Multiple Flow Meters ~ Total Dispensed per meter

Hi there,
I'm new to the forum and very new to Arduino, but after a few google searches it sounds like a possible solution to a project I've been asked to look into.
We currently have a Beer Cellar with an outdated total dispensed control unit with no visual indication, we'd like to keep the existing in-line flow meters (approx 7) and maybe use these as inputs to the Arduino then have it output to a LCD display how much has been dispensed through each flow meter.

Many Thanks in advance

Graham

we'd like to keep the existing in-line flow meters (approx 7) and maybe use these as inputs to the Arduino

You will have to provide much more information about the existing flow meters for anyone to know how they can be used as inputs to the Arduino. Can you provide a link to the data sheet for the existing meters?

then have it output to a LCD display how much has been dispensed through each flow meter.

The output will be straightforward, but you will need to give some thought to the user interface of the display. Do you want to select the meter to read? Do you want to cycle through the readings for all the meters?

Thanks for the reply, will have a good look at them tomorrow however looking at googles replies when looking up this they are plastic in-line meters with three leads coming off so quite likely to be Hall Effect Flow meters ?
I was thinking a push of a button to give each reading on the LCD, but if it could cycle that would be ok.

They sound like little hall effect sensors but I can't understand why they wouldn't have some sort of display already. These devices work well with the interrupt facilities on Arduino.

You may get a useful start here

"Approx 7" is a bit loose. If you really mean six, you are in luck, as Mega has that many interrupt pins. If you really mean eight, I guess you can piggyback a Pro Mini to get the extra pins. I don't think you need to cycle the display or push any buttons. A single 4x20 LCD will probably do it all.

"Approx 7" is a bit loose. If you really mean six, you are in luck, as Mega has that many interrupt pins. If you really mean eight, I guess you can piggyback a Pro Mini to get the extra pins.

I think that the latest version of the Pin Change Interrupt library by Nico Hood is easily accessible with the Library Manager is user friendly enough for someone new to Arduino. If @gsmith954 has a UNO or other ATmega 328 arduino, I think he could get it working without having to buy a Mega or a second Arduino.

Interesting. In that case, I guess a Uno etc. would suffice, even if some data management was required.

This looks to be the Flow Meter :

http://www.swissflow.com/sf800.html

....oops...just went and counted the current no of flow meters.....20....

So best option would probably be find out the max I can use with one Uno, then put together 3/4 of them ?

There is a flow sensor on each line? Seems pretty mad to me ha! Counting the kegs we had used and looking at the POS data usually gave us an idea of the amount of beer that went through our lines :P.

Anyway…

I bet the accuracy of these things is maybe +/- 10%? But regardless…I sort of see your reasoning to have in cellar monitoring (even with modern POS systems doing the couting for you…).

How about parallel ADCs? These are I2C with 8 channels. You could have 3 of them and one small Arduino board.

Yes the swissflow is a hall effect device and works very well. Be very careful of the cable and make sure it is well ordered down - taped to the pipe or something. I had a wire break at the body and it was unfixable. Nico Hood says his system covers all pins on a uno, so I imagine you can get by with a Uno and a Pro Mini, although two Unos may be more convenient. This is providing Uno can handle the display, which is going to be a bit more than the 4x20 previously suggested. A larger TFT screen would handle things fine - still without the need for fiddling around with buttons - but I'm not familiar with using those on a Uno and you may be short of pins. A Mega should handle that comfortably.

Johnny010:
There is a flow sensor on each line? Seems pretty mad to me ha! Counting the kegs we had used and looking at the POS data usually gave us an idea of the amount of beer that went through our lines :P.

Luckily I don't work in the Beverage Department....leave that to them :slight_smile:

Seems the flow meters were installed by a previous company who used a system to remotely gather amounts dispensed, so the information was never on site. That company has now long gone but remains of equipment are still in situ so our Bar Manager is looking to utilise them and have an easy readout system for the cellar staff to log the volumes. :slight_smile:

I think along with other posts the Arduino Mega maybe the way to go....

Nick_Pyner:
Yes the swissflow is a hall effect device and works very well. Be very careful of the cable and make sure it is well ordered down - taped to the pipe or something.

I wondered why our cellar staff laughed when we suggested this project of trying to utilise them..... :open_mouth:

Perhaps they have longer memories and the system had a history of unreliability. As far as the turbines are concerned this would probably be down to poor placement at most, and more likely user abuse. The Swissflow is a good sensor and, if you see a useful outcome, your project is a practical one.

I might have misled you when I said a Mega should handle that comfortably. I meant that it would handle a larger display and its share of the sensing task comfortably. Even with Hood's pin change library, the Mega is still only good for fifteen interrupts, and I suspect that you will lose four of those because of the display. This means you will still need a Mini or something to handle the extra sensors, and you will need it no matter what the display is.

It should be quite an interesting project. A sensible terminal setup for the sensors will be a bit taxing in itself, but maybe there is something there already for you to inherit.

I think what I may do then is use a Mega, but only keep it to 10 Flow Meters. So will look at two Mega's, just need to find the correct code to control it and display it.

The freetronic link looks good, but the code was only for 1 flow meter ?

Thanks

gsmith954:
The freetronic link looks good, but the code was only for 1 flow meter ?

Correct, that's all most of us use, but I imagine more is just more of the same. There was a recent thread on using more than one.

I don't think there is need for two Megas. The principle reason for having one is the display but that display should handle all sensors. The sensing code would be essentially the same on both micros. The secondary would report in bursts to the main when the display is updated.

Nick_Pyner:
They sound like little hall effect sensors but I can't understand why they wouldn't have some sort of display already. These devices work well with the interrupt facilities on Arduino.

You may get a useful start here

Jaycar Water Flow Gauge | Freetronics

"Approx 7" is a bit loose. If you really mean six, you are in luck, as Mega has that many interrupt pins. If you really mean eight, I guess you can piggyback a Pro Mini to get the extra pins. I don't think you need to cycle the display or push any buttons. A single 4x20 LCD will probably do it all.

You are forgetting the pin change interrupts. ports B, J and K produce pin change interrupts so you can
use pins 10..15, 50..53 and A8..A15 as well as 2,3,18..21