Commissioned by CAT Projects, a remote area energy management specialist, the brief was to address the unique problems facing remote indiginous communities in the Northern Territory.


Unlike urban areas, remote communities face unique challenges, including:

  • Limited access to power.
  • Higher cost of delivery of power.
  • Quota on power consumption.

Our Brief

General design considerations provided in the brief incuded:

  • Must provide reliable radio communications over 100m using an unlicenced band as per AS4268.
  • Must provide Category III over-voltage isolation and safety.
  • Metering system must have an accuracy of +/- 10% worst case.
  • Must have an easy to comprehend display.
  • Must be able to operate in hot, dusty outdoor environments (i.e. must be to IP54 or better rated, be highly UV and heat resistant).
  • Must need appropriate safety and emissions standards.
  • Must support 100V - 240V high efficiency power supply design.

Requirements of the Meter

Specific requirements in relation to the meter were as follows:

  • Must have a USB interface for data download and calibration upload.
  • Must be partially weatherproof, UV resistant and flame retardant.
  • Must be fitted with a back lit display and an external antenna.
  • Must communicate with the display over a low power unlicensed band radio with a range of up to 100m.
  • Radio must remain within Australian AS4268 radio telecommunications radiation limits.

Meter Logic

Requirements of the User Display

Specific requirements in relation to the meter were as follows:

  • Must have 4 digit 7 segment LED display along with a LED dial indicator of instantaneous power usage.
  • Must have LED bar graph of accumulated energy usage.
  • PCB must have an ultrasonic sensor that wakes up the display when motion is sensed in front of the meter.

User Display Logic


We undertook the following systematic development program:

  • Analysis of required standards.
  • Design for manufacture of meter and display hardware.
  • Firmware review and recommendations, and oversight of the third party development.
  • Development of test procedure for meter and display.
  • Certification of meter and display.

  • The result was a fit-for-purpose solution, comprised of a meter and user display unit, that were manufactured and suppled within 3 months.