Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Lisican showcases a handful of features to read in the April 2017 issue of Water & Wastes Digest.
Sensus Metering Systems announced the release of its newest handheld Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) unit, the AR5000 series. Bigger and faster than industry-leading handhelds, the AR5000 line offers a lineup of features bundled together in a lighter package that is scaleable, with a built-in capacity to accept additional programming applications.
“We believe that the AR5000 is the first of the next generation of handheld devices,” said Tom Maselko, marketing manager of AMR Products. “Its features are designed to work together to maximize the productivity and accuracy of reads.”
The AR5000 series includes the AR5001 and the AR5002. The AR5001 unit accepts data manually, via an expanded keypad section, or electronically, through both cable-connected and RF TouchRead System reading guns. When used with a TouchRead reading gun, the AR5001 automatically stores readings from Sensus or compatible absolute encoders. The AR5002 model offers all of the AR5001 benefits, but adds the capability of reading and programming Sensus RadioRead MXUs.
Technological advances make the AR5000 the fastest handheld on the market. Microsoft Windows CE replaces the DOS-based system of the 4000 series. And other specifications are bolstered, such as upgrading the unit to an Intel XScale, 400 MHz processor, 128 MB of SDRAM and 256 MB of storage.
Sensus developers also paid close attention to giving field technicians features on the AR5000 line that will make their work more productive. User-friendly features include: separate numeric and alphabetical keypads; extra body length, width and larger keys; a larger LCD screen; a lighter, more balanced body design featuring a keypad with elastomeric, tactile response keys; a rugged casing; and flexibility to read Sensus encoders.
To help with monitoring for accuracy, an error detection feature allows for preprogrammed high and low range limits that can be created and passed from the utility billing software to alert the operator of possible reading errors. Regardless of the route, the AR5000 series software identifies each meter encoder and stores the reading in the correct customer account. Audible alert tones alert users to special conditions or hazards.
Common notes are already programmed for fast entry, but free-form notes can be entered using the numeric and/or alphabetical keypads.
Finally, the AR5000 series monitors the effectiveness of a utility’s meter reading program. Built-in software records the time and day of every reading, and the type of reading made.
“Utility managers can use this data to review the amount of time spent reading the route and learn about special problems related to readings or equipment use,” Maselko explained. “With the AR5000, we were determined to include features that make this unit mark the difference between a frustrating or a productive route.”