Another approach to power meter data harvesting

[Dodgy] wrote in to talk about his power meter data harvesting programs. This uses the same hardware by CurrentCost as the hack we looked at over the weekend but [Dodgy's] implementation is different. It’s separated into two parts, the first is a webserver written in C that harvests the data and makes it available at an address on the network, the second is written in Perl to format and upload data to Google PowerMeter.

The C program serves data on a configurable port, defaulting to 3090. All of the data can be accessed in one line of code by loading http://127.0.0.1:3090, or individually with subdirectories like /watts, /time, or /tempr. From there you can do what you want with the data. The second part of [Dodgy's] suite is a Perl script that polls the C server and sends the data to your Google account.

One thing that interests us is his comment that you should be able to compile the server side C code for an embedded device. It would be a nice energy savings to be able to upload data regularly without a PC running constantly.

Comments

  1. chango says:

    “One thing that interests us is his comment that you should be able to compile the server side C code for an embedded device.”

    Hackers start your Dockstars.

  2. fartface says:

    http://www.theenergydetective.com/ted-5000-c

    far more accurate as it has TWO reading points, plus is ethernet already AND does a whole lot more.

    and are ready to buy in the USA.

  3. Renato says:

    but that ted 5000-c is much more expensive. are there any other hardware similar to CurrentCost. they don’t ship to brazil and the powersave from EUA charges too much for it

  4. reza says:

    Does anyone know of comparable products sold in the US?

  5. Peter says:

    possible to put the webserver on a DD-WRT install? I guess the data would be best put in a proper database like mysql or similar

  6. Dodgy says:

    You should be able to run it on a WRT distro yes, as its just C code to compile with very little deps…

    As for the proper DB, why would you want to run mysql on a WRT install? You could use sqlite as its a smaller footprint, though rrdtool could also store the values (and create you graphs as well).

  7. HotzoneUK says:

    CurrentCost have produced just such an Embedded device more details including some pictures here http://hotzone.org.uk/currentcost-bridges-arrive-with-customers/

    I know someone has already been able to install the arduino bootloader, and some example networking code.

  8. HotzoneUK says:

    Reza, You can get CurrentCost products in the USA see here for more details

    http://currentcost.net/

  9. phreakocious says:

    There was a spectacular talk at DEFCON put on by the folks from http://pleaserobme.com/ about the relative (un)intelligence of broadcasting your power usage stats to the world with services like foursquare, powermeter, tweet-a-watt, etc. If you like the idea of broadcasting your non-presence to the world, best to accept the risk of being pwnd.

  10. DCinNM says:

    Until there are more utilities or cheaper devices in the US, this kinda stuff won’t take off. I’d love to use Google meter or a device to figure out the most expensive part of our daily electrical usage. But TED is ridiculously expensive. CurrentCost is better. Is it so hard to make a meter that will do this? Hell, electric companies already collect data by radio, why not make it 802.11 and let homeowners pull it as well?

  11. atroll says:

    Is it just me or are the first 2 paragraphs of this article saying EXACTLY the same thing?

  12. Microchip has special purpose mcro controllers to do that

  13. Ben R says:

    I haven’t tested one personally. But, comments from some trusted sources on an electric vehicle list I frequent mentions that the CurrentCost meters don’t track voltage or power factor — they measure only amperage — so the kw readings are much less accurate than a meter like the TED that tracks voltage, amperage and power factor.

    I was excited to first see the CC as a lower cost alternative, but that inaccuracy is a dealbreaker for me. Back to saving up for a TED..

  14. @DCinNM That’s already done, Google “ZigBee” the problem with it is that all you get is a cumulative every 10minutes Vs, second by second real-time feedback with TED. Also CC does not measure voltage, so it’s assuming your voltage is 120/240 which is just not true most of the time, your voltage will fluctuate with load in your house AND considering that you also share your transformer with 3-4 other houses your voltage will fluctuate with loads changing in their house too. With voltage possibly fluctuating as much as 10% there is your error range.

  15. tom says:

    I bought a TED5000 several months ago and was initially very impressed, until it stopped synching to NTP, became inaccessible over my LAN, and became about as useful as one of those hand-warmer pouches if it were tethered to a wall. I did an RMA, but had the same problems with the new unit. I was able to return the entire device. I wish you luck with it, but make sure to save your receipt in case it acts up. If you can get it working continuously, it’s really cool. Mine worked for a couple of days. I did learn that if I want to save $, I should turn off lights and air conditioners when not necessary. I also learned that I don’t need this gizmo in order to do that.

  16. Matthew Redmon says:

    This post and the previous one about the CC meter got me searching about ways to do this with an Arduino. I found this: http://openenergymonitor.org which I hadn’t seen before. I might have to make one.

  17. HotzoneUK says:

    For anyone in the UK IAM’s (Individual Appliance Modules) are now available to order

    More info here:

    http://hotzone.org.uk/currentcost-iams-available/

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