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In my previous post, I presented some background on the green building where the SPARK Project #1 is being installed, and I discussed the basic signals that need to be measured for the project. In order to create inputs into my smart home dashboard, I need to measure temperature and humidity, both indoors and out, photovoltaic array output, solar thermal usage, and grid-tied energy input. I described how temperature, humidity, and photovoltaic output were going to be measured.

The local utility has already installed devices that measure natural gas usage and grid-tied electricity consumption, but they don’t provide the homeowner any way to read these measurements in real time. As with any dashboard, it’s pretty important that the information displayed is as close to real time as possible. Imagine trying to optimize the efficiency of your car based on monthly reports. It can be done, but it’s difficult to understand the impact of each change to the system. Electric and gas meters may be available with outputs suitable for monitoring, but I don’t think most hobbyists have the option of retrofitting their homes. Fortunately, better and less intrusive options do exist.

Read further on the SPARK Project blog to see how the remaining signals will be measured.

More:
SPARK Project #1, Post #1
Sponsored projects series with Windows Embedded CE


This SPARK Your Imagination Make: Windows Embedded project series is sponsored by Microsoft Corporation.

Kipp Bradford

Kipp Bradford is a technology consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for making things. He is the Senior Design Engineer and Lecturer in Engineering at Brown University, where he teaches several engineering design and entrepreneurship courses. Kipp is also on the Technical Advisory Board for Make Magazine.


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Comments

  1. justDIY says:

    Hey Make, what happened to your slogan “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it”???

    Windows embedded is not Free or free – you can’t open it (no source code from MS), and you certainly don’t “own it”, you’re merely granted a license to use it.

    1. Tolaemon says:

      I agree with “justDIY”, It would have been nicer to have any other “open source” sponsor.

      I would also like to say that have worked with one of the Windows Embedded Products (Windows CE 5.0) and other open source solutions for embedded products ( Linux embedded ). Both of them are good, but If had to choose one I would choose Linux embedded, because is free, and 100% tunable ( microsoft provides the 90% of it source code ).

      There are a lot of free Linux distributions for embedded systems. For me, the only point on which microsoft embedded products are better is in Documentation. Microsoft’s online documentation service is very good, all the function and OS feautres are well documented. On the other hand you have to pay for it paying a license for every product which uses their OS ( our license cost was of 2.5 US$ per product ). The expected production was of 10.000 units, what suposed the amount of 25.000$ to our company. We also developed other products based on embedded Linux, and the license costs were 0$ ( maybe those 25000$ we save were spent in other features but don’t think so ).