A low cost water consumption meter system based on GSM technology
Mwangi, Peter Ngugi
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In the water distribution industry, meter reading is an important activity as source of revenue to the water utility company and at the same time it is meant to ensure accurate recording of consumption. Manual water meter reading is still being done in many countries in the world where employees of water companies take the readings from residential and business premises. Water bills are then prepared based on this data. This process is inefficient and costly in terms of man-hours, especially with the increase in residential houses in most of urban areas. The employees of water companies also face some difficulties in accessing some premises especially in the slum areas and hence the meter readings in such areas are estimated. The process of manual meter reading is both cumbersome and inaccurate. Different researchers have used different technologies in order to automate meter reading but very little has been done using the GSM technology. In addition to this, the earlier designs were expensive. In this research a prototype of an automatic water meter reading system has been designed, fabricated and tested. It consists of G1/2 flow sensor, PIC18F4550 microcontroller and its interfacing board, SIM 900 GSM module, solenoid control valve. G1/2 flow sensor has been used for water flow detection, the solenoid control valve has been used to connect or disconnect the water supply and the GSM module has been used for sending short messages on water volume consumption while the entire system is controlled by PIC18F4550 microcontroller. In this design as water flows through flow sensor, the rotor blades rotate generating pulses. The pulses are counted and converted to a volumetric flow using the PIC18F550 microcontroller. The volume of water consumption is displayed on an LCD. The water meter reading is sent automatically to the Water Company as a short message for billing purposes after a specified period. The designed system has been found to be about 98% accurate and is cost effective. It has the potential to automate water meter reading and hence increase efficiency.