Sunday, January 15, 2012

Energy meter will be replaced

14 Jan 2012: The energy meter I have been using (Sontex Supercal 539) is perhaps on its way out. Maybe the battery is going, and it has always annoyed me that it displays in Integers only. It regularly appears to display 'Err 2' which is an error message suggesting the need for replacement soon. It's not massively urgent, as it seems to recover later and show a reading in the afternoon or evening. I have noticed it occurs most when the flow temperature is freezing or below freezing.
    DMS metering of Pinxton, Nottinghamshire are specialists in energy flow metering, and are only 20 miles from my house. They advised me that the 539 is not ideal for use with this system as its volume measurement is based on a plastic paddle and that degrades over time when used with glycol. It temperature measurement is not very precise when the difference between the flow and return is in the range of 1-4 degrees. If the temperature comparison is also in integers, then the system will be under recording - Delta-T of 0.8 treated as zero, or 1.8 treated as 1 - who knows? Anyway, it will be replaced.
  I drove to Pinxton and bought a Sontex Superstatic 440. It is £ 100 more than an SuperCal 539, but it measures volume flow by electrostatic monitoring of the flow (no dodgy paddles), it measures down to fine decimal points (for greater accuracy), and it has an option to be mains powered, so it will never need a battery replacement. In addition, the electronic display unit can be detached and replaced if there is a fault, without requiring any change to the plumbing. It can measure cooling as well as heating. The plumbing bit can be up in the loft, but the display unit could be down in the 'linen cupboard' (reducing the need to climb the ladder so often).
  See the technical document about the SuperStatic 440
  If the slightly dodgy old Supercal is better on higher delta-T, I could re-deploy it on my proposed Evacuated Tube array. It won't be thrown away.
  I can't fit the new meter yet, as there are some special Tee pieces that I couldn't get from DMS and that Screwfix don't have either, so I have to go to a large plumbers merchant for them.

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