Reading ELSTER - A1700 Three Phase Meter

Does anyone have experience of communicating with an ELSTER A1700 3 Phase Meter.

This has a bi-directional optical port, and uses something called FLAG protocol.

There is a commercial data cable available £170 !

Unfortunately not, but I too would be interested in anything you learn about this.

I have several sites that have A1700 meters that I would like to get data from. Unlike the A100C and the A1100 there doesn’t appear to be any IR light pulses coming from the A1700’s when checked with a digital camera, my assumption has been that the data needs to be queried/initiated with a handshake rather than a simple repeated transmission.

The A1700 can also take 1 or 2 plugin modules, which come in both a rs232 and an rs485 variety, the rs232 module is not a lot of money at all.

I have a secondhand a1700 and a rs232 module for test purposes, I did at one time try hooking up the rs232 module via a FTDI adapter and ran the elster PC based software to communicate with the a1700 (the name eludes me at the moment Elster SMARTset v1.1 ) but with no success. Lack of time and too many unknowns (I don’t know the history of the meter or the module) prevented any further progress at the time.

I’ll happily dig it out again if you have any ideas, I was out of my depth and haven’t had the time to study up or research further.

Also, have you seen these on ebay?

“FLAG” is apparently another name for “IEC 62056-21” and both those probes say they are “IEC 62056-21” so would that mean they are “FLAG” ?


Optical probe heads of the following standards and types are available:

IEC 62056-21 – (formerly known as EN 61107 and EN 1107 also called ‘1107’ or ‘FLAG’) an international standard adopted in Europe and many other countries for optical probes magnetically attached to meters. They comply with transmission standards IEC 62056-61 & -62 and DLMS/COSEM EN 13757-1

Those probe heads look interesting may take the pluge and get one!

I’ve done some digging on the A1700 and I think the protocol should be quite easy to emulate, however it does depend if the supplier has password protected them - if so, you are stuck!

I just noticed there is a third probe on ebay from that same company, for use on W10.

Ahh yes! It’s coming back to me now, that was another “unknown”, I do not know if the one I have has had the passwords changed, and as I explained to one of my clients that wants me to read an A1700 at one of their sites, Whether I crack this one at home or not, may not mean I can (or can’t) do one in the field, each case/site/meter will need to be experimented with.

Couple of useful articles which may come in handy…

@pb66 Where did you get the Elster software from, is that Commercial ?

I’ve looked for the MeterCat application, but this appears to be commercial and no trial or demo versions available.

I have come across various revisions and unofficial links to various places whilst trawling the net. These are the 2 programs I found most relevant to the a1700. Power Master Unit V2.4.1.16.exe

both those links I’ve sourced from this page by searching today but it was a long time ago I downloaded them, so I cannot recall where exactly I got them.

The default user:password for SMARTset is Elster:Elster (which I can confirm works) and the default user:password for an a1700 meter is apparently root:xxx but I have not been able to confirm that either way (not sure if it’s fact, if I’m using it correctly or even if my meter is still default or has been changed). Again I have seen this info in multiple places but here is the link I kept.

Are you making any progress?

The cable arrived this morning, using the Elster SMARTSET program I can get this far…

[12:41:58] Logon 
[12:41:58] COM4->  /?!<CR><LF>
[12:42:00] <-COM4  /[email protected]<CR><LF>
[12:42:00] COM4->  <ACK>051<CR>
[12:42:00] COM4->  <LF>
[12:42:00] <-COM4  <SOH>P0<STX>(C24416E1B400A88F)<ETX><DC3>
[12:42:01] COM4->  <SOH>P2<STX>(0000000000000000)<ETX>b
[12:42:01] <-COM4  m
[12:42:01] COM4->  <SOH>R1<STX>798001(10)<ETX>e
[12:42:03] COM4->  <SOH>R1<STX>798001(10)<ETX>e
[12:42:04] <-COM4  77<DEL><NUL>(2D2D2D2D2D2D474730334B3030343432)<ETX>v
[12:42:04] COM4->  <SOH>R1<STX>798001(10)<ETX>e
[12:42:04] <-COM4  77<DEL><NUL>(2D2D2D2D2D2D474730334B3030343432)<ETX>v
[12:42:04] ERROR:  Bad response to R1 command received. (72)
[12:42:04] COM4->  <SOH>B0<ETX>q
[12:42:05] Logoff

This article has details on the default passwords, but they dont appear to work on my meter :frowning:

For information, most ELSTER meters use the following default passwords (there are 3 levels increasing in ability):
Pass 1: 0001ABCD
Pass 2: ABCD0002
Pass 3: FEDC0003

Just to add to my problems, the meter is an ABB branded A1700 3 phase meter.

This looks like an old meter - circa 2005.

ABB bought the meter from GEC (ABB Group. Leading digital technologies for industry — ABB Group) - which can also be evidenced with the “GEC” announcement string in the initial connection.

Elster then bought out ABB (News - POWERGRID International)

So I’ve a meter which is badged A1700, but has origins in GEC, a label on it saying ABB and I’ve no idea what protocol it supports !!

Useful link - how to make password for Elster A 1700

Additionally, decoding the trace above…

IEC62056-21 Handshake
In serial port connection default IEC62056-21 settings are: Bitrate 300, 7E1.

“/?” + deviceSerialNumber + “!\r\n”
Send query to the device containing “/?!” and a new line (0x0D 0x0A) without the quotations. This requests the identity information from the device.

The device responds with serial number and the maximum connection speed. The reply data is formatted as follows:
/XXXZ Ident and a line change
XXX is the manufacturer name
Z is the maximum baud rate
Ident is the Identification info of the device.

Z is the most important part of the device and is defined in single number:
0 - 300 Bd
1 - 600 Bd
2 - 1 200 Bd
3 - 2 400 Bd
4 - 4 800 Bd
5 - 9 600 Bd
6 - 19200Bd
7, 8, 9 - reserved for later extensions.

Looks like you are making good progress, you’ve certainly got way further than I did

Which model optical probe did you opt for in the end?

I went with a USB version of the probe from ebay - all works well.

I think I’m stuck with the meter reading though, as the meter I’m reading is an old one, I think the protocol is different.

Of the one I linked to? Which one exactly?

The descriptions do not inspire confidence, I see all 3 are listed as having a “Connector pinout: 2.54mm pitch pinheader socket: 5V in, RX, GND, TX” which only really applies to the 1x non-usb version and the “Optical Probe IEC1107 IEC61107 62056-21 with USB cable,Optical Probe for Windows” doesn’t work work with windows 8 or 10. I assume you have gone for the more expensive “Optical Probe IEC1107 IEC61107 62056-21 with USB cable Windows 10 version” but just wanted to be sure as there is obviously some mindless copy and pasting going on with the listings.

Does it come with any paperwork or guide etc, have you contacted them for any support or assistance? They do have a website but it’s pretty limited. There is another phone number (ie not the 0845 one on ebay) on the contacts page.

I’m unsure whether to buy one and try with the meter I have (with your guidance perhaps?) or whether I would be chucking good money after bad if it is beyond me or the meters passwords have been changed.

Its the Windows 10 USB one - cost £38 delivered.

The cable works fine - has a simple USB Serial adapter inside it - nothing flash and the cable feels quite cheap, although it does have a nice magnetic clamp onto the meter.

The supplied instructions and software attempt to connect to the meter and get a reply from it - the program supplied didn’t work with my meter.

I used the Elster SmartSet - and this does connect to the meter, obtain its “hello” message and then appears to stop at that point. The smartset software appears to be sending “000000000” as its P2 message which is a reply for a password challenge. Potentially I’ve configured the software wrong - and/or the meter is locked/password changed.

The OmniMa demo program (Windows only) can be downloaded from…

Run the program

meter.exe -port=comX

I’ve not got it to work with my meter though!

I asked the seller though ebay if this worked with an Elster A1700 and the reply implied it would work with ANY meter that has a IEC 62056-21/ IEC 61107 port so I don’t think there is any Elster specific code involved so do you suspect your “pre-Elster a1700” pre-dates those standards and uses a different protocol?


If the Elster meter includes a IEC 62056-21/ IEC 61107 port (and according to the specification it does) our probe should work well with this meter.

maybe I should give it a whirl, the readme in that zip is pretty simple, clear and doesn’t mention any passwords, which makes me question if a password is required for the lowest level reads or is it likely the utility/metering companies use a common low/first level password so the usual meter reader guys can be read the meters without a database of passwords? I understand the passwords are configurable but if this software is sold without even a mention of the possibility of a password hurdle, but maybe the odds are stacked on it being known/default/standard.


Meter utility

1) Unzip the file

2) Using Device Manager locate the name of the COM port i.e. com3 

3) Run: meter.exe -port=com3 {where com port is set to be the com port of the USB adapter}

Example output:

Opening: com3, baud: 300
Meter ID: /ISK5\2MT382-1000

I think my meter is pre-Elster, although it does appear to support the IEC protocols - the Elster SmartSet application won’t connect to it.

My meter is ABB branded A1700. The meter header replies with a “GEC” branding.

I also didn’t get any reply from the meter utility mention in your post.

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Hi Stuart, did you make any progress? I’m currently working with the same ABB meter. I made a python script to try to retrieve data from the meter, but I’m not getting ack after password challenge.