testing pulse-output from water meter

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ngant17
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Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:23 am

testing pulse-output from water meter

Post by ngant17 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:14 am

I seem to have lost my water flow data from my irrigation system which as an EKM 1in. pulse-output water meter. It has been producing output (calibrated for GPM) flawlessly since Feb. 2016 when I first installed the water meter.

About a week ago, as of Aug. 2016, I suddenly stopped seeing the GPM readings on my server, so I assumed the irrigation controller lost power, or a main water line was shut off or a ground wire was cut. I checked the zones and everything seems normal. The water meter is spinning its dial and nothing seems unusual here. On the other end, the internet gateway device which transmits the pulse data from water meter, this shows normal operation. Except no output in server software.

I am assuming a hardware issue with pulse output part of water meter. Pulse transmitter had to be wired away from large AC units due to noise and signal loss when first installed, but that hasn't been an issue anymore.

How do you test for pulse output coming out of water meter? Is this a small voltage that's being generated here?

Jameson
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Re: testing pulse-output from water meter

Post by Jameson » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:52 pm

Hello ngant17,

To test a water meter pulse output all you need is a multimeter with a continuity tester. Preferably one that makes a sound when you touch the two leads together. When the water meter's dial with the magnet goes around it closes a tiny reed switch, you are just measuring this unpowered switch closure at the wires coming from the water meter.

But what this sounds like is a potential "Pulse Lockup Issue" on the v.4 meter. Try power cycling your v.4 meter and see if the v.4 meter starts counting pulses right away. We had an issue with older v.4 meters whereby the pulse counts would stop if the v.4 meter saw anomalies on the AC voltage inputs. A power cycle cures this issue. Let us know if this is an ongoing issue and we will help you with a fix.

Regards,
Jameson
EKM METERING
http://www.ekmmetering.com
831.425.7371

ngant17
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:23 am

Re: testing pulse-output from water meter

Post by ngant17 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:10 pm

Actually I'm using Monnit hardware (filtered pulse counter) and your pulse-output water meter. Compatible hardware. Is your v.4 meter the software part of system?

I'll check continuity as suggested.

Right now I'm guessing it might be hardware, a simple fix from a loose or poor connection. You see that a lot with corroded solenoid connections on outside irrigation valves Usually you just tighten the wire-nut connector and it's working again. In this install, I used ordinary wire-nuts to connect the output wires. I'm going to toss wire-nuts this time and connect output wires and outdoor rated Cat5 wires with standard telecom "buttons', That's the 3M Scotchlok UR connectors that are used to make quick line connections out in the field.

I also have spare pulse counters to try before I go to any trouble with R&R'ing the water meter. I'm fairly sure it's something simple. Corrosion is always an issue with outside hardware.

I know I was once stumped until I figured the AC units nearby were apparently blocking out signal but running a longer wire to move the pulse counter out of the noisy area worked like a charm.

ngant17
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:23 am

Re: testing pulse-output from water meter

Post by ngant17 » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:27 am

I checked continuity as suggested. Seems like it works.

I'm planning to switch from Monnit hardware to EKM, their pulse counter isn't really designed for my specific needs (water use).

Also I'm trying to use a different pulse counter to test output on the EKM water meter, but I haven't been able to get it to detect the pulses. It looks similar to what EKM is selling. except that it's powered by a 9v battery, and it registers a single pulse count every time the contacts open and close. I've tried hooking it as directed, but so far I can't get any readout of pulses from the wires off the meter.

Is it possible the pulse-output hardware on the water meter is defective? I see the little 'star' spinning on the meter, so mechanically I am sure that part is working as designed.

Hubbert
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Re: testing pulse-output from water meter

Post by Hubbert » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:04 pm

Hi ngant17, how's it going with your project?

ngant17
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Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:23 am

Re: testing pulse-output from water meter

Post by ngant17 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:13 pm

Well, I can say that I'm still sold on EKM's pulse-output water meters for my irrigation system.

Lately I rigged up an Arduino Uno and a hall-effect (3-wire) flow sensor to use Monnit's pulse counter/transmitter and ethernet gateway. The Monnit (4-input) 2-wire pulse counter seems to be a little better, as I suspect but not sure that some kind of "pulse lockup" issues may be affecting the 1-input memory registers. Their tech people haven't been able to help so far.

I just dropped $200 into a Hunter 1in. Flow-Sync and saddle-body tee. A 2-wire system, so I thought it would be plug n' play. It appears to be proprietary for their I-Core controllers. The drawback is that no flow data gets pushed to the cloud, the data stays in the controller so all the smart decision-making wrt water flow is internal to that device only. Bummer, no SMS text alerts or cloud graphs of flow to check up on! I am guessing that, since Hunter controllers supply 20vdc to the flow sensor terminals to function adequately, that it would be necessary to 'energize' the sensor with a little bit of DC to get a pulse counter to test output. If you hook up a pulse counter to 2-wire (red/black wires) from the Hunter Flow-Sync, there is no measurable output. So I'm thinking it needs some voltage to get the signal, similar to 3-wire hall-effect flow sensors(signal, positive and negative) which only need a 3.3vdc supply to push out the pulses to measure.

So that puts me back on your top-notch product again. It need no external dc voltage source to produce a signal and again, price can't be beat but I would actually prefer a flow sensor only and not worry so much about the meter showing up numbers on a dial for manual read-out. But that's just me. I don't normally go digging into dirty valve boxes with a flashlight to look at the meter dials.

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