AMR System Compatible with All American Meters

The Mars SmartRadio system is designed to provide automatic meter reading (AMR) for all meters in a utility’s inventory, whether they have standard encoders or standard registers.

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The Mars SmartRadio system is designed to provide automatic meter reading (AMR) for all meters in a utility’s inventory, whether they have standard encoders or standard registers. The system will be on display during the American Water Works Association Conference & Exhibition, to be held June 24-27 in Toronto, Canada.

Only one supplier in the AMR industry has failed in the last 10 years. Since the failure of this company represented a very large financial loss for many utilities, Mars developed a product that would read the other company’s transmissions and blend them in with Mars Transmitter readings.

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To learn more about AMR products from Floyd S. Salser Jr. & Assoc., DBA Mars Co., visit www.marswater.com
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The solution allowed utilities to use the remaining units to the end of their normal life and integrate a replacement system that could be compatible with existing software and operate in a similar drive-by mode.

The company’s family of SmartRadio products include a transmitter and variety of radio-based reading systems.

The SmartTransmitter is the data collection and transmission device for the system. It was designed using the MARS Extreme Engineering program to operate effectively in temperature and moisture environments that often cripple other meter reading devices. The transmitter can operate in flooded meter pits. It uses a sleep mode to achieve maximum battery life by allowing the transmitter to “sleep” at night and on weekends when readings are not being collected. With this mode enabled the SmartTransmitter boasts a battery life of up to 15 years.

The transmitter operates in the 902 MHz to 928MHz unlicensed ISM band and uses the “bubble up” broadcast method.

To collect meter readings, the SmartRadio system employs three different radio receiver data collection devices. The SmartReader probe is used for walk-by radio, touch read and direct read mixed systems. With the ability to store thousands of readings, the reader often eliminates the need for a handheld data collecting and storage device.

For drive-by applications, the SmartExpress receiver can read over a thousand meters per hour via a vehicle mounted unit that employs two receivers with antennas placed exactly one half wavelength apart to achieve maximum reliability. A controller card between the receivers determines the best signal and then transmits the data via RS232 down to a laptop mounted inside the vehicle. This configuration eliminates running delicate antenna cable into the vehicle which, if damaged, can weaken the incoming signal.

The SmartExpress receiver is a universal AMR receiver. It can read other select manufacturer transmitters, and is said to be the first such system to marry multiple RF AMR systems in a single drive-by system.

The company also offers the SmartBeltPack which will interface with many current reading systems. Using standard communications it is adaptable to any existing software package that accepts data via an RS232 interface.

Since choosing an AMR system can be a difficult task, Mars offers a “SmartStart” package system. The package includes everything needed for a utility to start reading meters wirelessly, including transmitters, receiver equipment, software, training and support.

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