Author Topic: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab  (Read 526 times)

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Offline Sultanpepper123

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I need to purchase some initial equipment for a  small starting business, where i'll need to start developing electrical meters ( Single 240VAC/ Three Phase 380VAC ) eventually commercially. Electricity meters mainly consist of several aspects of electronics such as :

1. Microcontroller and digital circuits probably not very high speed  at most 60 MHz .
2. Metrology part which is responsible in capturing and doing most of the headaches and the way i see it , it can be treated like sensitive ADCs .
3. Power supply (AC/DC) & DC/DC flyback PSU .
4. Communication module such as RS485 , UART , Ethernet and PLC(Power Line Communication).

At the top of my head i thinking that i will need the following :

1. Oscilloscope 100 MHz Bandwidth 1 GS/s maybe 4 channels ( I'm leaning towards Siglent product lines, if there is something better I'm all ears) .
2. Logic Analyzer ( Salae Logic 8 ) to decode SPI , I2C , RS485 , UART .
3. Differential probes ( Never used them but from several searches and videos recommend to use them in power supply designs , am i right ?) .
4. A waveform generator (any suggestions ?)
5. An LCR meter maybe ? (any suggestions ? )
6. An Bench power supply ( any suggestions ? )
7. A good True RMS DMM

Right now i have several electricity meters that work on a test bench, to me as a hardware guy i'm thinking to this is useful to install the prototype hardware next to it and compare performance. But right now i'm feeling a bit lost. I would really appreciate if someone with a bit of experience in the field ( maybe instrumentation ? ) could point out to any alternative equipment recommendations that I should check out?  Anything major I am forgetting other than hand tools, etc

Note1: I'm always open to suggestions and constantly reading and learning anything as i go, so please be gentle.
Note2: If someone needs to know what standards will be to comply with :

1. IEC62055-31 (Relay)(Meter)
2. IEC62052-11
3. EN50470-3

Background about me: I'm an ECE and i've been working on low voltage designs 12V,5V & 3.3V for some time so my experience in AC circuits is so-so, i'll get there.
     

« Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 07:32:53 pm by Sultanpepper123 »
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2019, 07:26:49 pm »
By electrical meters I assume you mean electrical energy meters. If so, your list omits the most critical tool - an accurate power meter. If you have some existing meters of known accuracy they will get you started, but you will soon find the need for a true reference instrument. If you want to get very far with development you'll also need a waveform generation instrument, which can generate accurately controlled voltage and current waveforms, with a controllable phase relationship between them. There are several suppliers of these instruments, specifically for lab and production calibration use in the electrical energy meter industry.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 07:28:36 pm by coppice »
 
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Offline MosherIV

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2019, 10:07:10 pm »
Hi

As a start up, finance may be tight in the beginning. Only get the equipment the you NEED.
From your list, I would only get 1, 6 and 7 as must have.
3 if you need to.
What would you use 4 and 5 for?
As coppice pointed out, you can get special power simulators to generate the different conditions on power line, therefore 4 is not needed.
2 can be done with scope and bit of effort. Alternatively, get a cheap chinese clone (please do not use saleae software, be nice and use sigrok).
 
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Offline Sultanpepper123

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2019, 07:49:44 pm »
Hi

As a start up, finance may be tight in the beginning. Only get the equipment the you NEED.
From your list, I would only get 1, 6 and 7 as must have.
3 if you need to.
What would you use 4 and 5 for?
As coppice pointed out, you can get special power simulators to generate the different conditions on power line, therefore 4 is not needed.
2 can be done with scope and bit of effort. Alternatively, get a cheap chinese clone (please do not use saleae software, be nice and use sigrok).

Alright noted. Thanks for the advice

By electrical meters I assume you mean electrical energy meters. If so, your list omits the most critical tool - an accurate power meter. If you have some existing meters of known accuracy they will get you started, but you will soon find the need for a true reference instrument. If you want to get very far with development you'll also need a waveform generation instrument, which can generate accurately controlled voltage and current waveforms, with a controllable phase relationship between them. There are several suppliers of these instruments, specifically for lab and production calibration use in the electrical energy meter industry.


The company currently has several commercial meters and a weco test equipment as a start to compare with the meter. Thanks for the advice , really appreciate it. 

 

Offline daqq

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2019, 08:08:46 pm »
Do not forget a first aid kit, fire extinguisher and a poster on first aid and what to do when dealing with electric shock. This can save you or your colleagues.

As to the gear, I think you omit the LCR meter completely (I use mine in only VERY rare cases), as well as a signal generator (though useful occasionally of course).

As to other suggestions, if you want to chat with an IC without directly from the computer, the buspirate (or similar) is a useful tool.

You can also get several instruments in one - today Mixed Domain Oscilloscopes are very versatile tools, integrating both an oscilloscope and other measurement tools. The MDO3000 series scope (pricey!) has a logic analyzer, spectrum analyzer, arbitrary waveform generator and an oscilloscope, all in one box. It's fairly pricey though. There are cheaper devices IIRC out there, I've only had experience with this series and I liked it.

Quote
6. An Bench power supply ( any suggestions ? )
Used 6632A (or something from that series) from ebay. For 200 EUR you get an awesome power supply, that can be hooked up to a computer, can also sink current (great for testing power supplies), is precise. Awesome bang for the buck.
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Offline Sultanpepper123

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2019, 08:16:14 pm »
Do not forget a first aid kit, fire extinguisher and a poster on first aid and what to do when dealing with electric shock. This can save you or your colleagues.

As to the gear, I think you omit the LCR meter completely (I use mine in only VERY rare cases), as well as a signal generator (though useful occasionally of course).

As to other suggestions, if you want to chat with an IC without directly from the computer, the buspirate (or similar) is a useful tool.

You can also get several instruments in one - today Mixed Domain Oscilloscopes are very versatile tools, integrating both an oscilloscope and other measurement tools. The MDO3000 series scope (pricey!) has a logic analyzer, spectrum analyzer, arbitrary waveform generator and an oscilloscope, all in one box. It's fairly pricey though. There are cheaper devices IIRC out there, I've only had experience with this series and I liked it.

Quote
6. An Bench power supply ( any suggestions ? )
Used 6632A (or something from that series) from ebay. For 200 EUR you get an awesome power supply, that can be hooked up to a computer, can also sink current (great for testing power supplies), is precise. Awesome bang for the buck.

Looks awesome ! , really appreciate your notes and advice. Thank you sir
 

Offline daqq

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2019, 08:16:30 pm »
Quote
7. A good True RMS DMM
As to what DMM to get - I found that it's very useful if the DMM can log, or at least be hooked up to a computer. The 34461A is a great (again, pricey) tool that I've used for a lot of things (voltage stability measurements over the course of several days). It's got all sorts of statistical features.

And also, aside from the cool, awesome pricey DMM, be sure to have one or two cheap, hand held DMM, when you just need to measure something, or in addition to the main measurement monitor another value.
Believe it or not, pointy haired people do exist!
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Offline Sultanpepper123

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2019, 08:24:45 pm »
Alrigthy , thank you sir . And really good point in the logging on a pc over a long time.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2019, 08:28:13 pm »
Quote
7. A good True RMS DMM
As to what DMM to get - I found that it's very useful if the DMM can log, or at least be hooked up to a computer. The 34461A is a great (again, pricey) tool that I've used for a lot of things (voltage stability measurements over the course of several days). It's got all sorts of statistical features.

And also, aside from the cool, awesome pricey DMM, be sure to have one or two cheap, hand held DMM, when you just need to measure something, or in addition to the main measurement monitor another value.
I've never seen anyone working on electrical energy meters use a high accuracy DMM. You need a high accuracy power meter, and those normally include RMS voltage and current measurement to high accuracy. People usually just use a low cost DMM for general checks, and rely on the power meter for the precision measurements.
 

Offline BillB

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2019, 11:52:25 am »
Budget?
 

Offline donmr

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2019, 07:41:30 pm »
You will need to make a list of the things you expect to do, then what is needed for those.

One thing you might need is an AC power supply that can adjust the voltage and frequency.  This would be either for values not used at your location or to measure your devices behavior across ranges of inputs.
 
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Offline coppercone2

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2019, 02:34:20 am »
enough contact cleaner that people are not scared to use it
 

Offline FreddieChopin

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2019, 05:44:30 am »
You are re inventing thee wheel, why would anyone buy your rather expensive product instead of chinese ones?
 

Offline coppercone2

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2019, 06:25:44 am »
cuz they dont want shit
 

Offline daqq

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2019, 08:50:09 am »
Quote
You are re inventing thee wheel, why would anyone buy your rather expensive product instead of chinese ones?
By that logic all of the development and manufacture of consumer and most professional devices outside of China should cease.
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Offline coppice

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2019, 10:10:05 am »
You are re inventing thee wheel, why would anyone buy your rather expensive product instead of chinese ones?
If the Chinese have reached the end of the road, and no further improvement is possible, why do the Chinese keep introducing new models each year?
 
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Offline Gribo

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2019, 02:53:14 pm »
After you get the basics, get a controlled AC power source. You want to be able to characterize and validate your units under various AC conditions.
 
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Offline Sultanpepper123

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Re: Initial Equipment for a startup company a Electrical meters R&D Lab
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2019, 08:56:55 pm »
Budget?

Don't have numbers clear yet :-[ . Assume that money is not an object .

You will need to make a list of the things you expect to do, then what is needed for those.

One thing you might need is an AC power supply that can adjust the voltage and frequency.  This would be either for values not used at your location or to measure your devices behavior across ranges of inputs.

I agree. Would you suggest an equipment model number for reference ? . Thanks in advance.

You are re inventing thee wheel, why would anyone buy your rather expensive product instead of chinese ones?

Word on the street is that not everybody wants to deal with chinese vendors after the Huawei scandal, i could be wrong....


Quote
You are re inventing thee wheel, why would anyone buy your rather expensive product instead of chinese ones?
By that logic all of the development and manufacture of consumer and most professional devices outside of China should cease.

True that. :-+

After you get the basics, get a controlled AC power source. You want to be able to characterize and validate your units under various AC conditions.

I have a variac, woud that suffice ?
 


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