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John J.

Williams, MSEE

4TH EDITION

IMPORTANT NOTE

I bought this information many years ago and I will


share it for educational purposes only. I am not
responsible for any damage or lost for the mistake
while performing some noted experiment.

I redraw the schematic circuits for the benefits of


the author.
STOPPING POWER METERS
John J. Williams, MSEE
CEO, Consumertronics
©1976-1979, 1992, Consumertronics. All Rights Reserved.
FOURTH EDITION

“If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you
will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to
the time when you will have to fight will all odds against you and when you have
only a precarious change of survival. There may even be a worse fate; you may
have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to die than to
live as slaves”. Winston Churchill

STOPPING POWER METERS was ordinarily written and published in 1976.


Although our last edition was published in 1979, electrical-mechanical KW-HR
meters have remained mostly unchanged since the 1950’s. Many home and
businesses today have the same meters they’ve had since the home or business
edifice was built. Of course, since the 1950s, utilities have come up with Peak
Demand Meters but have primarily applied them to energy-intensive businesses
and a few households. Digital meters were invented in the mid-1960s, and even
today, only a small number of and businesses have them. The Rehm-Goshy
electronic meter is most well known. The reason for their universal lack of success
is because of inaccurate as the old rotational disk meters are; they are more
rugged and weather-resistant than any known digital meter. You wouldn’t leave
your stereo in the snow for years at a time and expect it to still work. Electronic
meters fair just about as well.

STOPPING POWER METERS is divided into two distinct bodies. The first body
covers watt-hour energy meters, how they work, how they are adjusted, and the
error as they produce. The second body is devoted to various techniques of slowing
down and stopping power meters.

This manual is comprehensive and full of invaluable information on load-side meter


methods. In-depth theoretical knowledge is not required to understand and utilize
this information. However, a good practical electrical and electronic background and
know-how are definite pluses. Note, the utility meters attach to your home or
business is technically a watt-hour (i.e. KW-HR) or energy meters not a
dynamometer power meter, but the principle of operation is basically the same.
This edition of STOPPING POWER METERS contains the results of both new
experiments and repeats of old experiments using better and more sophisticated
equipment.

STOPPING POWER METERS is sold strictly for educational purposes only.


Although it describes in detail method that may be illegal, we do not recommend or
imply any illegal application whatsoever. Never use these methods on a system that
is metered by a utility company meter. CAUTION: 120 VAC and 240 VAC power
can cause loss of life and property and should be handled with the greatest of
knowledge, care and respect if you run your experiments on a personal meter, be
sure to completely electrically isolated it from the utility’s meter so that whatever
effects your personal meter is subjected to do not impact the utility’s meter.
Isolation can be performing by using isolation transformers and appropriate filters.

As far as we know, the legality of applying load-control methods that incidentally


make the utility-owned meter under register has not been legally tested (after
almost 20 years). However, assume that law enforcement will take as dim of a view
of doing this as it does if you actually physically tamper with the meter. It is ironic
that many law enforcement agencies on one hand can’t seem to do enough to
please utility big-shots while blithely ignoring the many and gross crimes
committed by utilities upon the citizenry. Fortunately, most jurors are savvy to this
perversity and corruption of the law and act accordingly.

Also, no license is granted under the copyright and-or patent rights of


Consumertronics or anyone else. And, although we have made every reasonable
effort to provide accurate, reliable, money-saving and useful information, we
assume no responsibility whatsoever for error or omissions.

Again, be careful and know how you are doing. Induced currents can injure or kill
and mistakes can also cause property damage. All circuit diagrams are simplified;
add fuses and circuit breakers as required.

WATT-HOUR METERS
There is nothing magical, sacred or miraculous about watt-hour meters. Like any
high-grade scientific instrument designed to accurately measure an electrical
parameter (energy in kilo watt-hour) under specific operating conditions and in an
ideal environment, they lose accuracy when their operating and environmental
conditions are less than ideal and thru the process of aging. Watt-Hour meters
measure electrical energy consumed in a dynamic load by using the principle of the
2-phase induction motor. In fact, IF THE ROTOR DISK WAS RESTRAINED, THE
WATT-HOUR METER BECOMES A DYNAMOMETER-TYPE POWER METER.
Figure 1. Basic Elements of the typical induction type WATT–HOUR Meter. The
four major makers of these devices are General Electric, Sangamo, Westinghouse
and Duncan.
Essential features of watt-hour meters are depicted in Figure 1. The basic
elements of the single-phase meter are the stator assembly (electromagnet), the
rotor assembly (includes disk), the retarding magnet(s) and the register assembly.

It should be noted here that while in many meters, the voltage coil is wired across
the 240 VAC lines (ex. GE as shown in Figure 1), in some meters there are two
Voltage Coils – each wired between a 120 VAC leg and the neutral (ex. Duncan
12S), and still others, only one Voltage Coil is used and it is wired between one 120
VAC leg and ground (ex. Westinghouse DSN). In considering the methods to apply
here, if they affect the Voltage Coil, then you must take into account these
variations in Voltage Coil design. If you don’t know the Voltage Coil design for your
meter, experimentation may be required.

The stator consists of a voltage (potential coil) with a compensatory winding and
two current coils. The stator is energized by the combined effect of the line voltage
and load currents. Two torques acting in the same direction but 90 electrical
degrees apart are generated. These sinusoidal rotor torques add to produce a
resultant constant and steady torque. The first torque component result from the
interaction of the useful current flux (due to load current) with the voltage-induced
eddy currents in the rotor disk, and like the induction motor, rotor speed is
proportional to line frequency. The second rotor torque results from the interaction
of the useful voltage flux with the current-induced eddy currents in the disk.

When the Power Factor (PF) is unity, both torques are always in the forward
direction because the current (or voltage) flux is always of the same polarity as the
voltage (or current)-induced eddy currents. However, when the Power Factor is less
than unity (lag or lead), there are different instances in the cycles of each torque
component when the torques are reversed corresponding to those instances in
which the line voltage and current are of different polarities. Although still
essentially constant, average torque is diminished as the meter “fights itself” to
produce a reading.

As it turns out, the disk torque will be proportional to the product of the RMS
voltage, RMS current, and PF (the cosine of the phase angle between voltage and
current). Thus, you will be billed for the real, not imaginary, power consumed. Our
“LOADFINDER” manual, among other information it provides, explains real,
imaginary and apparent power and how to make PF corrections. Because the user is
billed for the real power consumed, PF correction method like the “Tron Box” do not
work. The Tron Box design, posted on many computer BBSs, has a small-value
resistor in series with the load and a capacitor(s) in parallel with it. While it does
correct PF to some extent, it does not lower electric bills (we’ve tested it), and it
can adversely affect the magnetization current required by some induction motors.
To translate the rotor disk torque into disk speed, permanent “braking” magnets
must be provided, otherwise, the disk speed would increase until arrested by very
low air and pivot friction. These powerful magnets generate and eddy current in the
aluminum disk whenever it is moving. This eddy current provides an opposing
torque because its flux opposes that of the permanent magnets. This theoretically
results in one constant speed of every torque (thus power) level. Thus, disk speed
is proportional to the consumed real power. The register assembly consists of a
gear train that connects the rotor worm gear to the ganged dials in the meter’s
faceplate. Three-phase, three-wire systems require two single-phase meters or one
meter with two independent stators. Four-wire polyphase systems usually require
three single-phase meters.
For a PF of less than 0.5 in a two or three meter configuration, one meter will
always run BACKWARDS! Unless it is known for certain that PF is less than 0.5, the
true energy reading usually cannot be accurately determined.

KW-HR METER CALIBRATIONS & COMPENSATION

The common inductance watt-hour meter's design principle has remained


unchanged since 1925, but there have been considerable improvements in pivoting,
coil design, compensation, etc, since then. To maintain accuracy, watt-hour meters
must be calibrated frequently, which is almost never done! When it is done, utilities
usually limit this recalibration to:

(1) Full-Load Adjustment


(2) Light-Load Adjustment
(3) Lag Adjustment

The policy that most utilities have towards their home and business KW-HR meters
is that they won't calibrate a meter unless it has either been severely damaged or
the customer chronically complains. If the customer complains, they will replace or
recalibrate the meter. If they find that the meter was reading too high, they will re-
adjust the meter accordingly. If too low or about right, they will charge the
customer $50-$200 for the recalibration process, and if too low, they will bill the
customer for unpaid usage based upon their calculated estimate. In reality, most
utilities either never or rarely ever admit that a meter la running too high.

In fact, over the years, we have received numerous reports from people saying that
their meters were running far too high, they complained, the utility tested the
meter, and then told them that the meter was either running right or even too low,
refused to adjust the excess charges, and billed them for the recalibration. In many
of these cases, the customer then noticed that the meter seemed to have been
adjusted to a much more moderate rate.

What usually triggers the complaint is that the customer goes on a long vacation or
business trip with everything disconnected except perhaps his refrigerator and a
few clocks; and upon his return, he receives a bill far too high for what the
connected items could have possibly consumed. The utilities usually accuse the
customer of letting other people live in and-or use his home/business while he was
on gone. Most people when they are away for a long period leave keys with a
trusted relative or friend to look after the house, feed the pets, etc. Typically, the
utility will then claim that the energy was used by the people they loft the keys
with.

It should also be noted that utilities now run sophisticated computer programs that
analyze consumption levels not only for each month but also for corresponding
months over years. Using this software, they can detect any gradual or sudden
change in consumption. The analysis period is usually 13 months. However, in most
cases, they don't react to these changes. That's because they realize that people go
on trips, household composition changes, etc. They will react if they notice a large,
unexplained drop in consumption that persists for many months.

For example, if one's bill was running somewhere around $150/month over the lost
6 months, and then it suddenly drops to $60/month and stays around there for the
next several months, the utility computer will certainly flag the account. In moat
cases, they'll make discreet Inquiries about household composition, the meter man
will scrutinize the meter, and the neighbors may be talked to. A pole meter will
likely be Installed If suspicions warrant it. Most smart outlaws now take snapshots
of their power pole prior to engaging in any meter management method and then
periodically refer to them for any changes that might indicate a pole meter
placement. The biggest danger to the outlaw comes about if he lives in a small
town where everyone seems to know everyone else's business and everything gets
noticed.

The savvy outlaw will gradually reduce his consumption if the composition of his
household remains the same - maybe 1% per month up to a reasonable point. If
the number in his household decreases, he'll then take that as an opportunity to
abruptly decrease his registration 1.5-2 times the percentage of household
decrease. For example, if the household was 5 and one leaves, that's a 20%
decrease in the household. He would then abruptly decrease the meter registration
by 30% to 40%. Usually a household reduction occurs because a child grows up or
an older person dies. If questioned about why so great of a sudden reduction,
excuses like, “Bob loved to watch MTV all day.” Or, “Because Aunt Kafy was sick,
we had to have the heat on high, day and night.” If the household increases, the
savvy outlaw will permit a 1/5 to 3/4 increase in meter registration per new
member. Usually, a household increases because a baby is born or a child moves
back home. Excuses for such a low Increase could be, “The baby uses pampers and
we heat her bottle on an old wood stove.” Or, “Since Susy returned home, she's
root careful about burdening us with extra bills.” In any event, the outlaw keeps
excellent records of his meter's readings on at least a weekly basis, keeps track of
the time frame that the meter reader will show up in, watches for pole meters and
snoops, and usually doesn't allow registration to drop so low or so fast as to trigger
an investigation.

The savvy outlaw also conceals his rig such as in an old radio, TV, computer, etc
case. One person reported to have built his circuitry into an old recliner and
concealed the cord underneath it. It helped warm his back in the winter while it got
the job done.

(1) FULL-LOAD ADJUSTMENT:

The Full-Load Adjustment rating of most home and small business meters is 30
amps (Class 200), printed on the meter face (5, 10, and 15 amp meters are still
found in many rural homes, and larger ones are found in larger operations). At a
loss of some accuracy, most modern meters are capable of measuring energies of
up to 600% Full-Load Rating. This adjustment is made at full load and unity PF. It
is done by assuring that the braking magnets are of suitable strength. Then, by
carefully varying their positions from the disk or by adjusting the positions of the
magnetic shunts that lie between their pole faces and the disk, by turning the
adjustment wheel that has an “F” (Fast) and “S” (Slow) on it, disk speed is
accurately set. NOTE: In some cases the “S” direction speeds the meter up while
the “F” direction slows it down (Duncan Meters). This opposite notation is
designed to fool and penalize meter tamperers. This is the main adjustment that
the utility will make when either you or it is concerned about the meter's accuracy.
(2) LIGHT-LOAD ADJUSTMENT:

Under light loads (10% of Full Load), meter performance becomes substantially
non-linear. This results from friction, lack of linearity in the generation of driving
torque as a function of load current, and the presence of torques due to the
potential flux acting alone caused by the lack of symmetry of the stator with
respect to the disk. Uncompensated, meters usually over register under light loads.
However, due to voltage coil flux irregularities, it has not been uncommon for
meters to run backwards under light loads. Slots and holes have been punched into
disks of modern meters to prevent the disk from moving at all under very light
loads (less than 1% full load). This adjustment essentially adds a controlled torque
due to the voltage flux alone sufficient to provide the correct disk speed for 10%
unity PF loads. Compensation torque is provided by adding a shaded-pole loop
known as the Light-Load Plate. The necessity of this adjustment is apparent if the
disk turns in either direction when there is no load. This condition is known as
“meter creep.”

(3) LAG ADJUSTMENT:

Since the voltage coil has some resistance, the voltage flux lags line voltage by less
than 90 degrees. A compensatory lag coils (see Fig. 1) or plate is provided to adjust
the lag so that it is as close to 90 degrees as possible. This adjustment is made at
0.5 lagging PF. When the lag is out of adjustment, it almost always results in under
registration, but it is hardly noticeable unless the PF is small. Any lag adjustment
made to increase disk speed at lagging PF will decrease its speed for leading PF
(capacitive load). Often, the Light-Load and Lag adjustments are provided by the
same mechanism. A radial motion provides the Lag Adjustment while a
circumferential motion provides the Light-Load Adjustment.

KW-HR METER INACCURACIES

Utilities are fond of boasting that KW-HR meters are accurate to within ±1% of
actual consumption, under conditions where load currents vary from 0.3% to 400%
and voltage from 80% to 120% of rated values, PF from 0.2 lagging to 0.2 leading,
and temperatures from -40°C to +75°C. In my opinion that claim is ridiculous. In
reality, this in the very best case error for precisely calibrated meters under
laboratory conditions. Under the above field conditions, cumulative error for a
calibrated meter can be as high as 100% under small loading conditions and higher
than 10% under normal home/business loads WITHOUT having made any effort to
“fool” the meter.

See our “KW-HR MANUAL” for documentation about the required calibration of
KW-HR meters from the C12 ANSI Standard and a letter sent to us by the
National Bureau of Standards. To summarize, a well built, excellent-condition KW-
HR meter maintained in a closely controlled environment must be calibrated at least
one every 6 months to maintain a ±1% accuracy. Environmental variations, wear-
and-tear and other individual meter differences may require more frequent
calibrations.

These errors can result in either your or the utility's favor. When it favors the
utility, you'll never hear about it, and you will undoubtedly never collect a dime for
past overpayments. When the error is in your favor, if the utility notices, you
probably will be billed on a guessed-estimate arbitrarily determined by the utility to
adjust your costs upwards. And your meter will be replaced or recalibrated by one
more favorably calibrated for the utility, and-or you may be monitored by a pole
meter. However, unless you take the initiative and chronically complain, the utility
will rarely adjust an over registering meter to read the correct amounts.

Many errors are caused by a number of factors, many of them interrelated. These
errors exist even when the meter is precisely calibrated. They are accentuated
when the Full-Load, Light-Load and-or Lag adjustments are required. No scientific
instrument remains accurate if not frequently and precisely calibrated, particularly
an instrument used continuously in an outdoor environment. Wear, deterioration,
temperature, humidity, dirt, electromagnetic fields, hock and vibration always take
their toll. Meters usually spend years in operation - sometimes even decades -
between calibrations. Errors didn't matter so much when rates were fair, such as in
the 1960s and early 1970s. However, few people can now afford to pay for their
actual consumption - much less for errors that are compounded by other factors,
such as the Fuel Adjustment rip-off, taxes, etc.

Utilities benefit several ways by infrequently calibrating their meters.

• Calibrations cost money.


• Calibrations tend to cause customer disputes. If a meter man comes to your
home or business to “calibrate” your meter, the first thought that goes thru
your mind is, “Oh, oh, now my costs will really go out the roof!”
• Permanent magnets progressively lose their strength over time and especially
when exposed to heat. Meter braking magnets are no exception. And as they
lose their braking power, disk speed increases over time for identical loads.

METER ERROR SOURCES

The effects of most of these error modes are summarized in the graph.
(1) TEMPERATURE ERROR:

Typically, motors read high between 0 and 80°F and low thereafter, for any given
day. Error accentuates with decreasing PF and this error alone can be as high as
4% at 0.5 PF for new meters. The primary cause of this error is the increase in the
voltage coil lag at low temperatures (temporary error) and demagnetization of the
braking magnets (permanent error) at high temperatures (see above). ALL
PERMANENT MAGNETS DEMAGNETIZE WITH TIME, THE RATE OF WHICH DEPENDS
UPON TEMPERATURE, TIME, THE MAGNETIC QUALITY OF THE MATERIAL ITSELF,
HOW THE MATERIAL WAS INITIALLY MAGNETIZED, VIBRATION, SHOCK AND
ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD EXPOSURE. And some KW-HR meters are slightly
demagnetized each time a surge is experienced. The demagnetization of braking
magnets ALWAYS results in disk rotor speed-up and over registration!

Many North American utilities prefer to install their meters on a southern exposure
so that they tend to overheat. The magnets inside the glass cover can easily reach
temperatures of 180+°F in mid-summer in areas with hot summers, just as the
inside of your car gets extremely hot if you leave it parked in the sun with the
windows rolled up. In meters, it's worse, because the meter itself generates
substantial heat.

On Sept. 25, 1992, 10:45 AM, we used a Simpson Model 388 Therm-0-Meter and
bimetallic probe to determine the temperature in and around our southerly-exposed
KW-HR meter. The dark-brown stucco wall on all sides of the meter measured
98±3°F. The temperature of the top, back portion of the meter's glass cover
measured 109°F. That was the outside temperature of the meter - the inside
temperature (which we could not access) was probably at least 10 degrees higher.
While a difference of 11-21°F in a meter's internal temperature over the ambient
temperature does not seem like a big concern, over years and decades it can lead
to substantial demagnetization of the braking magnets with a corresponding over
registration that YOU will pay for!

While I have been told by several people in the electrical utility industry that indeed
the industry has conducted long-term studies of the demagnetization of KW-HR
meter braking magnets - even that they use this data to select magnet materials to
assure certain high rates or degradation - to my knowledge no such study has ever
been published. Nor is there any standard promulgated by the Government. When
you consider that millions of braking magnet pairs are simultaneously declining in
their braking forces in energy meters throughout the country, you soon realize that
electric utilities automatically and secretly impose an additional inflation rate of an
estimated 1% - 2% nationally literally worth $ Billions!

(2) FREQUENCY ERROR:

Line frequency seldomly varies more than ±1% from 60Hz (or 50Hz in 50Hz
countries). However, a 10% variation of frequency can result in a 1% or more
error, particularly for high PF. Meters typically read high at low frequencies (to a
point) and low at high frequencies. Meters typically can perform erratically when
harmonically rich waveforms (ox: rectified sine wave) are applied to it at
appreciable energy levels. Error is higher for low PF loads at low frequency.

(3) VOLTAGE ERROR:

Generally, line voltage is stable to within ±10% of rated value. In cases of over
voltage, KW-HR meters read substantially low due to significant AC damping that
result in some braking mechanisms. This phenomenon is called "overload droop"
and is slightly higher for low PF. KW-HR meters read slightly high when line voltage
is low.

(4) VERY HIGH OR VERY LOW LOADING:

Very low loading almost always favors the utility, even for compensated molars, up
to the point where the motor slops turning (which won't happen with some meters
even with all loads disconnected). This error can possibly be as high as 100% of
actual consumption. Very high loading of meter also results in "overload droop." For
low PF, the meter almost always reads high no matter the actual consumption.

(5) METER DISSIPATION:

Meters dissipate about 1.4 watts on a continuous basis. Furthermore, if the disk
stops turning, 22-24 watts is required just to restart it. For the dubious privilege of
letting the utility monitor your electrical consumption, it costs you about one KWH
per month in meter dissipation alone.

(6) VIBRATION AND SHOCK:

Vibration and shock will instantly uncalibrate any scientific instrument - including
KW-HR meters, causing it to either under register or over register. The final result
is pretty much unpredictable, however, substantial shock and vibration usually
causes the disk to wobble or warp and this will cause it to either slow down or stop
altogether. Thus, if your meter is located near earthquakes, heavy machinery or
high traffic flows, your motor may be put out of calibration in a very short period of
time. Note that most meters are located on walls, and walls act as sounding boards,
which tend to amplify vibrations and shock delivered to the meter.

(7) INTERMITTENT LOADS:

A major cause of meter over registration is intermittent loads. Because of a


purposefully designed-in meter flaw, the amount of time it takes for a KW-HR
meter to accelerate to Indicate increased loading is a much shorter duration than
the time it takes for it to decelerate when the new load is turned OFF.

HOW TO STOP POWER METERS


This section is dedicated to slowing down - even stopping – power meters without
physically tampering with them or applying externally generated power, and while
consuming substantial power. Again, we provide this information for educational
purposes only. Any attempt to tamper with a utility meter is almost definitely
illegal. It is unclear to us whether the legal definition of tampering includes using
loads that just so happen to slow down or stop the meter, as many hold the view
that once the energy passes thru the meter, the customer has constructively
bought it and it’s his to do with as he sees fit. Some utilities define tampering as:

“Tampering means any unauthorized interference with the company's


equipment, including meters or other property, which would reduce the accuracy of
the measurement or eliminate the measurement of the electricity taken by any
customer or person on the premises or any unauthorized connection of a meter.”

Utilities maintain easement rights over virtually every property they service. Thus
incredibly, if you break into their meter attached to your property while standing on
your property you could go to jail for trespassing! If your utility notices a sudden
drop in usage or vary low usage that cannot be easily explained, they will probably
suddenly appear to examine the situation. Broken meters and seals, meter
bypasses, attached magnets, upside-down meters, etc, are very obvious giveaways
of meter tampering to them, although some are sometimes caused by vandals,
accidents or acts of nature.

If your utility suspects you of meter tampering, it may slap a pole meter on your
line. A pole meter may be a meter similar to yours or it may be a Current-
Squared-Hour (CSH) meter. These are located on the top of or near to your
service pole and are generally placed just where your service drop connects into the
main lines. They are usually easy to spot. They may be the hook-on type, which
has a folding hook that loops around the wire and closes to look like a folded
question mark. Or they are hard-wired. No matter how precise they claim pole
meters to be, as well as your meter, a 10% or so difference in readings can occur
just from nominal differences between the meters, line drop, and different
operating environments. Since a CSH meter does not indicate line voltage
fluctuations, the error can be substantially greater than that of a pole meter watt-
hour meter. Furthermore, if your PF is extremely low, which can be accurately
measured by a utility PF meter, the utility will likely penalize you for a low-PF
condition.

Few people dispute the need of a utility to get a fair return solely based upon the
service provided (but not upon the utility's (ailing investments - particularly in
regards to nuclear power plants). However, most people also believe that “public”
utilities have been gouging them. Electrical costs have soared at least 5 times
higher than what we think that they should be from their early 1970s levels. In
1970, a monthly $25 electric bill was considered to be high to many families. Now,
bills of $150+ are common.

Many people now believe that if the untampered KW-HR meter provided by their
utility is unable to accurately measure the amount of their usage, then that it is fair
for them to adopt certain strategies and tactics that will level the playing field.
However, don't expect your utility to be as accommodating as your conscious is on
what's fair and what's not.

No method of slowing or stopping a power meter should be based upon breaking a


line neutral or putting a fuse or circuit breaker on one. These practices are deadly!
Virtually every method that will slow or stop the meter uses loading that requires
DC or non-60Hz frequency components. Figure 3 demonstrates the susceptibility
of typical KW-HR meters to such conditions. Power meters behave very similarly.
Note: As the line frequency approaches either DC or high frequency, the KW-HR
meter reading tends to zero (disk stops turning). A meter with substantial DC or RF
energy Imposed on it will not turn no matter how much energy is applied - it will
bum out first. Even a little DC will eventually permanently magnetize the staler if
applied long enough to provide lasting braking effects even after it is removed.

High frequency components will simply under register due to the Impedances and
hysteresis of the coils and rotor inertia. Mixed frequencies (ex: rectified sine wave)
will cause the rotor to behave erratically (because it will try to turn simultaneously
at more than one speed), and if its energy is high enough, rotor speed will
drastically slow down and may even stop. Harmonically-rich waveforms require
more energy to stop the meter than DC or RF, simply because most of its harmonic
energy is in frequencies not far from 60Hz. Fast load surges will be far under
registered primarily due to the rotor inertia.

CAUTION: Line and induced voltages can kill! For all electrical projects, be certain
that all circuit components, including wiring, can more than handle worse case
voltages, currents and powers before proceeding to construct any circuit. Use
sensible, safe and accurate wiring techniques and procedures, as well as good
judgment, at all times. YOUR SAFETY IS TOTALLY UP TO YOU. See Figure 14
for our ground symbol conventions. Unless you clearly know what you are doing,
never connect one type of ground to another.

If you don't have a power or KW-HR meter to practice on, either one can be
obtained legally, but they are now hard to find. We have found them at
Government surplus sales and auctions, and by contacting firms that demolish old
homes and apartments. We do have several dozen on hand at Consumertronics and
we charge $500 each for them (while the supply lasts).

"PIV" indicates Peak Inverse or Reverse Voltage (or DC working voltage for
capacitors). All figures are simplified circuit diagrams. Add (use, circuit breaker,
transient suppression, isolation, etc. as required by your set-up. Transient
suppression is required to assure long-lasting, carefree performances of
semiconductors, capacitors and other components. Even without our methods, good
transient and ripple suppression protects Induction motors and transformers, and
shields appliances from utility-generated ripple control of them. See our "HIPPLED-
OFF" manual for specific details.

The term, "AC Loads" found in the figures herein, refers to loads, such as
transformers, induction motors and electronics, that must be exposed only to pure
60Hz or 50Hz AC power. Some electronics are transformer-isolated from the main
power lines, while others use the increasingly popular switching regulators that
aren't nearly as well isolated from the line. Also, transformers and Induction motors
saturate and stall when exposed to DC, and they can also burn out because of their
low resistance to line neutral, thus causing thorn to shunt out far too much DC
current.

The term, "AC/DC Loads" refers to all loads that can operate off of AC and DC
power but also have some tolerances for harmonics. AC/DC Loads primarily refer to
resistive elements (space heaters, irons, water heaters, etc), Incandescent lamps
and universal and DC motors. Some types of equipment (ax: some space heaters)
have electronics or fan motors that require nearly pure 60Hz power and other parts
(ex: heating elements) that qualify as AC/DC Loads. Some of them can be modified
with two separate power inputs. Normally, if a motor has brushes and Is of the type
used in small applications (ex: handheld power drill), it will run perfectly well off of
either DC or harmonic power as well as AC. Careful experimentation using a variac
should be done on an individual basis. Note that DC may have to be filtered out for
some universal motors as they can't cope with both DC and AC at the same time.

(1) DC LOADS:

DC loading is the hardest to accomplish but it is the most effective method. If you
have induction motors, transformers or electronics, any DC that roaches them will
also adversely affect them. The making of homemade inductors should be done
with care. They should be kept insulated. And don't do what one of person did! He
wrapped the leg of his drill press with wire to make an Inductor only to find that the
drill press became too “hot” to touch.

With the DC Method, three major problem areas have arisen. Some are finding
that the C1 (blocking) capacitors are costly, overly bulky or difficult to realize, even
with the Figure 2 arrangement. These capacitors are required ONLY IF you apply
the DC Method to a system that supports other loads sensitive to DC excitation
simultaneously running off of the same KW-HR meter. This problem is simply
solved by running all of your DC experiments with all sensitive AC-only loads
disconnected (ex: by temporarily throwing their circuit breakers). With a DC current
of about 5 amperes, a substantial permanent decrease in meter indication will
result with time due to permanently induced malfunctions.

Problems involving the kickback of rectified AC into the DC power supply may
occur. We used a very heavy-duty charger (like those found in garages) and didn't
observe any malfunctions. Figure 4 Illustrates two approaches of overcoming this
problem, making it possible to realize this method with a smaller, home-type auto-
battery charger.

The Figure 3 circuit only affects the current coils of the meter. This is because the
meter's voltage coil is across the outputs of the two rectifiers. To get the voltage
coil into the act, we used the circuit of Figure 5. We obtained satisfactory results
with both approaches. Some meters are more vulnerable thru their current coils
while others thru their voltage coil.
Be careful when using the DC Method. Other meters sharing the same power
transformer secondary will also be slowed down. However, because loads on other
meters will probably not be DC-isolated, problems could result in their operations.

(2) FREQUENCY METHOD:

High frequency loading is more easily accomplished but less effective and reliable
than the DC Method, and will usually require "tuning". Tone generators are also
called signal, audio frequency, waveform or function generators. Most well designed
units with short-circuit protection and the ability to deliver at least 5 amperes (if
necessary, couple with an audio amp) to the meter. Tones may be steady or in
bursts, experiment to determine which works best for your system. Our "PHONE
COLOR BOXES" manual contains many useful designs.

See Figure 6 and Figure 7

Optimum frequency is empirically determined. Meter will stop or at least chatter at


certain "resonant" tones but run relatively smoothly at higher ones. The signal
generator should be transformer-coupled to the AC power circuitry. Good shielding
should be provided and all signal lines should be of minimal length and with good
impedance matching. Radiated RF power beyond a small amount requires prior FCC
approval.

We found in certain cases that by using the Figure 6 circuit with the meter passing
only a few 60Hz amps, the meter will indicate in reverse at several frequency
points. Why? We are not certain about the mechanism involved but believe that the
reversals are caused by a combination of voltage coil flux irregularities and voltage-
to-current phase relationships.
In our 1st edition of “STOPPING POWER METERS” we recommended RF signals of
1KHz to 100KHz (Figure 6 and Figure 7). Frequency components below 1KHz are
difficult to filter out without significantly attenuating the 60Hz line component, even
though some frequency points between 100Hz and 1KHz are very effective in
reducing meter registration. However, because of customer feedback on their
successes in the 100Hz to 1KHz range, in the 2nd Edition we changed our limit from
100Hz to 10KHz, which also makes it easier to find a low cost audio generator. This
then resulted in customer complaints about filtering problems! Therefore, choose
whatever range best suits your needs and capabilities. This method causes no
observable permanent effect on KW-HR meters.

The DC Method problem of adversely affecting other meters on the same power
transformer secondary is usually not a problem with this method. The power lines
and transformer will effectively attenuate most frequency components above 60Hz.

Some firms today are peddling transient eliminators as energy savers. They state
that by filtering out line transients (using their grossly overpriced circuits, of
course), “The meter runs more slowly because transients cause meters to over
register.” If this were so, the Frequency Method described herein would cause
meters to over register! However, their claims are false even using their own logic!

Filtering out all transients on the motor's LOAD side simply means that ALL of the
incoming transient energy is dissipated BY THE METER ALONE! In fact, the transient
energy then absorbed by the meter would be much greater than that absorbed by
the meter and load without transient removal.

Thus, when there are high transient signals coming thru the meter from its source
(i.e. line) side, load-side line filtering essentially duplicates our Frequency
Method. Other substantial energy savings result because induction motors and
transformers operate far more efficiently with clean electrical inputs, and their
reliability and longevity also substantially increase.

(3) HARMONIC LOADS:

This method is most practical and easiest to achieve and it does not require special
equipment or filtering of other loads. See Figure 8. However, much greater
harmonic power is required to obtain the same effects. According to Fourier Theory,
all waveforms are composites of simple sine waves of certain discrete frequencies,
phases and amplitudes. When a 60Hz sine wave is half-wave rectified, DC and 60Hz
components are produced along with a plethora of harmonics that rapidly diminish
in power content as the harmonic number increases. The DC component will brake
the meter movement while the harmonics will diminish the total meter reading by
making the meter behave in an erratic fashion. Rectifiers must be rated so that
their steady-state current rating is at least twice the sum of all AC/DC loads served
by them, and their surge current must be rated at least three times that of their
loads. Minimum PIV should be 800 volts. Transient suppression and shielding are
highly recommended. If there is much motor brush sparking, filter out all AC
components for a DC motor, and all harmonics for an AC motor. Use about a 2uf
non-electrolytic 400 PIV capacitor across the motor terminals (most hand-held
power tools).
USE GREAT CARE IN APPLYING THE FIGURE 8 CIRCUIT BECAUSE IT
RESULTS IN A FLOATED LINE NEUTRAL. THIS CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS,
POSSIBLY RESULTING IN SHOCK OR FIRE.

A number of people suggested the circuit of Figure 9 as an easier alternative


because it requires only single 120 VAC/DC loads. We tested it and found no
observable net reduction in meter indication even though some customers swore by
it. The circuit of Figure 8 got mixed reviews because some customers noticed a net
INCREASE in meter indication by using it. I have not yet been able to pinpoint any
particular meter type or circuit factor that explains the apparent differences
between our results and the results of others. I do believe that the answer lies in
the different effects on different meter types under different load conditions to
gross violation of Blondel's Theorem.

See our "KW-HR METERS" manual for an in-depth explanation of Blondel's


Theorem. This method has little effect on the registration for loads NOT on the
rectifier circuit.
(4) HIGH SURGE, LOW DURATION LOADS:

Figure 10 depicts an SCR power-switching method. Basically, an SCR triggering


circuit triggers power to AC/DC loads, similarly to how Triac dimmer switches work
to dim lamps. Switching frequency and duty cycle are programmable functions of
the SCR Control Circuit for optimum results of load control and meter under
registration. This same effect is produced in spot welding operations. It is a fact
that utilities lack on an extra use fee for spot welders simply because their KW-HR
meters substantially under register actual consumption. This method requires the
most knowledge, time and money to effect, and a goodly amount of time to
maintain.

Several customers have claimed that the SCR Method can permanently slow down
KW-HR meters by causing damage to the meter's current coils.

(5) THE MAGNO-BRAKE METHOD:

A customer told us about this method (Figure 11). The Magno-Brake Method is
easier to apply than the DC Method, usually more effective and definitely more
risky. This method works by brute force - large surges are sent back to the meter
to disrupt its carefully balanced electro-mechanical system and-or to short out the
voltage coil windings. The result of this damage can often (but not always) be
physically observed: The meter either fails to indicate or its action is erratic, often
with scraping sounds coming from the disk. More than one meter has been totaled
by folks who didn't believe in the gradual approach to using this method. Why
utilities would react to this in a hysterical manner is beyond me since they
cavalierly inject line ripple onto your power line with no regard to the destructive
effects it has on YOUR equipment and on YOUR life!
As with the DC Method, we strongly suggest that you disconnect all other AC loads
from the meter's circuit during all Magno- Brake test periods. That's because
pulse height, width and energy may vary considerably between strikes and even
heavy filtering can let enough of a powerful strike reach other circuits and damage
them. Note that we use the term "disconnect" as opposed to "turn-OFF." That's
because we have found that some Magno-Brake pulses will jump switches and
even transformer windings and still damage turned-OFF but connected-up
equipment.

We used a commercial photoflash unit called a "Synchro Tester" (National


Camera, now discontinued). Check with your photo supply store on varieties. Our
unit outputs about 400 volts, 1 to 50msec. duration per "flash."

The Figure 12 circuit would work adequately. You should be able to control voltage
using a rheostat. Step-up transformers can be realized from two or more 120VAC
to 120VAC isolation transformers. For example, to construct a 120VAC to 240VAC
step-up transformer, wire two 120VAC isolation transformers in parallel on the
primary side and in series on the secondary side (see Figure 13). The storage
capacitor discharge can be controlled by an electromechanical or solid-state relay
(SSR), a telegrapher’s key or a heavy-duty push-button switch (snap action much
preferred). The former two can be electronically controlled to provide consistently
programmable results. Voltage level, duration and repetition rate should initially be
low and SLOWLY increased until the desired effects are achieved. Patience and
perseverance are musts to get optimum results with minimal tell-tale indications,
and to gain valuable experience and knowledge about KW-HR meters. Note that
whatever changes that you make in your meter using the Magno-Brake Method
will likely be permanent changes.
One customer told us what really works well is to use a mousetrap. He used the bar
as one contact and inserted a tack where the bar fell for the other contact. When
the mousetrap goes off, the discharge has a rise time of 0.08 to 0.86msec. from
our experiments. The RC snubber wired across the contacts is not needed if the
switcher is dispensable.

When using any of the methods described herein, different timing schemes can be
used. For instance, there may be some periods that you find it highly advantageous
to stop or even reverse your power meter while restoring it to normal operations
during other periods. Commercially available AC timers are excellent here. Or you
may feel more at ease to physically remove your circuit completely between
applications.

The capacitors described herein can be found at commercial electronic stores.


Often, you'll have better luck (and prices) at surplus stores.

However, enameled magnet wires in the sizes and quantities you will need for these
projects are not commonly available - not even in the some of the biggest
electronics parts houses. Magnet wire is available in various coatings, gauges and
lengths.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

STOPPING POWER METERS is the culmination of years of research work into the
vital area of meter design, testing and vulnerabilities. We thank our many
customers for their contributions, insights and experiences, and we are always open
to such contributions.

Thomas Paine once wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Proud men
and women everywhere are increasingly saying to us that they've already taken
enough from big government, international corporations and gouging utilities and
they are not going to take any more. The big shots aren't going to stop robbing and
gouging the people until the people force them to stop.