Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Energy meter installed

24 April 2012: The daily meter readings have been lacking Sunbox energy readings since late March. Since I discovered the leak, I took the old Sontex 539 meter and pump off. I have now installed the new Sontex Supercal 440 energy meter (from DMS) with the 531 integrator. I finally got the wiring installed this morning. During the first day of working (very overcast) it records a grand total of 7 kilowatt hours! I still don't quite get how to get it to show me volume and temperatures, but I will get round to that.
    Like other Sontexes, it has just enigmatic orange buttons, and there are tricks like how long you hold them down, or how often you press them - and little in the way of knowing what the tricks are.
   This one has a mains power supply so that it can run 'for ever', but the ones with battery are rather extraordinary. If the 539's battery runs out after 6 years, the entire unit has to be replaced! Why can't they be like a watch or smoke detector, have a battery that can be replaced every few years?

In the photo, the blue cable is the ethernet link from the PV roof to the broadband modem.

Postscript: Of course, it didn't take me long to learn to use the orange buttons. after nearly a year with the Sontex 440, I am very happy with it, although it cost a lot more than its predecessor, the 539.


  1. I thought the battery option was an 11 year battery, for RHI purposes the meter would need sending back for factory recallibration every 5 years anyway. surely it would be sorted then?

  2. Hello,

    I have read some of your comments, I am not sure if you have contacted DMS after this was posted but if you need to talk then please give me a call via the number on the website.

    The Supercal 531 unit battery does last for 8-11 years based on data transmission to another source e.g radio transmition option or M-Bus network, this could reduce it to 5 years minimum. Once the battery supply is no more then this can be replaced very easily and as the Supercal 531 does have an EEPROM memory the readings will start from were they left off.

    There is a generic datasheet to show you what the display readings mean and how to get there which is very useful, but you are correct there is alot of pages and information stored some might not be of use but the idea behind that is if you do need to use the data of a particular month then you can back track via the screen.

    Recalibration has still not been fixed at a date yet but 5 years is what mainland EU recommend so i would think this would be accepted - Recalibration can be done onsite very easily.

    If anyone does need to talk about this device then please call and ill be available to talk.

    Chris Bishop - Technical Manager - DMS Limited

    1. Chris, thanks for the reply. I bought the Sontex 440 from DMS a year ago. At the time, i was told that the battery on the 531 couldn't be replaced. The other reason for replacing it was that I was told that the electrostatic method of measuring flow was more accurate than the paddle in the 531. Ive been very pleased with the 440, and like the extra richness of information. I am using a 531 on my second sunbox and will probably replace it with a 440 eventually.
      Maybe I misunderstood and perhaps the battery is 'engineer-replaceable' but not 'user-replaceable'. in this context, i am 'engineer' and would have liked to be offered the option.

    2. Sorry Chris, my previous meter was the --->539<--- that runs with battery, not the 531 which I have as a display for the 440.


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