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Author Topic: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...  (Read 27235 times)

Offline guessed

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We get lots of questions here in the forum, so I thought it might be interesting for a change to writeup what we're doing in the Energy Monitoring space, a story if you will, to further spur adoption... or maybe just for amusement...  8)

I had @strangely visit my house over the weekend, and he got me thinking about home power management once again.  I'd done some work a long time back, and have 14 channels of detailed power usage to go from, but hadn't done any analysis in a long time.  Things have changed around the house (like LED Lighting) so it was worth looking at again.

Power in Northen California is a constant ~$0.13 kWh, raising only slightly to ~$0.15 when baseline usage is exceeded.  In some respects there isn't much $$ incentive to fix usage, but it's an interesting problem solving exercise and we're heading into summer and AirConditioning will add up.  Separately, it looks like OPower is actually going to turn it into a social game, so that'll be an interesting experiment.

Anyhow, looking at the data collected, using UI4's Flash-based historical energy charts on http://cp.mios.com, I could see that I had an Idle power usage of ~320W overnight, with only transient spikes from the fridges.  If I could reduce this constant load, then I'd be in better shape overall.

I narrowed the list of larger consumers in my baseline, along with a few smaller ones that were easy to remove.  What follows is a listing of these:

  • 1x Charger for an older Harmony Remote I no longer use - 1W
  • 2x DLink Gaming Routers plugged in, but no longer used as I cutover to Airport Express units - 7W ea
  • 1x Logitech Revue - 12W
  • 1x Onkyo TX-NR807 Receiver in Ethernet-enabled standby mode - 58W (!!)

I made the following changes to start lowering my baseline usage:
  • I split the power rails in the AV Closet in an Always on rail, and a new Switched rail
  • moved the Onkyo Receiver, Playstation, Wii and Xantech IR Repeater to the Switched rail
  • moved the network switch, and Logitech Revue (for now) to the Always on rail
  • attached the Switched rail to a GE Z-Wave Appliance Module
  • added the Appliance Module to my Arming/Disarming scenes for the house

These were all bits I had on-hand, so with a few simple changes I'm now down to about 250W of baseline.... Ok, that might only buy a few latte's over a year long period, but it's at least a start 8)


Next steps:
  • a) refining my Scene definitions to further reduce the amount of time that the Switched rail is enabled... turning it off "overnight"
  • b) adding Scenes to turn it on if presence is detected in the Media room
  • c) work out why the Onkyo chews soooo much power in Ethernet-enabled standby mode, or changing brand altogether*
  • d) wait for the Brultech GreenEye model so I can further break out where my loads are


* Perhaps I should be moving over to the Denon that @dreamgreenhouse just updated his review for, (either that or find a nice old solid NAD unit).  Anyhow, here's a link to the review that @dreamgreenhouse just revised/tweeted:
    http://www.dreamgreenhouse.com/reviews/2011/avr1912/index.php

Offline oTi@

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  • I split the power rails in the AV Closet in an Always on rail, and a new Switched rail
Did the same a while back. Essentially the DVR is always on, the rest of the components are not. Everything is off of a SmartSwitch to measure power usage. It's then split in the always-on and switched parts, with the switched part on an appliance module.

Quote
  • a) refining my Scene definitions to further reduce the amount of time that the Switched rail is enabled... turning it off "overnight"
An LED on the zone controller on the egress route from the entertainment area stays amber as long as the switched rail and any lights are still on. A similar LED exists on the zone controller in the Master Bedroom. It will stay lit until the last device in the house is off.

Come bedtime, the fun is to get the LED to go off. :) Routinely, the switched A/V rail is still energized, as well as the printers in the office...
Dezwaved at the moment...

Offline guessed

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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.  Hence the tie-ins to the Alarm motion detection (etc)... which I just completed tonight.

I have a few days to get it all configured before she's back in the country, so the race is on to stabilize all the parts of the new configuration...   8)

I've also completed the Nest Thermostat install tonight, very slick install and setup... pity about the API.  The Trane Thermostats, as good as they are, just got kicked out.  Hopefully that doesn't rock the Z-Wave routing table too much.

Quote
as well as the printers in the office...
I have that stuff attached to one of those energy saving power strips, it triggers off the monitor to disable everything except the Mac Mini, so I'm down to a 35W base load there.

The interesting part [for me] in this whole exercise (so far) was the standby power usage of the Amp.  It was a lot higher than what I was expecting, given it should have been enough power for Ethernet, some basic control circuitry, and the HDMI-CEC interfacing.

Offline garrettwp

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I am still waiting for the green eye to be released before I start getting into energy monitoring. Unless there is something else that is comparable. I would like to do a similar thing where any equipment that does not need to always be on powered off and have an always on part too. I really wish there was a US z-wave power strip that can be controlled. I may have to look into say a power strip that can interface via the network and controlled via an api to integrate into Vera.

- Garrett

Offline guessed

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I've been looking at those also, esp stuff that's WiFi or Ethernet based.  There aren't many Wifi ones out there yet, but they're starting to appear. 

The iRemoTap went through the news circuit early last yr, and was released production [in Japan] in February.  They supposedly have plans to release in the US, but the timeline isn't clear.

For this level of control my first choice is WiFi or Ethernet, with a fallback of a Z-Wave option like GreenWave Reality's device (when it's in the US).  Power measurement isn't as interesting to me, I already have that covered.

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I am still waiting for the green eye to be released before I start getting into energy monitoring
Yup, and that's a reasonable approach.  Even when I upgrade to the new model, I'll be keeping one of the ECM-1240's to handle the Main Panel loads (Oven, AirCond, SubPanel total) since they're on the other side of the garage.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 02:04:23 am by guessed »

Offline strangely

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@guessed, do you or the other half ever use the AV receiver without the TV being on?
Kwickset locks, HA01C, HA14C, HA02C, HA03C, HA05C, HA04C, HA07C, HA09C, Aeon HEM, GE 45604, 45606, 45609, ZDP100, VRF01-1LZ, WDTC-20, HA18WD, WDHA-12R, HRDS1, HM-TS001, AC1-ZW, TV-IP110, BL-C210A, LUUP control- EtherRain8, DSC Alarm, HDMI matrix, HR24-200, Panasonic TV, SQblaster

Offline guessed

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It's rare, but sometimes.

Offline strangely

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*cough* kwikwai for the majority of the times when the TV is used ;)
Kwickset locks, HA01C, HA14C, HA02C, HA03C, HA05C, HA04C, HA07C, HA09C, Aeon HEM, GE 45604, 45606, 45609, ZDP100, VRF01-1LZ, WDTC-20, HA18WD, WDHA-12R, HRDS1, HM-TS001, AC1-ZW, TV-IP110, BL-C210A, LUUP control- EtherRain8, DSC Alarm, HDMI matrix, HR24-200, Panasonic TV, SQblaster

Offline garrettwp

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Does anyone own or have seen this:

Web Power Switch IV by Digital Loggers?

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

You can get them for around 130 dollars and it has 8 individual ports that can be turned on or off. It can be controlled via http requests. I was thinking of maybe picking one up and trying it out and write a plugin for it (that would be a new experience for me). Any thoughts?

- Garrett

Offline guessed

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Hadn't seen that one, most of the PDU Products are really expensive, but this one's reasonably priced for it's capability.  What's not clear is if you can interrogate it to find out what outputs are on (etc) - you'll need this when Vera reboots so you can get the "right" state upon restart.

The base load isn't bad either at 3-5W.  Looks like these guys are ~30 mins down the road from my place.

It's not clear from the spec sheet if you can measure the load per-channel or not as some of their other units do it.

Offline garrettwp

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Guessed,

To get the status of the outputs, you'll need to parse the html page. At the top of the page is a comment line in the source that is a hex which for example would read something like state=fe.  You would convert the fe into binary e.g. 11111110. It would than read from left to right, position 8 -> 1 where 8 is the output number and would be on. Output 1 would be off. They have a demo site to check the web interface. You than could read the source page to look at the html comment at the top to get the state value.  Would have rather had some sort of API to grab the status, but this will do.

- Garrett

Offline oTi@

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  • d) wait for the Brultech GreenEye model so I can further break out where my loads are
Wait some more.  :-\

Quote from: ben @ brultech, Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:20 am, with an update on the release date
I would estimate before the end of April, or May at the latest. We're definitely trying to get it out before the start of summer.
Dezwaved at the moment...

Offline guessed

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Yeah, I'm not too worried about that.  It'll give me time to write the bits to go against their extended API...   Its a liitle more complex now it deals with more channels and temp (both the binary and text format change)

Offline strangely

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@garrettwp, did you buy the power strip yet?
Kwickset locks, HA01C, HA14C, HA02C, HA03C, HA05C, HA04C, HA07C, HA09C, Aeon HEM, GE 45604, 45606, 45609, ZDP100, VRF01-1LZ, WDTC-20, HA18WD, WDHA-12R, HRDS1, HM-TS001, AC1-ZW, TV-IP110, BL-C210A, LUUP control- EtherRain8, DSC Alarm, HDMI matrix, HR24-200, Panasonic TV, SQblaster

Offline garrettwp

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@garrettwp, did you buy the power strip yet?

I received is on Saturday. Unfortunately I have not had much time to play with it. The current state of the plugin seems to be working very well with the power strip. I would still like to do more testing of the plugin before releasing it. The power strip seems to be pretty nice. I wish it had power monitoring of each outlet and that the plug end of the power cord was 90 degrees (it is a thick 8 foot cable).

- Garrett