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Author Topic: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface  (Read 11863 times)

Offline Chris

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UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« on: November 07, 2012, 06:30:25 am »
The EDF energy "EcoManager" individual appliance monitors (energy meters in a plug) look quite nice (and cheap!). They are around the same price as the CurrentCost IAMs, but they also include the ability to switch power on and off. They are around £15, versus similar Z-Wave devices which come in between £45 and £50 (and then you can't actually get a Z-Wave monitor with a UK plug!).

The EcoManager base unit spits out XML over a serial port - similar I expect to the CurrentCost (the unit is actually manufactured by CurrentCost!). I'm not sure if you can command the state of the switches over the serial port, and the power data "only" comes out every minute.

Someone has kindly hacked the protocol and produced an interface (http://jack-kelly.com/current_cost_and_edf_ecomanager_rf_protocols_almost_fully). This has the advantage that you can get more regular updates, and can also command the switches. The interface is available as a kit for around £35 (http://www.nanode.eu/ - basically an Arduino with Ethernet and RF) and I'm planning on adding Ethernet support for this, and a Vera plugin (I've already been in touch with the guy and he's been very helpful).

Currently I've got a Nanode that I need to build up, and I have some EcoManager IAMs on the way. I'm off on holiday for a week this weekend, but when I return I intend to get this running quite quickly and just thought I'd see if anyone else was interested in the output... It's definately a bit of a DIY project, but it has the potential of a low cost system, with a good update rate.

Cheers
Chris

Offline parkerc

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 06:42:58 pm »
Hi Chris

Interesting stuff !

Being in the UK too, I will be watching your progress with interest. Individual Energy reporting is an important area for me too - I have both the Current Cost (EnviR) and an OWL Energy Monitor running. The latter is already working very nicely with the RFXtrx433 Plugin.

The ones your looking at also run in the 433mhz space, so i'd be interested to see how it works and if there are any conflicts with the protocols used etc. but all things considered it's sounds like it has some great potential.

Have a good holiday :)

« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 03:30:48 am by parkerc »

Offline Gjones

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UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2012, 03:16:46 am »
Hi Chris

Very interested in this too. Just building up my HA network and I was surprised to find a lack of monitored plugs.

Looking forward to seeing your progress. Have a good break

Gareth

Offline Chris

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2012, 01:16:05 pm »
Being in the UK too, I will be watching your progress with interest. Individual Energy reporting is an important area for me too - I have both the Current Cost (EnviR) and an OWL Energy Monitor running. The latter is already working very nicely with the RFXtrx433 Plugin.

The ones your looking at also run in the 433mhz space, so i'd be interested to see how it works and if there are any conflicts with the protocols used etc. but all things considered it's sounds like it has some great potential.
I haven't tried the CC IAM, but in theory, this system supports both the CurrentCost, and EDF versions. The guy who wrote the initial software had trouble with the CC versions with transmission collisions, and therefore lost data. This system is meant to work woth both - it learns when the CC IAMs are going to transmit, and keeps the channel clear. The EDF plugs are also produced by CurrentCost so the protocols are nearly identical (but the EDF is bi-directional comms).

Anyway, I struck some issues with the Nanode (Arduino) - it has a poor TCP/IP implementation. I'm used to the PIC microcontrollers, and Microchip have produced a very good IP stack, but the Arduino is severely limited in this area. So, I've ported the code across to an mbed controller (which is an ARM). It's now largely working - I just need to improve the command interface and write the Vera plugin.

If anyone is interested in this, the box I used can be found here (http://www.skpang.co.uk/catalog/mbed-iot-gateway-full-kit-p-1052.html). I already had the mbed controller so just bought the interface board - it's simple to put together and it seems to work. The mbed is also very easy to use as it just mounts as a USB stick - copy the software into the sick and restart.

I did find one issue though - if there's a power cut, the plugs don't return to their previous state (not good if you want to monitor something like a fridge!). I've therefore implemented a function to turn a plug on if it finds it off (configurable for each plug) - it's just something to keep in mind (I've also thought about opening one up to bupass the relay, or using the CC version where I need permanent power).

Hopefully over the next week or so I'll get the plugin working. I've currently bought 7 plugs for around £100, so not too bad.

Chris


Offline parkerc

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2012, 03:34:39 pm »
Hi Chris,

Thanks for the update, that mbed controller looks very interesting on its own, although it's not cheap either, but if it was to open up a whole new world of 'monitoring' and 'control' then it can be justified. ;)

So to follow your lead at some point, was it the EDF or the CC plugs you just bought?

While I don't personally have the skills to do it, as it looks like the mbed works on the 868mhz range,  does it open itself up to controlling other devices that could extend to a plugin in Vera too?
« Last Edit: November 30, 2012, 03:47:55 pm by parkerc »

Offline Chris

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2012, 04:17:24 pm »
Thanks for the update, that mbed controller looks very interesting on its own, although it's not cheap either, but if it was to open up a whole new world of 'monitoring' and 'control' then it can be justified. ;)
The mbed itself is reasonably well priced. I do agree that the board with the receiver and box is pricier than it should be, but it makes for a nice unit. Z wave plugs (if you can get them) are more like £50 each, so it pays off if you want to put quite a few of these around your house.

So to follow your lead at some point, was it the EDF or the CC plugs you just bought?
I bought the EDF plugs. They are polled rather than just sending the data, so it avoids collissions and should make the data more reliable.

While I don't personally have the skills to do it, as it looks like the mbed works on the 868mhz range,  does it open itself up to controlling other devices that could extend to a plugin in Vera too?
The EDF and CC use 433MHz, so if you do buy one of these for this purpose, you need to specify 433MHz. Actually, the board was designed to talk to "Jeenodes" which are effectively little Arduino boards with the same radio. It's certainly possible to hook these up to other things if you wanted to control other stuff... You can use either 433 or 868 if you wanted to make your own little network.

Chris



Offline parkerc

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2012, 04:34:17 pm »
Hi Chris

If it runs on 443mhz then, could there be a risk that the protocol used by CC might interfere with some of the others in use on Vera via the RFXCOM rfxtrx433 transceiver?  e.g X10, Lightwaverf, Oregon Scientific etc?

If you want, I can drop a line to Bert at RFXCOM to see if he thinks this will cause any conflicts? He has mentioned to me that they're not looking to add any more protocols to their 433mhz device, so to go down this route I (personally) would end up with 2 x 433mhz controllers.

If the EDF ones can be polled, can the sockets provide a callback to confirm a command and/or say that they are off or on?



Offline Chris

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2012, 04:58:58 pm »
If it runs on 443mhz then, could there be a risk that the protocol used by CC might interfere with some of the others in use on Vera via the RFXCOM rfxtrx433 transceiver?  e.g X10, Lightwaverf, Oregon Scientific etc?
Yes - in these bands, there's always the chance of collissions. That's why the EDF solution is potentially better - it's polled rather than the other systems that just periodically send data. Each packet is around 40ms long so while collisions are possible, you just gotta take your chances. I also have quite a few Scientific Atlanta units (but they only update every 45 seconds)........

If you've already got a lot of CC units, then you've already got the conflict. However, one of the requirements for using these unlicensed bands (433 and 868) is that they have to be able to accept interference, so everything is designed to cope with it (within reason of course!).

If the EDF ones can be polled, can the sockets provide a callback to confirm a command and/or say that they are off or on?
Yes - exactly. You can ask them what their state is, and change the switch state as well as reading back the power level...

Cheers
Chris

Offline parkerc

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2012, 05:23:50 pm »
Hi Chris

One more thing, will the plugin you're planning do both the individual plugs and the whole hour monitor too? (Sorry if I am jumping ahead ;) )

Offline Chris

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2012, 05:33:56 pm »
One more thing, will the plugin you're planning do both the individual plugs and the whole hour monitor too? (Sorry if I am jumping ahead ;) )
Yes, it should. I actually have a CC whole house sensor (somewhere!) so I'll give this a go when I get a chance (probably not till next week as I'm working this weekend  :(

Chris

Offline parkerc

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2012, 03:31:56 am »
Hi Chris,

just an FY - I've just picked up some CC IAMs to go with my Envir Energy Monitor, I'll get the running locally and see what they are like, and see how things progress with your DIY solution.

With utilities being so high now a days beign able to accurately measure and control these down to a detailed level is becoming more and more desirable.

Do you have (or plan to do) something that monitors gas usage? , that is one of my big expenditures :(

Offline Chris

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2012, 11:41:31 am »
Do you have (or plan to do) something that monitors gas usage? , that is one of my big expenditures :(
I thought about using the CC opto thingy which is made for reading the flashing LED on the electric meter. I've also looked at using a OneWire counter...

I've used a white line follower unit from eBay to actually sense the mechanical gas meter - this seems to work, although I've only had a quick play with it.

I agree with you that I'd like to be able to monitor all the utilities - it's all a matter of time unfortunately...

Chris

Offline parkerc

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2012, 05:13:06 pm »
Hi Chris

I already have a gas specific post running on the forum too, but it's not moving much. There are UK based Gas monitors out there.  Have a look. http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,12575.msg93839.html#msg93839

I've used a white line follower unit from eBay to actually sense the mechanical gas meter - this seems to work, although I've only had a quick play with it.

A 'white Line follower'? What's that ?

Offline Chris

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2012, 05:35:29 pm »
A 'white Line follower'? What's that ?
It's effectively an IR sensor used by robots to detect and follow a white line (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/320923611143). This is the one I've got and it seems to work ok but I've not hooked it up permanently to see if it really works properly.

I'm about to order the CC OptiSmart and have a play...

Chris

Offline parkerc

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Re: UK energy monitor - EcoManager plugs and DIY interface
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2012, 06:00:25 pm »
I'm about to order the CC OptiSmart and have a play...

Cool, for Gas or electric consumption ?