On-line pre-paid energy meter

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Amit Rouniyar, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. Amit Rouniyar

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 3, 2009
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    Hey any one can send me details of the project.:(
     
  2. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    Can you describe the device in more detail? Who would use it and why? AFAIK the concept makes no sense anywhere in North America, but I think I've heard of this idea before and the threads died out before we could even understand the fundamental ideas. Maybe you can help yourself by explaining to us what you have in mind.
     
  3. Amit Rouniyar

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 3, 2009
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    Suppose a User buys a pre-paid energy card and he recharges through net by logging his user name and enter the pre paid number.It goes to the central computer where user name and number(card number) is matched.If he has recharged of $1 or $2 (suppose) then in accordance of it its value is send to microcontroller which has been kept in his home through phone line(or something like that).The microcontroller make up circuit and allows current to pass though for that value of money,simultanueously feed back from the energy has to be fed back to the microcontroller to mSuppose a User buys a pre-paid energy card and he recharges through net by logging his user name and enter the pre paid number.It goes to the central computer where user name and number(card number) is matched.If he has recharged of $1 or $2 (suppose) then in accordance of it its value is send to microcontroller which has been kept in his home through phone line(or something like that).The microcontroller make up circuit and allows current to pass though for that value of money,simultanueously feed back from the energy has to be fed back to the microcontroller to made it know the amount has been used and amount left.After the amount has been finished it should be cut off.
    I have problem how to make that feedback to the microcontroller from live line of electricity.If u can help me in that.Plz reply me fast ade it know the amount has been used and amount left.After the amount has been finished it should be cut off.
    I have problem how to make that feedback to the microcontroller from live line of electricity.If u can help me in that.Plz reply me fast :(
     
  4. blueroomelectronics

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 22, 2007
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    Since you're in a hurry why not just buy one.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    Don't bother PM'ing me I only answer in the public forum.

    I still don't understand who uses it, and most important why would they want to. Seems like a major inconvenience.
     
  6. CDRIVE

    Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
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    Look, my eyes are old but I don't need to read the same paragraphs twice, or do you stutter? BTW, I can't wait until I have one of these for my very own!:rolleyes:
     
  7. HarveyH42

    Active Member

    Jul 22, 2007
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    Seems like a bad trend to me, could lead to rationing. People would only be allow to purchase a set amount. Maybe they charge more during high demand times. Maybe blackouts and brown outs. Some hacker would have fun on that computer. Would you be automatically reported to the police, if the computer determines you are using way too much power (indoor 'gardening'). Lord save us, if the cell phone companies jump on this.

    Anyway, don't think this sort of project would be open source, or passed around publicly, since a great deal of security would need to be involved. What good would it be, if anybody could just bypass the billing portion, the automatic cut off? Reprogram it to think you are using less energy, than you really are using? Or is that why you are asking? Doesn't really look like a one man project, but something more of a well trained team would work on, since you would need expertise in several areas.
     
  8. n9352527

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2005
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    There many of those things installed in the UK. Landlords like them very much, for obvious reasons :)

    But they are not online. The user buy a token (magnetic card) of certain value from post office/retailer and insert it to the meter, and its value get credited into the meter.
     
  9. jj_alukkas

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2009
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    The theory to use electricity lines for communication works only under the same distribution transformer. A single transformer normally supplies load to only about 50 homes. So you can only transmit data within that locality range. After that, the lines are isolated from within the transformer. It is easy to do the transmission, if you are interested, I can give you a similar circuit which will help you get the theory.

    You will need some sort of transfer mechanism after the transformer to get it to the next network. It would be wiser to go the internet route.
     
  10. Francois_Swart

    Member

    Jun 4, 2009
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    In South Africa we use prepaid power meters that work with a simcard on the GSM network, I have a manual of it in pdf form if someone is interested...
     
  11. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    So we have established the fact that they are in use in the UK and SA, but nobody has addressed the issue of why. Except to say that landlords like them. I gotta tell you I don't understand at all. Why would a landlord wish to put his property at risk when a tenant fails to pre-pay for electricity?

    Specifically what benefits accrue to the tenant or the resident homeowner with the use of such a device? Wouldn't you rather use the power companies money for a month or so?
     
  12. CDRIVE

    Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
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    The term "Global Community" is an oxymoron in itself!
     
  13. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    I think that I have a pretty good BS detector. At the top of my list is anything that smacks of a solution looking for a problem. This pre-paid energy meter falls squarely into that category and is likely to stay there until someone can articulate a reasonable cost benefit argument for the consumer.

    At the rate companies are going bankrupt in NA, and presumeably elsewhere, the very last thing I would ever want to do is pre-pay for something and be left holding the bag.

    There was a company called Rocktops that made granite countertops. Last November the owners absconded with the company cash and left many homeoners out $4,000-$6,000 for countertops that had already been paid for and fabricated, but were locked in the closed showrooms in plain sight throgh the glass doors.

    In general you only pre-pay if you are a lousy credit risk.
     
  14. HarveyH42

    Active Member

    Jul 22, 2007
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    When you pre-pay, is it for the purchase of kw/hrs at the current rate, or is a cash amount (deposit). If its the dollar amount, then your usage/value might change through peak rates, or just the unit price. The company use/invest your payment on receipt, so they can start earning money, before you even start using their power. This just sounds like a new way to squeeze a few more dollars out of the consumer. I'm not a huge fan of the current system, but prepaid sounds a lot worse. Good thing I've been working on solar powering my house. So far just lights and a few small appliances, but hope to become independent before retirement.
     
  15. n9352527

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2005
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    Well, if you are a landlord and rent your house out monthly, there are advantages of using pre-paid meter.

    First, the tenants won't be able to leave without paying for huge monthly (or quarterly) bill. It is when the tenant doesn't pay for monthly bill that the landlord put the property at risk (disconnection, black list, address associated with bad credit, etc.). And if the tenant didn't change the name responsible for the bill when moving in, the landlord name would also get into the list.

    Second, There is no hassle of changing the name responsible for the bill when tenants moved in and out. And the associated checking and record keeping of meter reading and waiting for final bill. Especially when the property is let in short-medium term (6 months or so).

    Of course, the tenant is inconvenienced a little bit. They have to buy tokens periodically, and stock one at home just in case. But some meters have provision for an emergency credit if the pre-paid amount run out. There is a button that allow the credit to go negative (a fixed amount, say 1GBP) if the credit run out at night.

    There is no risk to the landlord when the tenant doesn't pay the pre-paid electricity. The meter would switch off the supply, that's it. To get the supply back on, just buy a new token and insert it.
     
  16. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    So let me explain the risk for the landlord. Furnaces have electric igniters. No electricity no heat. No heat in the winter means that when the pipes freeze, there is an expensive repair bill. Utilities have accounts in the name of the tenant so landlords are not on the hook for unpaid electric bills. I'm by no means convinced that there is any benefit for either the landlord or the tenant.
     
  17. n9352527

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2005
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    In these type of lodgings, there are generally no gas fired heaters. They are typically small houses or flats with all electric appliances, including heaters and cookers.

    True, but getting disconnected still getting disconnected. And who want the hassle of contacting the electricity company every six months after the tenants went off on his merry way? Not to mention if the landlord has many similar properties.

    The thing is, it works and is in use widely the UK, for a special segment of the property market. It does not fit all properties for sure.
     
  18. rspuzio

    Active Member

    Jan 19, 2009
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    > Well, if you are a landlord and rent your house out monthly, there are
    > advantages of using pre-paid meter.

    As a landlord who rents out an apartment building on a monthly basis,
    I disagree. As it stands, the meter reader comes once a month but,
    with your proposal, I would have a parade of tenants going in an out
    the basement with meter tokens leading to all sorts of headaches.

    As for problems with non-payment and bad credit, that is what security
    deposits are for. The risk to me is not an effect of a tenant not paying
    utility bills; rather the risk is that someone who doesn't pay utility bills
    isn't likely to pay me rent either!
     
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