Our technical support in the field – Part 1

In my role as technical support, I am your contact for all technical questions, and I am at your side with advice and help on support issues. This includes analysis and troubleshooting in your M-Bus installation, both remotely and on-site. In addition, depending on the target group or customer request, I hold application or technology-oriented training courses on the subject of Smart Metering using M-Bus and wM-Bus.

I would like to share my day-to-day support with you and report from one of my field assignments. These are very varied, and it can happen that things turn out differently than you think or plan.

Before I start, here is some theory on how to proceed in M-Bus networks:

  • M-Bus cabling can sometimes be installed over long distances in a building.
  • As a rule, the network consists of a central M-Bus master with the corresponding meters.
  • Depending on the extent of the M-Bus network, some M-Bus repeaters may have to be installed at certain points in order to “prepare” the M-Bus voltage of the master or to drive the physical load of the meters.
  • Then it is always important to integrate all the necessary meters in the M-Bus network in order to read them out automatically according to a readout interval.
  • The data obtained can then be transferred to a remote station depending on the requirements and selection of the M-Bus master.

So much for the theory. But as so often, the manageable theory and the procedure in real practice do not match. But this is exactly where we can provide support with our expertise.

Errors in the M-Bus cabling are always a major hurdle. Especially in large networks, this quickly becomes a real pitfall. These errors can lead to the non-readability of individual meters, individual lines or the entire M-Bus network. If, on top of that, the planning documents are lost or do not even exist at all, you will be poking around in the fog.

At that point, I come into play as technical support: on-site troubleshooting.

I would like to describe what that means and the experiences I have had, using my last assignment as an example.

By the way: Our on-site services can be requested from our sales department by e-mail (sales@solvimus.de) or by phone (+49 3677 7613066).  

The object, where I worked, is a large shopping center. Today, I know more about it than I did at the beginning. In the meantime, three assignments later, about 800 M-Bus meters are connected to one logical line. Besides a master of type MUC500, there are now 8 repeaters, 4 of them are MBUS-REP125.

But now to my first service job, where, according to the client, about 600 meters had to be connected to a modern data concentrator. The infrastructure was already there, including existing repeaters.

Service job 1:

600 meters. That sounds manageable. I will take an MUC500 M 500 with me. With its 500 unit loads of driver capacity, it should be able to operate the network easily. I also take a repeater with me and, just to be on the safe side, an MBUS-GSLE, in case an existing master appears somewhere. No sooner said than done, ready to go.

But things turned out differently than planned.

Of course, nothing worked at first. During the first scan, some meters did show up, but we were far from the targeted 600. In addition, some meters were not recorded in the client’s lists. Question marks arose, of course, and by the end of the day there were still some left. For further investigation we lacked both the equipment and the time.

Conclusion of the first visit: the MUC500 was installed, 400 meters were integrated and the transmission of the meter data to a server was configured. Our customer had ordered a customer-specific preconfiguration to transmit XML data to a web server once a day.

If you would like more detailed information on customer-specific preconfiguration, our sales department (sales@solvimus.de or +49 3677 7613066) will be happy to advise you.

So much for that, just driving to the customer and installing our MUC500 M. This was followed by a second service job and a second blog post about it.

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