Intelligent Control and Automation, 2011, 2, 424-429
doi:10.4236/ica.2011.24049 Published Online November 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. ICA
The Design and Management of Intelligent Systems in
Mechanical Domestic Water Meters
Majid Meghdadi, Saeed Ghasemi
Computer Department, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran
Received June 10, 201 1; revised July 2, 2011; accepted August 9, 2011
The design and implementation of mechanical domestic water meters in current industrial organization and
intellectual properties have been registered as an invention to solve the problems of current meters. The de-
vice operation includes inquiry of printing, subscription connection and disconnection in an emergency. This
system includes a software and hardware parts on the users and the control center connecting with two-way
mobile phone. Central control software sends the message through the wireless telecommunication lines to
the user’s software, requesting the desired information and also provides the commands needed to be sent
through the same. The same information can also be submitted to the control center. Through the same way,
some of advantages of this method are as follows: installing on existing meters, cheap cost of inquiry call
meter, the possibility of declaring illegal manipulation to the control center, the exchange of information us-
ing information encoding, and manipulating digital meters applying minor changes.
Keywords: Intelligent Meters, Mechanization, Mechanical Meters, Meter Management System
1. Introduction
Difficulties of domestic mechanical meters & the cost of
management of these meters are some of the users’ prob-
Present device has been designed for perfect & intel-
ligent mechanization of domestic water meter. Using it at
houses will help to improve families’ welfare & speed
some related works with high security & carefulness.
Since many years ago humans have had the sense of
need to control things around them, this needs fulfill
every days with man promotion. Now we’ll be able to
remote control all the meters completely by inventing
this device & installation on the water meters (see Fig-
ure 1). It will be usable on the other domestic meters by
applying the minor changes.
These are main problems about reading meter’s num-
ber & distribution of subscriber’s fiches such as: nobody
is at home during the time of reading the meter’s number,
low speed in reading the meter’s number & distribution
of subscription fiches & disability of related offices to
apply online distribution policy, there is no continuum
supervision on the consumption to tally th ere is low speed
& accuracy, with waste of time & cost.
This device in the specific periods of time can print
Figure 1. Home water meter.
the amount of fiches in a few minutes & with high secu-
rity & accuracy without man interference by reading the
subscriber’s meter number & applying consumption com-
putation formula as online in the office.
Also the device supervise the subscriber’s consump-
tion any time or in a period of time that it can provide
useful information, as the related offices can gain infor-
mation about the amount of subscriber’s consumption
over night, they will be able to apply the distribution
policy by doing statistic of subscriber’s consumption in
ev ery moment of time.
Another feature of the device is temporary connection
or disconnection of subscription. It can connect or dis-
connect meter without physical attending in the place of
meter & without taking cost & human power. Because
all of these things work as mechanization completely,
they can help to economize the human power & help the
offices to apply all the distribution tact. In summary the
purpose of this device is economy in human power &
cost, also it increase the accuracy & speed by using the
perfect & intelligent mechanization as aforesaid.
At the rest of the article, in the second part, at the first
time we’ll review on the similar works, then in the third
part the device structure & how the device will be con-
nected to the control center was explained & in the
fourth part the device operation was expressed & in fifth
part facilities & advantage of the device in compare of
other similar device has been mentioned. Also at the end
of the article some consequences & suggestions has been
assigned to continue the project.
2. Related Works
In order to overcome disadvantages of the traditional
meter reading system some efforts are underway around
the world to automation this systems [1-7].
One of the methods to solve the problems was using a
camera on the meter. This device had Bluetooth &
searched the specific receiver steadily & when it found
receiver, it send the meter’s identity code & taken picture.
In this solution some of people should have a recipient
machine & walk on the alleys & streets of the city & if
they passed near a meter almost 30 meters distance, the
installed device on th e meter, will send the nu mber & the
recipient machine saves it in the memory, too. Finally it
would be surveyed as offline in the related offices some
of the disadvantages of the device are: ability of sending
information just in 30 meter distances, disability of sur-
veying information as online, there is no another control
on the meter such as subscription’s connection or dis-
connection, …, low security in sending the information
by Bluetooth, need to the human power & high cost to
walk on the streets. This device just prevents the en-
trance of agent subscriber’s house for reading the meter
& just improves the reading of the number by the man’s
eyes. But has no influence on decreasing the human
power & no influence on accuracy & speed of operation
actually [1].
The next suggested method to read the meter operates
the computer network with electricity cable. A special
modem in used in this method that it can use electricity
cable to make the computer net with other frequency,
then the method was used to read the electricity meter
from far away. In this method there was equipped meter
with modem on it, that the modem was connected to the
operated net by electricity cable. It sent the meter infor-
mation. Its main defect was making problem in police
walkie-talkie. So the defect caused it was stopped in im-
plementation period. There are other defects such as high
cost in each meter & no other controls on the subscrip-
tions meter [2].
In next method, a device installed instead of meter &
the number of meter is sent to control center by home
number. Some disadvantages of this method are de-
pendency to home phone number for each meters there is
no lateral control on the meter need to change the meter
(disability of installation on the meters), that it will cause
high cost [3].
In the article of this device, has been tried to utilize as
much as possible advantages of similar devices & rectify
their defects. In fifth part these abilities will be discon-
At the rest of the article, how the parts of system con-
nect each other & the structure of present device has been
3. How to Be Connected to the Control
The meter management device is connected by mobile
system (Figure 2). This affair is very important in secu-
rity of information. As you can see in Figure 3, this de-
vice includes a hardware that from one way connects to
the subscriber’s meter & in another way it will connect
to GSM modem on the software in control center.
This device sends order to the hardware in definite
times by the country’s wireless telecommunication sub-
structure then hardware distinguish the order lik e reading
the number, or other necessary information like identity
of meter as a code will send to the software in center.
The software after receiving the amount of subscriber’s
consumption will calculate the price according to the total
or special formula for that subscriber & finally pluralize
all the infor mation of subscrib er’s monthly fiche then send
to hardware in user’s house.
After receiving by hardware it will be observable on
LCD. The ability of printing is also predicted on small 4
inch printers.
Solving the technical problems to make a system is the
purpose of offered method that this system in one way
related to the house’s meter & there are some controllers
on it to read the meter’s number-subscriptions connec-
tion or disconnection & print subscriber’s fiches.
As Figure 4 shows. To utilize this device at the first
time you should sign on the meter’s first number from
right side as a colorful sensor, then the hardware on the
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. ICA
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. ICA
Figure 2. Meter management system communication with control center.
GSM Modern
Figure 3. Meter management system structure.
meter an recognize the times of rolling by the colorful
sensor on meter’s first number, so this device can be in-
stalled on the meter without any additional actions (like
image processing). The sensor connected to the micro
controller’s device & sends information to it, this micro
controller connected to Relay subscription’s connection
or disconnection.
As receiving “subscription disconnection” order from
control center, Relay command the “disconnection order”
to the special installed valve on the device then subscrip-
tion’s valve will be disconnected.
As you seed in picture micro controller is related to
telecommunication network by GSM (mentioned be-
When GSM receives the order, it can send the number
in definite times (without receiving order from control
Figure 4. Structure of hardware that installed on meter.
center). This device has been also designed with maxi-
mum security, if plump of device was opened illegally, it
will inform the center immediately, even if the relation
had been disconnected, it will declare the center as soon
as connection. Also the micro controller connected to
LCD (2 × 16) numbers that show the meter’s number
either if need be it can show the wrong numb ers.
As you see in Figure 5, this device is able to draw each
houses consumption diagram, every alley’s consumption
diagram, every sector or town’s consumption diagram…
& it can produce the necessary report by statistical data
that they’ve gained from subscribers in different seasons
of year & in special definable situa tion, for example some
areas that should never disconnect their water are defined,
when facing a problem, it can route high pressure of water
to those areas.
In the next part hardware structure has been explained.
4. The Structure of Hardware Sys tem
In this device has been used a photo electro sensor
TCS230D that it can read the meter’s number by know-
ing the red color, then the sensor helps the received in-
formation enter to the micro controller, after it applies
some necessary filtering on the entrance numbers, it will
be able to recognize the red color. The amount of me-
ter’s number has been defined in part of micro EEPROM,
it’ll never waste. While the electricity disconnected, the
number is increasing (is counting) in the memory until
the device was utilized mobile telecommunication net-
work to connect the center. For this design a GSM
SIM300 was used on the board that it receives & sends
the sending & receiving information as SMS.
In each period of time LCD (2 × 16) was used to show
meter’s number & the amount of using price.
Also security linkages are contacted to the base of mi-
cro that was mentioned as plump board. They cause you
know any illegal manipulation & also has been used 12
V Relay that they can connect or disconnect the sub-
scription by the electro valve PE201.
The software of controller part has be en written by the
Microsoft visual C# software & object oriented technol-
ogy. That it has ability of doing all the control works &
it’s extendable, too . So the device has capability to app ly
probable change & development of software, extremely.
Figure 6 is showing the main page of management of
domestic meters software on control center that you can
enter the special subscriber’s user account by choosing
subscription number from subscriber’s list. Every noted
change is applicable b y choosing every item in right col-
umn & click on it (in Figure 6).
5. System’s Facilities
There is no geographical limitation in this design, be-
cause the device exchanges the information by country’s
telecommunication & mobile system. It means sub-
scriber’s office & respective meter can be in every point
of the world, without making a problem for device. In
the other words there is no distance between the meter &
the office.
The device can be installed on the usual meters with-
out changing the meter, that it’ll be hard work & costly.
According to specific working mechanization of the de-
vice, it needs low cost than pervious similar devices & its
installation is very easy, in the other way device connects
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. ICA
Figure 5. Customer daily usage chart.
Figure 6. Main page of control center software.
to the subscriber’s office as online.
By installed controller, the device can connect or dis-
connect subscription as online, when receives order from
office or even acts as intelligent in incidents time that it
hasn’t ever seen in other similar works. It acts mechani-
zation & intellig ent completely withou t human power. In
the device has been predicted top security scheme, as,
any illegal changes on the system will be informed the
device immediately. This device can generalize on the
other meters (like water meters, electricity meters) just
by applying minor changes.
If electricity disconnected, device can save present in-
formation, but if it takes a long time & the battery dis-
charge quite, the relation between center & meter will be
disconnected. One of these problems is that it’s solvable.
Another facility is possibility of visiting water distri-
bution status in on area or other several cities’ sectors.
The main problem in the device is, it can’t act actually
in every place with no telecommunication covering, be-
cause it works by the country’s mobile network.
The other defect is colorful sensors using the colorful
sensors don’t act in darkness. But it can be solved by
using other sensors (like metal sensor).
6. Conclusions
This paper studies on the design and management of in-
telligent systems in mechanical domestic water meters.
The advantage of using this device in a city with 500,000
populations is to provide 125,000 units. As such we
could normally consider a family consisting 4 people.
The price of this device in mass production is about 35$.
Estimated total price for such a city is a nearly 125000*
35$ = 4375000$. So we need 4375000$ for installation
of the device in the city. Reading, publishing fishes and
management of subscriber’s meters in the city mentioned,
we need 60 people with at least 900$ monthly salary, so
water office pay 60*900 = 54000$ every month.
If water office decides to install this device on the city,
it should pay 4375000$ but this is price of 60 people
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. ICA
Figure 7. Cost saving after 7 year. Red: without using this device; Blue: with using this device.
working 81 months, namely after 81 months, water office
will pay a little money (about 1000$ per year for mainte-
nance) with fast speed and high perform ance (Figure 7).
The great advantages of this project are the manage-
ment of intelligent system in mechanical domestic water
meters; easy installation on the u sual mechanical domes-
tic water meters and acceptable cost.
This device like other similar devices has some ad-
vantages and disadvantages, but its disadvantages com-
paring to similar devices are soluble.
7. References
[1] K. L. Xu, Q. Y. Li, M. S. Yen and S. C. Zhuang, “An
Automatic Meter Reading System by Mobile Radio,”
12th International Conference on Electricity Distribution,
Birmingham, 17-21 May 1993, pp. 1-5.
[2] T. Meek and P. Chilese, “Remote Meter Reading by Ra-
dio—A European Perspective,” 7th International Confer-
ence on Metering Apparatus and Tariffs for Electricity
Supply, Glasgow, 17-19 November 1992, pp. 196-201.
[3] F. Payandehmetr and A. Mosavi, “Remote Meter Reading
by Radio Design,” 14th International Conference on Elec-
tricity, May 1999, pp. 8-12.
[4] A. Mansouri, “Remote Meter Reading,” 7th International
Conference on Electricity Distribution Network, May
2001, pp. 2-6.
[5] T. Jamil, “De sign and Implementation of a Wirele ss Auto-
matic Meter Reading System,” Proceedings of the World
Congress on Engineerin, London, 2-4 July 2008, pp. 1-5.
[6] M. Venables, “Smart Meters Make Smart Consumers,”
Engineering & Technology, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2007, p. 23.
[7] C. Brasek, “Urban Utilities Warm Up to the Idea of Wire-
less Meter Reading,” Computing and Control Engineer-
ing, Vol. 15, No. 6, 2004, pp. 10-14.
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. ICA