OV-1 AMR Receiver Module

The Grid Insight OV-1 (a.k.a. the "Oysterville Board") is a small, inexpensive embeddable module that contains a digital radio receiver and data decoder for use with wireless utility meter transmitters from Itron, Schlumberger, GE, Badger, Hersey, and Mueller.

The Oysterville Board’s 3.3V UART serial interface is based on the NMEA 0183 standard used by GPS receivers -- it's straightforward and well-documented. Every valid received data reading from a utility meter produces one line of serial output containing essential data elements including meter transmitter serial number and meter reading. Since each line is just comma-separated text, the output can be easily parsed using scripting languages like Python and Perl. Example Python code is available.

By conforming to the same dimensions and pin assignments as the Digi XBee family of transceiver boards, the Oysterville Board benefits from the numerous XBee-compatible carrier and breakout boards available from suppliers like Sparkfun and Adafruit Industries, providing easy interfacing to RS-232, USB, and Ethernet. It can be easily integrated with low-cost single board computers like the Raspberry Pi or the BeagleBone Black.

Several operating modes are supported, enabling reception from a wide variety of electricity, water, and gas meters in North America representing the majority of existing AMR deployments. The OV-1 receives and decodes standard consumption messages (SCMs) containing instantaneous cumulative meter readings from Itron ERT utility meter transmitters such as the Itron 60W and 100W (water), the Itron 100G (gas), and the Itron Centron C1SR R300 (electricity). Older models are also compatible. Modes can be alternated to receive from more than one type of transmitter using just a single receiver.

It addition to the SCM modes, the Oysterville Board supports

- IDM modes for Itron transmitters that emit interval data messages (IDMs) containing historical data covering several hours of usage,

- Badger ORION narrowband and FHSS modes for Badger ORION CE water and gas transmitters, and

- a mode for Mueller (formerly Hersey) Hot Rod AMR transmitters.

For users with a license from Neptune Technology Group for decoding R900 data, the Oysterville Board hardware can be fitted with alternative firmware that is capable of receiving transmissions from Neptune R900 and R900i water meter transmitters.

Utilizing patented frequency-hopping algorithms, the Oysterville Board provides optimized modes that increase the number of transmissions received per hour without sacrificing sensitivity and range. For compatible transmitters, an exclusive frequency-hopping synchronization feature enables reception from a target transmitter as frequently as every four seconds.

Future firmware releases, which will be available as field-deployable upgrades, are anticipated to support a 900 MHz Wireless M-Bus mode compatible with Kamstrup FlowIQ water meters and an SCM+ mode compatible with the new Itron 100W+ water endpoint.

Development kits are available to qualified utilities, utility service providers, and system integrators. Technology licensing is also available for custom applications. For more information, contact us.

The OV-1 can be easily incorporated into a wireless utility meter receiver network relay solution (i.e., an AMR gateway). Grid Insight offers a reference implementation of just such a thing. To keep costs down and maximize customizability, it uses an off-the-shelf Raspberry Pi running Linux as the host, coupled with a custom adapter board to mate a Grid Insight® OV-1 “Oysterville” 900 MHz AMR receiver module to the Pi.

The adapter board hooks everything together with the added bonus of an on-board real-time clock (RTC) with coin cell battery backup. The adapter makes it painless to plug the Oysterville receiver into any Raspberry Pi, and the RTC removes the Raspberry Pi’s dependency on a network connection for proper timekeeping.

As a package, the Oysterville receiver with a Raspberry Pi can be used as an AMR data gateway connected via wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi. It can also work as an offline data logger that simply writes time-stamped meter reads to a USB memory stick.

Grid Insight offers two different ways to mount the whole package: first, an open-frame design with wall-mount plate that makes for easy prototyping, and, second, an all-metal industrial enclosure that can be used either on a desktop (with included rubber feet) or wall-mounted.

With either of these solutions, a connectorized low-noise amplifer (LNA) such as the Mini-Circuits ZX60-0916LN-S+ can be powered by the 5V supply on the adapter board to improve the sensitivity of the OV-1 from -105 dBm to -109 dBm, increasing range.

Development and evaluation kits featuring the Grid Insight® OV-1 multi-protocol utility meter receiver module are now available to qualified utilities and related companies. Please contact Grid Insight for more information.