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Help purchasing electronic meters

dannybten23

Dec 6, 2013
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Dec 6, 2013
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Hello, I have been tasked with designing a program to monitor the electrical consumption of different systems on a ship. I would like to attach electrical meters to systems such as the AC plant, pumps, radar, R/O water system... I am new to this, and would like any advice on what type of meters to buy. Ideally, the information will be electronically sent to a collection station for analysis.
What are the types of meters to buy?
what are the communication options?
What are some references I should read?
Has anyone done anything like this?
Any more information will help!
Thank you very much,
Dan
 

JimW

Oct 22, 2010
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Oct 22, 2010
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Can't be that tough. I am visualizing digital readouts for humans and a communication network for data collection. But the solution could ignore the visual part and just focus on data collection.

A quick Google search for "AC voltmeter" and "digital output" gets you several options for the voltmeter part. Example is here:
http://www.amplicon.com/MandC/product/HMI-Digital-Voltage-2511.cfm

Once you decide on the communication protocol (e.g. RS232), then you can see how many of your panel meters meet that requirement.

There are a few companies that specialize in data collection without the visual display. I would look for "analog data module"

Your biggest problem is defining your sensors. What does monitoring a pump mean? Output flow? pump internal temperature? You need to define the requirements for each and every parameter before you can go looking for the measurement device.

JimW

-Jim
 

(*steve*)

¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd
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Jan 21, 2010
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If you're monitoring AC power, then you *may* be able to use some of the many clip-on devices used for monitoring residential power usage. These often allow many channels to be combined and read at a single location.

Their range inside a ship is likely to be quite limited though as you tend to have more steel bulkheads in a ship than the average house has.

Additionally, they are not designed to be used in industrial conditions. If their location has dust, moisture, vibration, etc., they may not live for long.
 

digguru81

Jun 27, 2014
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Jun 27, 2014
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First you need to make sure which protocol you want to communicate over and then make sure you know what types of input voltages you’re using. There are a variety of options based upon what is being measured, but they’re pretty easy to select once you know your exact needs.

The energy meters here http://www.icpdas-usa.com/intelligent_power_meters.html show a number of modules with various Phase/ Loop options. Most use the common Modbus RTU protocol, some with CAN bus compatibility. There are clip-on CT options, as well as power meter concentrators for remote data logging onto an SD card.

Here’s a video that explains it more in detail:http://www.icpdas-usa.com/powermetersenergymanagement
 

shumifan50

Jan 16, 2014
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First of all: I would expect you will be working with high voltages and high current systems. SO BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL.

Second: As this will be installed on a boat, whatever you use has to be waterproof. This gets worse if it is going to be used on a seagoing boat. And this includes all connections, which is why a non-intrusive sensor would be best..

What voltage or voltages do the systems operate at?
What is the expected highest current draw? Preferably you should get this for each individual system as you might be able to use different rated sensors for the different systems.
And a very pertinent question: What is the budget? This could become expensive fairly quickly.
 
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