CurrentCost Bridge Board Hack

Thx to the nice people @currentcost for the board, albeit not quite the latest. Thx also to @jrcrouchley for his post on what he did with it. My own objectives included using it for it original purpose and making a more compact version of my home monitoring setup. Guess I need at least 2 of these boards and CC tell me they’ll be back on Amazon soon.

This board is an older design with 2xRJ45s rather than an RJ45+RJ10 to the monitor.

OK. Got a 5v PSU, cable and USB-serial breakout board (same Sparkfun one as John used). Then went through “follow the track” to wire up the USB serial. Found the input (pin1), output (pin2) and ground (pin5) easily enough (these are pins on the RJ45 to the monitor).

First test: Create an account @currentcost and see whether it will just store the data. If that works OK that can be transferred over to Pachube and from there to my various analysis stuff including an Android app.

Result: Not successful initially. It’s possible that the software burned into the bridge was an old version. Moved on to next stage (I’ll update this later).

Built the USBTinyISP kit. This is a great product, coming as it does with very detailed assembly instructions. The Arduino IDE has a facility for burning the bootloader and that worked a treat once I’d sorted out the jumper issue. On my board this is a pair of pads called LK4 to which a switch must be attached. Close the switch for programming, open for normal operation.

Second test: Load my own monitoring sketch and talk to my own online data store. The problem here was that I needed pinouts from the AVR chip. Found the chip doc and with the help of the Arduino Pro Mini schematic figured out how to get a LED on digital pin 13. I then tried something that uses the ethernet interface.

Result: Got the blink sketch going ok. Then loaded an ethernet sketch. Initially just a client which fetches the time and pushes it to the IDE’s serial monitor. Worked OK. Now I’ll attempt something more substantial.

Conclusion: As John noted, this has many interesting possibilities. It will shortly become part of my home monitoring infrastructure. It’s only input is serial – intended for the CurrentCost monitor. I could feed everything through the CC or use another Arduino to serialise everything. Now that they have the IAMs the CC monitor is becoming a very useful hub.

For development convenience I’ll add an auto-reset for program loading. A further possibility is to make an ethernet boot loader so the program can be updated without the USB adaptor.

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