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Topic Title: Smart meters in steel cabinets
Topic Summary: Do they work?
Created On: 03 October 2018 02:19 PM
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 03 October 2018 02:19 PM
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HarryJMacdonald

Posts: 494
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A block of flats I have an interest in houses all its electric meters in a substantial steel weatherproof cabinet in the car park.
Does anyone have experience of SMETS 1 or 2 meters working in such a location? If not, how do they work?
 03 October 2018 03:04 PM
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Zoomup

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Don't they just stick an old bent metal coat hanger up through an insulated hole in the cabinet for an aerial?

Z.
 03 October 2018 05:27 PM
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davidwalker2

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My smart meter in Spain is in a steel cabinet built into a solid brick wall, and that seems to work.

Or maybe they use a different communication system.

David
 03 October 2018 06:11 PM
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sparkingchip

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Tic tac?
 03 October 2018 07:22 PM
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alancapon

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Originally posted by: HarryJMacdonald
. . . Does anyone have experience of SMETS 1 or 2 meters working in such a location? If not, how do they work?

Most supplier's of the meters offer several different variants for the Comms. There is a separate sealed part of the meter that carries this, and it may be fitted with various modules, including mobile, low power radio, power line carrier and others.

Regards,

Alan.
 07 October 2018 06:53 AM
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HarryJMacdonald

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The cabinet in question has 8 meters in it.
Is it possible to get some coordination so we don't end up with 8 different suppliers all trying to get different types of smart meter to work.
 07 October 2018 09:15 AM
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mapj1

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That is the joy of deregulation. (and personally I think there are some things that would benefit from a single centralised approach, and services like electricity, telephones and so forth are one of them, we could have had a really good mobile phone network for the money that has been invested in getting several that only cover the 90 something percent of the people that live in towns and cities. )
Meanwhile you are stuck with what you have.
Actually a typical cabinet will be quite a leaky screen at frequencies higher than VHF, - if the door is painted and there is no finger strips to make a good seal, (a good seal is quite complex) I'd expect about 10% of the power inside versus out, and although this sounds a lot of loss, in radio terms this is not serious unless you are already near the edge of coverage, as between transmitter and receiver the signal is attenuated by about ten orders of magnitude !
The point is, if you are near the base stations, it will probably be OK anyway. If not, then look forward to lots of holes for external antennas.

-------------------------
regards Mike
 07 October 2018 10:29 AM
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Zoomup

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"The point is, if you are near the base stations, it will probably be OK anyway. If not, then look forward to lots of holes for external antennas."

Now ain't that just what I said, bent metal coat hangers rising through insulated holes. I amaze myself some times.

Z.
 08 October 2018 08:28 AM
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ectophile

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Originally posted by: HarryJMacdonald

The cabinet in question has 8 meters in it.

Is it possible to get some coordination so we don't end up with 8 different suppliers all trying to get different types of smart meter to work.


That's what SMETS2 is supposed to do - all the meters communicate over a common network. The meters should also be able to talk to each other if one can get a signal but the others can't.

The trouble is that the whole thing has been rushed through. SMETS2 isn't ready yet, and the installers are still rolling out SMETS1 long after it should have been declared obsolete.

-------------------------
S P Barker BSc PhD IEng MIET
 08 October 2018 06:56 PM
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IronFreely

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All I can say is if they put one in my house I'll be trying to get a metal case around it or line the cupboard with tin foil or something because they emit an alarming amount of microwave radiation.... I've got a tester that I use to test if microwave ovens are emiting less than the so called safe amount of microwave radiation, so far every smart meter I've put my tester near has been emiting alarmingly high levels of microwave radiation, certainly more than would be permitted from an oven. I think they should be banned.
 08 October 2018 07:47 PM
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HarryJMacdonald

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The door seals are good enough to have kept the rain out for 20 years so they might also be quite good at keeping radio waves out, which is also why I don't want a plethora of holes with bent coat hangers!
 08 October 2018 10:00 PM
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mapj1

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All I can say is if they put one in my house I'll be trying to get a metal case around it or line the cupboard with tin foil or something because they emit an alarming amount of microwave radiation...


Dont panic yourself. Are you going to sit with the meter next to your body when in chirps in its reading?
If you ever use a mobile phone, it will be illuminating you far more brightly, even a laptop on your knee with the Wi Fi connected is knocking out a few volts per meter near the antennas.
The thing that saves you is the inverse square law . For a simple view, imagine your phone or whatever is dangling in free space, and energy radiates from it spherically - clearer the greater the distance the larger the sphere, and the more thinly the energy is spread.
IF you like a visual model, you could pretend you were going to paint an onion, and use up all of some particular sized paint pot- - the thickness of the paint would depend on the size of the onion, so the volume of paint that puts a 1mm layer on an onion 25mm diameter, would need to be thinned out be spread out to only a quarter of a mm thick if the onion was instead 50mm in diameter, as the surface area is 4 times more.

Imagine now the onion skins are representing the successive waves spreading out from the transmitter, be it your phone at a couple of watts, your gas meter at half a watt, or even my 400W ham radio using an antenna up a pole at the end of the garden. As you get further away, very rapidly the energy is, like the paint, spread much thinner, and the fraction you catch is that much less.
Your left ear may get about half the transmitted power if you hold a phone to it, but your whole body gets less than 1% of anything transmitting from 10m away. It should now be clear is safer in terms of absolute exposure to be a few tens of metres away from the antennas, when I key up, than to use your mobile within a few feet of your body.

-------------------------
regards Mike
 10 October 2018 10:07 AM
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IronFreely

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Like I say, they seem to be continuously emiting more radiation than is permitted from an oven.... I've casually tested all sorts of tech including modems and mobile phones and by far the highest readings came from smart meters which seemed to continuously be emitting what's considered a dangerous level, I'm in an area notorious for bad reception and I woundered if it's due to the meter attempting to make a connection that it never will due to being out of range... Interestingly if you get 10 phones and put them in a circle around the tester then call all of them simultaneously it goes of the scale!
Having seen the readings on my tester no amount of logic is going to get me to trust those pesky smart meters.
 10 October 2018 11:27 AM
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chrispearson

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Originally posted by: IronFreely

... seemed to continuously be emitting what's considered a dangerous level ...


What do you regard as a dangerous level? If It's that high, you should start to feel a warm glow.
 10 October 2018 01:59 PM
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HarryJMacdonald

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How would you feel about a 1MW transmitter just a few hundred meters away.
Most of South London has had that for 50+ years with no reports of ill effects - they are called TV transmitters.
 10 October 2018 02:46 PM
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mapj1

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But the mast is 220m tall, and the beam forming tends to thow the energy sideways to the horizons rather than down, and even if it radated spherically, you'd only be looking at something of the order of one watt spread over each per square meter at ground level immediately below.
This is far less personal exposure density than half of the output power of a mobile phone in a few tens of square cm of human head.
If you are bothered, by all means stand in the shadow of the tower, but please don't use your phone.

As an aside prior to 2012 and the great anlogue to digital switch over, Crystal Palace was radiating about 1MW per channel, so 4 million watts of RF. (and took in about twice that as DC input, and produced a lot of warm cooling water as a by product.)

-------------------------
regards Mike
 14 October 2018 09:47 PM
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HarryJMacdonald

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Agreed but if the mast is 220m tall, the output is 100,000 times as much as a typical mobile mast so the power felt is the same as a mobile tower 1 metre away.
I agree that the power from a handset is much much more than this but SMETS meters use, presumably, very brief transmissions
 14 October 2018 11:53 PM
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mapj1

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Well 220 squared is more like 50 000, but in any case unless you have cherry picker or something, you can't get as close as 1m from a typical mobile mast though, even the little 10 watt fill-in ones that look like a lamp-post with a bulge on top are 5 to 6m tall, and the proper ones with the 3 sector panel antennas are far higher, and they, like the TV transmitter, fire overhead to the horizon, the fraction fired down is deliberately reduced to improve the far-out range. It really the handsets you need to be worried about, as there is almost no control over where or when folk may suddenly use their phone.

-------------------------
regards Mike
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