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SMETS2 communication hub indicator lights - what is the sequence of flashes for a communicating smart meter?


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Hi. I used to have a problem with my IHD not correctly monitoring my gas and electricity usage but over the last 2 months, this problem is sorted apart from my gas daily standing charge not being displayed.

This charge still gets paid even though it isn't being shown !

I am starting this topic as the communication hub indicator lights have changed their sequencing.

What used to happen was the SW, WAN, HAN and GAS indicator lights used to simultaneously flash once then go out for 4 or 5 seconds and then the sequence would repeat.

However I have noticed this morning that this has changed with the WAN light flashing 7 times then the remaining SW, HAN and GAS lights flashing once then flashing once more once the 7 WAN flashes have completed.

Anyone else get this ?

Cheers

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Best answer by Jequinlan 22 August 2020, 10:13

Updated on 10/09/20: For a guide on SMETS2 comms faults, see this topic

 

What do the indicators mean on a SMETS2 Comms Hub?

 

On the front of a comms hub there are a series of LED indicators showing the functional status of the metering system. Each LED has a legend as shown below:

SW - Software

This shows the status of the hub’s software.

WAN - Wide Area Network

Shows your communication hub’s ability to communicate with your supplier. This light will be off if your meter is using the MESH network to communicate.

MESH - Mesh Communications Network

If you have a SK2 or SKU3 type of Communications Hub, then both WAN and MESH are active, and will display the slow-flash from these indicators if all is well.

If you have a SKU1 (85% of houses do), then the MESH indicator will always be off because that section of electronics isn’t present.

HAN - Home Area Network

This light shows the connection status of your electricity meter, gas meter and IHD with your communications hub on the HAN (Home Area Network).

GAS - Gas Meter

This light tells you if a gas meter is connected. If you don’t have a gas meter installed this light will be off.

The frequency of flashing relates to the status of the function as follows:

  - Power Up

To allow the operator to see that all LEDs are working they are shown without flashing for a short period after power up.

  - Error

Fast flash rate of 2 flashes per second means that there is an error. Call your supplier if this does not change after 48 hours.

  - Transient

A flash rate of 1 flash per second means that the process is in a transient state such as making a communications connection.

  - Normal

A slow flash rate of 1 flash per 2 seconds means that the process is in its normal state.

  - Off

The communications hub is powered down.

 

I am hoping your meter is a SMETS2 hub. I don't see anything specific on 7 flashes based on the info above, perhaps look and see if it is in fact 2 flashes a second (error)?

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Updated on 10/09/20: For a guide on SMETS2 comms faults, see this topic

 

What do the indicators mean on a SMETS2 Comms Hub?

 

On the front of a comms hub there are a series of LED indicators showing the functional status of the metering system. Each LED has a legend as shown below:

SW - Software

This shows the status of the hub’s software.

WAN - Wide Area Network

Shows your communication hub’s ability to communicate with your supplier. This light will be off if your meter is using the MESH network to communicate.

MESH - Mesh Communications Network

If you have a SK2 or SKU3 type of Communications Hub, then both WAN and MESH are active, and will display the slow-flash from these indicators if all is well.

If you have a SKU1 (85% of houses do), then the MESH indicator will always be off because that section of electronics isn’t present.

HAN - Home Area Network

This light shows the connection status of your electricity meter, gas meter and IHD with your communications hub on the HAN (Home Area Network).

GAS - Gas Meter

This light tells you if a gas meter is connected. If you don’t have a gas meter installed this light will be off.

The frequency of flashing relates to the status of the function as follows:

  - Power Up

To allow the operator to see that all LEDs are working they are shown without flashing for a short period after power up.

  - Error

Fast flash rate of 2 flashes per second means that there is an error. Call your supplier if this does not change after 48 hours.

  - Transient

A flash rate of 1 flash per second means that the process is in a transient state such as making a communications connection.

  - Normal

A slow flash rate of 1 flash per 2 seconds means that the process is in its normal state.

  - Off

The communications hub is powered down.

 

I am hoping your meter is a SMETS2 hub. I don't see anything specific on 7 flashes based on the info above, perhaps look and see if it is in fact 2 flashes a second (error)?

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@Jequinlan Thanks for replying.

I could do a video of the light sequence using my mobile phone but I don't think it is possible to upload it here on the forum ?

I just checked again a few minutes ago and the light sequence is exactly like I said it was !

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I have the video on my mobile:

 

https://linksharing.samsungcloud.com/YR3s6tKL9X0N

 

There is a security alert with the above link if you open it in Chrome but it is safe.

I chose to select Link Sharing then selected the Video Player to see it.

I used to use Imageshack but you have to pay to use it now.

 

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I have not checked for a while and apart from the hub indicator light sequencing change, my daily electric and gas usage hasn't updated since 12th August !

 

 

 

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I thought it was too good to last lol

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@MikeE i think you need to get in touch with customer services. Looks like it has lost the link!

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@Jequinlan Will I lose my reward bonus ?

I am not sure !

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@MikeE  someone like @Tim_OVO can answer that, but I don't think people get punished for comms issues! Especially if they raise to cust services.  OVO are a very fair organisation. 

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@Jequinlan Okay then I will give them a ring.

I agree about your comment about OVO.

Compared to my previous supplier (ScottishPower) which had dire customer service.

Well thats my personal experience.

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I’m not sure why I didn’t see this topic when it was first raised.

I put GIFs of the LED indicator flash-sequences here on the SMETS2 Installation topic last year.

 

There’s a similar set of GIFs towards the bottom of this page on the SmartMe site, but the timings aren’t correct at the time of writing.

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And I think I need to make a correction if @Jequinlan will let me:

WAN - Wide Area Network

Shows your communication hub’s ability to communicate with your supplier. This light will be off if your meter is using the MESH network to communicate.

 

No, sorry - that’s not how it works. The MESH isn’t operating as an alternative to WAN.

If you have a SK2 or SKU3 type of Communications Hub, then both WAN and MESH are active, and will display the slow-flash from these indicators if all is well.

 

If you have a SKU1 (85% of houses do), then the MESH indicator will always be off because that section of electronics isn’t present.

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Some good info above, I’ll update the best answer with the amends. 

 

@MikeE you can certainly contact us without losing this self service reward. It’s only for things you can fix yourself that we ask you to do this online. This self service reward isn’t available for new and renewing customers btw.  

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@Transparent apologies, I actually lifted snd shifted that info from a smets guide site! Plagiarism sometimes doesn't pay. At least we hopefully get the right solution and a happy forum user!

 

You are the absolute guru here!

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Well it helps that I’ve actually got an SKU2 Comms Hub :slight_smile:

For clarity, my analysis of the data-sheets and my own observations suggest to me that these two indicators operate as follows:

WAN:I have an established connection with the Smart Meter Network operated by Telefonica (south/central territories) or Arqiva (Northern Territory).”

MESH:I am able to operate as part of the local Mesh Network

 

The WAN indicator therefore shows that access to the Wide Area Network is established, whether this is direct or via the Mesh.

 

Here is Telefonica’s presentation slide from 2016 when the Toshiba SMETS2 system was being developed and tested:

 

Of particular note is how few houses were predicted to require Mesh networking for Smart Meter operation. This is largely due to the modified 2G/3G developments by Telefonica to increase the range penetration of their O2 network to support smart metering.

 

The Mesh network integrated within Toshiba’s Comms Hub is a narrow-band IPv6 RF system, licensed from CyanConnode in Cambridge. It is self-configuring, self-annealing, incorporates auto-correction (self-healing) and operates at 869MHz.

CyanConnode was created in 2016 as a result of UK-based Cyan Technology (mesh network design) acquiring Swedish company, Connode, for £7m. Connode’s speciality was IoT software.

Similar Mesh networks are also employed for Heating Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC), Traffic Light controls and Livestock Management. Generically they are referred to as M2M (machine to machine) communications.

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I got a request to send OVO my meter readings but the problem with my smart meters is still ongoing as the communication hub lights are still the same with the WAN light flashing seven times in succession (not normal) then the other 3 lights flashing once (which is normal)

 

I just received an email saying:

"Thanks for taking the time to contact us, and for completing the smart meter health check. I have raised this with the smart team to investigate, and they will be in touch with in the next 10 working days so on or before the 11th September with the next steps."

 

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Hi @MikeE - so a few pointers here.

The “7-flashes” on the WAN indicator must surely be the Fast-flash sequence. Your mobile-phone link is expired so I can no longer view that video clip.

Fast flash is a clear error on the transciever link to/fro the Telefonica Smart Meter Network. It’s not even retrying the link (Medium flash). Your Comms Hub is simply not getting the handshake on the 3G frequency to your nearest O2 mast. In the Welsh valleys you probably only have line-of-sight to one such mast anyway.

In your location I’m a bit surprised you have a SKU1. You only need one neighbour to add some foil-backed insulation to his house and there’s no way around it for the WAN signal.

You could email hello@ovoenergy.com marked FAO SMETS Team, and ask them to look up your site on the CCDB (Coverage Checker Database), which is available to them via the DCC User Interface Service (DUIS). Better still, ask them the proportion of other houses in your postcode area that have SKU2 Comms Hubs, because that will reveal how iffy your valley is.

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@Transparent Hi. I wasn't offered the option of a MESH system when I had my SMART meters installed last year so perhaps he thought that I didn't need it ?

 

My electric meter is fixed to a thick wall but the meter is located with 2 feet of a glazed PVC door so I should be okay as I can get a solid mobile signal if I am within a few feet of my double glazing windows or doors.

 

I used to have the electric meter in a wooden cabinet but I got rid of it when my SMART meters were installed as the installer mentioned that it may affect the signal to OVO.

 

It's only when I go into the middle of the rooms in my house that I have trouble making or receiving calls due to the thick walls aprox 18" thick.

 

I use WiFi calling to overcome this problem !

 

I will send another link:

https://linksharing.samsungcloud.com/27dztpUq9K5N

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@Transparent I just want to add that I really enjoy reading your posts as you know what you are on about !

I am a bit of a geek lol

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Thanks @MikeE - I’d like to see the UK enthusing a lot more people to become geeks. We have some amazing technology that needs developing over the next decade. Sadly, the domestic energy market is constrained by a lack of basic knowledge amongst the wider population. Few know the difference between a kW and a kWh, let alone a joule!

Ofgem has recognised this problem. But it’s really down to us members of the general public to keep raising issues about smart meters, energy conservation and climate change with those we know… in the gym, the pub, the chapel and the council chamber.

 

Back to your issues:

1: if your wooden cabinet around the meter had any effect on the propagation of radio waves at the frequencies used by your Comms Hub, then south Wales is using some very strange photons. :thinking:

There are specific rules about there being no metal objects within 80mm of certain faces of the Comms Hub. I’m unsure about how those rules were developed back in 2016 when the testing was done at BRE.

I’ve been installing foil-insulation (Actis Super-10) and foil-backed rigid-board insulation in my roof-space over the last 7 years. These definitely restrict the passage of radio waves, causing a cone-shaped shadow behind them. The effect is over tens of metres, not just a mere 80mm.

 

2: the customer has no say in which version of Comms Hub or aerial(s) you might require. This is dictated entirely by that CCDB I referred to. It’s not just a matter of the signal strength for your immediate location because properties near you are also evaluated.

Eg it’s no good just fitting a SKU2 model for you and your two immediate neighbours because the Mesh network won’t form itself until there is a minimum of 4 units!

 

3: you having a good signal on your mobile phone is only significant if your SIM connects you to the O2 (Telefonica) network. If you happen to be on Vodaphone, then find a mate on O2 and invite them around. :slight_smile:

 

4: The video of your indicators is useful for several reasons:

a: I’m pretty sure this is the high-frequency flash rate. Technically it should be operating 10x faster than the slow-flash, but 8x faster is good enough for me. It’s certainly too quick for the medium-flash pattern. The on-time is also a tad too long - should be 100mS.

b: You have a WNC Comms Hub, (and a Honeywell/Elster electricity meter) which I haven’t physically seen in operation before now. Most SMETS2 installations by OVO have used Toshiba Comms Hubs. I wonder if this is significant?

c: When your Comms Hub was first installed, it performed a signal-strength check on the WAN. This will have been recorded by the Installation Engineer, and OVO will be able to check that record. That’s another one for the in-house SMETS Team to check.

 

I don’t know who is the Moderator of the day because they haven’t yet woken up and announced themselves here on the Forum. After all, it’s only 2pm :sleeping:

So I’m going to tag both @Tim_OVO and @Alice_OVO.

Alice is new to the team this week, but I know she’s around because we exchanged PMs earlier this morning. She may well be able to draw the attention of the Tier-2 or 3 CS SMETS-specialists to this Topic and see if they have anything to say.

And I’m tagging Tim because there’s quite a build-up of detailed background information about Comms Hubs here. We may want to consider copying some of it across into a new Tutorial on the subject, where we can more easily refer to it from lots of other Topics over the next few years.

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@Transparent I am with Sky Mobile which, as you probably know, piggybacks on the O2 network !

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Thanks @Transparent 

 

I will be leaving this topic open as a tab to have a good read of the info provided later today/tonight. 

 

Keen to get some steer from you as to what this topic could be split out into. As you mention, loads of info above. I would want to keep anything specific to ‘what do comms hub lights mean’ in this topic, and anything broader can be considered for a new tutorial topic. What do you think as well @MikeE ?

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@Tim_OVO I'll leave it up to you as you probably know best 😉 

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Erm @Tim_OVO - I’ve just noticed that this is the second Topic where @MikeE and I have been discussing details of Comms Hub indicators. There other one is here and you’ve just directed another Member to view it today.

Yet when I check @MikeE’s profile page, that earlier Topic isn’t mentioned in his activity log!

Can you ask Insided to have a look please? This is the second such issue in a week.

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@Transparent "Yet when I check @MikeE’s profile page, that earlier Topic isn’t mentioned in his activity log!"

 

I think it may have something to do with a recent username change as  I originally registered as Mikeovo and afterwards I realised that I may be mistaken for an OVO employee so I requested a change to MikeE !

 

Going back to an earlier post:

@Transparent "You have a WNC Comms Hub, (and a Honeywell/Elster electricity meter) which I haven’t physically seen in operation before now. Most SMETS2 installations by OVO have used Toshiba Comms Hubs. I wonder if this is significant?"

 

Significant in what way ?

Communication issues like I am experiencing now i.e. if I had had standard kit fitted (Toshiba Comms Hubs) maybe these problems wouldn't arise ?

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A change of User-ID shouldn’t make any difference @MikeE. If you look at the other Topic I referred to, your ID shows “MikeE” even though you wrote it when you were Mikeovo. The data is stored with a token (your Forum number) which is replaced by your UserID before it gets sent to my computer for viewing.

The User Profile page is done the same way. Just because the Member Database holds a different ID for you doesn’t actually change the membership number which that Profile page refers to.

 

The significance of you having a WNC Hub is only going to make sense to OVO’s engineers.

It’s clearly different hardware and software from the Toshiba variant. If the flash-pattern on the indicators can be identifiably different to my eyes, then so can its response to weak signals, interference, reflections etc. But I can’t physically see that of course.

The engineers may find that one type of Hub is better than the other in certain locations. They will have fitted enough now to see if there’s any pattern emerging.

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