07 September 2011

Meter Guidelines

The latest version of our meter has been out for 3 years. Based on customer feedback I have compiled this list of ways to use it more effectively.

Battery Life/Master reset

The meter display is the biggest draw on the battery. The display is designed to shut off if there hasn’t been any activity (button pushing) for two minutes. The battery life can be extended by manually shutting off the display using the power button. The meter will continue to record data even when the display is turned off. Pushing the power button again reactivates the display.

The second biggest draw on the battery is long-term storage, even when the meter is not in use. The microcontroller is always on and using a small amount of power. We recommend removing the battery for storage longer than about 9 months to preserve battery life. The meter should normally be turned off before removing the battery. Removing the battery while the meter is on and reinserting it after a few seconds is the master reset, which will erase the data in storage. The master reset also helps to resolve other problems, such as a low battery warning even after putting in a new battery.

Communication Cable

The AC-100 communication cable provided by Apogee has been uniquely designed to work with the meter and is necessary to download the data to a computer. The meter outputs data using the UART protocol and requires the AC-100 to convert from UART to USB. Other cables with the same connectors on the ends cannot make this conversion.

Data Collection

The data transmitted to a computer is usually changed into a more readable format by clicking on the file option in the upper left hand corner and choosing one of the two options. Both options transfer the data to a spreadsheet in a vertical configuration. This allows for other parameters, such as time/date, to be entered and auto-filled in the spreadsheet. The most accurate way to know the time of the 30 minute average is by adding 30 minutes to the time when the meter was put into Log Mode. If the start time is not known, the end time can be used but this is less accurate because the number of minutes into a 30 minute average is unknown. The daily total is often more important and is calculated and stored in the meter. The meter is designed to detect when it is night and uses that information to calculate the daily total. The last value in the daily total data thus always represents the previous day.

The Apogee AMS software is available here: http://www.apogeeinstruments.com/files/ApogeeAMS_1.0.zip

These are just a few suggestions that we have received from our customers. If you have more, be sure to comment on this blog so others can make better measurements.

Skif Smith
Electrical Engineering

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