Energy Monitoring Progress

Thanks to @phoebebright for reminding me to post an update. When I did version 1 of the gas meter it was crude to say the least. I was posting the pulses and handling everything on the server. Then I had fun with apparent bugs in the Ethernet Shield and lost interest for a week or two. On the plus side it at least allowed me to make some savings by fine-tuning the heating programmer.

Looking at Electricity and Temperature now. Got bored with trying to optically sense the meter’s rotating wheel (not enough contrast) so have ordered another meter which will hopefully have a pulse output. (This would have been a cheaper move if the beast I have was older.)

I have not ruled out using CurrentCost if I ever get one. However, a pulse output meter approach has quite a lot of advantages, not the least accurately predicting your energy bills. I have the Owl which is great for the popular game of “hunt the watt”. I also looked at a box for converting the Owl’s output – available but mega expensive.

I want to change the interface so I can use standard protocols to the server. The original problem was lack of accurate time on the Arduino. Once I bothered to read the ATMega spec I discovered the spare timers and then added the ISR code to generate a time trigger for transmissions to the server. Now it’s time to refactor everything.

I’ll need to do some code cramming to get everything into a standard Arduino’s memory space. It should be doable. Next report when I get my new meter, hopefully before the next homecamp.

OLPC makes the big bold move to open source

Wonderful news that OLPC’s XO-2 is going to be open source hardware (crunchgear). This is a brilliant example of s*** happening, facing reality and adjusting course.

I’m not a critic of the project but it’s been a victim of success and the goalposts have completely moved. This change of course engages the maximum breadth of resources on the original mission – improving the lives of children. It will also create endless fun for those who want to innovate around the concept.