I need to work on this project for a friend of mine for his small coffee shop, he needs to keep track of the natural gas consumption. So I was thinking, I can measure the pressure and calculate an estimate of the volume consumed? or is there a gas flow meter.

Any recommendations? Gas meters, gas pressure or gas flow sensors?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I suggest you edit your question to remove the "shopping" question or it will be closed fairly quickly. Usually the easiest way to achieve what you want is to monitor the utility gas meter. Upload a photo of it. \$\endgroup\$ – Transistor Feb 22 '16 at 13:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Probably what you would need is a gas meter connected to your electronics trough a Ex barrier. This barrier consists of optocoupled signals and power supply that in case of instrument failure avoids sparks. \$\endgroup\$ – Marko Buršič Feb 22 '16 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I won't put the electronics in the same place, it'll be connected with wires from the room next to it. \$\endgroup\$ – moenad Feb 22 '16 at 14:28

Look for gas flow meters, there are ready made solutions on the market. You do not want to mess with combustible materials, sparks (from your electronics) can blow your coffee shop to the sky.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You have a point, I just checked some gas meters with serial support, I can just interface with it and read the data. \$\endgroup\$ – moenad Feb 22 '16 at 14:12

Assuming he's not getting his gas supply from his own private pipe in the ground, it's already being metered by his supplier. I would recommend a flashlight, and finding out where the meter is.

If he is in a shared premises, with multiple customers being supplied by one meter, and wants to split the bill amicably with them, it's a trickier problem. Each user could calibrate their appliance usage by using gas for (say) 5 minutes and reading the meter, and then keeping track of usage times. It's open to abuse, and not very accurate, but may be better than nothing.

Local government tends to regulate the heck out of the gas supply, with good reason, as any faults can blow up buildings and kill people. Breaking a pipe and installing your own fully qualified gas meter will be a job for the regulated professionals. Breaking a pipe and installing your own home-made gas meter will simply not be permitted. Building your own meter would be tricky. As the pressure drop must be very low, and the flow rate is very low, you need a mechanical positive displacement type device, not simply a fan in the gas stream.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, it's a private pipe in the ground. I was checking "Gas meters" now, something like gasproducts.co.uk/acatalog/G4_Gas_Meter_with_Pulse.html \$\endgroup\$ – moenad Feb 22 '16 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ For something tricky like this, I'd suggest a camera pointed at the existing gas meter display. Use software to "read" the meter. \$\endgroup\$ – rdtsc Feb 22 '16 at 14:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, correct me if I'm wrong can't I interface with the digital gas meter from my stm32/arduino board over serial? \$\endgroup\$ – moenad Feb 22 '16 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @moenad Well, you would need to buy such instrument that has the possibilty to send serial data, I you get the one with pulse output, then you have to count pulses and you need a battery powered device to not reset the counted value to zero. I think that's the proposal of rdtsc, to read the mech. dial. \$\endgroup\$ – Marko Buršič Feb 22 '16 at 14:41

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