“How are they going?”
It’s usually the first question asked about the Sonix IQ™ field trials we’ve turned up at utilities across North America in recent months. People want a progress report, and they want as much detail as possible. From installation steps, to the inner workings of the meter, to what data is immediately available—there is a pervasive curiosity from gas industry professionals.
Everyone, from meter techs to the management team, has the general sense of this being a major industry advancement. A few photos are snapped and there is more than a little anticipation. There are several questions at this particular kick off—people want to know exactly how everything works. Typical meter installation procedures apply for the Sonix IQ, with the standard center-to-center distance of six inches and the consumption units of measure scrolling across the screen.
Once connected, the flurry of questions begins:
- How do you activate the radio?
- What alarms are displayed on the screen?
- How does the meter detect the difference between air and gas?
- Can it estimate flow rate that is over range?
- Is the battery life really 20 years?
Our onsite team takes these questions in stride and that’s what inspired me to post. We want to share Sonix IQ lessons learned and a list of Frequently Asked Questions compiled from customer feedback. Continue to check back here for updated installments.
As we continued the install, we noticed the immediate value of having precise, real-time readings available. While diaphragm meters are quite accurate, they take a significant amount of gas flow and time in order to register movement on the index and you lose the concept of your current flow rate. With the Sonix IQ, we immediately saw that a line which was supposed to be configured to deliver 50 cu ft/hr was only reading 25 cu ft/hr. After pulling out gauges, verifying that the reading was accurate and confirming the line configuration wasn’t as expected, we now realized just how the onboard meter diagnostics would be a big time saver.
Maybe the most significant moment came at the very end of the day when everything was being turned off. There wasn’t supposed to be any flow, yet the meter kept registering 1 cu ft/hr. After a bit of inspection, we discovered a small leak between the valve and the line that supplied a gas light. We were all thrilled at the ability to see leaks past the meter and ended the day on a high note.
In case you missed it (background on the Sonix IQ):
Put bluntly, Sonix IQ is the smartest gas meter we’ve ever designed and it is poised to change the way gas is measured for residential customers in North America. It is an ultrasonic meter available in either 250 CFH or 400 CFH classes and comes in at about half the size and a third of the weight of a traditional diaphragm gas meter. But that is just the beginning. In that small package you also get an integrated Sensus Flexnet AMI radio, a high clarity programmable LCD display, both instantaneous gas flow reading and total consumption, corrected and uncorrected readings, integrated pressure sensor option (coming soon), integrated remote shut off valve (coming soon), and we’re just getting started.