which appears to be reflective. With the right photo-reflective sensor it may be possible to detect the rotations by detecting the passing of the reflective half of the disk. Even if this were possible I am still faced with the challenge that the water meter is located down a pit in the pavement outside, so I am not sure I want to be putting an Arduino down there for anyone to access (I, of course, also have a problem of power).
As much as I would love to be able to remotely read my water meter I think this project may be a little advanced and take a bit of time… so it may have to wait for a rainy day!