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ECE445 Senior Design

Design Proposal

Prepaid Electricity Meter

Ankit Chandak Yen-Chia Huang Pattaramon Vuttipittayamongkol

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

February 9, 2011



Title: Prepaid Electricity Meter Our team is building a prepaid electricity meter that will be able to conduct money transactions through wireless technology in order to enable the user to recharge his account from home. The meter will display the current balance in units of electricity and in dollars and will sound an alarm when the balance goes below a certain amount. Prepaid meters are already present in the market and are used extensively in several African and European countries. However, the user has to go to a nearby re-seller to buy a recharge coupon/key to recharge his account. We think that our meter will make lives easier by eliminating the need to go outside to recharge ones electricity account, providing an increased energy security. Also, it will help utility companies in keeping a check on electricity theft. Objective Upon completion, we would like our meter to be able to do the following things: 1. Measure electricity consumption accurately. 2. Display real time account balance. 3. Communicate with the utility company to: Let the user recharge his electricity account from the meter Using a previously used card Using a new card Update rates for electricity as and when required Perform a daily/hourly verification of electricity consumption 4. Warn the user of low account balance by flashing an LED 5. Cut power off when there is zero credit on the account. In order to complete the afore mentioned tasks, we plan to make accurate power measurements, interface an LCD display as well as a keypad with the central microcontroller unit and implement a transceiver module in our system.

An electricity meter provides an interface between the utility and the customer. Successfully implemented, our product will benefit the end customer as well as the electric utility in the following ways: The customer can recharge his account wirelessly from his home. The customer can use a different card every time. He will not have to worry about his default credit card already been maxed out. The device will show the remaining balance so that the user knows how much he has consumed and can plan ahead to not overuse the budget and know when he needs to refill the account. The display will also show the current electricity rate. Since electricity rates vary throughout the day, the user can cut down on consumption when the rate is high. The utility companies will have a better idea of electricity demand. This will help them to plan ahead. The utility companies would be able to collect the expenses from customers in advance, so they will no longer have to deal with late payments or non-paying customers. Since the meter will send daily/hourly consumption data to the utility company, it will help reduce electricity theft.

Our product will have the following features: Wireless capabilities to recharge the account from home. Provision of a keypad to recharge the account from a different card every time. LCD to display real time account balance and the current electricity rate. LED to warn the user of low account balance.\ Automatic shut-down feature once the account balance is zero.



Block Diagram

Electricity Company


Power Measurement

Transceiver Module





Block Description LCD: The primary function of the display will be to show the real time account balance along with the present rate of electricity. It will also be used for recharging the account. Keypad: The keypad will be used to key in credit card numbers and other details required to complete a wireless transaction for recharging the account. The LCD along with the keypad will provide an interface between the meter and the user or in other words, the utility and the user. Power Measurement: The power measurement block will measure the single phase AC power being used by the customer and, with the help of an ADC, convert the readings into a digital signal before sending it to the CPU for further processing. Transceiver: The transceiver module will provide a mode of communication between the meter and the electric utility. It will send and receive transaction details in order to recharge the customers account. It will also receive hourly electricity rates from the utility in order for the CPU to correctly asses the current account balance. The transceiver will also send daily/hourly usage data to the electric utility to help it keep a check on electricity theft. CPU: The central processing unit will consist of a microcontroller and will be responsible for coordinating between different modules of the system. The CPU will receive readings from the power measurement block and the electricity rate from the transceiver, and calculate and update the account balance on the display. It will also receive input from the keypad in order to send transaction details to the electric utility through the transceiver.

Performance Requirements Performance requirements for the meter are as follows: 1. The meter should be sturdy and resistant to normal wear and tear. It has to withstand temperature from -20 to 50 and has to last for about 10 years. 2. Power measurements have to be accurate with errors <1%. It goes without saying that accurate power measurement is at the core of any electricity meter. 3. The time lag between power measurement and display should be of the order of a few seconds. 4. The keypad should have a lifetime as long as the meter itself. The number of presses before failure for a key should be greater than 10,000. 5. The LCD should have a lifetime of at least 10 years~100,000 hours. 6. The transceiver should be able to able to provide glitch-free communication. This will help prevent any discrepancies in the event of a transaction.

7. The process of recharging ones account should be seamless. There shouldnt be a disruption in service during the process of recharging.



Testing Procedures The high modularity of our design and the relative independence of each module make it possible to test each module individually. However, the important task will be to interface the different modules together and ensure that the device functions smoothly. Accuracy in power measurement will be checked by verifying the readings produced by our power IC against a wattmeter connected parallel to the system. Transceiver performance will be verified by taking the device far away from the receiver, especially towards the interior of buildings where wireless signal reception is known to be poor. Seamlessness of the system will be tested manually like, by entering garbage values into the system. Lifetime related performance issues will be tested by keeping the device in the ON state as long as possible, operating devices towards the higher end of their operating range and observing changes in the performance. Tolerance Analysis Transceiver performance will be the key to top quality device performance. In order for the device to be used commercially, the transceiver will have to communicate under various weather conditions and also under distance constraints. We will test our transceiver in as many different weather conditions as possible and also under as much noise as possible to specify the device performance characteristics.


Cost and Schedule

Cost Analysis Part Micro-controller LCD Transceiver Power Measurement IC Keypad LED Cost/Unit ($) 10 10 30 5 10 1 Quantity 1 1 1 1 1 1 Total 10 10 30 5 10 1 66

Labor Name Ankit Chandak Pattaramon Vuttipittayamongkol Yen-Chia Huang Salary ($/hr.) 40 40 40 # of Hours 200 200 200 Cost of Labor (Salary*hrs.*2.5) ($) 20000 20000 20000 60000

Total cost = Parts + Labor = $60,066

Schedule Week 1 (2/7) 2 (2/14) Tasks Proposal Division of modules; Individual study; Parts ordered. Circuit prototyping; Design review. PCB design; Start micro-controller programming. Circuit construction; Micro-controller debugging Finish micro-co controller programming; Circuit debugging; Progress reports. Spring break; Prepare for mock-up demo. Mock-up demo; Circuit debugging. Submit final PCB design; Device testing begins. Device testing; Prepare for demo. Device testing; Prepare for demo and presentation. Demo. Presentation; Final Paper. Members Ankit Ankit Ankit, Pat, Yen Pat. Yen Ankit Pat Ankit Yen Ankit Ankit Yen Pat Ankit, Pat, Yen Pat Pat Yen Pat Ankit Ankit Pat Ankit Pat Yen Pat Ankit

3 (2/21) 4 (2/28) 5 (3/7) 6 (3/14)

7 (3/21) 8 (3/28) 9 (4/4) 10 (4/11) 11 (4/18) 12 (4/25) 13 (5/2)