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Author Topic: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...  (Read 27451 times)

Offline hifs

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I'm interested in that plugin too. I was hoping to get a US version of the Greenwave Reality power strip, but this would work too. I haven't been able to find anyone to sell me one.

Offline garrettwp

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The plugin is mostly complete and has been functional. I have been busy with work (working 7 days a week is not fun) and have not been able to really put it through it's passes. So far no issues with the plugin  turning on/off each outlet works great and updates when turned on/off from the switches web interface. So hopefully I can get it posted soon. If you do decide to purchase the switch and the plugin is not posted yet, let me know and I'll provide the files.

- Garrett

Offline shady

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LOL, I don't think I can train the Mrs like that. If it's not 100% automated, it'll get kicked to the kerb. 

Amen Brother, its a miracle mine gave up the IR remotes for iPods.  Well done perfecting this when you had the house to yourself, I am learning still.  Thanks for the link to the AVR-1912 review, I think it helped with my search for a receiver.

Thank you for the write-up, the GreenEye sounds like the one to wait for if we haven't got something already.  $320 + $150 in CTs seems relatively reasonable, but is the only option for the Gas and Water monitoring to replace my Meters with ones with pulse output?

*cough* kwikwai for the majority of the times when the TV is used ;)

Nicely played sir.

Web Power Switch IV by Digital Loggers?

http://www.digital-loggers.com/lpc.html

Cool find, thanks!

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Offline guessed

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Thank you for the write-up, the GreenEye sounds like the one to wait for if we haven't got something already.  $320 + $150 in CTs seems relatively reasonable, but is the only option for the Gas and Water monitoring to replace my Meters with ones with pulse output?

From what I've read, you add a new [inline] pulse counting device into the piping.... at least for Water.  I'm assuming the Gas ones work the same, albeit more pricey.

Technically anything that can produce a pulse can be used.  There are folks out there with meters that have blinking Lights that are "enough" to be measurable by a suitable electronic device... that can then be attached to the Pulse counter.

I plan on converting one of my ECM-1240's to do exactly that for my water supply, since they have one pulse-input.  It's also handy since my GreenEye install will be no-where-near the water meter.  I'll use one of the temp inputs from the GreenEye so I can finally remove my dependance on the HSM-100 (it's a glorified temperature meter for the garage right now)

Offline smilligan

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Mr G,
When we installed the ECM1240 for a specific Condo owner, in 24 hours we saved him 2400$ over the next 12 months.  We immediately found his hot water heater was kicking in 15 times a day to keep water hot enough to melt cement.   

The real reason for this message is to get your opinion on GreenEye.   We have a client "chomping at the bit" for us to install this and configure with his VERA2/UI5 host.   

So the questions are as follows:

1) Is greeneye production worthy?
2) Does your plugin allow for IP comms to GreenEye? (the vera will be no where close to the GreenEye, but will be IP connectivity is not an issue)

Let me know your thoughts.
Thanks
Sean

Offline guessed

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Sean,
Hard to say how ready it is without having one in my hands.  I'm still hanging out for it, as I'm sure more than a few are.  They indicated production delays in their forum a few weeks back, and some trial units went out to specific folks.

I have a copy of the  API spec, and I'm gradually changing the code over to support it directly, but there's also a "compatability mode" setting that can be used to make it look like 4x ECM-1240's, so I imagine people will be able to run it like that for a while.  I also have a copy of the config tool, which I need to provide review feedback on, it's quite different from the previous tools (and it runs on my Mac, which is nice)

I already talk IP, as that's how I talk to my ECM-1240's now, so that's not going to be an issue.

The new API has a lot of flexibly, so I need to tweak my parsers to deal with all the cases that someone could configure against it (although, I'll still focus on the URL-like format, not the binary format)


In the meantime, I'm just using my existing devices to tweak the power.  My Baseline load is now down to 204W  ;-)
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 08:32:19 pm by guessed »

Offline guessed

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A few extra items to add to the list of recent changes/additions to the setup:
a) put the DVR explicitly in standby when leaving the house.
It doesn't save that much power, but it goes down by a few Watts.

b) Put the hot water recirculating pump on an Appliance module
Use timed scenes to control when its needed, and use Luup to disable it when the house is armed.  This spikes power usage quite a bit when the pump motor is active.

c) use correct power management settings on Mac mini.
Specifically set it to timed Standby, and wake on Network.  It wakes when you call upon it, but it draws 20W less in standby mode.

Offline JohnR

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All good information / intel -- good post.

I've been off air on the MCV site for a few months (work calls), but also in part because I'm on hold awaiting i) Brultech GreenEye; and ii) Aeon Labs micro-energy switches (ones that go in fixture or behind switches).  Sleuthing latest status on i) got me to this post -- sheesh, these guys, with the 'should be out in a few weeks'.

Will see if news from Aeon is any better since I last communicated with them.  They were prepared to take order from me for 50, but wanted to get small batch to test first and hadn't gotten into channel yet.  Fingers crossed.

Offline shady

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A few extra items to add to the list of recent changes/additions to the setup:
a) put the DVR explicitly in standby when leaving the house.
It doesn't save that much power, but it goes down by a few Watts.

b) Put the hot water recirculating pump on an Appliance module
Use timed scenes to control when its needed, and use Luup to disable it when the house is armed.  This spikes power usage quite a bit when the pump motor is active.

c) use correct power management settings on Mac mini.
Specifically set it to timed Standby, and wake on Network.  It wakes when you call upon it, but it draws 20W less in standby mode.

I just added a Recirc pump when changing out my tank water heater recently (I'll have to wait for tankless, in order to do it right I'll have to relocate it to the other side of the house on the exterior), so you know I'll be adding a Z-Wave appliance module.  I'm weighing the option of locating IWC scene controllers or a push button on a door sensor at the most used sinks, to run the pump on demand for however long it takes to get hot water to the furthest sink.  With my Home Depot pump, the valve placed under that sink will stop the hot water from entering the cold water pipe once the hot arrives there, saving water and power at the expense of manual activation.

I liked the idea of on a tankless using the igniter to trigger the demand pump, but I didn't see how this would save the water you usually waste (unless you turned on the tap to trigger the igniter/pump and then turned the tap off until the hot water arrived).  I guess it all boils down (pun) to how close you are to the water heater.  I tried one of those under sink pumps, www.chilipepperapp.com, but they were really noisey.

p.s. I'm also going try your idea with my Mac Mini too
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Offline guessed

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@shady,
I'm planning to swap out the Light and Fan switches in the bathrooms for Z-Wave ones. 

I never saw a reason to do this in the past, but with the recirculating pump now on a timer it would be handy just to "turn on the Fan or Light", something you'd do anyhow, and have it engage the pump...  Also a good excuse to buy some more Z-Wave switches 8)

No idea why Instant hot water units are so expensive in the US.  They're definitely the natural choice to save energy given you place them close to where the Hot water is needed.  You also never run out.  We've had them back home for 20+ yrs, and they're amazing, better than any tank-based solution I've seen, and a whole lot less likelihood of flooding ;)

Offline guessed

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Quote from: smilligan link=topic=9998.msg71164#msg71164
So the questions are as follows:

1) Is greeneye production worthy?
2) Does your plugin allow for IP comms to GreenEye? (the vera will be no where close to the GreenEye, but will be IP connectivity is not an issue)
Sean, should know shortly, I ordered one this week.  It'll have to run in compat mode for a while, since I'm busy, but I'll definitely get some data out of it.

Offline guessed

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So, an old thread, but I just had some new wiring done and took the opportunity to update the Monitoring stack....  so I figure I'll update folks on where it's at, at least from a components-level standpoint.


I cutover to the Brultech GreenEye (GEM), from the original ECM-1240 units, and have been running it reliably for about 18 months now. 

I'm utilizing 24/32 of it's power measurement channels, and one of it's DS Temperature channels (to record the garage temperature, and eliminate the unreliable HSM100).

For communications, I substituted the GEM's XBee for a RN-XVee WiFi module, since my XBee was socketed.  This allowed me to decommission the EtherBee Adapter, and it's plugpack.  Brultech has made some board changes since mine was manufactured, so that may no longer be an option.

The GEM is used on the SubPanel, but some of the heavy loads (Oven, AV, etc) are attached to the Main Panel outside so I've not been able to monitor them... but I was having a new circuit added to the Main Panel this month, so I took the opportunity to re-purpose one of the ECM-1240's to monitor it's circuits.

I now measure an additional 4 Circuits, which include some of the biggest point-in-time consumers (Oven, AC, etc)


I've attached some pictures showing the ECM-1240 board, now repurposed for the Main panel, and the GEM, handling the SubPanel.

I put the ECM-1240 into a Orbit sprinkler case from Home Depot, and gave it a temporary RovingNetwork (Microchip) RS-232 <-> WiFi bridge as a mechanism to get it's data to Vera.  Longer term, I'll substitute in a RaspPi to act as both a Serial-WiFi bridge as well as a Data Collector for both Energy Monitors.  It'll also give me a platform for some local control/monitoring of the Water channels.

Anyhow, pictures attached, from Mr Blurrycam ;)

Offline guessed

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Ok, note to self, don't patch RovingNetworks firmwares on stuff that you want to keep running...

Made the jump from 2.3 to 4.0 of the RN Firmware, and it decided it didn't want to play with my Apple WiFi WPA2 Network anymore, sigh :(

So that hastened the cutover to using a RaspPi instead (see new/attached picture replacing the one above).

A few quick install steps, and it's cutover:
a) Run the following on the RPi
Code: [Select]
apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get install ser2net
d) Plugin commodity PL2303 USB-Serial adapter
e) Edit the /etc/ser2net.conf file to include:
Code: [Select]
    2000:raw:600:/dev/ttyUSB0:19200 8DATABITS NONE 1STOPBIT bannerf) Restart/reboot the RPi, reconnect, and tell Vera to use the new IP Address for the Brultech Power Monitoring Plugin...

At least I'm a step closer to being able to monitor it via something more stable than Vera...  8)

Offline guessed

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and some interesting observations from the new CT's:


So with normal TV watching, cooking, washing (etc), but without AC, the lowest repeatable level that I can get my weekday usage to is ~11kW/day.  I'm happy with that, given some of the transient appliances I have on the circuits.  Will be interesting to see how this goes as we roll around into Summer (it's 90F here today already)

Overall I'm still staying out of PG&E's 3rd tier (T1=$0.14kWh, T2=$0.16kWh, T3=$0.32, T4=$0.36) but only just, and with summer on the way it might be time to spring for a 3-5kW Solar system...

... and @strangely, I'll be tapping on your shoulder for experiences there 8)

Offline strangely

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Having the Brultech is certainly fun to watch the loads when you have it on every circuit, and even more fun when you have some random text to speech things that are triggered when the better half starts to cook (Yum Yum, food is being cooked was her fave)... I've since been made to stop this scene firing to preserve my Marriage :) However I do have a couple on the solar circuit that tell me when the panels hit maximum output etc (also annoys my wife).

Since my Utility Panel is now maxed out, I've been meaning to do some max loads tests to see how high I can get it all up too :)

Between the A/C, Electric Oven, Induction cook-top and Electric  Vehicle Charger, I'm already exceeding my paltry 100A supply (on paper from the circuit max totals), however I really would need to turn everything on simultaneously (and on max) for this to occur I guess, also luckily my Nissan leaf is one of the older ones that is current limited to about 15A amps anyway, so despite the 40A circuit, risk is low currently.

As far as baseline usage, if we go out for the day the house was also around 11kW baseline, however now with the solar, I always over produce, and in last years 11 month billing period we ended up over generating about 1100kW extra. The daily overage varies a lot with season and whether conditions etc, but at least 9 months of the year here in SoCal I'm negative, and my best month (see attached pic) I was -287kWH   ;D

Its interesting how much the electrical companies rip you off when you are a solar customer, and how much they mark up the energy you produce and sell it to others. I was showing about -$500 for the year (you are billed annually when solar), but my refund was only $50 since they only refund you their generation rate for your excess electricity generation.

I went off on a tangent, but anyway yes @guessed I can give you some good pointers to specifying a system, and how to estimate how many panels you need in relation to your usage, and the direction and angle of your roof. Probably best to chat on the phone, or I'll catch up with you next time I'm either up there, or if you are down here next.

Bottom line I love the fact I don't have a bill and although I still have to pay a transmission charge, I'm not held hostage by these crazy hikes they are making in pricing.
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