What is a smart meter?

By definition, it is a “digital electronic meter that records consumption of energy usage in real time and communicates that information to the utility for monitoring and billing”, referring to an electronic watt hour meter that can transmit the measured amount of used electricity by time. In other words, it represents an intelligent power system that supports efficient management of power consumption and supply by connecting the power plant, power transmission/distribution facilities, and consumer to accurate information and efficient communication.


The smart meter

– can be an alternative solution to outage problem and inefficient power grids

– can also become a core business due to untapped potential for related industries such as setting up smart meter infrastructures and relevant application services.

Due to above reasons, the smart meter is under the global spotlight as one of the most promising business ventures.

Let’s check out some personal smar meter projects from the open software & hardware ecosystem.

1. Arduino Solar Meter



This material gives detailed information and guidelines on how to implement a solar meter for home purposes. The author installed a solar panel at home to generate electric power in 2009. But he wanted more control over his power production and consumption. So in the last 3 years, he has constantly worked to improve the device – by expanding functionalities and upgrading the user interface for more convenient usage.

The author provides two technical materials – a description of H/W and a description of S/W.

If you want to implement a similar device easily, refer to the following link.


2. An Automated Energy Metering System – Home Based Approach

This paper has been introduced by IJAREEIE (International Journal of Advanced Research in Electrical, Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering). IJAREEIE is a scholarly international journal that publishes original research articles in the fields of Electrical, Electronics and Instrumentation.

Smart meters are the key component of the smart grid, which help both the user and supplier to control consumption of energy according to the availability of resources. The electricity market is facing great losses due to an upsurge in cost for generation of resources. As wasting of electric energy greatly impacts the economy, smart metering systems are gaining popularity as an practical method to effectively use energy.

The proposed system consists of an energy meter that can communicate using the Ethernet and webserver. A single phase energy meter is implemented using ARDUINO microcontroller while communication is enabled via Ethernet communication with the server and consumer implemented in webserver. This meter is able to measure energy and can communicate the data to the electricity board, which stores the information and notifies the consumer through SMS messages.


This system allows the consumer to monitor and track their energy usage. Nowadays when consumers want to know their energy usage to limit their use, they generally have to wait until the electricity bill. However, by using this device, the consumer will be able to get alert messages when their electricity usage exceeds a certain limit. Real-time tracking helps the user to reduce energy usage when necessary and therefore save both energy and money.


For more information, refer to the following link.


3. Water Meter + Arduino = Aquameterduino !

As the title suggests, this project uses an Arduino to count every drop of water that goes through the water company meter.


For this project you will need:

– an Arduino
– an ethernet shield + sd card (based on the W5100 chip)
– a proto shield
– a realtime clock (http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=DS1307+Based+Real+Time+Clock)
– a shmitt trigger (e.g. 74C14N)
– a capacity (1 microF)
– some resitors (20kohm and about 100Kohm)
– a reed switch
– a reed switch-enabled water meter (Gioanola, about 75 euros http://www.gioanola.it/download/downen/08_eloutput_EN_HI.pdf)


The ethernet connection is used to answer a handful of basic http requests. A log of all water meter activity is saved on the SD card. Using an SD card and an ethernet connection together proved difficult (due to both using an SPI connection) until he used the W5100 chip based ethernet shield with an integrated SD card.

Great tutorial here: http://www.ladyada.net/learn/arduino/ethfiles.html


Source : http://www.instructables.com/id/Water-meter-Arduino-Aquameterduino-/

4. Arduino Energy Meter

Electrical engineer Debasish Dutta designed an energy meter built around an Atmel-powered Arduino Uno (ATmega328 MCU).

“I belong to a village of Odisha, India where frequent power cuts are very common. Continuing studies after dusk was a real challenge. Due to this problem, I designed a solar system for my home on a experimental basis.”

Dutta explained in a recent Instructables blog post.


“I used a solar panel of 10 Watt, 6V for lighting a couple bright LEDs. Then I decided to monitor the voltage, current, power and energy in the system. This brought the idea of designing an energy meter.”

He used Arduino as the heart of this project due to the numerous available open source libraries and intuitive IDE.

The energy meter uses three primary parameters such as voltage, current, and time to measure energy consumption.

“Voltage is measured by the help of a voltage divider circuit. As the Arduino analog pin input voltage is restricted to 5V, I designed the voltage divider in such a way that the output voltage from it should not exceed 5V. My battery used for storing the power from the solar panel is rated 6v, 5.5Ah so I had to step down the 6.5v to a voltage lower than 5V.”



From these smart meters created by users, we’ve seen that they can collect and monitor all types of various information – such as the amount of sunshine and the rate of energy flow, on top of the electricity usage. The possibilities are endless.

Of course, it is true that the impact of smart meters has so far failed to meet its high expectations. But we hope that these Maker activities will be able to surpass expectations and wow the world in the near future.

Curator : ricky from WIZnet
Email : ricky@wiznet.co.kr