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So guys I am pretty new to arduino but I want to jump right in.  I am working on a project that can take a picture of a analog dial and read the numbers off of it.  Any ideas on how I can do this?  Or if an arduino would be able to do it.
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Could you explain this one more time...? You are taking a photo of an old style teplephone dialing circle? And then... what?

Cheers,
Kari
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I don't think you connected the grounds, Dave.
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If you are talking about a telephone dial, yes, it is quite possible to read off the pulses.
Bear in mind the device is mechanical, and the contacts may well bounce.
(It's really a digital device)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 02:56:23 am by AWOL » Logged

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Quote
I am working on a project that can take a picture of a analog dial and read the numbers off of it.
I read that as saying the arduino takes in an image of an analogue meter, then does some image processing and returns a number based on where this needle of the meter is pointing.

As with anything to do with image processing the answer is no at the present.

However when the new Due comes on stream it might be possible to do it with that but it is no simple task.
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I am working on a project that can take a picture of a analog dial and read the numbers off of it.  Any ideas on how I can do this?  Or if an arduino would be able to do it.

If you need to move the camera under computer control the Arduino would be a good way to do that, but for the image processing you won't find the Arduino any help - it's the sort of thing that is easily done on a PC, though.
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so let me explain a little more.  I want to read an analog meter not a phone.  I want to take a picture and read the numbers in the picture.  If I could just read the numbers from a steaming image that would be fine I just want to know what the numbers are so I can transmit them and not the image as text will require less bandwidth to transmit than an image.  Thanks for the help.  I dont think the arduino has the power to do it but want to try all my options.
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I don't think you connected the grounds, Dave.
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Wouldn't an ADC be a simler option?
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Similarly to reading the mechanical digits on a utility meter?

If you can afford to use a PC for this, it would be quite easy to get something that worked under ideal conditions. Making it work reliably under less-than-ideal conditions may be very difficult, and there would always be some situations where it simply wouldn't work, or produced the wrong answer.

Tackling this with something less powerful than a PC would involve all the same problems, but they would be harder to solve since resource-intensive approaches would not be feasible.
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Post a picture as requested. There are countless styles of dials and meters. I have a way that arduino can use to do this but you got to post a picture so I know if I'll be wasting my time typing it up.
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here is  picture of the meter.  If you were thinking of putting a pot or encoder on the pointer sorry im not needing the location of the pointer but the numbers for total usage.


* WaterMeterFront.gif (37.6 KB, 223x207 - viewed 20 times.)
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It seems to  me you want to read the water meter remotely but without interfering with it.
The simplest way would be have the camera send you the picture then type the reading in by hand.

Telephone bills were done that way once. A photograph would be taken of a whole bank of meters, and the numbers would then by entered into bills. The photo was kept as a record in case there was an error or dispute.
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It seems to  me you want to read the water meter remotely but without interfering with it.
The simplest way would be have the camera send you the picture then type the reading in by hand.

Telephone bills were done that way once. A photograph would be taken of a whole bank of meters, and the numbers would then by entered into bills. The photo was kept as a record in case there was an error or dispute.

..., you're serious... well that could explain a few things.


As far as reading the meter without breaking it out into something electronic for the arduino to use. I realize this is the arduino forum, but a friend of mine was working on a similar image processing project with a Raspberry PI and a webcam. (I'll get the full details and see if i can't get him in touch with you later if you'd like) But he was going to have it look at a bunch of meters in his house (I recall fuel gauge, a watt meter, 2 water meters, a few thermometers, and some other stuff), read off what they have on them, and on 1 hand, put it all into a spreadsheet. And in the case of things like his fuel meter (his house is heated with diesel fuel) if it got too low, it'd send him an email telling him to get more fuel. Or if the water meter was showing a constant usage for like 30-40 minutes in 1 part of his house, it'd spam his daughters facebook telling her to stop taking such long showers and wasting all the hot water (don't know if that was an actual thing, we just chuckled about things he could make it do over lunch a couple weeks ago)

(I'll note though, He already had this system in place done with arduino and then having more conventional methods like digital flow meters, an electric level gauge, and other things get the readings, rather then looking at the meters in place for the info. With the email fuel need alerts and stuff. He had told me he was doing this new project cause he was bored and wanted an excuse to build one of the RPi's he bought into something.)
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This is beyond current arduino capability. Lots of industrial controls have this feature. NI LabVIEW has video plugins to do this type of recognition so do other software, that run on a PC. I guess Pi has enough memory to run similar library for recognition but not Arduino.
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