During this time, I have been able to beat up and play with some of the best Multi Circuit smart meters in the industry. Some of the greatest people in the industry helped me get these smart meter products in my test lab.
A huge thank you to Kyle Alexander from Accuenergy (AcuRev2020), Kevin Pack at Dent Instruments (Ps3HD, PS3037, PS48HD), Thomas Lish at Setra (SPM12) and Mark Hansen and Jim England from Triacta (PowerHawk) for providing me with these products to test. I have also looked into the Intellimeter CA I-Meter 45 but don’t have one on my test bench.
To get started, I have assumed each meter does the basic functions of metering, (i.e. accurately produces kWh & kW numbers for each internal meter).
I started looking at some of the off-the-wall type issues and features. A lot of my interaction with meters occurs remotely, and customers prefer to get the meters shipped to them already set-up. So being able to power the meter up at my desk is a huge plus! Both the Dent PowerScout and Setra Power Meter ranges allow you to power up the meter via the USB connector and do most of the setup from there. You can also save the configuration of the meter in case you need to deploy a replacement in the future.
Both the Triacta and the AcuRev2000 can be powered up with a simple 120 cord to set them up.
Make sure you don’t forget to set the communications protocol. Minimum communication requirements of a meter should be BACnet and/or MODbus RS485 and IP (Internet Protocol) for both.
The Accuenergy meters come with wireless options as well.
These smart meters do all four options for communications, making them incredibly flexible across a wide range of systems in a portfolio.
The interfaces for all these smart meters are different and have a bit of a learning curve, but are fairly simple once you go through them.
When you can set up the circuit type, 1phase, 3phase 3wire, 3phase 4wire etc., you are able to name each internal meter so it displays something meaningful, as well as change the CT (Current Transformers/Current Transducers) type and size.
Additionally, you can display Voltage, Current, Power, PF and many other parameters that push the smart meters towards power quality meters.
All the smart meters have built-in web pages that allow for different portions of setup and monitoring. The majority of your operational data can be accessed through these pages, but should typically use a 3rd party such as Genea’s Submeter Billing Service.
With these smart meters, you can also see more data you may not have otherwise. Many older meters are installed incorrectly and probably are not billing for all of the meter’s consumption. When that old meter says “CHECK INSTALL” it means do exactly that, but that is about all it can tell you. Using a smart meter mentioned will allow you to see additional, helpful information.
Once the simple setup is done and the meters are on-site, mounting is also something to consider. All these meters are easy to mount and wire.
I love the simplicity of the PS3037, but the mounting options weren’t always suitable. I tried to look for reasons to use the PS12HD in order to have the built in enclosure, but the introduction of the PS3HD Wall Mount eradicated of all the previous issues.
Both the Dent PowerScout and Setra Power Meter ranges are straight up replacements for your standard Emon Dmon. Dent, Setra & Triacta meters come as self-contained units and can be easily mounted to the wall, panel, or whatever you need it mounted to! Both come with plenty of conduit knock outs and the Setra has the ability to be turned sideways so the KOS are top and bottom or side to side.
The Triacta Power Hawk does need a separate enclosure to terminate the CTs, but has a great whip to run out of the meter enclosure.
The AcuRev & Intellimeter CA -meter have DIN rail mounts and look better mounted inside a panel. There is a remote display option for mounting on the outside of the panel and all the AcuVim ranges are great panel mounts.
Once the meter is on the wall, it is all about configuration.
You should already have a drawing of what you are metering (check my post on Single Line Diagrams). Once you are in the meter software, you will need to confirm that the CTs are assigned to the correct Voltage input and to the correct phase. Next, check you have the correct voltage input (Remember Dent and Setra 12s & 48s have V1 and V2) and then check your CT connections and polarity.
If you skip either of these first two steps, your meter will be useless!
I am a fan of the Dent Phaser Plot feature – this allows you to see the Voltage, Current Phasors and the Phase Angle. This makes it easy to work out if the CTs are on the correct phase.
If the CTs are incorrect, they need the connectors moved in the meter. If the CTs are reversed, then they can be swapped in the software. The Setra web page also allows you to change the L1, L2 and L3 assignment of CTs.
I also have a spreadsheet that allows me to enter the meter data. It produces a phasor plot, however, you need to make sure to run through and check all the Phase Angles and Power Factors make sense.
Always go through meters to ensure you are only looking at Energy Delivered, which is energy from the supply to the load. If you see any energy received (from the load to the supply), values counting up, or any negative numbers (other than PF) then you have a problem. Something is either not wired or set up correctly (assuming not connected to a solar installation).
Once you are sure that everything is wired and setup correctly, you are all set!
These smart meters come with great software/webpages – here are a few thoughts on software.
The Setra webpage has cool Halo Dots that remind you exactly where you are in the process. There are check marks so you can check off what has been completed, however the page can be difficult to read in bright lighting.
The Dent software is bold in colors and has a nice layout. It is also extremely user friendly. As I said before, I rely heavily on the Phasor Diagrams and energy data page as a quick check.
The Triacta & Accuenergy software is also great. It is like the old Truck analogy – Chevy, Ford or Dodge! There are several brands and models out there I don’t like, which is a result of lack of exposure or general personal opinion.
I do not like the hardware format and size, menu wheel or display of E-gauges. I personally found the software clunky, and several setup options missing. However, I have used their tech support line and they were incredibly helpful.
Satec BFM136 is not a bad meter but does not offer RoCoil support. You are also required to pay extra for anything other than Modbus (the AcuRev 2020 is the same format as the BFM but provides a better product).
Smart Meter Brands
There are many different smart meter brands out there. If you stick to a brand and family of meters, you will find it easier to support them and extract their full value. Some brand choices are personal preference or due to price. I wouldn’t let the initial price of a meter influence you too much because you could end up paying the price on the back end.
For further questions, please contact us and a member of our team can walk you through a demo of our Submeter Reading and Billing software.