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IEC1107 - What is it all about ?

     
 
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Contents
What is IEC1107 ?
Where can I get a copy of the IEC document ?
Why are IEC1107 probes sometimes called FLAG probes ?
It looks like an IEC1107 port - is it ?  
Can I read my own meter ?
Does ABACUS ELECTRICS supply software for reading meters ?
What is ANSI C12.18 ?
Where can I get a copy of the ANSI C12.18 document ?
What other types of optical probe are there ?
Can an IrDA port on a computer be used for reading tariff meters ?
 

 
What is IEC1107 ? Top
In fact, in 2002 the IEC1107 standard was renamed as IEC62056-21:2002, or International Electrotechnical Commission document 62056-21:2002.
Many manufacturers, including ABACUS ELECTRICS, continue to refer to IEC1107 rather than the newer and less-memorable document number.
 
This International Standard describes the software protocols and hardware for exchanging data with utility tariff meters.
The hardware of a two-way optical interface is described; its mechanical and optical parameters.
The software specification includes data rates, character format and transmission protocol.
The IEC standard has been adopted by meter manufacturers throughout Europe and in some other territories.
 
Where can I get a copy of the IEC document ? Top
Like most Standards, the IEC document is copyright and can not be reproduced here. In the United Kingdom it may be purchased from the British Standards Institute:

BSi Standards
389 Chiswick High Road
London
W4 4AL
 
Telephone 0845 086 9001
Web  http://shop.bsigroup.com/

Search for the current document: BS EN 62056-21 (which replaces BS EN 61107:1996.)  The document title is:
"Electricity metering.  Data exchange for meter reading, tariff and load control. Direct local data exchange"

The document may also be published by the Standards Organisations of other countries.

Alternative online sites for purchasing and downloading this International Standard include:
http://www.standardsuk.com/
and
The IEC Web Store

 
 
Why are IEC1107 probes sometimes called FLAG probes ? Top
Ferranti and Landis And Gyr were early proponents of an interface standard that eventually became a sub-set of IEC1107. The hardware of the interface is identical and ABACUS IEC1107 probes will work on FLAG standard meters.
 
It looks like an IEC1107 port - is it ? Top
IEC1107 meter (Schlumberger Industries)Probably but not necessarily. Ultrasonic E6 gas meters manufactured by Sensus (Invensys-Eurometers-Equimeter) and Actaris (Schlumberger) employ an optical port as described in the IEC document but the software protocol differs. Some electricity meters manufactured by PRI have an IEC1107 optical port but use their proprietary PACT protocol. ABACUS IEC1107 probes, having no "intelligence", are protocol independent so will operate with the above meters. 
The electricity meter to the right is typical and shows the circular retainer of the IEC1107 port.
 
Can I read my own meter ? Top
Intelligent tariff meters that have IEC1107 optical interfaces also have a numeric display and so can be read normally.
To read a meter electronically through its optical port requires suitable software. Access control passwords may be required along with a knowledge of the registers specific to the meter.
Entitled users will be able to obtain software from the meter manufacturer or from vendors of meter reading systems.
 
Does ABACUS ELECTRICS supply software for reading meters ? Top
No. ABACUS ELECTRICS does not write software, or supply third-party software. Software for use in meter test stations will usually be supplied by the meter manufacturer. Hand-held unit suppliers may supply software for their products as part of a meter reading system.
 
What is ANSI C12.18 ? Top
ANSI meter (Email Metering)In the USA meter manufacturers developed an  interface similar (but different) to IEC1107. The Standard covering the interface is published by The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and was approved by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) in 1996.
The software protocols and optical interface for exchanging data with utility tariff meters is described.

The specification document is ANSI C12.18-2006 and is titled "Protocol Specification for ANSI Type 2 Optical Port".

Some countries such as Australia and South Africa have adopted both IEC1107 and ANSI standards.
The electricity meter to the right shows the 'D' shaped retainer of the ANSI port.
 
Where can I get a copy of the ANSI C12.18-2006 document ? Top
The ANSI C12.18:2006 Standard is copyright and can not be reproduced here. It may be purchase from ANSI's offices or online.

ANSI Online, ANSI's Online Electronic Standards Store:
http://www.ansi.org/

Alternative online sites for purchasing and downloading the ANSI C12.18:2006 Standard include:
TechStreet
and
National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

In Australia the American standard has been in part republished:
Australian Standard AS 1284.10.2-2006
Electricity Metering
Part 10.2: Data exchange for meter reading, tariff and load control-
Direct local data exchange via hand-geld unit (HHU)-
ANSI Standard Interface
 
What other types of optical probe are there? Top
Prior to adopting the IEC1107 standard GEC Meters used a proprietary optical interface called GIMX.  This interface is still used on some U.K. pre-payment meters.
PRI manufacture electricity meters using their CALMU™ technology that use their PACT protocol.
Both GIMX and PACT optical interfaces are incompatible with IEC1107.
 
Can an IrDA port on a Computer be used for reading tariff meters ? Top
Almost certainly not!
Here are a few observations concerning the possible use of devices with IrDA ports communicating with tariff meters fitted with IEC1107 ports.

Similarities between IrDA and IEC1107 standards:
Both use infra-red light for communication.
Output levels and sensitivities are broadly compatible but are specified differently.
Both use standard baud rates.
Both use half-duplex communication.

Differences between IrDA and IEC1107 standards:
IEC1107 baud rates are from 300 up to 9600, IrDA are from 2400 up to 115,200 (or higher). IEC1107 always starts at 300 for electricity meters and then may negotiate a faster rate. IrDA hardware may not be capable of switching the baud rate down to 300.
IEC1107 uses a symmetrical mark-space ratio; in order to achieve long range with low power IrDA does not. With IrDA the 'on' period is reduced to 3/16 of the baud period. Existing IEC1107 meters would not be able to decode the IrDA signal. In some cases it might be possible to switch the UART driving the IrDA port to symmetric mark-space. To do this the hardware would have to be addressed directly and this is likely to differ for different hand-held units, lap-tops etc. Switching to symmetric mark-space may also overload/destroy the IrDA transmit LED, which is used to a low duty cycle. Power consumption would also increase.

Other possible problems:
An IEC1107 probe fits over the port on the meter and shields the meter sensor from stray light. The IrDA device would not offer any shielding and so data errors are more likely.
IEC1107 communication can be slow with older meters that do not step-up the baud rate. The operator would have to hold the IrDA device steadily in mid-air for some time.