AFD-1 Water Flow Sensor
The AFD-1 Water Flow Sensor measures water flow rates within an Afridev or India Mark II handpump and transmits data via mobile networks.
AFD-1 water flow meter measures water flow rates within an Afridev or India Mark II handpump and transmits data to enable response by local repair teams. It comes with a software platform, called Dispatch Monitor™, that will receive incoming data packets from those sensors and visualize that information for anyone in the world.
The data is transmitted via a GSM network and the information is used to determine the state of the pump and the water consumption patterns. Charity: Water uses the information to allow donors to see the state of the wells they fund.
The sensor has been deployed in Northern Ethiopia, as of March 2016 and is intended to be deployed wherever an Afridev Pump is installed.
Charity: water with Partner NGOs.
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Organizations, local NGO partners involved in handpump installation and maintenance, who want to ensure the continuous performance of the handpumps.
AFD-1 water flow sensor is manufactured by PCH Lime Lab in China.
For now, only the charity: water team and its local project partners can access the charity: water sensor and the software interface Dispatch Monitor.
Interested users can contact charity:water or build their own sensor and monitoring platform.
1,000 of a planned 3,500 sensors have been installed on Afridev hand pumps in rural communities in Ethiopia, as of March 2016.
Of that number, 700 are actively transmitting hourly water-flow data to the cloud, thanks to an embedded virtual SIM card and “pre-existing roaming agreements with every telecom company in the world.” The other 300 sensors are located in areas with no cell service
The AFD-1 meter uses capacitance sensors to measure hourly volumes of water flow. Each sensor’s reading is compared to the past hour’s maximum value. If the delta is greater than the predetermined threshold, the pad is considered “submerged”. The highest “submerged” pad is used to estimate that second’s volume. If hourly stored estimates are unavailable, daily usage can be calculated from the sensor statistics. The sensors are powered by a lithium battery rated to last 12 years.
The sensors and batteries are located in an FDA-approved plastic enclosure intended for operation in harsh conditions. The full package is waterproof and can withstand temperatures up to 140 degrees F and 70mph impact.
The AFD-1 meter is designed to be integrated into the Afridev or India Mark II pump, without interfering with pump functionality, water flow, or regular pump maintenance. According to Charity:water, installation takes 15 minutes and can be done by untrained individuals.
A CAD model of the sensor in the enclosure is shown below. Schematics can be downloaded for:
Afridev Sensor Firmware Specification and
Afridev Sensor EE Drawings and Afridev Sensor ME Drawings
charity: water’s Pipeline program is set up to train teams of mechanics on how to fix any problems with the water pumps. These teams are set up regionally and handle 50 – 100 water points per team.
Battery lifespan: 12 years
AFD-1 Sensors are capable of transmitting data from remote, low connectivity areas, as well as learning the “normal” behavior of a given well and reporting immediately when there is a significant behavior change. The AFD-1 Meter does not impede pump functionality Pipeline pamphlet charity:water
No publicly published data available to date.
PCH Lime Lab in San Francisco and Ethiopia.
No known safety hazards are related to this product.
The AFD-1 meter is an information gathering system for Afridev, India Mark II, and other pumps worldwide. It must be attached to an existing pump for it to have any use.
Product utilizes FDA-approved plastic. Pipeline pamphlet charity:water
Field trials – 100+ sensors have been field tested throughout the design process. Pipeline pamphlet charity:water Durability testing included drop, stress, and environmental testing.
Funded through a $5 million “Impact Award” grant from Google.org in 2012 to develop and deploy the water flow sensor.
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