The smart grid is the next evolution of the utility framework that companies are aiming to use as they strive for a true “end-to-end” smart grid. The latest innovation in the quest for an all-round smart grid for utility companies is the smart meter. To discover more about smart meter components and smart meter enclosures, continue reading our helpful guide.
What is a smart meter?
Energy smart meters are used to measure a household’s gas and electricity consumption. They are a replacement for standard meters, which require individuals to track meter readings and feed them back to the energy supplier.
With the ever-rising cost of living and the increase in energy bills, more and more homes are adopting smart meters to ensure they know precisely what they’re using and feed back the correct information to their supplier to ensure an accurate billing.
How do smart meters work, though? They work by using a secure national communication network, called Data Communications Company, to automatically send energy consumption data to the supplier.
Smart meter components
What is inside a smart meter? The main internal areas of a smart meter include the power system, microcontroller and communications interface. The power system has a switched-mode power supply and battery back-up to ensure that the metering electronics remain powered even when the main line is disabled.
A MicroController Unit (MCU) normally includes an Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) and Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) to provide the intelligence. A wired or wireless communication interface allows the meter to interact with the grid and, occasionally, the user’s home network.
The power system of a smart meter is a switched-mode power supply that provides power to the electronics in the meter, converting from the main line Alternating Current (AC) voltage to the Direct Current (DC) voltages required. A switch will turn on the battery back-up AC/DC only when there isn’t any power from the main line. The battery remains isolated from the power system during normal operation.
While a microcontroller is one of the most important smart meter components to consider, there are several possible levels of integration with other functional blocks within the system. This can include a two-chip solution that provides flexibility for system upgrades; a single-chip solution with tight hardware and software integration, making it less flexible for upgrades or modification; and data transmission over the network, which may well be the best solution depending on location.
Flexible interconnect systems are also a main smart meter component for the energy metering industry. They’re used in places where electrical connections require a high flexibility and/or printed circuit boards (PCB) to be connected, that are subject to vibrations.
These highly flexible cables can be soldered at each end directly onto the circuit board, offering a permanent connection, or they can be supplied with a connector on either end.
Flexible interconnect systems can be found at Hitaltech, as well as smart meter enclosures.
Smart meter enclosures at Hitaltech
Hitaltech is a well-known manufacturer of high-quality plastic enclosures for electronics, including smart meter enclosures. Our range of smart meter enclosures includes DIN rail enclosures (both wall-mounted or panel mounted), IP rated enclosures, and other enclosures for electronics. We also provide a range of handheld and pocket-size enclosures.
At Hitaltech, we pride ourselves on our exceptionally high standards. We ensure all our enclosures are thoroughly tested in our sophisticated labs to exceed industry standards and expectations.
If you’d like to speak to us about your smart meter enclosure needs, contact us today on 01253 899910 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.