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General => Power Management => Topic started by: guessed on March 21, 2012, 04:31:59 pm

Title: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on March 21, 2012, 04:31:59 pm
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:


I made the following changes to start lowering my baseline usage:

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:


* 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
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: oTi@ on March 22, 2012, 12:55:58 am
  • 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...
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on March 22, 2012, 01:15:09 am
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.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: garrettwp on March 22, 2012, 01:21:01 am
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
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on March 22, 2012, 01:34:32 am
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.

Quote
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.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: strangely on March 22, 2012, 03:12:20 am
@guessed, do you or the other half ever use the AV receiver without the TV being on?
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on March 22, 2012, 10:10:48 am
It's rare, but sometimes.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: strangely on March 22, 2012, 11:29:55 pm
*cough* kwikwai for the majority of the times when the TV is used ;)
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: garrettwp on March 24, 2012, 09:55:54 am
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
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on March 24, 2012, 01:19:34 pm
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.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: garrettwp on March 24, 2012, 04:47:30 pm
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
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: oTi@ on April 01, 2012, 09:44:47 pm
  • 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.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on April 02, 2012, 01:07:53 am
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)
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: strangely on April 02, 2012, 03:32:33 am
@garrettwp, did you buy the power strip yet?
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: garrettwp on April 02, 2012, 05:38:35 am
@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
Title: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: hifs on April 05, 2012, 08:06:36 pm
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.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: garrettwp on April 06, 2012, 01:07:59 pm
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
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: shady on April 09, 2012, 06:08:01 pm
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!

Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on April 09, 2012, 10:10:03 pm
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)
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: smilligan on April 24, 2012, 08:09:29 pm
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
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on April 24, 2012, 08:27:25 pm
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  ;-)
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on May 06, 2012, 04:34:52 pm
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.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: JohnR on May 23, 2012, 01:14:12 pm
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.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: shady on June 19, 2012, 07:26:55 pm
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
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on June 19, 2012, 07:53:15 pm
@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 ;)
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on July 14, 2012, 01:59:37 am
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.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on April 26, 2014, 09:31:57 pm
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 ;)
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on May 01, 2014, 07:58:24 pm
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)
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on May 01, 2014, 08:24:41 pm
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)
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: strangely on May 02, 2014, 05:56:09 pm
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.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on May 03, 2014, 02:18:32 pm
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.
Yikes, I was feeling the crimp with a 200A Panel, at least by their Load Calculations, for adding stuff.   It's interesting to see how they run those numbers, especially when you compare it against the real #'s you have... but it's more about what the House is capable of, instead of what you're [currently] doing with the house I suppose.

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.
Will definitely catch up with you on this one.  Tons of options out there, but it's always easier to follow the path well trodden ;)   I'd image that you're loads will match mine fairly well.

For now, I've just moved all my measurement stuff over to SEG.  It'll give me a better way to "see" what's going on, as well as hopefully adding some stability to Vera.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: strangely on May 03, 2014, 11:02:36 pm
the real #'s you have... but it's more about what the House is capable of, instead of what you're [currently] doing with the house I suppose.

Yep, I'm due a load center upgrade at some point very soon, and since I need to also get permits etc for the other loads in the kitchen and the car I fitted, it has to start with the panel :)

Quote
For now, I've just moved all my measurement stuff over to SEG.  It'll give me a better way to "see" what's going on, as well as hopefully adding some stability to Vera.
Did you manage to get it logging in Vera and SEG? I could never get mine setup with SEG and I guess I need a second WIZnet or similar to do it. This is something I want to revisit.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on May 04, 2014, 10:57:43 am
Yup.  I was going to poke my temperature data through as well.  I have a Garage Temperature sensor hanging off my GEM, so that data flowed automatically, but I'm interested to see the correlation between temperature (Upstairs, Downstairs, Outside, Garage) and energy use.

eg. driving a car into the garage quickly raises it's temp by 3-4F, how does that impact the house?
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: akbooer on May 04, 2014, 12:34:11 pm
eg. driving a car into the garage quickly raises it's temp by 3-4F, how does that impact the house?

Well, I suppose that depends how quickly you drive it into the garage.  I mean, very quickly and the would be a big fireball and that would certainly do it...

...oh, sorry, I see... How quickly it raises the temperature, not how quickly you drive the car.

Funny old language.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on May 04, 2014, 12:57:26 pm
Well, I suppose that depends how quickly you drive it into the garage.  I mean, very quickly and the would be a big fireball and that would certainly do it...

...oh, sorry, I see... How quickly it raises the temperature, not how quickly you drive the car.

Funny old language.
LOL.

Reminds me of a team I used to work in.  The manager (jokingly) indicated to one of the lads from the team that he'd find a pink slip in the top drawer. 

1/2 the team took it one way, and the other 1/2 took it another way 8)
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: wilme2 on May 07, 2014, 04:53:00 pm
weekday usage to is ~11kW/day.

Wow, checking Bidgely, mine is about ~28 KwH/day...  And I am doing all I can think of to limit.  Other than running my WMC DVR 24x7 - too many stability issues with sleep and there is a large WAF on a DVR.    And my pet lizards have lights on 24x7 as well, but with their new cages I have cut that usage down to 1/3 of what they previously needed....

But beyond that I am not sure where to turn...  Time to get out my Kill-a-Watt and start looking for unexpected issues!  Course I have two AC units and 2 hot water heaters - for no good reason really.  I plan to disable one of the hot water heaters as it feeds a single, rarely used, bathroom sink...
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on May 07, 2014, 09:19:13 pm
Well, that's on a normal day.  Of course, the day I posted that we had a high of 90F, and I ran the AC all day... which topped me out at 28kW also ;)

Looks like we have a 1wk long cycle of 90+ starting next week, so that'll be interesting.

Course I have two AC units and 2 hot water heaters - for no good reason really.  I plan to disable one of the hot water heaters as it feeds a single, rarely used, bathroom sink...
Yikes, that's a lot bigger set of loads to tune.  I'd love to see this type of exercise run against a bigger place, since I'd imagine there's a lot more loads to work on, and things running out-of-mind, out-of-sight.

I keep finding myself asking "what's causing that?", even when the #'s are tiny.

But beyond that I am not sure where to turn...  Time to get out my Kill-a-Watt and start looking for unexpected issues!
It's quite interesting once you start getting the automated feeds.  You see all sorts of stuff you never expected (but then later find explanations for online)

Some interesting recent examples:
a) Defrost cycles in the Fridge-Freezer unit (100W becomes 200W) for a total of ~1.2kW/day
b) 50%+ duty cycle for the Fridge-Freezer unit (when the house is only 70F) switching several times/hour
c) The Dishwasher only consumes ~1kW/run, but takes 1 hour to fully cycle
d) My AV stack chews 0.75-0.85kWh, and the variability comes almost completely from the TV
e) My Espresso Machine burns ~0.5kW to get ready (drink more coffee, watch less TV)
f) My Mac Mini consumes 20W, and the monitor adds 30W. The Mac cranks to 60W during Video encoding ;)
g) My idle HP AIO Printer, and external/powered Mac Speakers, combined were using more power than my Mac

Of course, these figures that are all dwarf'd once I turn on the AC   8)


Love to hear what you find with your Kill-a-Watt unit.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: akbooer on May 08, 2014, 07:50:44 am
Have you thought of adding some measure of energy usage for your vehicles?  These probably dwarf your home's usage, and would be a challenge to measure directly.  As a proxy you could use fuel consumption, but it would be great to automate this, and later integrate it into electricity usage in the home as you switch to all-electric or plugin hybrid vehicles.

Anyway, lucky you being able to power your AC by PV... not such a happy combination of weather and energy needs here, as the heat pump is working hardest when the sun is not shining.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on May 08, 2014, 11:47:32 am
Have you thought of adding some measure of energy usage for your vehicles?  These probably dwarf your home's usage, and would be a challenge to measure directly.  As a proxy you could use fuel consumption, but it would be great to automate this, and later integrate it into electricity usage in the home as you switch to all-electric or plugin hybrid vehicles.
My main driver was to measure things that I could offset (eg. with Solar) or things that indicate a problem (Water, Gas).

Next are Water/Gas measurement and overall alerting to any significant deviations from the norm.  I'm pushing this all into SEG, so I'll write something to get back the critical bits and put them into Vera for alerting (through Prowl)

I could use the OBD port of the car to measure fuel economy, which I hadn't considered, but making savings there means I'll have to drive better 8)


I'd considered using a WiFi-based OBD port adapter for presence at one point, but gave up on it due to complexity.  If you wanted to do it for energy the devices are readily available, but any data collection would require something permanently in the car.   

Anyhow, I worked out a simpler/more secure way to presence so I abandoned the OBD-based option.


Anyway, lucky you being able to power your AC by PV... not such a happy combination of weather and energy needs here, as the heat pump is working hardest when the sun is not shining.
Ouch.  I'm very interested to hear how you manage/control/integrate this.

I've only lived in countries/locations where Solar is the default option (either PV or Thermal), and Gas has been plentiful (for heating), although we had oil-fired heaters when I was growing up.  In summer, we'd just open windows and play in the pool to cool down  ;)
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: akbooer on May 08, 2014, 03:34:16 pm
Anyway, lucky you being able to power your AC by PV... not such a happy combination of weather and energy needs here, as the heat pump is working hardest when the sun is not shining.
Ouch.  I'm very interested to hear how you manage/control/integrate this.

I've only lived in countries/locations where Solar is the default option (either PV or Thermal), and Gas has been plentiful (for heating), although we had oil-fired heaters when I was growing up.  In summer, we'd just open windows and play in the pool to cool down  ;)

We're in rural UK, no piped gas available.  Anyway, I'm trying to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible.  We used to burn oil, but several years ago installed a  heatpump and that is now our only source of heating and hot water (apart from a decorative wood burning stove.)  Installed PV two months ago (a bit of a challenge since this is a listed building in a conservation area.)  It's actually a whole new roof with the old tiles removed and solar 'slates' replacing them.  Looks very discrete for PV.

The house is over 175 years old (new for the area: the house next door is over 800 years.) Solid stone walls - so heat loss is a nightmare.  However, doing the best we can, the heatpump, with underfloor heating, runs completely autonomously - I wouldn't dream of automating (further) its controls.  I've convinced myself of the quality of its control algorithms though correlating energy usage with a calculation of 'heating degree days' and get a correlation coefficient of 0.98.  About the best you can have.

So really, it's all just about monitoring, and modelling the thermal properties of the house.  I need something like your Brultech, because with only an import meter and a generation meter (both logged with NorthQ into Vera and DataYours), and no export meter, I can't now tell how much I'm really using.  The old clamp-on sensor can't tell which way the power is going! Someone mentioned that they do a 50Hz version?
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on May 08, 2014, 08:03:33 pm
I believe the Brultech GEM has European support as well.  It has a configurable 50/60Hz setting, but you'd also need plug-packs to match (mine are 110v).

Probably best to reach out on Ben on their forums (http://brultech.com/community) and ask more specifically, since it's not clear how you'd order one with the right Plugpacks (although it looks like the user @vespaman, on their forums, has one).   ... and yes, they can tell you which way the current is flowing ;)


Interesting info on the HP.  I have in-laws in Ireland, and I've always wondered what their options were, they currently use gas tanks for heating, and have a pellet stove as well.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guest13549 on May 29, 2014, 01:33:23 pm
Someone mentioned that they do a 50Hz version?

Well, I have the GEM & Dashbox combo, living in Sweden (230V/3phase/50Hz), so you are good with the standard stuff, as long has you let them know where you are from (it is the same hardware except the voltage transformer). You may have to use adaptors or source the power supply locally.

I'm missing 24h clock and I am getting $ signs instead of local currency, but apart from this, all is well.

Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: akbooer on May 29, 2014, 01:39:44 pm
Thanks for the information!
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on June 03, 2014, 02:35:24 pm
Yup.  I was going to poke my temperature data through as well.  I have a Garage Temperature sensor hanging off my GEM, so that data flowed automatically, but I'm interested to see the correlation between temperature (Upstairs, Downstairs, Outside, Garage) and energy use.

eg. driving a car into the garage quickly raises it's temp by 3-4F, how does that impact the house?

And here's what that looks like, using the last 3-days of data.  I definitely think the Garage is heating the house at night, or at least slowly the rate of cooling (esp since I have the windows open)... 

Time to work out how to vent that space effectively.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: gregl on June 17, 2014, 08:51:07 pm
I could use the OBD port of the car to measure fuel economy, which I hadn't considered, but making savings there means I'll have to drive better 8)


HI Guessed. Great thread ...thanks for sharing and introducing me to SmartEnergyGroups!
There is another way you could improve your fuel economy, perhaps without changing your driving style ;-)
http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/dimpled-car-minimyth.htm
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: ccclapp on February 06, 2015, 04:56:40 pm
Hi

I previously read this complete thread, but do not recall if the following has been answered:  Will a non-ethernet GEN along with an Dash box (ethernet enabled) work properly/well with Vera script/plugin for GEM, or should I use a ethernet enabled GEM without a Dash?  Because the Dash is $260 and the ethernet add-on for the GEM is $100,I am inclined to spend the extra $160 to have the additional capabilities of the Dash (including its ability to communicate with an ISY.

Specifically, will the Vera be able to respond to energy events/triggers from the GEM/Dash, i.e. will the energy data show up in Vera?

Thanks
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on February 06, 2015, 05:40:13 pm
The GEM has two Communications ports.  The DashBox will connect to one of them, and the other will be "spare". 

Depending upon how you have this "spare" exposed (Cabled-serial, Ethernet, WiFi, etc) you'd need to have your Vera connected to the GEM in the same manner.

The Brultech Plugin and the DashBox, cannot both connect to the same Communications port (the Brultech Plugin maintains a persistent Serial|TCP connection to the GEM)

Not sure if that answers your question or not, but it was a little hard to tell how you have stuff wired up.


NOTE: I've stopped running the Brultech Plugin, since it can stretch the resources of your Vera... depending upon how many other things you have running, and how frequently you have the GEM setup to send it's 32 Channels of data (default: 5s).  For SEG Data, I have a separate RaspberryPi, running btmon.py, that's periodically polling the GEM, and pushing the data to SEG.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: ccclapp on February 06, 2015, 05:53:43 pm
Thanks once again Guessed.  You are ever helpful!!

I am going to copy your reply to the folks at Brultech so they can help me finalize my config (not bought yet).

Because I do not yet know what final energy monitoring config I will be most satisfied with, I am trying to keep my options open.  I know ISY with Dash works ok and it seems Vera with ethernet GEM works ok.  I just want to confirm with Brultech that non-ethernet GEM with ethernet dash can also work well with vera.

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: gtallan on February 10, 2015, 10:55:48 pm
I am not certain that vera can get data from the dashbox instead of direct from the GEM.

Just playing with this myself after setting up a new GEM 10 days or so ago (ethernet GEM, no dashbox thus far). At the moment I'm also pulling data from the GEM using btmon, and sending it both to SEG and to a local installation of emoncms. Because btmon is talking to the GEM over ethernet, I'm not currently getting any data feed into vera. emoncms is quite fascinating as a local facility and was pretty easy to get running, but I realize that so far I have little idea what I'm doing with setting up its data feeds, beyond the basics of daily kWh, etc. Dashbox seems quite attractive as a turnkey solution. Although I was able to resurrect a long-defunct Nokia Internet Tablet (N800) as a handy current-power-use monitor.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on February 11, 2015, 11:31:17 am
I am not certain that vera can get data from the dashbox instead of direct from the GEM.

It may be possible (with wholly new code), but the current Plugin is only designed to talk directly to either a GEM or ECM-1240's, via their specialized interface.

 
Quote
Just playing with this myself after setting up a new GEM 10 days or so ago (ethernet GEM, no dashbox thus far). At the moment I'm also pulling data from the GEM using btmon, and sending it both to SEG and to a local installation of emoncms. Because btmon is talking to the GEM over ethernet, I'm not currently getting any data feed into vera. emoncms is quite fascinating as a local facility and was pretty easy to get running, but I realize that so far I have little idea what I'm doing with setting up its data feeds, beyond the basics of daily kWh, etc. Dashbox seems quite attractive as a turnkey solution. Although I was able to resurrect a long-defunct Nokia Internet Tablet (N800) as a handy current-power-use monitor.

Yup, it's why I now ship all this data to SEG.  I really wasn't using it in Vera for anything automation-centric, so I figured I'd lighten the load on Vera. 

I will revive that feed in openHAB at some point, since the HW is far more capable, and my long-term automation plans now include real-world usage for that data (mostly because I added Solar to the mix).

When I get to that, I'll probably enable MySQL in btmon, and have it do the work to push/keep the data locally so openHAB can work with a local DS.
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: gtallan on February 12, 2015, 10:19:45 am
I am not certain that vera can get data from the dashbox instead of direct from the GEM.

It may be possible (with wholly new code), but the current Plugin is only designed to talk directly to either a GEM or ECM-1240's, via their specialized interface.

It would be a question for brultech, but I wonder how feasible it would be for dashbox to present a "virtual gem" interface, for other systems to retrieve data from. Not only to get data into vera, but could also be used for btmon, etc.

Quote
Quote
Just playing with this myself after setting up a new GEM 10 days or so ago (ethernet GEM, no dashbox thus far). At the moment I'm also pulling data from the GEM using btmon, and sending it both to SEG and to a local installation of emoncms. Because btmon is talking to the GEM over ethernet, I'm not currently getting any data feed into vera. emoncms is quite fascinating as a local facility and was pretty easy to get running, but I realize that so far I have little idea what I'm doing with setting up its data feeds, beyond the basics of daily kWh, etc. Dashbox seems quite attractive as a turnkey solution. Although I was able to resurrect a long-defunct Nokia Internet Tablet (N800) as a handy current-power-use monitor.

Yup, it's why I now ship all this data to SEG.  I really wasn't using it in Vera for anything automation-centric, so I figured I'd lighten the load on Vera.

Well at least my vera lite didn't actually keel over during the couple of days I had it fetch GEM data! I'd been plotting data in datamine from my earlier Aeon HEM experiment, but there didn't seem much point in doing that once I started sending the data to SEG or emoncms for storage. But still, it would be handy to get the data into vera somehow, there are probably some useful automation-type things to do with it (for those of us who aren't yet ready to jump to openhab).
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: guessed on March 11, 2015, 12:27:32 pm
I've split out the whole discussion on the cutover to using the SmartEnergyGroups.com (SEG) Service to Monitor Energy usage.

That part is now here, so it's easier to find:
    http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,31212.0.html
Title: Re: Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...
Post by: ccclapp on March 20, 2015, 01:00:39 am
I've split out the whole discussion on the cutover to using the SmartEnergyGroups.com (SEG) Service to Monitor Energy usage.

That part is now here, so it's easier to find:
    http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,31212.0.html

Hi

Im just letting you know I added a very detailed Step-by-Step guide to implementing your Vera/SEG script in the new forked thread you created.  This exact post is here:

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,31212.msg226179.html#msg226179

Thanks @Guessed!!!