Smart house, part I; Energy monitoring

I have been sitting on this blog text for a while, but here it goes.

I am a big fan of monitoring/reporting solutions; not for the fun of monitoring, but to gain a better understanding about the performance... and my personal favorite: cost savings. We live in a separate house and electricity is rather expensive in Finland so all electricity cost saving are more than welcome... but I am not willing to shut down my home virtualization lab environment though :-)

I have been looking for a good solution for ages and it seems that I found a rather good one: CurrentCost EnviR

As I appreciate a bit longer monitoring history I decided to invest also to the CurrentCost Web Bridge.


Few pointers why to choose this apparatus:
  • My EnviR came with optical sensor that measures electricity directly from the modern electrical power center blinking kWh led; no clamps(!). This is actually more exact way to monitor consumption (vs CT clamps). Nowadays this is sold with name Current Cost Opti Smart
  • Communicates using 433 MHz. Compatibility with Telldus TellStick 433MHz receiver was one idea in the beginning
  • Cloud based reporting with cosm.com (former Pachube) with clever API (JSON, XML and CSV available). No need for 24x365 standalone PC.
  • Real time electricity monitoring using EnviR low power display 

Lets go shopping

Shopping from the Amazon (.co.uk) was easy and the delivery was swift.




Optical reader (aka Current Cost OptiSmart nowadays)

EnviR main unit

Current Cost Web Bridge


Installation

We have a bleeding edge remote readable electricity center (Telvent Echelon TYPE 83332-31HA, 1000 imp/kvarh, 1000 imp/kWh) as courtesy from Forum (your local electricity dealer). It's previous version was listed as supported so this should work too.

The optical reader before installation:


This kind of installation is allowed for anyone: just put the adhesive metal ring on top of the led

... and attach the magnetic optical reader.
The reader can be removed at any given time as it is magnetically attached and one can also still see the blinking thru the reader.


So the testing setup worked like charm


As the transmitter works with 3 x C-batteries, it is not really 'winter capable'. After this I still modified it to use transformer therefore eliminating the batteries which would not survive the Finnish -25C freeze.

Monitoring 

At the time of writing this I have not had time to hack the 433MHz transmission for Telldus TellStick but the cloud reporting (provided by Cosm.com), reporting APIs and EnviR display have worked like charm for last 8 months.
There is also a fancy Android apps to track down consumption with graphs/widgets (use 'pachube' when searching Google Play)

Pachube Viewer on Nexus 10 below


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