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Old 02-14-2018, 02:53 PM
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Default Anyone wanna make some money?

My recent water bill was $250. Normally around $50. They don't get out of the truck to read the meter. I don't possess the ability to do this, but:

An enterprising geek should be able to tap that meter signal, and make an in-home monitor, or better yet, a Smartphone app that alarms when water is being used during certain hours.

Meanwhile, IF I have a leak, I've yet to track it down, and I know I didn't leave any water running????
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:02 PM
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Like this??:
https://www.amazon.com/Sotera-FR1118...era+flow+meter

https://www.plumbingsupplynow.com/fi...CABEgLvIfD_BwE
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:12 PM
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No, wireless electronic that requires no installing in to the pipe. The read-out at the meter is already there, (at least at my house, and probably a TON of other cities. )

It's not that difficult a concept, if they can drive by in a truck with something similar to a RF reader, the homeowner should be able to scan the meter as well.
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:29 PM
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Have you compared the bill reading to the actual meter.
Sometimes the lacky can't input numbers properly.
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:30 PM
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Do you have a neighbor that steals water from you?
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:49 PM
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Tough to hack those. Each companies uses a different brand. They are encrypted. Not much money to be made building that hack. Most people just refrain from wasting water, or fix a leak if they have one.

Call your provider. They usually understand and will help you out.

One thing that does suck about these wireless setups is not being able to watch the numbers roll when all outlets are turned off.

You should still have a valve to shut off the water. Use that until you find your problem. Sucks, but you would have to do that each time you need water until you fix it or get it fixed.

Are you on a slab? Perhaps a pipe froze and busted? Toilet stuck slowly running?
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:46 PM
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City is sending a Tec tomorrow to check for a leak. I'm home too much for anyone to steal water.

I haven't checked, but I think the meter still has a leak wheel. Hack What? Have the City program the reciever/transmitter.

I would be much further along in this process if my back hadn't went out Friday.
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:51 PM
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No need to hack anything really..

A simple webcam can not only "move" the display onto your smartphone,
a few lines of code can in fact "digitalize" the numbers with something as small as an arduino nano, a wireless module (or RFID or bluetooth or or orrrr) attached to that
and you're all set.
send the data (meter value) every few seconds, log them to a SD card if you want, have an alarm ringing in case the flow get's 10% above daily average (or within certain hours of the day) etc.etc.

Your imagination (and the rom of the microcontroller you picked to actually do it) is the limit.

In fact with some advanced motor control and bracket/geartrain fabbing you could even close the main valve during certain hours so that no dripping sink, toilet, washing machine or other could cause troubles
(well as long as you have a manual main valve that's still operational of course )

And yes.. even remote commands with your smartphone if needed be.

'sid
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:59 PM
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Easy for you to say. 95% or more would be clueless, just setting it up would net a small fortune.
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Old 02-14-2018, 08:42 PM
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https://hackaday.com/tag/water-meter/
No camera needed since the wheels spin using magnetic pulses! Pair this with an ESP wifi enabled microcontroller and serve the data to your MQTT system and tuhduh

Although at this point you might as well just find a way to hack the meter and make it read your favorite price..

And for power the same guy just used infrared to sense the black part of the WH wheel, genious!
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Old 02-14-2018, 09:07 PM
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cool.. but not all use magnetic pulses (seen vintage counterexamples)...
w/o reading the article (~5am here.. I'll do that after I got some sleep )
I wonder how he'd adjust for the "current readout" since counting pulses [and dealing with overflowing counters]
might not give absulute values at all, at least not the correct ones (even if some precompiled startvalue is set)
Anyways..

to just take the ticks, indeed no camera is needed, an optical mouse sensor does the trick as nicely even on non magnetic wheels
(I wonder if you could actually even read digits with a mouse sensor)

Anyways, a cheap webcam is not much more expensive than an optical mouse...
Soo let's see what size that fortune would have to be to make such thing work:

Arduino nano (10 bucks) [chinese clone pack of five for 5 bucks on ebay]
webcam [call it 20]
wifimodule [WITH BT! another 15]
5v wallwart [those usb phone chargers... 5 bucks?]
some wires, solder and time... [i'll call it free]

50 bucks .. I'd say, likely cheaper if you go for chinesium clones of known modules.
Add when needed:
card reader (5'ish)
motor controller (20)
motor power supply (10)
gearing mounting stuff (20)
(another 55-60 for remote shutof valve and constant data logging)

most people these days happen to have some sort of sub par webcam in some drawer that's certainly good enough for such task,
most kept an old charger for an old phone they're no longer using (or even having),
some people (me for example) have unused nanos laying around since they got a bag on ebay for cheap (and needed just one...)

I'd say I'd need to spend 15 on the wifi/bluetooth module, everything else I should have *shrugs*

Or to put it in different words: it's not as expensive to play around with such non invasive ideas as one might think..
I bet some people basically can do such thing for FREE (having all the parts and time required at hand)

'sid
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Old 02-14-2018, 09:13 PM
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The overflowing counters would be a nightmare.. jeez you think ahead hahaha, but hey, those mice have cameras too! albeit craptacular ones
and some have the infrared rotary encode which is perfect for the electric meter too... This is getting out of hand hahaha

Chinesium <- arduino versus evil?
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:06 AM
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My house's water meter does not have any visible number wheels. It's just a black cover that I cannot remove. I wonder how they are powered? Battery that charges when water flows and spins a small generator? Or does it sleep until the meter reader person comes by and wakes it up?

Leave it to engineers to over engineer a meter. That dudes hack was pretty clever with the magnetometer. But he will forever be providing power to that system. Not exactly going green. but it makes me wonder if there is a "wand" that one could build that you hold near the meter. If the magnetic field is changing, the wand measures that rate of change and either displays a low/med/high output. Nosandwich will then have his indication of a leak.

Personally, I think his rats are steeling his water and have a secrete oasis somewhere.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TT540 View Post
Personally, I think his rats are steeling his water and have a secrete oasis somewhere.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:46 AM
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Several homeowners in my neighborhood started getting much higher than normal water bills recently.

They finally solved the problem after discovering the water company was calibrating their electronic meter readings on having the larger 1-inch water main size, instead of the 3/4" size they actually had...

So you could double check the diameter of pipe at your meter, then confirm if your water company has made the same mistake...
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinamcjittles View Post
Chinesium <- arduino versus evil?
Nah, I was just checking the safety squints
hehe
And yeah I know that a mouse sensor is defacto a small camera, that's why I wonder if it's good enough to read a number or not
Still calling it such is a bit of a stretch, since in the end a 3x3 b/w grid
of binary lightsensors is all that's needed (lit/unlit)
Haven't popped open one to actually look inside though ...

TT,
I too have a steel lid on my water meter, but it's a simple machine screw holding it.. undone it reveals it's dial.

I think that's a mandatory precaution since the dial (and internals)
is likely the first to pop when the water pressure is too high
*shrugs*

Anyways, no battery needed, the water flow powers a small turbine (either mechanically or with a small magnet and an even smaller coil)
that then powers the wheel
and again either a mechanical or a digital counter..
no water flow and the mechanical setup doesn't need any power at all..
the digital one could have some sort of buffer
more likely a small charged cap rather than a button cell
I guess.

'sid
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