Monitoring water meter (digital readout)

Does anyone know can the ESP32cam read DIGITAL water meters? I am looking to be able to keep track of my irrigation side first so that I know if a zone has failed to close.

Another user was talking about reading digital water meters using NFC. Have you tried reading this one using NFC Tools on Android?

Yes, I have been using the ESPCam with the AI-on-the-edge software for about 10 months now. Once I got it mounted so it wouldn’t move I have had zero issues. It does the digitization onboard, and communicates the value via MQTT.

image

I have this setup taking a picture every 2 minutes. It takes about 35 seconds for the image capture & processing, so I could bump that up to every minute if I wanted.

Your other option is to integrate the feed into HA so it shows up as a camera entity, and then use HA’s own 7-segment OCR to digitize the value. But if you have an ESPCam that can do the OCR onboard you might as well do that instead.

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@mekaneck

Did you use a tutorial to get the espcam loaded with the software? I’m still new to esp devices and can’t do it with a walk thru. I found one but they were using Linux or something to load the bin files. I don’t have a Linux environment.

I didn’t use anything besides the instructions on that page. But there are a number of linked YouTube videos on there that I haven’t watched which are probably helpful.

In my case, the ESP32cam I purchased came with a board that has a micro USB connector so I didn’t need a separate UART flashing device. So I was able to flash it simply by plugging it into my Windows PC and using the browser-based tool in a Google Chrome browser.

Once it was flashed, the rest of the setup was done by fumbling around with the UI that is provided on the device itself.

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@mekaneck how is your picture so clear? Here is mine, that its constantly getting wrong.

I had to play around with the flash; I put a piece of white paper over mine to diffuse it, and I also pointed it so it wasn’t aiming directly at the meter. In my picture you can see it looks like the espcam isn’t pointed at the meter, but the camera lens itself actually is. I have the lens, which is attached to flexible ribbon cable, supported by a scrap piece of plastic and some tape so that it aims down.

In short, it took a lot of fiddling.