Energy-saving gadget

Peter Robinson talks about finding ways to save on his Gas bill without “downsizing his house” :slight_smile:

Read more about his contact-less gas meter monitor


I wish my gas meter was inside :frowning:

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Interesting. I can’t wait to see the OCR working :slight_smile:

Cloud based OCR would work. It really only needs to make a few readings per day. Then you could graph them etc.

Good point. Although I was really wanting to see OCR implemented in NETMF :wink:

I’m working on the OCR, and I am doing it on the Nano board itself. It’s highly geared to this particular task, of course, using several assumptions about the images which might mean it won’t work at all with other gas meters. It’s also dog slow, but this is hardly a problem which demands a rapid response…

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@ Peter Robinson - welcome to the community and we look forward to seeing more projects.

Yeah, welcome Peter, awesome project and great you popped on over !

I made a similar setup, but used an optical line edge detection sensor to count the rotation of the last digit of my gas meter.
In Belgium there is a small mirror in the number 6 of the last digit. This avoids the need for character recognition.
Works fine except that it overcounts about 2 or 3 times every month, so I’ve added a display with a “substract one” button.
Next on my TODO list is to write an improved debounce algorithm.


In Australia there are many people who now have solar panel electricity meters replacing our old traditional spinning-disk meters (they’re also used in new builds too), and they almost all have a two-way optical sync connection that the meter readers use to take the consumption and generation energy readings at the quarterly billing points. They also generate a pulse on that sensor as a counter… and many people have now started reading the pulses as a cheap/easy way of reporting that. But because you need to legally provide unobstructed access to the meter and the reading port, they’re all mounted to the switchboard door and are just aligned to the port. Ingenious I thought !

Sounds cool - any pics??

My electric meter has an IR LED on top that sends out a pulse for every [some unit] of electricity used. It might be 1/10 KWh, I’m not sure. It’s outdoors, but I plan to rig up an IR phototransistor to read it one of these days.

What kind of meter is it? What does the make and model say on it?

It’s a Centron (or Itron) C1SR. It looks exactly like this one, but it says “PacifiCorp” on it.

Here’s a picture of my optical sensor

That looks like my reader.

I thought you’d need a ZigBee sniffer to read the data, but you’re saying an IR transistor would be enough?

Yep. On the top (12 o’clock on the round part), there’s an IR LED that blinks on once for each watt-hour consumed.

So would any IR Receiver read that?