3 Things You Should Consider When Choosing An Energy Meter

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Date: 2015-04-24

energy monitoring3 Things You Should Consider When Choosing an Energy Meter

Intelligent power meters and monitoring equipment can be used to show electricity consumption, help with load management, transformer monitoring, and power monitoring. Smart Power Meters give you access to real-time power consumption and can save you time and money since changes can be made to reduce energy usage automatically when it's not needed. Touch Screen PLC's, data loggers, Programmable Automation Controllers, and PC's running SCADA software can be used for control, monitoring and displaying data in a way that's easy to understand and analyze.

So what are the 3 most important things we need to consider when selecting an energy meter?

Single-phase or Three-phase

When choosing an energy meter, the first thing you need to consider is how many phases are needed for the system. Most suppliers provide single-phase and three-phase power meters. Single-phase electric power is the distribution of alternating current electric power which is where the electric charge periodically reverses direction. If the system you are logging data from is using single-phase alternating current, then you need a single-phase power meter. Three phase electric power is a method of alternating current used in electric power transmission, distribution and generation and has three or more conductors that carry alternating current that periodically reverse direction. The voltages are offset by one-third of the period. If the system you wish to log energy data from is a three-phase electric system, then you can only use a three-phase power meter to work with it. Single-phase power meters like PM-3112 and PM-3114 are compact, din-rail mountable, and flexible for various energy monitoring applications. They come in 2 loops and 4 loops accordingly, and support a wide range of input types such as Vrms, Irms, kW, kWh, kVA, kVAh, kVAR, kVARh, and PF. They can be used in both low voltage primary side and medium/high voltage secondary side, enabling users to obtain reliable and accurate real time energy consumption readings from the equipment.

Number of Amps

After determining the phase of the power meter, another thing you need to consider is how many amps are used by the system. ICP DAS USA provides Intelligent power meters that can monitor systems with up to 1000 amps through the clip on current transformers we provide with our smart meters. You can monitor systems with more amps with other vendor’s current transformers. The number of amps supported by each power meter and CT’s can vary. PM-3133 series three-phase smart power meter comes in three different types of amps: the PM-3133 supports 60A; the PM-3133-160 supports 100A, while the PM-3133-240 works for 200A. With their high accuracy (1%, PF=1), they can be used to acquire very reliable power consumption data. These compact size and cost-effective power meters are equipped with revolutionary wired clip-on CTs for easy installation. You just clip on the current transformer on the cable to install it. Our power meters operates over a wide input voltage range of 10 ~ 300 VAC which is compatible worldwide.

Communication Protocols

Smart Power Meters communicate over different mediums and protocols, so it is also very important to determine which communication protocol your power meter needs to work with. Modbus is one of the most commonly used protocols in industrial applications. Developed by MODICON in 1979, Modbus is a standardized, openly published and easy-to-use protocol used to communicate with industrial devices like instruments, PLC’s and data acquisition equipment. Smart power meters that support Modbus protocols are easy to integrate with your Modbus systems. PM-3112 supports Modbus RTU while PM-3112-MTCP communicates over Modbus TCP. Modbus networks require a Master in the application. CAN bus is a Controller Area Network protocol that allows devices to be connected in applications without a host PC. CAN bus is used in automotive, cycling, industrial and entertainment industries for data communication. Smart power meters like PM-3133-240-CAN is designed to support CAN bus and can seamlessly integrate with existing CAN bus systems in vehicles and airplanes. CANOpen, is a communication protocol used in embedded systems in automation that uses the physical CAN network and has an addressing scheme and application layer. Power meters that support CANopen include single-phase smart power meters like PM-3114-160-CPS and three-phase power meters like PM-3133-100-CPS. Choosing a smart power meter with a compatible communication protocol is very important in getting the system up and running. Protocol Gateways and converters can be used to provide interoperability between systems.

What Else?

Now that we have considered phases, amps, and communication protocols, what else do we need for a successful energy monitoring system? One big advantage of smart power meters is that they can be connected with SCADA and HMI software so you can automate entire systems. With the SCADA software,you can show the status of equipment, send email or text message alarms, log data, implement control and generate reports. Touch Screen Controllers like TPD-433-H can also be used for home and building automation projects where you can view your real time power consumption data and control your electronic devices on a touchpad in a control panel or mounted on a wall in any desired location. Since Ethernet cabling is often already installed in buildings, installation is fast and easy.

Maria Lemone, Sales Manager
MariaL@icpdas-usa.com    1-888-971-9888 ext 105      
ICP DAS USA, Inc. http://www.icpdas-usa.com

ICP DAS USA is a manufacturer of Industrial Data Acquisition, Data Communication, Automation & Control and Test & Measurement products; specializing in: PLC Hardware, Touch Screen HMI Devices, Programmable Automation Controllers, Distributed I/O modules, Smart Power Meters, Protocol Converters, Industrial Ethernet Switches, PCI and ISA boards, and much more! We provide free technical support and system integration services at your needs.

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