AutomatedBuildings.com
Product Review - Jan 2000
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Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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MTC Webfoot™ Test-Flight
The MTC Webfoot is a revolutionary, low-cost solution that collects and stores three channels of utility meter data, transmits it over standard telephone lines, and presents the data to the user via the Internet.

Test Pilot
 
Ken Sinclair, Editor
AutomatedBuildings.com


Come fly with me, on my Test-Flight of the MTC Webfoot. How often do I get to be a test pilot?  I was very intrigued by the low cost and simplicity of this new metering device.

When the Webfoot package arrived, it was much larger than I thought but it turned out to be 90% packing. Finally I got to the goods - I held a small molten mass with wires sticking out of it that fits inside a standard electrical box. It looked just like the pictured device. Hard to believe that this lump contains a modem, a pulse counting stand alone processor, and the smarts to talk to a server anywhere. 

After reading the instructions very briefly, (actually I scanned them, skipping lots, but I sort of got the gist), I plugged the device into a phone line in Canada and pressed the initiation button and it connected to a web server in California. When it connected and identified itself, I entered configuration data on the server software, and the next time the device connected the configuration data was updated. Neat!  Actually we had a few telephone problems, but those had nothing to do with the product. Off line I gave the device a few pulses by the test button and then shorted out the other leads to simulate other pulses. Then I pushed the initiation button again and the device phoned the server, logged the time and recorded pulses. It worked!  Leaving the device connected to the phone line I configured it to phone automatically at 3:00 am. I checked the server the next morning and It worked!  To see if this under $40.00(US) device could really record data I arranged to have the device installed in a building and accumulate real data. The device replaced an existing controller that was counting pulses. Other than some more minor telephone wars the device installed in less than 1/2 hour. The fact that it powers itself from the telephone line greatly simplifies installation. A few checks were made to insure that the device called the web server. Next morning data was produced as requested. It worked!  Server side software is easy to use. Below is a graph from the server of the actual data captured.

 

I love the feature that allows you to email your data to yourself as an attached Excel spreadsheet file. Very flexible.

This low cost simple product demonstrates the power of webware to simplify both the device and the human interface. Although the device was designed as a meter pulse counter it could be used for many other applications - anything that can be turned into a pulse by today's direct digital panels.

Webfoot uses low-power, innovative circuitry to provide long-lasting reliability. Some of the outstanding benefits include:

The MTC Webfoot is priced remarkably low at under $40(US) each for single units for the OEM Market.

Metering Technology Corporation (MTC) develops and markets intelligent, low-cost metering products, services, and integrated solutions for commercial and residential applications. MTC's integrated energy-measurement and communications solutions ensure your competitive edge, renovation, and improvement within the rapidly transforming utility and energy industry.

MTC's integration of innovative silicon-chip technology merges metrology and communications, creating a new paradigm for utility information products by combining cutting-edge technology with unsurpassed price. MTC's products deliver outstanding cost and productivity benefits by providing multiple data-measurement and logging functions, plus remote data access.

MTC products incorporate telephone, wireless, Ethernet, fiber optics, and power-line carrier communications to match virtually any market requirement worldwide. MTC's line of metering-product solutions for commercial and residential applications includes:

All of MTC's metering solutions have sophisticated, Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits in a complex silicon integration module. These provide advanced computation of metrology values and storage for months of energy readings. The Epsilon Electric Meters are intelligent, record load or other data at configurable intervals, and are programmable so you can configure your custom communications schedules. In addition, they provide unmatched cost-effective consumption and demand measurement that is profound for both small and large communities. The meters are available for ANSI and IEC specifications in a variety of models, including:

The latest development is the telephone-line powered MTC Webfoot, which measures consumption from traditional gas, water, and electric meters, and uploads data at programmable intervals during the month. The microprocessor-based Webfoot fits conveniently into a duplex electrical outlet box or NEMA enclosure, and measures consumption for a variety of residential and commercial applications, from a single point to large-scale deployments.

MTC's Epsilon Prime Software System delivers a complete, low-cost AMR solution for large-scale data gathering and reporting. The group of Internet-enabled client/server applications provide:

www.metertech.com/



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