How an Electric Meter Works (Video)


Photo via Beige Alert via Flickr CC

Monday is a good day to learn something new. While we talk a lot about how smart meters are helping to change our power use, the development of the smart grid, automated homes and so on, not everyone knows how an electric meter actually works. Well, click through to get a quick course on details that many of us don't realize we don't know about reading our electric meters.

From How Stuff Works:

The thing to notice is the spinning disk below the dials. The disk is moving slowly in this video - about one RPM. In most common electric meters in the U.S., it is the rotation of this disk that lets the electric company measure the amount of electricity you are using.

The disk is made of aluminum. The electricity entering the house runs through a pair of loops that induce a magnetic field. The magnetic fields can be made to create an eddy current in the aluminum disk and cause the disk to rotate at a speed proportional to the amount of power being consumed.

These meters will eventually be old news as they're replaced with computerized meters. However, as utility companies work on replacing them with smart meters and upgrading our power grid, millions of us worldwide still have these older versions, which means it's a good idea to make sure we know how to read them.

Even if you're already savvy on this, the videos might be a great thing to show kids so they know why they can't stand there with the fridge door hanging open.

More on Electricity Meters
Smart Power Meters and Real-Time Pricing Leads to Saved Energy and Money
Green Your Electricity: Conduct a Home Energy Audit
Understand Electricity Consumption Better So You Can Use Less

Tags: Electronics | Energy Efficiency | Gadgets