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Author Topic: Which energy monitor/logger?  (Read 1127 times)
MeatyFool
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« on: October 01, 2018, 01:23:39 PM »

Hi,

I have a freebie utility-supplied energy monitor (seems to be a geo minim) which I use to keep an eye on electric usage.  I now want to expand to recording my electric usage to a central web/RPi utility, specifically because there are a number of appliances I want to monitor individually (I have a doubly-incontinent son, so washing m/c and (regretably) tumble dryer are heavily used).

Current cost looked pretty good, but then again, the original UK company seems to have been bought out by a HK company, many of the devices seem to be unavailable or only in small numbers and the web site only refers to software running to W7, which all suggests I should leave well alone.

openenergymonitor.org is the go-to site for navitron users to suggest looking at.  I have browsed in the past and been rather "lost" by what option I should go for.  Whilst I am an ex IT specialist/computer programmer, I don't have the time or inclination to get my hands "dirty" building something, and would far prefer buying a solution, that just needs installing rather than "tinkering".

The iotawatt has piqued my interest.  It doesn't need to have an additional "base station" as it can send direct to emoncms.org via my home network.  A previous post has been made by me (in the wrong subforum!) checking its suitability re gaining access to a single wire for the CT clamp.

I have dismissed more generic home automation setups as OTT/too expensive.  I have seen reference to Domoticz and I have known about X10 for years.

I currently do not want to expand into temperature sensing, but should I later wish to, emontx/emonpi looks like a good choice.

My gas meter is analogue so I can't use optical to monitor, and my water meter already has an optical sensor on for the water company to read using RF, so I can't measure that.  So just electric it is then.

I do have three modern electric meters which i could monitor either by optical or CT: suppliers main (billing), solar generation, and (recently) a meter recording podpoint and granny charging of my EV.

Plug in wattmeter types  - i don't think they can do remote logging? - the one I have loses data on a power cut.  The other big disadvantage is how to measure things like my boiler, my EV charging - basically things without a plug! CT clamp tech is much more flexible.

Any advice on what I should consider?  I know several users here are making use of logging tools, and I will be going back and reading more of the backposts on this subforum.

Seems a bit disjointed - hope I have given you useful information to work with!

Meatyfool..
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heatherhopper
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2018, 03:44:27 PM »

Followed you over from your "other " post. Good that Fionn has assured you regarding C/T use. I assumed you had already read the very comprehensive instructions and advice on the OEM site.

I do not have any affiliation with OEM but I would recommend them on all levels. I suggest you post your questions on their forum - there are many such queries and they are generally very helpful regarding best set-up.

Monitoring systems can be very useful but you should consider what will actually be used and  of interest to you long term - the costs can mount up if you are going to buy off the shelf. If you are only interested in a couple of specific appliances then some standalone loggers may be a better option than a full blown system.

An Emonpi or Basestation and TX's to match remoter areas would be a good start if you really are going to make use of them. I favour the Emonpi as I like local logging and have no desire to be "cloud" connected in any shape or form!
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Off grid AC coupled, 6kW Proven, 2.8kW PV, SMA SI/SB/WB Inverters, 4x576ah Rolls batteries @ 24v, 25kW Biomass Boiler, Wood Stoves, Spring/Well water. Sorry planet - I did try.
MeatyFool
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2018, 04:21:56 PM »

Thanks Heather,

I probably only do need a couple or so devices to be monitored to be honest, but plenty of references on this site to "toys" !!!

Can you point me towards a standalone logger please?  My present wattmeter loses data during a power cut but if a similar device could save to (say) local sd card, then that would be great.  Doesn't help with monitoring wired in appliances though!

Meatyfool..
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MeatyFool
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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2018, 04:37:31 PM »

Sorry,

Answered myself somewhat!  If I was concerned that (eg) my podpoint ev charger had a high standby charge, I could easily connect my current smartmonitor ct clamp to one of the cables running into my CU.

It would be nice to be able to see fancy graphs over time, but it only takes a short while to spot things like this - solutions may be more complex.

Meatyfool..
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JohnS
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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2018, 05:15:31 PM »

I am a great believer in Keep It Simple, Stupid.

I now have 11 years of weekly gas and electricity meter readings which map the improvements in energy efficiency (mainly LED lamps), extra insulation, better heating controls, installation of solar PV, changes in the household as kids grow up and go off to university, the acquisition of a plug in hybrid and mild or otherwise winters.

I started by supplying the information to an Oxford University research project but when they started wanting to charge me to give them data, I told them to jump into the Thames and I stopped giving them the data.

When I want further information about a particular appliance, I use an electric meter which I have wired up between a plug and socket so that I can plug it in between the appliance's plug and the socket.

Sure instantaneous or even half hourly figures on lots of different appliances and circuits would be great, but, on balance, I don't need that level of detail and what I have works well enough for me.

John

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kristen
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2018, 06:30:19 AM »

I now have 11 years of weekly gas and electricity meter readings which map the improvements ...

Me too, weekly meter readings going back years. I used to measure level in oil tank ("cm from bottom on sight gauge") but since replaced Oil with Biomass. Have since added PV generation readings and the "heat generated" numbers from Solar Thermal,  All really on the basis, as you say, of measuring change/improvement.

But I think that further improvements will, now, only come from more granular measuring. I have also had instances of parasitic use - e.g. thermostat brings Rads on in Conservatory overnight for frost protection ... when the temperature was falling but nowhere near the actual frost setting ... and such things are very hard to spot in weekly numbers (my thermostat has logging but no down load, no export, and the only tool is to scroll their graphs, room by room, on a phone APP. Utterly useless for anyone time-poor to actually spot anything IMHO)

So like @MeatyFool I'm up for more monitoring too.  I did ask for a Smart Meter to let them do the data collection for me ... but at installation they said my mobile signal strength was too weak, so its now left to me to do something on that front.
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MeatyFool
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2018, 07:58:30 AM »

Monthly figures for energy usage going back around 10.

One driver for thinking I need to do something different is that  I *AM* someone who does give a damn about my energy usage yet I have (not so) idly stood by and seen my base load more than triple.

I have sat on my hands and not cleaned the condenser on our tumble dryer for months!

I need something to spur me on to a second level of energy conservation.  I mentioned early that an energy monitor really could be a “toy” - well playing will lower my energy usage of course and that is what we all want in this forum.

So, it may be expensive but so is the 200 Watts extra base load * 24 hours * 365 days.  Not to mention the same cost extrapolated into the future.

My youngest son has just started secondary school.  He isn’t going to listen to me moaning about switching off consoles, but showing a graph of electric consumption *might*.

Meatyfool..
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bxman
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« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2018, 10:54:33 AM »

I have tried the CurrentCost and IMO it had potential but sadly it seemed that they never bother to fix the bugs and then dropped the ball completely.

have a look at

 https://www.energomonitor.com/

As far as I know they did some work on the some of the equipment CC used and believe  they have manufactured their  own accessories for the system and I suspect  that it  may now work  correctly .

Keep us posted if you try it .
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heatherhopper
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« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2018, 12:15:05 PM »

Sorry no recommendations for reasonably priced dataloggers - quality devices are usually well into three figures. If you just want to know what particular appliances are using in a period or cycle stick with the plug-in type meters (plenty are battery powered and retain memory) - cheap, cheerful and you should have a good idea by the time they pack-up. Doesn't help with direct wired I agree.

For most white goods (such as the tumble dryer, washing machine etc) I think you are unlikely to find anything that doesn't fit generally with the published specs. How far do you realistically want to go in chasing down the perfect efficiency? If there is not a fault, overdue m'tce or simply an age issue the variance in consumption (assuming a standard programme) will be small and mostly consistent with external variables rather than the machine itself.

It is true that a general monitoring system could be seen as just another toy. Not a crime - the average house (not to mention pocket and driveway) is full of such things. I don't have a mobile phone - don't like them in principle, never needed one and I have probably saved a significant amount of money (and a bit of my humanity) by not having one. Could I make good use of one - certainly, but on balance I still don't need or want one. Maybe a monitoring system should be viewed as a toy - no need then to go about justifying it.

Personally I have found  a fairly comprehensive monitoring system to be very useful but this is largely because of my off-grid set-up. Managing generation and consumption is a way of life and the system gives me a far better handle on it. I started just wanting to monitor a couple of changes I had made to the set-up but have moved towards integration and control. Truth is I managed perfectly well without it but would not now want to be without it.

Increased domestic harmony is a useful by-product of the system - not sure what price you can put on that. After many years of fraught discussion involving the choice of gas or electric kettle (just one example) the other half now has a permanent realtime display in the kitchen on which to base her decision making. Not perfect and still in need of development but at least I can now retire to a hidey-hole knowing that the sudden arrival of visitors may not trigger an unwarranted drain on the batteries. Below is one version (crude as it may be) of such educational viewing.



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Off grid AC coupled, 6kW Proven, 2.8kW PV, SMA SI/SB/WB Inverters, 4x576ah Rolls batteries @ 24v, 25kW Biomass Boiler, Wood Stoves, Spring/Well water. Sorry planet - I did try.
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