How much electricity are you using?

This blog post is not about retro computers, but I think it is quite interesting.

E.ON sent me one of their free home energy monitor devices. Great device – it tells me my current electricity usage and an estimate of my next bill. There is only one downside to the device, the supplied software doesn’t work on Mac OS.

But the lack of OS X was not an issue – I discovered some software called Energy@Home . I installed the software running on my Linux server. The power meter is connected to my server via a USB to serial cable.

The systrem requirements for the system are quite minimal.

  • Apache with PHP
  • MySQL
  • Python

Full requirements can be found on the Energy@Home website.

Getting the software up and running was quite simple. My server already had all the required software installed. Within minutes, my server was receiving XML data from the energy monitor. Im running the most current version – 0.5

The next stage was to get the PHP based front end up and running. Sadly, I could not get it working. I was getting errors from the javascript used on the page. So I dropped a tweet to the applications developer, Danny Tsang. After a few tweets, Danny sent me a link to a new version, 0.5.1. I upgraded my installation, and the web page started to work! Success!

So, this is a graph of my electricity usage whilst I write this article. Click it graph to view it in more detail.

When I took this screen shot, the following devices were on in my house.

  • Living room TV
  • Virgin V+ box
  • Virgin broadband modem
  • Linksys router
  • Apple TimeCapsule
  • Phone chargers etc.
  • Couple of lights (Low energy bulbs)

I’ve had the energy meter running for a few days now, and it has made me more conscious about the energy I am wasting. I just need to keep going on at the kids to turn their bedroom light off when they are not in the room! Easier than it sounds. 🙂

Energy@Home | Danny Tsang | Danny Tsang (Twitter)

One thought on “How much electricity are you using?

  1. Very interesting post! I want to fit something similar but not sure if the sensor can be fitted in the box outside as the mains cable is not visible where it enters the house! It goes direct into back of fuse box! Another mini project…!

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