Itron launches Dual Mode AMR endpoint for indoor water meters

Itron Inc. today launched a new AMR endpoint device, the 50W ERT module for indoor water meters.

Flexible design eliminates need for FCC license

SPOKANE, Wash., Sept. 4, 2001 — Itron Inc. today launched a new AMR endpoint device, the 50W ERT module for indoor water meters.

The 50W module is the second of Itron's new "dual-mode" AMR endpoint devices for water meters to offer this flexible and innovative architecture. The 50W-1, designed for use with pit-set water meters, went on the market in June.

The announcement of the 50W module was made in conjunction with the upcoming Automatic Meter Reading Association annual conference in Quebec City, Canada. The conference brings together technology providers and utility representatives from the energy and water industries.

Extending Itron's industry lead in providing open-architecture AMR solutions, the 50W ERT module is compatible with registers of all water meter manufacturers and represents a significant improvement in flexibility for water utilities. The 50W is a dual-mode device connected either directly or remotely to an indoor water meter, and has the ability to operate in either a "wake-up" or "bubble-up" mode. In wake-up mode, the device operates just like Itron's 40W water ERT, waiting for a wake-up signal from a handheld, vehicle-based, or network reading system. The module then transmits the data, via radio, back to the collection system.

When operating in bubble-up mode, the 50W module needs no wake-up signal, and therefore requires no FCC license to operate. Instead, it sends a continuous stream of data that can be received by a meter reader walking or driving down the street, or via Itron's fixed-based MicroNetwork.

"The release of the 50W ERT module is the culmination of Itron's efforts to bring a new generation of highly flexible, dual-mode water endpoints to market," said John Hengesh, vice president and general manager of Itron's Water and Public Power business unit. "We released our first dual-mode water ERT for pit-set meters back in June. With today's announcement, we're extending the advantages of this technology to indoor meters. Now our water utility customers can enjoy the ease of use and flexibility this innovative design delivers regardless of whether they're automating pit-set or indoor meters."

Itron thoroughly and successfully tested the 50W water ERT module in conjunction with the Philadelphia Water Department, home to an Itron AMR system that is the largest in the United States among water utilities. The device is designed to provide consistently accurate meter readings from an indoor water meter. It is equipped with two long-life, replaceable "A" cell lithium batteries. In bubble-up mode, battery life is approximately 10 years. In wake-up mode, it's 20 years, which equals the life expectancy of the ERT, making battery changeout programs unnecessary.

"The 50W is built to Itron's usual high reliability standards for water ERTs, with the flexibility to meet any utility's needs," said Hengesh.

Itron Inc. is a technology provider and source of knowledge to the energy and water industry for collecting, analyzing, and applying critical data about electric, gas, and water usage.

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