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Thread: What would be the best way to monitor electric usage over 50 circuits?

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default What would be the best way to monitor electric usage over 50 circuits?

    Hi, i hope you can help. I am an electrician & aim to build a house in the near future & hope to use the idratec system.
    I will be wiring the power sockets in the house as a radial system & not the traditional ring main. This will enable a lot more control over the house automation. This will be similar with the lighting for each room to be on its own circuit.
    I will end up with around 50 circuits & will be looking to monitor each circuit for power usage.
    Question is! Whatís the best way to do this?
    I was possibly thinking of QAI-001 4 Way Analogue Input unit & connect to 50 ctís (Coil transformers) But presumably i would be looking at 50 ctís & 13 x QAI-001 to do it this way, or am i going down the wrong path.
    Open to any suggestions. (It all needs to be logged so i can look back over data. )

    Cheers,

    Chris.

  2. #2
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    many of us looking to do this, affordably of course ... best option we've found so far seems to be some bulk-buy ADM1TEs connected to pulse-counting modules (not sure if the ODI is one of them) ... can't see it being affordable, though !

    an alternative, though accuracy would not be so good, might be some CC128s, which can keep an eye on (IIRC) three circuits at the moment & may soon be able to do ten ...

    other options include Plogg ...

    Google'll find them all easily enough !!

    any others, anyone ?

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    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    At that number of circuits I'm wondering about industrial multi-channel dataloggers. But even more I'm wondering whether it is really worth monitoring every single circuit - for many outlets the cost of monitoring is going to exceed any possible savings, so then you are left with the data-junkies desire for more, more more ...

    What about monitoring certain combinations of circuits. Not necessarily all circuits in one room combined. For example, say on average half the outlets in two rooms are used, by combining pairs from each room for monitoring you'd still get the same data but at half the cost.

    You might even be to do clever analysis if some of those loads are controlled, since then you'd know which sockets are contributing and hence the value of the uncontrolled load.

    But if you are determined, then single circuit pulse counters like the ADT1Es are probably the way to go, since if all these circuits are also relay controlled, you'd have a matching number of digital inputs available in the DIN rail relay modules.
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    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    Also, most loads are not going to vary much, so again, is it worth it compared to initially checking the power consumption with a plug-in meter? If integrated into Cortex control you can track the on/off/standby hours and use this to estimate power consumption.
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    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    So, maybe think about AD1TEs in circuit for high power variable loads like your fixed appliances (cooker, washing machine, dishwasher, fridge, tumble dryer) and then combo monitoring for "normal" socket outlets.
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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    doing this sort of thing must be quite common in the industrial world - wonder if they have a clever ways of doing it - cyclic sampling via a multiplexer, would be an obvious one, with obvious issues, but how about some sort of hierarchical approach, with meters in carefully selected locations on the tree ? ? (!)
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 20th March 2009 at 04:59 PM.

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    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    This site may be of interest for you
    http://www.bwired.nl/
    http://www.bwired.nl/How_stroom.asp this for the power monitoring.
    http://www.bwired.nl/Plugwise.asp and this one for individual sockets

    and maybe this one
    http://community.pachube.com/?q=node/65
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  8. #8
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    As suggested above its mainly a matter of cost vs. accuracy. You could use 50 pulse output meters and 6-7 ODI modules (other module digital inputs can also be used to make up the total - though not QLDs). We don't presently have an object which treats the QAI output as utility metering information though you can obviously display it as a general graph and the data will of course be logged - also a ct and QAI approach will not be as accurate as a proper VA meter (could be pretty inaccurate if you have some types of flourescents or other non resistive loads).

    Bear in mind that if you are doing other automation with the IDRATEK system then integration is one of our important central concepts. So if the data is processed via the existing metering object then it can be presented and utilised across the system in a more integrated way e.g easy access to information via DFP panels, easy actions upon metering events, easy remote access of data and so on, all without any further bespoke programming on your part - other than clickng a couple of connections from drop down lists.

  9. #9
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    Hi

    Hi guys, & many thanks for all the input.
    Its quite a catch 22 with trying to find a system that will do what is needed & at this stage it seems like it will need a couple of systems to control everything to the way i would like it. But we will certainly be wiring the house in such a way to enable all possibilities for now & the future.
    One of the reasons for monitoring most of the sockets individually from the consumer unit end was the flexibility & that we get an average electric bill of £500.00 a ľ. But got to take into account that we run 3 separate businesses from home which will add up on the bills.
    Hi Chris J,
    You think there wound be some sort of cheap sampling software that could go out & sample each input reading maybe once every second or two.
    Got a little lost on the (ADM1TEs & pulse-counting modules). I understand the concept of what you are suggesting, but couldn’t find any references on the net apart from some water meters that work this way. Any pointers on where to purchase item like this. Thanks.
    Hi Gumy,
    I had a look at the Industrial multi-channel data loggers & it trying to get everything under one roof if possible, but i an starting to see that this might not be possible with my limited experience with electronics.
    Hi Toscal,
    It was this guys site that got me started on the monitoring of the homes consumption. So i am not quite sure if to love or hate him. LOL. But it is a very impressive set up he has there.
    On the plug wise link, i have been to this site before & they were talking about a UK version of the plug adaptors & it doesn’t seem to of happed quite yet. This would be great if they did a din-rail version for me.
    Karam,
    Hi, your quite right in that it would be nice to integrate via the IDRATEK system. I was forgetting that ODI modules had the pulse count facility & would need less of these, but am still a little lost on where to get the individual pulse output meter modules.
    -------------------------------------------
    Once again all, many thanks for all you input & idea’s. Its surprising what different approaches can be thought of by trying different paths. “No idea is a silly one as it will always bring another thought”

    Cheers.

    Chris.

  10. #10
    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/vbull...ead.php?t=1699

    is where we have been (sometimes slightly ramblingly) discussing monitoring power on individual circuits and rings, and mentions the AD1TE type power meter.

    Basically these fit on DIN rails, 1 module wide, and measure energy properly, since the circuit is connected through them. There are similar alternatives.
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