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Author Topic: Monitoring Natural Gas - CF Counter  (Read 4969 times)

Offline raskell

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Monitoring Natural Gas - CF Counter
« on: October 10, 2012, 10:21:22 am »
Pardon this post if you think it is in the wrong section.  Power and energy seemed to be the closest fit.  I just wanted to report in on a new 'gadget' I have been working on.

Background:  I home re-fuel with Natural Gas and have a separate meter for keeping track of how much fuel I use on a daily basis.  Up until recently, every morning, I had to kneel, look under the burning bush and grab a reading from the odometer to know how many CF my nightly fill used.  Most often this is in the dark with a flash light and a real nuissance.

I have been able to successfully turn this into a 'remote' reading application using an Everspring SM-103 window sensor, a new Vera Lite and a GE switched receptacle.  My sub-meter has a dry contact (wired) output which I connected (passing the cable through to the basement interior to the external contacts of the window sensor).  I then set up two scenes to flip the receptacle on and then off as the armed sensor gets tripped and untripped. 

Plugged into the 120v receptacle is a simple 8 digit counter from Grainger ($20) with a manual reset button.  The counter ticks up once every time the receptacle goes to power on.  I built the receptacle and counter into a small project box so it can be plugged in just about anywhere, as long as it can connect to VeraLite.  The end result is not only knowing exactly how many CF of NG used, I also have a visual indicator inside the house showing the the NG pump is still flowing (because the switch is cycling about 2x per minute).  Just for fun, I added another Intermatics Lamp Dimmer Module into the mix and I can plug it in somewhere else and have another indicator that NG is pumping.  When it stops, I know I can go out and unhook the car without having to walk out and check the thing manually. 

My application is probably unique as CNG and Alternative Fuels are not widespread yet in the US, but this might spark some other interest or ideas for other applications wanting to monitor and measure NG useage.  Add an IP camera looking at the counter and you have real time monitoring.  I'm sure there are other ways to approach this task.  This is what I came up with. 
Vera2, UI4, Trane/Schlage TStats(6), Schlage LeverLock, GE 3-wayswitches, WD HA14 3-way dimmers, Intermatic Outdoor Module, Hawking door/window sensor(s), VeraLite UI5, Everspring SM-103

Offline jackpot

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Re: Monitoring Natural Gas - CF Counter
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2012, 02:20:52 pm »
@raskell,

Sounds like something I have been thinking about doing also. Was wondering what gas meter you are using that has a dry contact ?
The only thing I have been able to find so far was a meter from "EKM Metering"

http://www.ekmmetering.com/ekm-metering-products/gas-meters/pulse-output-gas-meter-pgm-1-read-gas-consumption-remotely.html

Always prefer more than one choice if possible !
Vera 3....1.5.622

Offline raskell

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Re: Monitoring Natural Gas - CF Counter
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2012, 02:42:32 pm »
Any of the 'odometer' style sub-meters should come with a 'reader' which is essentially a pulse counter.  Mine is no longer in production, I believe it was made by YAZ.  The EKM's on E-bay are very similar and they go for about $100.  I needed to have a minimum 3/4" NPT and I was careful to buy a sub-meter with 1/10's as the smallest wheel.  Since it is NG, I also use the 1/10's digits for sensing any small leaks in the system, down to about 1/10th CF in 12-16 hours.  The meter is installed totally outside, the wires run inside the house and then follow the conduit to the disconnect box, then over to the Pump.  I pick up the wire signals inside, with the Everspring.  There is a 'polarity' of sorts if the Everspring isn't the only thing counting the pulses.  It is a simple flip of the wires if you get it wrong with no consequences.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2012, 07:33:41 am by raskell »
Vera2, UI4, Trane/Schlage TStats(6), Schlage LeverLock, GE 3-wayswitches, WD HA14 3-way dimmers, Intermatic Outdoor Module, Hawking door/window sensor(s), VeraLite UI5, Everspring SM-103

Offline raskell

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Re: Monitoring Natural Gas - CF Counter
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2012, 08:00:40 am »
This is the temporary 'FrankenBox' I threw together for holding the components for testing.
Vera2, UI4, Trane/Schlage TStats(6), Schlage LeverLock, GE 3-wayswitches, WD HA14 3-way dimmers, Intermatic Outdoor Module, Hawking door/window sensor(s), VeraLite UI5, Everspring SM-103

Offline jackpot

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Re: Monitoring Natural Gas - CF Counter
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2012, 09:01:21 am »
Thanks for all the information and the picture, it really helps. I'm going to do some more research on sub meters for now. If I end up getting something I will post what I have done .
Vera 3....1.5.622

Offline Catr

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Re: Monitoring Natural Gas - CF Counter
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 09:10:28 am »
With an Youless sensor (youless.nl) on a schlumberger gas meter I get a count for each 10 liter.
The youless needs a power and lan connection. The gasmeter has a small mirror beween the 9 and the zero nummer on the display of the gasmeter. The youless has an IP adress. The output of the youless is in json format.

Offline strangely

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Re: Monitoring Natural Gas - CF Counter
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2012, 05:23:08 pm »
The Brultech power meters have a pulse counter, so maybe @guessed has already built in support for this in his plugin?
Kwickset locks, HA01C, HA14C, HA02C, HA03C, HA05C, HA04C, HA07C, HA09C, Aeon HEM, GE 45604, 45606, 45609, ZDP100, VRF01-1LZ, WDTC-20, HA18WD, WDHA-12R, HRDS1, HM-TS001, AC1-ZW, TV-IP110, BL-C210A, LUUP control- EtherRain8, DSC Alarm, HDMI matrix, HR24-200, Panasonic TV, SQblaster

Offline guessed

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Re: Monitoring Natural Gas - CF Counter
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 07:57:22 pm »
The Brultech power meters have a pulse counter, so maybe @guessed has already built in support for this in his plugin?
I have support for it in the Brultech Greeneye, but never added it to the ECM-1240's.  Hopefully this weekend I'll rewire everything to the Brultech Greeneye units, which will free up my ECM-1240's.... and I intend to use one of them for pulse counting, so the code will eventually be added back to that part of the Plugin as well.

Offline raskell

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Re: Monitoring Natural Gas - CF Counter
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2012, 07:58:27 am »
Update, after several weeks of testing, this device set-up has proven to be reliable.  On a daily reset & retest, the largest observed difference from the analog meter to the counter on the CNG pump, to this 'mobile' meter has been 1 CF which is attributable to the starting position (on or OFF) on the frankenbox.   
Vera2, UI4, Trane/Schlage TStats(6), Schlage LeverLock, GE 3-wayswitches, WD HA14 3-way dimmers, Intermatic Outdoor Module, Hawking door/window sensor(s), VeraLite UI5, Everspring SM-103