Technology
DIY power meter
not_so_tiny_power_meter.jpg

Bill Porter built this excellent DIY Power Meter to monitor the electricity usage of his home. It’s capable of measuring not only the amount of power that his house consumes, but also other fun facts such as power factor, voltage and frequency, and transmits the information wirelessly to a separate display system. He has a thorough explanation of the design process on his website, along with source code and schematics for the project. [via Hacked Gadgets]

6 thoughts on “DIY power meter

  1. What a cool design!

    There is serious demand in the marketplace for somebody to build exactly this solution with a ZigBee SmartEnergy compliant RF interface. A Digi Smart Energy XBee and a little ZCL code is all that’s missing…

  2. Thanks Jordan!

    Hmm, I’ll have to look into the Zigbee stuff. I guess that’s the protocol going into those fancy smart meters a few power companies are installing?

    1. That’s correct. ZigBee Smart Energy (or ZSE for short) is what a lot of meter manufacturers are baking into their meters for consumers and services to have access to their energy data. There are a lot of people looking for retrofit devices (such as the device you built) to do provide the same info in the same way in lieu of having a smart meter.

      To create a ZSE solution with what you have basically you’ll take the data points you are collecting and put them into structures known as “clusters” which are stored as a tree in the ZigBee stack. Each cluster may have many data points–known as attributes in the ZigBee parlance–and these attributes can be read or reported on in an inter-operable way. Many of the good modules on the market–including Digi’s Programmable Smart Energy XBee–have a mechanism which makes it easy to populate the clusters with readable and writeable data point attributes.

      If you are serious at looking at how to add ZigBee to your project feel free to reach out to me and I’ll give you as much guidance as I can.

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