Tricon Transmitters: End of An Era

The blog will help control system specialists who want to get analog signals from water meters. Here’s what you need to know:

Analog Transmitter Applications

Analog transmitters have been around for over thirty years.  Pulse and 4-20mA transmitters are ideally used for monitoring and/or controlling flow rate data.  Some typical examples of use are:

Water Meter Telemetry History

Neptune Tricon/S register

The early days of pulse signalling from water meters was made possible using a Neptune Tricon/S register. Many industrial water meter applications required a pulse output to allow for remote counting of pulses without having to go to the water meter, in hard to access locations.  Often these remote connected batching or monitoring counters would require frequent readings that would not make sense for a person to retrieve each time.

The Tricon/S provided a visual index, plus a mechanical pulse output whose dry contact would close and open for a specific volume of water passing through the meter. (Example: 1 pulse per 100 litres). The dry-contact wire pair would be connected as the input to a pulse counter located hundreds of feet away from the water meter.  

This method of remote monitoring worked fine so long as the water meter was not used by the municipality for water consumption billing.  As technology advanced many industries were looking to monitor their buildings energy consumption (water, gas &electric) and adjust their usage patterns long before the utility bill arrived in the mail.

Over time utilities moved away from manual meter reading of the water meter register head.  They were looking for register technology that was more robust than pulser registers.  With the advent of encoder registers and exact read technology the utilities were happy, but it meant the demise of pulse-based registers like the Tricon/S.  The need for the development of a blind transmitter that didn’t interfere with utility billing hardware led to the design of the Tricon/E family of blind analog transmitters.  

The Tricon E transmitter was designed to mechanically couple between the meter base and the utility’s encoder register and independently provide a pulse or 4-20mA signal to an end user’s RTU, PLC or BAS system.  Utility billing and reading systems were now completely isolated from premise owner monitoring of the water meter.

Introducing SCADAmetrics

With the recently announced discontinuance of the Tricon product line it is timely that we introduce the SCADAmetrics product portfolio.  Energy management and system control providers now have a migration path to achieve equivalent or better functionality when implementing remote flow and consumption monitoring and control.

The Signalizer

The Signalizer leverages the high-resolution, 3-wire encoder signal that is available from Neptune’s ProCoder or E-Coder registers as well as competitive encoded registers to generate three (3) telemetry output signals that may be connected to a remote automation system:

  1. Dry-contact Pulse (pre volume)
  2. 4-20Milliamp Analog (per flow-rate)
  3. Alarm Dry-Contact (cut cable/meter fault)

How Do the Old and New Technologies Differ?

Characteristics Tricon S Tricon E Signalizer
Signal Type Mechanical Pulse Transistor Type Pulse Solid State Pulse
De-Bouncing Required Yes No No
Max Switch Voltage 200 VDC 26.5 VDC 60 VDC
External Power Supply Required Yes Yes Yes
4-20mA Output No Yes Yes
Fault Output No No Yes
Encoder Meter Compatibility No No Yes
Ordering Configuration By Model & Size By Model & Size Universal
AMR/AMI Passthrough No Yes (mechanically) Yes (electronically)
Remote Display Connection No No Yes (w/TMD)
Pulse Scale Output Scaled Unscaled Scaled
SCADA Compatible No No Yes

Benefits of Converting to SCADAmetrics

SCADAmetrics has many years of experience in the automation & controls industry.  Their product line is designed to enhance the water, wastewater, energy and building automation product sectors.  Utility AMR/AMI requirements can now co-exist with energy management and process control equipment using the same water meter. The Scadametrics product line is universal to all meter manufacturers not just Neptune and each Scadametrics product is universal regardless of meter type and size.  The days of made to order transmitters and long lead times are gone. A lower cost and a longer warranty rating puts the Scadametrics product line is at the right place and the right time to say goodbye to the retiring TRICON product family.

Get Started Today

Ask an ESL representative how the SCADAmetrics product line can help your data telemetry requirements.  

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