Looking for Fuel Flow Meter in the 1 to 6 G per HOUR Range
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  1. #1
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    Default Looking for Fuel Flow Meter in the 1 to 6 G per HOUR Range

    I am looking for a simple fuel low-flow rate guage that will read in the 1 to 6 gallon per hour rate range. There are all kinds of meters available (turbine type) that will measure flow rates of .1 to 6 liters or more per minute. But I need one that measures lower flow rates. It will be used to monitor diesel burning rate in Hago Siphon nozzle burners used to melt iron in my small iron foundry. In this application they are typically set up to burn about 2 to 3 gallons per hour though they nominally burn up to 1 gallon per hour. Suggestions? Any help appreciated.

    Presently I calibrate them for flow by weighing the fuel container at intervals. While it is possible to determine flow rate this way but it is hardly convenient and makes tuning rates very cumbersome.

    Denis

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    Omega has tons of options for you:

    Low Flow Sensors

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielG View Post
    Omega has tons of options for you:

    Low Flow Sensors
    Thanks, DanielG. sometimes it is simply the difference in word choice that results in either no results or a bunch of results. Once I started searching on low flow "sensor" rather than "meter" many results started popping up.

    Automobiles must use very precise and likely inexpensive sensors to accurately determine fuel flow as part of instantaneous MPG readouts. I have been wondering what they use. There is a good chance that the output from such a sensor is a milli-volt signal that could be easily read and interpreted.

    Denis

    Edit: Having just read a bit about cars and their MPG calculations I see that those calculations are not based directly on measured fuel flow as such but rather sum up the time the injectors are open and thus accurately determining fuel delivered for combustion. There goes that idea.

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    What's your desired accuracy? A coriolis meter will do whatever you need...at a cost.

    Sent from my SM-T560NU using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by cole2534 View Post
    what's your desired accuracy? A coriolis meter will do whatever you need...at a cost.

    Sent from my sm-t560nu using tapatalk
    +/- .1 gph

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    Go to the local gas pump salvage yard.

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    To get any kinda accuracy at thoes flow rates you have to factor in temp and the way that changes fuel density, low flow rates are hard to measure accurately, far easier to go to a known displacement pumping system and control it from source. Its the way most low flow chemical metering is done.

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    You got me curious as I am currently going thru this same issue at work. In my case the sales guy budgeted me at $1,500 each for Turbine flow meters without realizing they didn't have the turn down.

    The Coriolis option by far in my mind is the best but came in at $9K. The path we are going with is Home - Max Precision Flow Meters at $3,500, both of which I suspect are way above your budget. But some googling on the subject took me to this discussion on this very site where there were some suggestions made. Fuel Flow Meausurement for the cheapo flow measurement side of things.

    It looks like cars don't actually read actual fuel flow but rather they calculate it instead, so it sounds like you will be hard pressed to find any low cost high volume device out there. One other thought try to search this flowrate in terms of liters/min, or cc's/min a lot of the tiny flowmeters out there for other applications use those units of volume.

    One other question, where is this foundry being run, outdoors in your backyard, or in a place of business with employees and real insurance? If the later make sure you are buying electronics rated for Class I div 1 or div 2 environments. Diesel is probably a lot better than gasoline in terms of flammability but still probably better safe than sorry.

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    Automobiles don't measure flow.

    Rather, they know from the injector pulse width how much gas is being sent out of the nozzle and can calculate the burn rate. There are some inaccuracies - which is why on board fuel MPG values are usually off a little from real world values.

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    I am not sure Rotameters are suitable for those low flows. If they are they would likely be the most economical solution. The simplest type is a metal ball inside a tapered transparent tube, very similar to the flowmeter on your MIG or TIG regulator. If the fuel you are using is very dark it might not be possible to see the ball.

    Our local surplus store had some small plastic rotameters. Not sure of the capacity. If you want I could get one and send it to you. I expect postage would be more than the cost of the rotameter. I believe they were intended for air. It would be necessary for you to calibrate it for your fuel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adammil1 View Post

    The Coriolis option by far in my mind is the best but came in at $9K.
    That's cheaper than I was expecting.

    DG, can you do something via positive displacement? Something like a rod-less hydraulic cylinder, couple prox switches, solenoid valve and a counter...

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    personal opinion - measuring flows that slow (depends on the feed tube diameter of course, but still) is not easy, so I'd go another route, or two:
    - ultrasonic distance meter inside the fuel tank (tall/narrow, to increase resolution maybe), calibrate it accordingly, something really inexpensive from arduino/raspberry accessories might work
    - peristaltic pump to pump the fuel? would be easy to rig some sort of a counter to log the rpm and calculate the flow from that

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    check Keyence. They have some really nice flow meters. I don't know their range limitations. You might also look at Automationdirect who also sell flow meters and have great prices!

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    Quote Originally Posted by greggv View Post
    check Keyence. They have some really nice flow meters. I don't know their range limitations. You might also look at Automationdirect who also sell flow meters and have great prices!
    I second Keyence they have a line that you just clamp on the tube/pipe
    Clamp-On Liquid Flow Meter | KEYENCE America

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    Get a differential thermocouple meter and a resistor. Epoxy them in a pipe, resistor between the two thermocouples.

    Flow rate is inversely proportional to the difference in temperature.

    For better wide range accuracy, adjust the heat dumped into the resistor to keep the temperature difference the same amount.

    This is the method the mass airflow sensor works on most vehicles, they probably get the production cost down to a tenth of retail.

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    What about metered pumps, like those used for dosing chlorine into pools or drugs into patients?

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    Quote Originally Posted by johansen View Post
    Get a differential thermocouple meter and a resistor. Epoxy them in a pipe, resistor between the two thermocouples.

    Flow rate is inversely proportional to the difference in temperature.

    For better wide range accuracy, adjust the heat dumped into the resistor to keep the temperature difference the same amount.

    This is the method the mass airflow sensor works on most vehicles, they probably get the production cost down to a tenth of retail.
    Yeah, try getting any kinda accuracy out of that with heat loss at the low flows being discussed here, whole different beast at the rates and accuracies that application calls for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jz79 View Post
    - peristaltic pump to pump the fuel? would be easy to rig some sort of a counter to log the rpm and calculate the flow from that
    Problem is they don't stay all that constant over time, tube takes a set and wears + getting one thats truly fuel resistant is a whole ball game in its own right, far better to go to a proper piston style displacement pump, same holds true for diaphragm pumps too. Far easier to be exact on volume when your simply relying on a pair of check valves and a exactly known and wear free repeatable displacement piston moveing a identical stroke.

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    Not an expert, but peristaltic pumps being used for fluid delivery in a hospital context could not be more reliable (in my opinion). Might need to make sure the tube is appropriate to the fluid you're pumping but since the fluid is only in contact with the tube itself, that doesn't seem expensive nor complicated.


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