Adventures in reducing baseline power usage with my Brultech Power meters...

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.

[quote=“akbooer, post:34, topic:170989”]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.[/quote]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)

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…

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 :wink:

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

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.

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 :wink:
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.

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.

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.

[quote=“akbooer, post:38, topic:170989”]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.[/quote]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 :wink:

[quote=“guessed, post:39, topic:170989”][quote=“akbooer, post:38, topic:170989”]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.[/quote]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 ;)[/quote]

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?

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 :wink:

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.

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.

Thanks for the information!

[quote=“guessed, post:33, topic:170989”]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?[/quote]

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.

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 :wink:
http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/dimpled-car-minimyth.htm

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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]

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.

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).

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

[quote=“guessed, post:52, topic:170989”]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[/quote]

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!!!