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Digital Power Metering and Industrial Data Communication for Meter Systems

Thomas Mason, P.E.

Course Outline

This three-hour course discusses the underlying principles of power metering, selection of components and connection for centralized reporting. Concepts can be applied to benefit for small commercial operations, large tenant spaces and campus settings. Drawings and photographs illustrate the concepts. The reference list shows sources for economical components and sophisticated integrated systems.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will:

Course Introduction

Permanently installed electric power meters perform three valuable functions - cost allocation, failure analysis and problem anticipation. Cost allocation has two faces - to the supplier and to the user. The purpose of this course is to help the student deliver value to his employer and to the firm.

Cost allocation is necessary base information to permit the accounting folk to determine costs associated with various areas of operation. The most common example of this is the electric Utility. They sell electrical energy and measure different aspects of the electric usage to determine the monthly bill. The Utility passes-through the costs of the electricity to the user. Similarly, many firms and landlords measure individual electrical usage and pass through actual dollar billing or accounting charges to each department.

From the user side, the Utility customer, the tenant or the department, where this energy goes is a measure of savings opportunities and a true aid in efficient management. The advantage of metering over estimating is that the Utility bills are a regular verification of accuracy, usually with a substantial dollar value indicated.

In situations where service interruption has a defined cost, as hospitals, solid-state chip fabrication and chemical processing, it becomes critical to determine the initiating failure, not just a count of all the systems which failed. Modern microprocessor-based meters help with this analysis at very low cost.

Finally, there are persons who believe that money should be spent to avoid future failures. In this environment, electrical metering often gives first indication of incipient malfunctions. The metering system, however, is not the expensive part of the pro-active program, it is the man-hours to analyze and interpret the data.

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file (899 KB) Digital Power Metering and Industrial Data Communication for Meter Systems. You need to open or download this document to study this course.

Course Summary

This course covered the concepts and available products for electric power metering for commercial, institutional or industrial use. It introduced devices, interconnection block diagrams and very general specifications. The links provide access to equipment and software suppliers. Following successful review of the reference material and the associated examination, the student should be able to discuss metering effectively with sales persons and management representatives.

Related Links

For additional technical information related to this subject, please visit the following websites or web pages:

Portable Instruments

Extech -
Amprobe -

Current Transformers
Ohio Semitronics-
Flex-Core -
CRMagnetics -

Power Meters and Systems

RS-485 (ModBus) Hardware and Cable
TopWorx -
EmersonProcess -
Stonel -
SixNetIO -

Cat 5 UTP Hardware and Cable
Anixter -
Black Box -
RelComInc -
GarretCom -

Human Machine Interface Software
WonderWare InTouch -

Data Analysis Software
OriginLab -
Synergy -
Matlab -
Mathcad -

Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered professional engineer. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.