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IMPORTANT NOTE I bought this information many years ago and I will share it for educational purposes only. I am not responsible for any damage or lost for the mistake while performing some noted experiment. I redraw the schematic circuits for the benefits of the author.
STOPPING POWER METERS
John J. Williams, MSEE CEO, Consumertronics ©1976-1979, 1992, Consumertronics. All Rights Reserved. FOURTH EDITION
“If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the time when you will have to fight will all odds against you and when you have only a precarious change of survival. There may even be a worse fate; you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to die than to live as slaves”. Winston Churchill
STOPPING POWER METERS was ordinarily written and published in 1976. Although our last edition was published in 1979, electrical-mechanical KW-HR meters have remained mostly unchanged since the 1950’s. Many home and businesses today have the same meters they’ve had since the home or business edifice was built. Of course, since the 1950s, utilities have come up with Peak Demand Meters but have primarily applied them to energy-intensive businesses and a few households. Digital meters were invented in the mid-1960s, and even today, only a small number of and businesses have them. The Rehm-Goshy electronic meter is most well known. The reason for their universal lack of success is because of inaccurate as the old rotational disk meters are; they are more rugged and weather-resistant than any known digital meter. You wouldn’t leave your stereo in the snow for years at a time and expect it to still work. Electronic meters fair just about as well. STOPPING POWER METERS is divided into two distinct bodies. The first body covers watt-hour energy meters, how they work, how they are adjusted, and the error as they produce. The second body is devoted to various techniques of slowing down and stopping power meters. This manual is comprehensive and full of invaluable information on load-side meter methods. In-depth theoretical knowledge is not required to understand and utilize this information. However, a good practical electrical and electronic background and know-how are definite pluses. Note, the utility meters attach to your home or business is technically a watt-hour (i.e. KW-HR) or energy meters not a dynamometer power meter, but the principle of operation is basically the same. This edition of STOPPING POWER METERS contains the results of both new experiments and repeats of old experiments using better and more sophisticated equipment. STOPPING POWER METERS is sold strictly for educational purposes only. Although it describes in detail method that may be illegal, we do not recommend or imply any illegal application whatsoever. Never use these methods on a system that is metered by a utility company meter. CAUTION: 120 VAC and 240 VAC power can cause loss of life and property and should be handled with the greatest of
knowledge, care and respect if you run your experiments on a personal meter, be sure to completely electrically isolated it from the utility’s meter so that whatever effects your personal meter is subjected to do not impact the utility’s meter. Isolation can be performing by using isolation transformers and appropriate filters. As far as we know, the legality of applying load-control methods that incidentally make the utility-owned meter under register has not been legally tested (after almost 20 years). However, assume that law enforcement will take as dim of a view of doing this as it does if you actually physically tamper with the meter. It is ironic that many law enforcement agencies on one hand can’t seem to do enough to please utility big-shots while blithely ignoring the many and gross crimes committed by utilities upon the citizenry. Fortunately, most jurors are savvy to this perversity and corruption of the law and act accordingly. Also, no license is granted under the copyright and-or patent rights of Consumertronics or anyone else. And, although we have made every reasonable effort to provide accurate, reliable, money-saving and useful information, we assume no responsibility whatsoever for error or omissions. Again, be careful and know how you are doing. Induced currents can injure or kill and mistakes can also cause property damage. All circuit diagrams are simplified; add fuses and circuit breakers as required.
There is nothing magical, sacred or miraculous about watt-hour meters. Like any high-grade scientific instrument designed to accurately measure an electrical parameter (energy in kilo watt-hour) under specific operating conditions and in an ideal environment, they lose accuracy when their operating and environmental conditions are less than ideal and thru the process of aging. Watt-Hour meters measure electrical energy consumed in a dynamic load by using the principle of the 2-phase induction motor. In fact, IF THE ROTOR DISK WAS RESTRAINED, THE WATT-HOUR METER BECOMES A DYNAMOMETER-TYPE POWER METER.
Figure 1. Basic Elements of the typical induction type WATT–HOUR Meter. The four major makers of these devices are General Electric, Sangamo, Westinghouse and Duncan.
Essential features of watt-hour meters are depicted in Figure 1. The basic elements of the single-phase meter are the stator assembly (electromagnet), the rotor assembly (includes disk), the retarding magnet(s) and the register assembly. It should be noted here that while in many meters, the voltage coil is wired across the 240 VAC lines (ex. GE as shown in Figure 1), in some meters there are two Voltage Coils – each wired between a 120 VAC leg and the neutral (ex. Duncan 12S), and still others, only one Voltage Coil is used and it is wired between one 120 VAC leg and ground (ex. Westinghouse DSN). In considering the methods to apply here, if they affect the Voltage Coil, then you must take into account these variations in Voltage Coil design. If you don’t know the Voltage Coil design for your meter, experimentation may be required. The stator consists of a voltage (potential coil) with a compensatory winding and two current coils. The stator is energized by the combined effect of the line voltage and load currents. Two torques acting in the same direction but 90 electrical degrees apart are generated. These sinusoidal rotor torques add to produce a resultant constant and steady torque. The first torque component result from the interaction of the useful current flux (due to load current) with the voltage-induced eddy currents in the rotor disk, and like the induction motor, rotor speed is proportional to line frequency. The second rotor torque results from the interaction of the useful voltage flux with the current-induced eddy currents in the disk. When the Power Factor (PF) is unity, both torques are always in the forward direction because the current (or voltage) flux is always of the same polarity as the voltage (or current)-induced eddy currents. However, when the Power Factor is less than unity (lag or lead), there are different instances in the cycles of each torque component when the torques are reversed corresponding to those instances in which the line voltage and current are of different polarities. Although still essentially constant, average torque is diminished as the meter “fights itself” to produce a reading. As it turns out, the disk torque will be proportional to the product of the RMS voltage, RMS current, and PF (the cosine of the phase angle between voltage and current). Thus, you will be billed for the real, not imaginary, power consumed. Our “LOADFINDER” manual, among other information it provides, explains real, imaginary and apparent power and how to make PF corrections. Because the user is billed for the real power consumed, PF correction method like the “Tron Box” do not work. The Tron Box design, posted on many computer BBSs, has a small-value resistor in series with the load and a capacitor(s) in parallel with it. While it does correct PF to some extent, it does not lower electric bills (we’ve tested it), and it can adversely affect the magnetization current required by some induction motors. To translate the rotor disk torque into disk speed, permanent “braking” magnets must be provided, otherwise, the disk speed would increase until arrested by very low air and pivot friction. These powerful magnets generate and eddy current in the aluminum disk whenever it is moving. This eddy current provides an opposing torque because its flux opposes that of the permanent magnets. This theoretically results in one constant speed of every torque (thus power) level. Thus, disk speed is proportional to the consumed real power. The register assembly consists of a gear train that connects the rotor worm gear to the ganged dials in the meter’s faceplate. Three-phase, three-wire systems require two single-phase meters or one meter with two independent stators. Four-wire polyphase systems usually require three single-phase meters.
For a PF of less than 0.5 in a two or three meter configuration, one meter will always run BACKWARDS! Unless it is known for certain that PF is less than 0.5, the true energy reading usually cannot be accurately determined.
KW-HR METER CALIBRATIONS & COMPENSATION
The common inductance watt-hour meter's design principle has remained unchanged since 1925, but there have been considerable improvements in pivoting, coil design, compensation, etc, since then. To maintain accuracy, watt-hour meters must be calibrated frequently, which is almost never done! When it is done, utilities usually limit this recalibration to: (1) Full-Load Adjustment (2) Light-Load Adjustment (3) Lag Adjustment The policy that most utilities have towards their home and business KW-HR meters is that they won't calibrate a meter unless it has either been severely damaged or the customer chronically complains. If the customer complains, they will replace or recalibrate the meter. If they find that the meter was reading too high, they will readjust the meter accordingly. If too low or about right, they will charge the customer $50-$200 for the recalibration process, and if too low, they will bill the customer for unpaid usage based upon their calculated estimate. In reality, most utilities either never or rarely ever admit that a meter la running too high. In fact, over the years, we have received numerous reports from people saying that their meters were running far too high, they complained, the utility tested the meter, and then told them that the meter was either running right or even too low, refused to adjust the excess charges, and billed them for the recalibration. In many of these cases, the customer then noticed that the meter seemed to have been adjusted to a much more moderate rate. What usually triggers the complaint is that the customer goes on a long vacation or business trip with everything disconnected except perhaps his refrigerator and a few clocks; and upon his return, he receives a bill far too high for what the connected items could have possibly consumed. The utilities usually accuse the customer of letting other people live in and-or use his home/business while he was on gone. Most people when they are away for a long period leave keys with a trusted relative or friend to look after the house, feed the pets, etc. Typically, the utility will then claim that the energy was used by the people they loft the keys with. It should also be noted that utilities now run sophisticated computer programs that analyze consumption levels not only for each month but also for corresponding months over years. Using this software, they can detect any gradual or sudden change in consumption. The analysis period is usually 13 months. However, in most cases, they don't react to these changes. That's because they realize that people go on trips, household composition changes, etc. They will react if they notice a large, unexplained drop in consumption that persists for many months. For example, if one's bill was running somewhere around $150/month over the lost 6 months, and then it suddenly drops to $60/month and stays around there for the
next several months, the utility computer will certainly flag the account. In moat cases, they'll make discreet Inquiries about household composition, the meter man will scrutinize the meter, and the neighbors may be talked to. A pole meter will likely be Installed If suspicions warrant it. Most smart outlaws now take snapshots of their power pole prior to engaging in any meter management method and then periodically refer to them for any changes that might indicate a pole meter placement. The biggest danger to the outlaw comes about if he lives in a small town where everyone seems to know everyone else's business and everything gets noticed. The savvy outlaw will gradually reduce his consumption if the composition of his household remains the same - maybe 1% per month up to a reasonable point. If the number in his household decreases, he'll then take that as an opportunity to abruptly decrease his registration 1.5-2 times the percentage of household decrease. For example, if the household was 5 and one leaves, that's a 20% decrease in the household. He would then abruptly decrease the meter registration by 30% to 40%. Usually a household reduction occurs because a child grows up or an older person dies. If questioned about why so great of a sudden reduction, excuses like, “Bob loved to watch MTV all day.” Or, “Because Aunt Kafy was sick, we had to have the heat on high, day and night.” If the household increases, the savvy outlaw will permit a 1/5 to 3/4 increase in meter registration per new member. Usually, a household increases because a baby is born or a child moves back home. Excuses for such a low Increase could be, “The baby uses pampers and we heat her bottle on an old wood stove.” Or, “Since Susy returned home, she's root careful about burdening us with extra bills.” In any event, the outlaw keeps excellent records of his meter's readings on at least a weekly basis, keeps track of the time frame that the meter reader will show up in, watches for pole meters and snoops, and usually doesn't allow registration to drop so low or so fast as to trigger an investigation. The savvy outlaw also conceals his rig such as in an old radio, TV, computer, etc case. One person reported to have built his circuitry into an old recliner and concealed the cord underneath it. It helped warm his back in the winter while it got the job done. (1) FULL-LOAD ADJUSTMENT: The Full-Load Adjustment rating of most home and small business meters is 30 amps (Class 200), printed on the meter face (5, 10, and 15 amp meters are still found in many rural homes, and larger ones are found in larger operations). At a loss of some accuracy, most modern meters are capable of measuring energies of up to 600% Full-Load Rating. This adjustment is made at full load and unity PF. It is done by assuring that the braking magnets are of suitable strength. Then, by carefully varying their positions from the disk or by adjusting the positions of the magnetic shunts that lie between their pole faces and the disk, by turning the adjustment wheel that has an “F” (Fast) and “S” (Slow) on it, disk speed is accurately set. NOTE: In some cases the “S” direction speeds the meter up while the “F” direction slows it down (Duncan Meters). This opposite notation is designed to fool and penalize meter tamperers. This is the main adjustment that the utility will make when either you or it is concerned about the meter's accuracy.
(2) LIGHT-LOAD ADJUSTMENT: Under light loads (10% of Full Load), meter performance becomes substantially non-linear. This results from friction, lack of linearity in the generation of driving torque as a function of load current, and the presence of torques due to the potential flux acting alone caused by the lack of symmetry of the stator with respect to the disk. Uncompensated, meters usually over register under light loads. However, due to voltage coil flux irregularities, it has not been uncommon for meters to run backwards under light loads. Slots and holes have been punched into disks of modern meters to prevent the disk from moving at all under very light loads (less than 1% full load). This adjustment essentially adds a controlled torque due to the voltage flux alone sufficient to provide the correct disk speed for 10% unity PF loads. Compensation torque is provided by adding a shaded-pole loop known as the Light-Load Plate. The necessity of this adjustment is apparent if the disk turns in either direction when there is no load. This condition is known as “meter creep.” (3) LAG ADJUSTMENT: Since the voltage coil has some resistance, the voltage flux lags line voltage by less than 90 degrees. A compensatory lag coils (see Fig. 1) or plate is provided to adjust the lag so that it is as close to 90 degrees as possible. This adjustment is made at 0.5 lagging PF. When the lag is out of adjustment, it almost always results in under registration, but it is hardly noticeable unless the PF is small. Any lag adjustment made to increase disk speed at lagging PF will decrease its speed for leading PF (capacitive load). Often, the Light-Load and Lag adjustments are provided by the same mechanism. A radial motion provides the Lag Adjustment while a circumferential motion provides the Light-Load Adjustment.
KW-HR METER INACCURACIES
Utilities are fond of boasting that KW-HR meters are accurate to within ±1% of actual consumption, under conditions where load currents vary from 0.3% to 400% and voltage from 80% to 120% of rated values, PF from 0.2 lagging to 0.2 leading, and temperatures from -40°C to +75°C. In my opinion that claim is ridiculous. In reality, this in the very best case error for precisely calibrated meters under laboratory conditions. Under the above field conditions, cumulative error for a calibrated meter can be as high as 100% under small loading conditions and higher than 10% under normal home/business loads WITHOUT having made any effort to “fool” the meter. See our “KW-HR MANUAL” for documentation about the required calibration of KW-HR meters from the C12 ANSI Standard and a letter sent to us by the National Bureau of Standards. To summarize, a well built, excellent-condition KWHR meter maintained in a closely controlled environment must be calibrated at least one every 6 months to maintain a ±1% accuracy. Environmental variations, wearand-tear and other individual meter differences may require more frequent calibrations. These errors can result in either your or the utility's favor. When it favors the utility, you'll never hear about it, and you will undoubtedly never collect a dime for past overpayments. When the error is in your favor, if the utility notices, you probably will be billed on a guessed-estimate arbitrarily determined by the utility to
adjust your costs upwards. And your meter will be replaced or recalibrated by one more favorably calibrated for the utility, and-or you may be monitored by a pole meter. However, unless you take the initiative and chronically complain, the utility will rarely adjust an over registering meter to read the correct amounts. Many errors are caused by a number of factors, many of them interrelated. These errors exist even when the meter is precisely calibrated. They are accentuated when the Full-Load, Light-Load and-or Lag adjustments are required. No scientific instrument remains accurate if not frequently and precisely calibrated, particularly an instrument used continuously in an outdoor environment. Wear, deterioration, temperature, humidity, dirt, electromagnetic fields, hock and vibration always take their toll. Meters usually spend years in operation - sometimes even decades between calibrations. Errors didn't matter so much when rates were fair, such as in the 1960s and early 1970s. However, few people can now afford to pay for their actual consumption - much less for errors that are compounded by other factors, such as the Fuel Adjustment rip-off, taxes, etc. Utilities benefit several ways by infrequently calibrating their meters. • Calibrations cost money. • Calibrations tend to cause customer disputes. If a meter man comes to your home or business to “calibrate” your meter, the first thought that goes thru your mind is, “Oh, oh, now my costs will really go out the roof!” • Permanent magnets progressively lose their strength over time and especially when exposed to heat. Meter braking magnets are no exception. And as they lose their braking power, disk speed increases over time for identical loads.
METER ERROR SOURCES
The effects of most of these error modes are summarized in the graph.
(1) TEMPERATURE ERROR: Typically, motors read high between 0 and 80°F and low thereafter, for any given day. Error accentuates with decreasing PF and this error alone can be as high as 4% at 0.5 PF for new meters. The primary cause of this error is the increase in the voltage coil lag at low temperatures (temporary error) and demagnetization of the braking magnets (permanent error) at high temperatures (see above). ALL PERMANENT MAGNETS DEMAGNETIZE WITH TIME, THE RATE OF WHICH DEPENDS UPON TEMPERATURE, TIME, THE MAGNETIC QUALITY OF THE MATERIAL ITSELF, HOW THE MATERIAL WAS INITIALLY MAGNETIZED, VIBRATION, SHOCK AND ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD EXPOSURE. And some KW-HR meters are slightly demagnetized each time a surge is experienced. The demagnetization of braking magnets ALWAYS results in disk rotor speed-up and over registration! Many North American utilities prefer to install their meters on a southern exposure so that they tend to overheat. The magnets inside the glass cover can easily reach temperatures of 180+°F in mid-summer in areas with hot summers, just as the inside of your car gets extremely hot if you leave it parked in the sun with the windows rolled up. In meters, it's worse, because the meter itself generates substantial heat. On Sept. 25, 1992, 10:45 AM, we used a Simpson Model 388 Therm-0-Meter and bimetallic probe to determine the temperature in and around our southerly-exposed KW-HR meter. The dark-brown stucco wall on all sides of the meter measured 98±3°F. The temperature of the top, back portion of the meter's glass cover measured 109°F. That was the outside temperature of the meter - the inside temperature (which we could not access) was probably at least 10 degrees higher. While a difference of 11-21°F in a meter's internal temperature over the ambient temperature does not seem like a big concern, over years and decades it can lead to substantial demagnetization of the braking magnets with a corresponding over registration that YOU will pay for! While I have been told by several people in the electrical utility industry that indeed the industry has conducted long-term studies of the demagnetization of KW-HR meter braking magnets - even that they use this data to select magnet materials to assure certain high rates or degradation - to my knowledge no such study has ever been published. Nor is there any standard promulgated by the Government. When
you consider that millions of braking magnet pairs are simultaneously declining in their braking forces in energy meters throughout the country, you soon realize that electric utilities automatically and secretly impose an additional inflation rate of an estimated 1% - 2% nationally literally worth $ Billions! (2) FREQUENCY ERROR: Line frequency seldomly varies more than ±1% from 60Hz (or 50Hz in 50Hz countries). However, a 10% variation of frequency can result in a 1% or more error, particularly for high PF. Meters typically read high at low frequencies (to a point) and low at high frequencies. Meters typically can perform erratically when harmonically rich waveforms (ox: rectified sine wave) are applied to it at appreciable energy levels. Error is higher for low PF loads at low frequency. (3) VOLTAGE ERROR: Generally, line voltage is stable to within ±10% of rated value. In cases of over voltage, KW-HR meters read substantially low due to significant AC damping that result in some braking mechanisms. This phenomenon is called "overload droop" and is slightly higher for low PF. KW-HR meters read slightly high when line voltage is low. (4) VERY HIGH OR VERY LOW LOADING: Very low loading almost always favors the utility, even for compensated molars, up to the point where the motor slops turning (which won't happen with some meters even with all loads disconnected). This error can possibly be as high as 100% of actual consumption. Very high loading of meter also results in "overload droop." For low PF, the meter almost always reads high no matter the actual consumption. (5) METER DISSIPATION: Meters dissipate about 1.4 watts on a continuous basis. Furthermore, if the disk stops turning, 22-24 watts is required just to restart it. For the dubious privilege of letting the utility monitor your electrical consumption, it costs you about one KWH per month in meter dissipation alone. (6) VIBRATION AND SHOCK: Vibration and shock will instantly uncalibrate any scientific instrument - including KW-HR meters, causing it to either under register or over register. The final result is pretty much unpredictable, however, substantial shock and vibration usually causes the disk to wobble or warp and this will cause it to either slow down or stop altogether. Thus, if your meter is located near earthquakes, heavy machinery or high traffic flows, your motor may be put out of calibration in a very short period of time. Note that most meters are located on walls, and walls act as sounding boards, which tend to amplify vibrations and shock delivered to the meter. (7) INTERMITTENT LOADS: A major cause of meter over registration is intermittent loads. Because of a purposefully designed-in meter flaw, the amount of time it takes for a KW-HR meter to accelerate to Indicate increased loading is a much shorter duration than
the time it takes for it to decelerate when the new load is turned OFF.
HOW TO STOP POWER METERS
This section is dedicated to slowing down - even stopping – power meters without physically tampering with them or applying externally generated power, and while consuming substantial power. Again, we provide this information for educational purposes only. Any attempt to tamper with a utility meter is almost definitely illegal. It is unclear to us whether the legal definition of tampering includes using loads that just so happen to slow down or stop the meter, as many hold the view that once the energy passes thru the meter, the customer has constructively bought it and it’s his to do with as he sees fit. Some utilities define tampering as: “Tampering means any unauthorized interference with the company's equipment, including meters or other property, which would reduce the accuracy of the measurement or eliminate the measurement of the electricity taken by any customer or person on the premises or any unauthorized connection of a meter.” Utilities maintain easement rights over virtually every property they service. Thus incredibly, if you break into their meter attached to your property while standing on your property you could go to jail for trespassing! If your utility notices a sudden drop in usage or vary low usage that cannot be easily explained, they will probably suddenly appear to examine the situation. Broken meters and seals, meter bypasses, attached magnets, upside-down meters, etc, are very obvious giveaways of meter tampering to them, although some are sometimes caused by vandals, accidents or acts of nature. If your utility suspects you of meter tampering, it may slap a pole meter on your line. A pole meter may be a meter similar to yours or it may be a CurrentSquared-Hour (CSH) meter. These are located on the top of or near to your service pole and are generally placed just where your service drop connects into the main lines. They are usually easy to spot. They may be the hook-on type, which has a folding hook that loops around the wire and closes to look like a folded question mark. Or they are hard-wired. No matter how precise they claim pole meters to be, as well as your meter, a 10% or so difference in readings can occur just from nominal differences between the meters, line drop, and different operating environments. Since a CSH meter does not indicate line voltage fluctuations, the error can be substantially greater than that of a pole meter watthour meter. Furthermore, if your PF is extremely low, which can be accurately measured by a utility PF meter, the utility will likely penalize you for a low-PF condition. Few people dispute the need of a utility to get a fair return solely based upon the service provided (but not upon the utility's (ailing investments - particularly in regards to nuclear power plants). However, most people also believe that “public” utilities have been gouging them. Electrical costs have soared at least 5 times higher than what we think that they should be from their early 1970s levels. In 1970, a monthly $25 electric bill was considered to be high to many families. Now, bills of $150+ are common. Many people now believe that if the untampered KW-HR meter provided by their utility is unable to accurately measure the amount of their usage, then that it is fair
for them to adopt certain strategies and tactics that will level the playing field. However, don't expect your utility to be as accommodating as your conscious is on what's fair and what's not. No method of slowing or stopping a power meter should be based upon breaking a line neutral or putting a fuse or circuit breaker on one. These practices are deadly! Virtually every method that will slow or stop the meter uses loading that requires DC or non-60Hz frequency components. Figure 3 demonstrates the susceptibility of typical KW-HR meters to such conditions. Power meters behave very similarly. Note: As the line frequency approaches either DC or high frequency, the KW-HR meter reading tends to zero (disk stops turning). A meter with substantial DC or RF energy Imposed on it will not turn no matter how much energy is applied - it will bum out first. Even a little DC will eventually permanently magnetize the staler if applied long enough to provide lasting braking effects even after it is removed. High frequency components will simply under register due to the Impedances and hysteresis of the coils and rotor inertia. Mixed frequencies (ex: rectified sine wave) will cause the rotor to behave erratically (because it will try to turn simultaneously at more than one speed), and if its energy is high enough, rotor speed will drastically slow down and may even stop. Harmonically-rich waveforms require more energy to stop the meter than DC or RF, simply because most of its harmonic energy is in frequencies not far from 60Hz. Fast load surges will be far under registered primarily due to the rotor inertia. CAUTION: Line and induced voltages can kill! For all electrical projects, be certain that all circuit components, including wiring, can more than handle worse case voltages, currents and powers before proceeding to construct any circuit. Use sensible, safe and accurate wiring techniques and procedures, as well as good judgment, at all times. YOUR SAFETY IS TOTALLY UP TO YOU. See Figure 14 for our ground symbol conventions. Unless you clearly know what you are doing, never connect one type of ground to another.
If you don't have a power or KW-HR meter to practice on, either one can be obtained legally, but they are now hard to find. We have found them at Government surplus sales and auctions, and by contacting firms that demolish old homes and apartments. We do have several dozen on hand at Consumertronics and we charge $500 each for them (while the supply lasts). "PIV" indicates Peak Inverse or Reverse Voltage (or DC working voltage for capacitors). All figures are simplified circuit diagrams. Add (use, circuit breaker,
transient suppression, isolation, etc. as required by your set-up. Transient suppression is required to assure long-lasting, carefree performances of semiconductors, capacitors and other components. Even without our methods, good transient and ripple suppression protects Induction motors and transformers, and shields appliances from utility-generated ripple control of them. See our "HIPPLEDOFF" manual for specific details. The term, "AC Loads" found in the figures herein, refers to loads, such as transformers, induction motors and electronics, that must be exposed only to pure 60Hz or 50Hz AC power. Some electronics are transformer-isolated from the main power lines, while others use the increasingly popular switching regulators that aren't nearly as well isolated from the line. Also, transformers and Induction motors saturate and stall when exposed to DC, and they can also burn out because of their low resistance to line neutral, thus causing thorn to shunt out far too much DC current. The term, "AC/DC Loads" refers to all loads that can operate off of AC and DC power but also have some tolerances for harmonics. AC/DC Loads primarily refer to resistive elements (space heaters, irons, water heaters, etc), Incandescent lamps and universal and DC motors. Some types of equipment (ax: some space heaters) have electronics or fan motors that require nearly pure 60Hz power and other parts (ex: heating elements) that qualify as AC/DC Loads. Some of them can be modified with two separate power inputs. Normally, if a motor has brushes and Is of the type used in small applications (ex: handheld power drill), it will run perfectly well off of either DC or harmonic power as well as AC. Careful experimentation using a variac should be done on an individual basis. Note that DC may have to be filtered out for some universal motors as they can't cope with both DC and AC at the same time. (1) DC LOADS: DC loading is the hardest to accomplish but it is the most effective method. If you have induction motors, transformers or electronics, any DC that roaches them will also adversely affect them. The making of homemade inductors should be done with care. They should be kept insulated. And don't do what one of person did! He wrapped the leg of his drill press with wire to make an Inductor only to find that the drill press became too “hot” to touch.
With the DC Method, three major problem areas have arisen. Some are finding that the C1 (blocking) capacitors are costly, overly bulky or difficult to realize, even with the Figure 2 arrangement. These capacitors are required ONLY IF you apply the DC Method to a system that supports other loads sensitive to DC excitation
simultaneously running off of the same KW-HR meter. This problem is simply solved by running all of your DC experiments with all sensitive AC-only loads disconnected (ex: by temporarily throwing their circuit breakers). With a DC current of about 5 amperes, a substantial permanent decrease in meter indication will result with time due to permanently induced malfunctions.
Problems involving the kickback of rectified AC into the DC power supply may occur. We used a very heavy-duty charger (like those found in garages) and didn't observe any malfunctions. Figure 4 Illustrates two approaches of overcoming this problem, making it possible to realize this method with a smaller, home-type autobattery charger.
The Figure 3 circuit only affects the current coils of the meter. This is because the meter's voltage coil is across the outputs of the two rectifiers. To get the voltage coil into the act, we used the circuit of Figure 5. We obtained satisfactory results with both approaches. Some meters are more vulnerable thru their current coils while others thru their voltage coil.
Be careful when using the DC Method. Other meters sharing the same power transformer secondary will also be slowed down. However, because loads on other meters will probably not be DC-isolated, problems could result in their operations. (2) FREQUENCY METHOD: High frequency loading is more easily accomplished but less effective and reliable than the DC Method, and will usually require "tuning". Tone generators are also called signal, audio frequency, waveform or function generators. Most well designed units with short-circuit protection and the ability to deliver at least 5 amperes (if necessary, couple with an audio amp) to the meter. Tones may be steady or in bursts, experiment to determine which works best for your system. Our "PHONE COLOR BOXES" manual contains many useful designs. See Figure 6 and Figure 7 Optimum frequency is empirically determined. Meter will stop or at least chatter at certain "resonant" tones but run relatively smoothly at higher ones. The signal generator should be transformer-coupled to the AC power circuitry. Good shielding should be provided and all signal lines should be of minimal length and with good impedance matching. Radiated RF power beyond a small amount requires prior FCC approval. We found in certain cases that by using the Figure 6 circuit with the meter passing only a few 60Hz amps, the meter will indicate in reverse at several frequency points. Why? We are not certain about the mechanism involved but believe that the reversals are caused by a combination of voltage coil flux irregularities and voltageto-current phase relationships.
In our 1st edition of “STOPPING POWER METERS” we recommended RF signals of 1KHz to 100KHz (Figure 6 and Figure 7). Frequency components below 1KHz are difficult to filter out without significantly attenuating the 60Hz line component, even
though some frequency points between 100Hz and 1KHz are very effective in reducing meter registration. However, because of customer feedback on their successes in the 100Hz to 1KHz range, in the 2nd Edition we changed our limit from 100Hz to 10KHz, which also makes it easier to find a low cost audio generator. This then resulted in customer complaints about filtering problems! Therefore, choose whatever range best suits your needs and capabilities. This method causes no observable permanent effect on KW-HR meters. The DC Method problem of adversely affecting other meters on the same power transformer secondary is usually not a problem with this method. The power lines and transformer will effectively attenuate most frequency components above 60Hz. Some firms today are peddling transient eliminators as energy savers. They state that by filtering out line transients (using their grossly overpriced circuits, of course), “The meter runs more slowly because transients cause meters to over register.” If this were so, the Frequency Method described herein would cause meters to over register! However, their claims are false even using their own logic! Filtering out all transients on the motor's LOAD side simply means that ALL of the incoming transient energy is dissipated BY THE METER ALONE! In fact, the transient energy then absorbed by the meter would be much greater than that absorbed by the meter and load without transient removal. Thus, when there are high transient signals coming thru the meter from its source (i.e. line) side, load-side line filtering essentially duplicates our Frequency Method. Other substantial energy savings result because induction motors and transformers operate far more efficiently with clean electrical inputs, and their reliability and longevity also substantially increase. (3) HARMONIC LOADS: This method is most practical and easiest to achieve and it does not require special equipment or filtering of other loads. See Figure 8. However, much greater harmonic power is required to obtain the same effects. According to Fourier Theory, all waveforms are composites of simple sine waves of certain discrete frequencies, phases and amplitudes. When a 60Hz sine wave is half-wave rectified, DC and 60Hz components are produced along with a plethora of harmonics that rapidly diminish in power content as the harmonic number increases. The DC component will brake the meter movement while the harmonics will diminish the total meter reading by making the meter behave in an erratic fashion. Rectifiers must be rated so that their steady-state current rating is at least twice the sum of all AC/DC loads served by them, and their surge current must be rated at least three times that of their loads. Minimum PIV should be 800 volts. Transient suppression and shielding are highly recommended. If there is much motor brush sparking, filter out all AC components for a DC motor, and all harmonics for an AC motor. Use about a 2uf non-electrolytic 400 PIV capacitor across the motor terminals (most hand-held power tools).
USE GREAT CARE IN APPLYING THE FIGURE 8 CIRCUIT BECAUSE IT RESULTS IN A FLOATED LINE NEUTRAL. THIS CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS, POSSIBLY RESULTING IN SHOCK OR FIRE. A number of people suggested the circuit of Figure 9 as an easier alternative because it requires only single 120 VAC/DC loads. We tested it and found no observable net reduction in meter indication even though some customers swore by it. The circuit of Figure 8 got mixed reviews because some customers noticed a net INCREASE in meter indication by using it. I have not yet been able to pinpoint any particular meter type or circuit factor that explains the apparent differences between our results and the results of others. I do believe that the answer lies in the different effects on different meter types under different load conditions to gross violation of Blondel's Theorem.
See our "KW-HR METERS" manual for an in-depth explanation of Blondel's Theorem. This method has little effect on the registration for loads NOT on the rectifier circuit.
(4) HIGH SURGE, LOW DURATION LOADS: Figure 10 depicts an SCR power-switching method. Basically, an SCR triggering circuit triggers power to AC/DC loads, similarly to how Triac dimmer switches work to dim lamps. Switching frequency and duty cycle are programmable functions of the SCR Control Circuit for optimum results of load control and meter under registration. This same effect is produced in spot welding operations. It is a fact that utilities lack on an extra use fee for spot welders simply because their KW-HR meters substantially under register actual consumption. This method requires the most knowledge, time and money to effect, and a goodly amount of time to maintain.
Several customers have claimed that the SCR Method can permanently slow down KW-HR meters by causing damage to the meter's current coils. (5) THE MAGNO-BRAKE METHOD: A customer told us about this method (Figure 11). The Magno-Brake Method is easier to apply than the DC Method, usually more effective and definitely more risky. This method works by brute force - large surges are sent back to the meter to disrupt its carefully balanced electro-mechanical system and-or to short out the voltage coil windings. The result of this damage can often (but not always) be physically observed: The meter either fails to indicate or its action is erratic, often with scraping sounds coming from the disk. More than one meter has been totaled by folks who didn't believe in the gradual approach to using this method. Why utilities would react to this in a hysterical manner is beyond me since they cavalierly inject line ripple onto your power line with no regard to the destructive effects it has on YOUR equipment and on YOUR life!
As with the DC Method, we strongly suggest that you disconnect all other AC loads from the meter's circuit during all Magno- Brake test periods. That's because pulse height, width and energy may vary considerably between strikes and even heavy filtering can let enough of a powerful strike reach other circuits and damage them. Note that we use the term "disconnect" as opposed to "turn-OFF." That's because we have found that some Magno-Brake pulses will jump switches and even transformer windings and still damage turned-OFF but connected-up equipment. We used a commercial photoflash unit called a "Synchro Tester" (National Camera, now discontinued). Check with your photo supply store on varieties. Our unit outputs about 400 volts, 1 to 50msec. duration per "flash." The Figure 12 circuit would work adequately. You should be able to control voltage using a rheostat. Step-up transformers can be realized from two or more 120VAC to 120VAC isolation transformers. For example, to construct a 120VAC to 240VAC step-up transformer, wire two 120VAC isolation transformers in parallel on the primary side and in series on the secondary side (see Figure 13). The storage capacitor discharge can be controlled by an electromechanical or solid-state relay (SSR), a telegrapher’s key or a heavy-duty push-button switch (snap action much preferred). The former two can be electronically controlled to provide consistently programmable results. Voltage level, duration and repetition rate should initially be low and SLOWLY increased until the desired effects are achieved. Patience and perseverance are musts to get optimum results with minimal tell-tale indications, and to gain valuable experience and knowledge about KW-HR meters. Note that whatever changes that you make in your meter using the Magno-Brake Method will likely be permanent changes.
One customer told us what really works well is to use a mousetrap. He used the bar as one contact and inserted a tack where the bar fell for the other contact. When the mousetrap goes off, the discharge has a rise time of 0.08 to 0.86msec. from our experiments. The RC snubber wired across the contacts is not needed if the switcher is dispensable.
When using any of the methods described herein, different timing schemes can be used. For instance, there may be some periods that you find it highly advantageous to stop or even reverse your power meter while restoring it to normal operations
during other periods. Commercially available AC timers are excellent here. Or you may feel more at ease to physically remove your circuit completely between applications.
The capacitors described herein can be found at commercial electronic stores. Often, you'll have better luck (and prices) at surplus stores. However, enameled magnet wires in the sizes and quantities you will need for these projects are not commonly available - not even in the some of the biggest electronics parts houses. Magnet wire is available in various coatings, gauges and lengths. ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: STOPPING POWER METERS is the culmination of years of research work into the vital area of meter design, testing and vulnerabilities. We thank our many customers for their contributions, insights and experiences, and we are always open to such contributions. Thomas Paine once wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Proud men and women everywhere are increasingly saying to us that they've already taken enough from big government, international corporations and gouging utilities and they are not going to take any more. The big shots aren't going to stop robbing and gouging the people until the people force them to stop.
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