mechanical gaz or water counter reader with Arduino


I would like to develop an Arduino application to collect datas from my electricity, gaz and water counters. These counters are all mechanical counters with no pulsing system (like in the attached picture).

Moreover, I’d like to read the counter directly (every five minutes for example) instead of reading pulses because I find it more accurate (if Arduino goes down for some reasons, the app will miss pulses).

I would like to know if someone managed to read directly the counter with a kind of eye (webcam or other vision sensor) and OCR (optical character recognition). This eye should work on the dark but I think it’s not a big problem with white leds.

I found this device : but I don’t know if it’s available and I guess it should be expensive and proprietary.

Thank you for your advices,




Use a DS2423 1-wire counter with a CNY70 can read the gas meter mark or light.
Then from arduino read the DS2423 counter memory

I don’t think ANY gas company is going to let you stick a device with external wires near their meter, no matter how low the voltage.(fire risk)

Possibly the same with the electric company, because it is possible to ‘retard’ the electric meter by introducing an AC field near an Electromechanical reader.
Better check first before putting in a load of work that will get you disconnected.