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Power meters & PLC AMR

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ZigBee RF AMR modules for power meters - $8.95 only!

For many power utilities, PLC is not an optimal solution. PLC's reliability depends on the line's noise level, which is typically high in the countries where illegal connections are common, and increased by electronic power supplies of modern electric equipment. Generally, PLC can only be used for monthly readings, and even those cannot be read reliably on a particular date, but rather obtained through the next month.

ZigBee RF communication for power meters is very reliable. ZigBee metering is practically unaffected by household or industrial radio noise. ZigBee signal from power meters is easily routed around concrete walls because ZigBee operates a mesh network where every receiver is also a transmitter.

ZigBee RF modules can be used to create large networks of power meters, about 2,000 per concentrator. Unlike with PLC, ZigBee RF metering networks are not limited to substations. ZigBee is particularly effective in the United States and other countries where each home typically owns its own power transformer, which PLC signal from the meter cannot bypass easily.

Unikom's ZigBee RF modules integrate seamlessly with power meters. Our ZigBee's act like modems, and impose no learning curve on the developers of power meters. Whatever signal the meter injects into ZigBee modem on one side is read by the concentrator on another side of the connection. ZigBee modems can be installed in the power meter with UART or directly on PCB.

ZigBee modules for power meters operate in burst mode which theoretically allows the battery's standby time of 16 years. ZigBee's require no external antenna, though it can be used in extreme communication circumstances, particularly when power meters are installed in the basement of concrete buildings. ZigBee routers can be installed anywhere, not necessarily at power substation.

ZigBee AMR can be used to transmit data from other devices besides power meters. Establishing ZigBee communication from water and gas meters is especially common because those devices cannot be easily connected to power line due to regulatory requirements.

ZigBee conforms to all relevant standards, including radio spectrum and meters' power consumption. In most countries, power meters with ZigBee require no radio communication license.

ZigBee modems for power meters are more expensive than PLC: $9 and $4, respectively. Yet, the cost difference may not be significant for utilities which seek reliable communication with power meters, especially two-way communication in close to real time.

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