Remote Wireless Meter Reading Technology Utilizes Only Digital Control Channels

Dec. 28, 2000
High-Tech Products

Utilizing Microburst AMPS cellular technology, Skylemetry is a wireless remote data gathering/monitoring and control service that utilizes only the digital (non-voice) control channels of the North American cellular telephone infrastructure.

MicroBurst is a patented, two-way, small data packet, digital communications technology, owned and operated by California-based Aeris Communications. Small data packets are transmitted like roaming cellular phone transmissions on the control channels of the AMPS cellular network via standard signaling mechanisms that operate transparently within the current established cellular network. All Skylemetry units are programmed with a primary MIN (Mobile Identification Number), as well as an ESN (Electronic Serial Number) for security purposes. The cellular signal is generated by one of three devices developed by PGI International: the APM4 Alarm Point Monitor, the AMR6 Automatic Meter Reader, or the APC10 Alarm Point and Control.

The APM4 Alarm Point Monitor transmits the state of four inputs and two six-digit accumulators connected internally to channels 1 and 2. Packet transmission occurs at pre-configured health check intervals or at selected alarm points. Various configuration parameters for each input and accumulator allow for alarm masking, filtering and event discrimination. The APM4 requires only dry contact switches, voltage outputs or open collector devices be connected to its inputs to form a complete low cost monitoring system.

The AMR6 Automatic Meter Reader is designed to transmit daily index readings of remote utility meters, providing up to six digits of index resolution. The register value is set aside at a programmed accounting time and then transmitted daily during off-peak cellular usage to further reduce transmission costs. The data packet structure of the AMR6 allows for the transmission of pressure, temperature and index, or the index reading of two meters such as gas and electricity simultaneously.

The APC10 Alarm Point and Control has ten configurable inputs and/or outputs. Using industry standard I/O models, six of the points are configured as inputs or outputs, AC or DC. Output modules can switch as much as 3 amps at 280 volts, while providing 4,000 volts of isolation. Each digital point has a status LED display to indicate if the input/output is active. The remaining four inputs can be used as analog readings, programmable alarm points or both. Analog inputs are easily interfaced with industry standard 0­p5 volt or 4­p20mA sensors. The cellular radio in the APC10 is on and receiving at all times. This provides for two-way communications, providing up to six outputs, with transmit by request capabilities. The APC10 is configured using a PC connected to its RS232 serial port, which also can receive information from another device such as a flow computer, PLC, chromatograph, or odorizing system.

The signals generated by the APM4, AMR6 and APC10 are transmitted over the cellular control channels, then routed automatically to a central nationwide cellular hub. The data packet is processed, then distributed to PGI's Skylemetry gateway using a secure TCP/IP connection to the internet. This secure website provides users simple interaction to customize configurations, event notification features, and data logging databases.

Providing two-way, small data packet, digital communications, Skylemetry is well-suited for automatic meter reading, equipment monitoring and control, as well as any remote monitoring application where the amount of data to be transferred fits into the MicroBurst packet.

Founded in 1941 as General Screw Products Company, PGI International soon developed into a reliable supplier of wellhead and valve components for the oil and gas industry. During the 1980s, with the objective of growing through diversification, PGI introduced a line of instrument valves and instrument manifolds, as well as a proprietary line of gas and liquid sampling systems, sample cylinders, and cylinder valves.

For further information, phone 713-466-0056 or visit

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