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Ultrasonic water flow metering chip works up to 20 years

Posted: 04 Dec 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Ams? ultrasonic flow metre? processor? MCU? cold water flow?

Ams AG has announced the TDC-GP30-F01 as the latest addition to its line of ultrasonic flow metre ICs with the TDC-GP30-F01. According to the company, the complete hardware and firmware measurement solution for cold water metres draws a continuous current of just 8.5?A when capturing flow measurements at a rate of 8Hz, and can operate for up to 20 years from a single AA lithium battery.

The TDC-GP30-F01 includes an ultrasonic flow measurement front end, a low-power 32bit processor and firmware for converting the sensor's analogue outputs to measurements of cold water flow, volume and temperature. This means that designers of water metres can use the TDC-GP30-F01 to easily and rapidly implement a complete ultrasonic water metre without developing their own firmware.

The flexible device may be adapted to complement a range of typical spool piece designs. Users only need to characterise their spool pieces. Ams provides a full suite of hardware and software tools for evaluating, developing and characterising designs using the device. It also offers firmware functions such as error handling and power-saving modes when the flow rate is zero, noted the company.


Users also have the option to add their own firmware code. For example, the TDC-GP30-F01's firmware may be extended easily to implement a heat metre application.

The chip provides a direct connection to ultrasonic transducers, and only requires the addition of a simple MCU to operate a water metre's peripheral functions, such as a display and connectivity. Designs based on the TDC-GP30-F01 can therefore be made more compact, with a lower component count than competing approaches that require a complex companion processor for elaborate calculations, and other external components.

The TDC-GP30-F01 allows designers to build systems that tout very accurate measurements of water flow and volume, making it suitable for use in water metering applications that are regulated by law. The device measures the difference in the time it takes ultrasound waves to travel upstream and downstream, providing extremely repeatable, temperature-stable and accurate timing measurements, added Ams. The very high precision and stability of its flow measurements mean that it is able to detect water leakage rates as low as 0.5L per hour in a good DN20 metre, many times lower than the minimum water flow measured by today's widely used mechanical water metres, said the company.

The TDC-GP30-F01 provides an SPI or UART or interface to an external MCU, or a pulse interface to emulate a conventional mechanical water metre's signals. Users of the Ams device may therefore replace their former mechanical flow measurement system with a modern non-invasive flow metre without the need to rewrite their application software.


Block diagram for ultrasonic flow converter TDC-GP30

TDC-GP30-F01 samples include a demonstration kit. Volume production for the TDC-GP30-F01 can be ordered. Unit pricing is $9.50 in order quantities of 1,000.

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