Water Meter Monitor

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

I have been able to monitor the power usage of the home with the Power Node. One project I have been meaning to tackle is to monitor the water usage as well. The photo below shows my main water meter. I also have a `sub-meter`, which measures the water usage in the garden. I do not pay for sewer charges for water used by this latter me

Water Meter Monitor
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ter, saving me a lot of money during the growing season. The unit is a " disk meter " which is a positive displacement type. The meter consists of two parts: the collection unit, and the counter unit. Water flows through the sealed collection unit and turns a magnet to transfer the water usage information to the counter unit which sits on top and has the dials. The spinning magnetic field allows the collection unit to be completely sealed for long life. The counter unit also has a remote display mounted outside the home for easy reading by the utility company. The meter sends one pulse down to the remote unit for every 100 gallons of water used. My first idea for a sensor explored the pulse that the counter unit sends to the remote display unit. Unfortunately, one pulse is sent for every 100 Gallons, and this is much too low a resolution for my use. My second idea was to pick up the small white arrow on the water indicator dial (marked "10 Gallons" on the front dial) using an optical reflective sensor. Since this indicator makes one revolution per 10 Gallons, I decided to use four phototransistors arranged in a circle to increase the resolution to 2. 5 Gallons. I built the LED and phototransistor circuit and mounted it onto a small piece of perforated printed circuit board and a solderless breadboard. In actual tests I found that it was very difficult to pick up the small white arrow. I was concerned with the difficulty in...

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