That's why we quit building A base meters

by Dave H

Yes, I've had the terminal block out of an A-base meter. Putting one back in the meter was like trying to put skates on an octopus. Never in that many pieces though. (Maybe a little JB Weld is in order?) We quit making them years ago. We just sell Marwell socket adaptors with our meters now if somebody wants an A-base.

We did build the JEM meters and the electronic registers that went into them, but I didn't get involved until they were designing the JEM-2 which was all digital. Then was the JEMINI, which was supposed to be a cheap commercial/industrial meter. (We sold a bunch to the city of Homer, Alaska for some reason.) Then JEM-3, JEM-10, then we were acquired and moved to Rochester NY in 1995. Now we're Ametek Power Instruments. Here we made the JEMStar and most recently the JEMStar II. But the demand register I mentioned earlier was the Joule Electronic Demand register, model 1. We called it the JED-I. I think we only sold a couple hundred of them. Over time they tended to reprogram themselves down to a 1 minute demand interval. I developed a fix for the bug but they canceled the product before we could get it to the factory.

Most of the old timers I worked with were actually pretty cool about the new meters. But the most obstinate guy I had to deal with worked for NASA at Kennedy Space Center. Since then I've learned that the really brainy people in NASA are in Houston, Huntsville, and Pasadena. The folks at Kennedy are the mechanics and electricians who build and operate what the other sites tell them. The electrician in question was ordered to install one of our meters on a submarine pen. When a sub is tied up at Kennedy (like around the time of a Defense Department launch, where they want to keep folks away from the spacecraft if it has to ditch in the ocean) they draw power from shore, and Kennedy meters it and bills the Navy for it. It was a simple Form 5 meter and all he needed to read was kWh but he couldn't understand why he had to tell the meter what to do. We finally sent a salesman down to program his meter for him.

Nice find on that I-50S. Haven't those been out of service for a while? If you don't mind me asking, what kind of smart meters were in that lot? My local utility was heavily invested in ABB / Elster meters when I first came here, but I don't see them much any more.


Posted on Oct 8, 2017, 6:54 AM

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  1. Skates on an octopus. TheFnord, Oct 8, 2017
    1. Can't help with the collection, sorry.. Dave H, Oct 8, 2017
      1. High-end meters. TheFnord, Oct 9, 2017

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