Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Landis + Gyr Smart Meter: An Inside View

The Landis + Gyr Smart Meter: An Inside View

Dan Mattson. The Landis + Gyr Smart Meter: An Inside View. November 8, 2015
No Abstract

This is a report on the Landis Gyr Focus AXR-SD smart meter. This is one of two smart meters in regular use for single phase 120/240 volts AC in Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) service territory. The report is based on visual examination of a disassembled meter and non-invasive measurement of an operating meter. Privacy is a major concern with smart meters. The measurements done for this report reveal a way that consumer equipment can be identified.

Known types of electromagnetic emissions from this smart meter are:
  • ELF magnetic fields
  • The pulsed microwave radiation (902-928 MHz)
  • The switch mode power supply switching frequency radiation (130 kHz)
  •  There is also a zigbee transceiver (2.5 GHz) for the home area network. At the time of this writing, I know of no implementation of this feature.
There are two parts to this report (plus a conclusion on p. 11).
  • Part one looks inside the smartmeter, identifying the parts associated with the emissions.
  • Part two documents measurements of the switch mode power supply and discusses the privacy issue.

This paper intends to demystify some components of the Landis + Gyr Focus AXR-SD. This meter and other smart meters have triggered electrical sensitivity in people who did not know it had been introduced into their environment. It is presented with the belief that good technical information is essential to countering the rush into a poorly conceived “upgrade” to a smart grid. That our electrical infrastructure needs upgrading is not in question. However, layering high-tech components on top of aging much lower tech components while largely ignoring the issue of electrical sensitivity even as the evidence is coming in that smart meters are aggravating the problem is not in the public interest.
This paper presents evidence based on manufacturer specifications and field measurement that the switching frequency of a Landis + Gyr smart meter SMPS is about 130 kHz. Further, that this creates a harmonic rich signal that is readily induced in the hot legs of a 100-amp residential service entrance. Evidence from field measurement is also presented showing that this harmonic-rich switching frequency is radiated from the meter.
Studies are coming out that show these frequencies, sometimes called intermediate frequencies, from common devices can do biological harm, especially if there is direct contact between ones body and the device.
This paper also shows the current wave forms of two switching power supplies. We see harmonic distortion indicating a low power factor and a spectrum analysis of this harmonic distortion. The paper explains how these images can be used for product identification. Power factor correction of a SMPS will change any such signature and quite possibly reduce the likelihood of making a positive identification of the associated device. Power factor correction has no effect on the switching frequency or its harmonics.
The full report is available at
For more information about smart meters see "Health Experts Caution About Smart Meters" (

Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

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