Yes - you can read down to the one Watt-Hour unit - not just kWh

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I will tell you what those three dots that replaced your old fashioned spinning wheel means. This will help you figure out how much "juice" is being used by a given appliance with a short test. See the meter (watch the dots) in the picture below, switch between 0.720kWh and 12.0kWh. itron electric meter animation

Learn How to read your Itron Centron Watt-Hour Meter

Well, I was trying to figure out how much electricity was being used by some hungry appliances. So, I went to my Itron Centron Watt-hour meter C1SR 304A 1.0Kh - CL200 240V 3W. I was able to see what effect having the hot tub turned on for one hour had on the reading of the kwatt-hour (kWh, kilo watt hour , kilo-watt-hour) display. But whatever happened to that old wheel on the base of the old electric meters. Well, it has been replaced with a wheel emulator or disk simulator which shows 3 dots. By watching these dots you can tell your instant usage. Fast changing means using a larger amount of watt-hours then slow changing of the display.

Are you happy now?

I was not and called my electric company Xcel Energy and had no luck what so ever. After several calls and being put on hold while they looked for an answer. I decided some web searches and still no answer. I finally searched for the manufacturer which is Itron (formerly Schlumberger Electricity, Inc). I found a nice product description at Itron.com and some more detailed specifications but still no answer to the dots and how to get one watt-hour(Wh) data from the meter.

So, finally called the phone number on the product data sheet above and was put in contact with an engineer who had the answer which I am now sharing with you. Hope this helps some people like myself with a little less effort to get the answer.

Here is the data on how to read 1 Watt-hour from your meter

At 12 o'clock on the face (direction, not time of day) - directly above the meter an infrared light is omitted at a rate of one pulse per watt-hour usage. Okay, probably does not help you.

Your other option is to read that emulator which has 3 dots that turn on and off on the C1SR model. Here is the pattern. First the left goes on, then the middle goes on, then the right goes on, then the left goes off, then the middle goes off, then the right goes off. Kind of like a digital wheel being emulated, cute. Well, that full cycle is 6 watt-hours or to make it simpler, every time one of those dots changes it is 1 watt-hour. Now you can do simple tests of turning on something (like a hot tub, hair drying, drier, tv, light bulb, etc) and count the number of dots you see or if it is going fast the number of cycles (multiple by 6 the result) and you have the energy usage of watt-hours of that appliance during a fixed period. One minute periods worked well for me. If you want full accuracy you can turn off the entire house at the circuit breaker and just turn on the breaker for the one appliance (I did not need to get that accurate). The END. ENJOY.

Wonder How much a hot tub might use

Well, here is how I figured out what mine was using. It is a Wind River Hurricane Pinnacle built in 1998. It runs 230VAC, 60Amp,60Hz and when it has 250 Gallons of water the manual says that with a good cover the heater can add 8 degrees Fahrenheit per hour. So, figure out the temperature loss per hour and that tells you how often the heater needs to run.

My data showed my house used about 3.5 cycles/min or 21 Watt-hours/Min or 1.26kWh/Hour. My data showed that running the heater and the two jet motors used 34 cycles/min or 204 dots/min (Wh/min). So subtract the 21 Watt-hours/Min that is normally used and you get 183 Wh/M which is 10.98kWh/H. Running the heat alone was 5.58kWh/H and the jets alone was 5.94kWh/H. There must be some overlap since running both is less then the sum of the parts. So, that is how it is done.

Now see the heater run time and multiple by the heater usage and you figure out your monthly usage and then your cost.
hot tub

RF feature

Thanks to Mark Petrovic who did a searching of the FCC device database and found more information on the meter, including the Technical Reference Guide. Entering into the following page the ID "SK9" as the grantee code at the FCC Prod site.

Here is another link on reading your Bi-directional Meter

Using TED and Google PowerMeter software

Thanks to Gary Finseth for suggesting this link to track your energy usuage via your computer with nice graphs.
Check out the The Energy Detective 5000 for monitoring on your home energy usage.
Also Google PowerMeter Software which was retired in 2011.
Sample raw TED XML data
Check out the live demo
TED Live Dashboard

Itron Centron Meter Counter

Adam J. Griff, Ph.D., computer2@griffmonster.com, +01(303)731-5140