Clamp on sensor for smart electricity monitoring
‘We knew the Onzo transmitter clamp would be harvesting free power to top up its own internal battery and we thought this was pretty neat’
Designing a product that genuinely impresses consumers produces special satisfaction, more so in the area of energy monitoring where products are typically not designed for consumers. Our client, Onzo, had identified a number of improvements needed in the clamp on energy sensor part of their Smart Energy Kit and turned to our development team for assistance.
Onzo provide utilities with customer intelligence solutions through a suite of products including hardware and software. Their flagship product is a smart energy kit that provides hardware (display and data capture sensor) and software applications that improve a utility’s use of customer data. In this kit, consumers install a clamp on sensor that captures the energy data and Onzo saw an opportunity to improve the product’s functionality and the consumer’s experience:
- Removing need for householders to replace batteries, by reducing power consumption in communications and adding the ability to harvest power from the cable
- Providing more information for analysis by measuring real and reactive power as well as current
- Giving consumers outstanding levels of accuracy
- Making the whole package sufficiently compact and lightweight to deliver by post.
These are difficult problems but Sentec had all the necessary expertise in sensor design, power electronics and communications to deliver a solution that provided Onzo with with a clamp on sensor that performs better than any other device on the market. Working closely with Onzo and their team, the project was broken into a number of phases to reduce Onzo’s exposure to technical risk and completed in 18 months.
An independent review from Electricity-monitor.com confirms the positive feedback from customers:
‘We knew the Onzo transmitter clamp would be harvesting free power to top up its own internal battery and we thought this was pretty neat. We've been even more impressed to find out that the transmitter will run for several weeks without needing to harvest any power at all, so no problems with holidays and power outages. Other wireless electricity monitor transmitters send data to the display every four to six seconds. Incredibly, despite never needing to change the transmitter batteries, the Onzo display is updated every single second. Combine this 'per second' sampling with Onzo's unique 'power factor' detection and we appear to have a recipe for pretty accurate electricity monitoring. During our own internal tests, we've found that the Onzo monitor tracks daily supply meter readings to approximately +/-1% making it the most accurate monitor we've tested so far!’
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