Pulse counters are special types of sensors that are used to count the number of pulses provided by a third party device / meter. There are various use cases of the pulse counters, including reading water / electricity / gas meters or counting the number of events (e.g. door opening and closing).
Efento offers three types of pulse counters: water pulse counter, electricity pulse counter and generic pulse counter. From the hardware perspective, the devices are identical. The only difference is on the software side – water pulse counter converts the number of pulses to litres, electricity pulse counters converts the number of pulses to Wh and generic pulse counter returns the number of pulses counted in the set time period.
Each pulse counter can be equipped with up to three channels. Each channel counts the number of pulses provided by a device connected to it. Moreover, it is possible to mix pulse counting channels with other sensor types – for instance, it is possible to get a pulse counter, which also measures temperature and humidity.
Efento’s pulse counters can communicate using Bluetooth Low Energy and / or NB-IoT. In case of Bluetooth Low Energy pulse counters, the data is sent either directly to a mobile phone with Efento mobile application installed or to Efento Cloud / third party platform through Efento gateway. Efento NB-IoT pulse counters send the data directly to Efento Cloud or third party platform over NB-IoT network. No matter on the communication technique, devices are battery powered and can operate for years without any maintenance.
Connecting pulse counters
Pulse counters are used to count a number of events. E.g. count number of door opening, count number of people passing through a turnstile, count number of alerts reported by a device. Efento pulse counters support any device, which provides SO (pulse) or dry contact output. This includes also magnetic / reed switch door sensors. The device, which provides pulses should be wired to Efento pulse counter’s CH and GND pins (in case of a multi-channel pulse counter: CH1-GND, CH2-GND, CH3-GND).
Water pulse counter
Water pulse counters work with any water meter equipped with pulse output. If you want to connect the water pulse counter to an analogue meter, you can use pulse probe (depending on the meter manufacturer, it can also be called pulse sensor, pulse generator) to convert the indication of an analogue meter to pulses. Check the user manual of your water meter to find the best way of converting the meter’s readings to the pulses. The device, which provides pulses should be wired to Efento pulse counter’s CH and GND pins (in case of a multi-channel pulse counter: CH1-GND, CH2-GND, CH3-GND).
Electricity pulse counter
Efento electricity pulse counter should be wired to SO output of an electricity meter. ALWAYS read and follow the user manual of the electricity meter, which you connect to the Efento pulse counter. To avoid a shock hazard:
- Shut OFF all power sources and equipment to be attached to this product
- Attach all cables to the devices
- Turn ON all the power sources
Displaying and analysing the data
Efento pulse counters can send the data to Efento Cloud for further processing and storing or can be accessed with a free mobile application for Android.
If a pulse counter sends the data to Efento Cloud, all the information about water / electricity consumption or number of pulses is stored there. User can set a number of rules, alerting about abnormal use (e.g. if the water consumption is over 10 litres / minute, send SMS notification), display data on a chart or generate reports with the information about usage / number of pulses.
Moreover, in case of water and electricity pulse counters, Efento Cloud automatically calculates total consumption in the selected time period along with the maximum, minimum and average consumption. This information can be exported as pdf or csv file and sent to user’s email on demand or automatically every day, every week or every month.
Users can read the data form Efento pulse counters’ memory using a mobile application, which communicates with the devices over Bluetooth Low Energy. Each pulse counter stores around 40 000 measurements. One measurement is number of pulses counted in one measurement interval. For instance, if the measurement interval is set to 1 hour, the device will store the consumption / number of pulses counted in the last 40 000 hours. If the measurement interval is set to 1 minute, the device will store the consumption / number of pulses counted in the last 40 000 minutes. Moreover, the mobile application presents the data on a graph, display statistics or generates pdf and csv reports. Communication over Bluetooth can be encrypted, so only the authorised users can access pulse counters’ data.
Efento pulse counters have the same features as regular Efento sensors: Bluetooth Low Energy sensors features and NB-IoT sensors features. On top of the standard features user can configure: measurement period and pulse conversion ratio.
Defines in what intervals the pulse counters count the number of pulses. If you need larger resolution you can set the measurement period to 1 minute and the pulse counter will count the pulses in that interval. If you do not need that many data points, as what interests you is the monthly water consumption by a tenant, you can set the interval to one hour or even one day. The measurement period is configurable by the user and can be set to any value between 1 minute and 10 days.
Efento water and electricity pulse counters allow users to set the conversion ratio for each of the channels. Pulse counter will convert the number of pulses counted in the set period of time based on this ratio. For instance, if the user sets the water meter’s conversion ratio to ‘1’, the device will treat a single pulse as 1 litre. If the conversion rate has been set to ‘10’, each pulse will represent 10 litres. In case of the electricity pulse counters, users may set the number of Watt-hours (Wh) represented by a single pulse.
Pulse duration control
It is possible to set the maximum length of a pulse accepted by Efento Pulse Counter. If a pulse counter receives a pulse longer than the set value, it will be considered as an error and reported over NB-IoT / Bluetooth. This feature is useful if Efento Pulse Counters work with utility meters equipped with pulse outputs with defined pulse lengths. By setting the maximum accepted length of a pulse user may control the correct operation of the meter. By default the pulse duration control is off and Efento Pulse Counters treats all pulses length as acceptable.