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Whole house power monitor

Post in 'The Green Room' started by velvetfoot, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I was thinking about a whole house power use monitor.
    There are some that have current transformers clamped around the mains in the panel and others that use a clamp-on sensor on the meter.
    Any recommendations?

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I have been using the Blueline PowerCost Monitor since February. It clamps on the meter and does a good job. I had a problem with it in that we get a lot of rain and some got into the circuitry and killed the unit mounted on the meter. Blueline sent a new sensor out immediately and it appears they had to do a little re-design because of water leakage. But I put a little roof over the meter anyway to protect it from sun and rain and it is doing fine.

    It will make you crazy though if you happen to be looking at it the minute the water heater kicks on or some other KWH eater. You see your bank account emptying right before your eyes.
  3. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Reading the specs of the Black and Decker model, which looks like a clone of the BlueLine, it seems that it has a plus/minus of 100 Watts and provides a reading every 30 seconds. Do you notice any of this?
  4. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    So what kind of cost are we looking at for these things? I love this kind of stuff but the ones I've seen on TV looked very expensive.
  5. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    A couple on ebay are 89 bucks + shipping.
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I record my readings daily while we are trying to get rid of unnecessary loads here. Every once in a while I will compare the running reading in my spreadsheet with the actual on the meter. It has only been off two or three KWH in a weeks time. This is since the Blueline records in tenths of a KWH so it is just rounding between them.

    I bought mine from a local guy http://www.greenecosavers.com/. I looked on google maps and it looks like he sells from his home in Herndon, Virginia but when I sent him an email about the problem with mine the next day I got a reply from Blueline asking what they could do to make me happy.

    When a new load comes online like the clothes dryer a light or whatever it can take up to fifteen seconds for it to change the display because it has to wait for the black spot on our manual meter dial to make it around to the sensor.

    It is here on my desk and I see that it is now 11:28am, the outside temp is 77 degrees and we have used 23.5 KWH since noon yesterday.

    I love the thing.
  7. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I read further. That unit above, ted 1001, which is a good price, has a USB port but you have to buy software. Even then, it requires a computer to do detailed saves (not much memory). What's nice about the one you have is that it has a portable reader. The TED 1001 is via power line.
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah. What was nice is I could stop going out into the snow or rain when taking those daily reading.

    I will work all year whacking trees to heat my house but walking around to the side of the house to read the meter is too much work. :lol:
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    To close the loop, I got a TED 1001 on eBay for $85.
    Install was super easy, and I didn't electrocute myself, which is quite possible since you slip the current transformers over the live incoming lines.
    The power line data transmission is finicky though and I was only able to find a couple of outlets on the first floor that worked.
    It doesn't like a circuit that has a surge suppressor on it (although you can plug it into one and it works) or a circuit with a switch on it-maybe it's the fluorescents, but I don't think so since they don't affect another circuit. Hey, don't ask me.
    Once it's working it's pretty neat. It would be nice if it'd log detailed data for later download, but it doesn't, and I didn't buy the software for which the computer has to be turned on.
    The display is a little hard to read-it has no backlight.
    It's interesting that the electric dryer takes 4000 watts-one good reason to do large loads.
    The deep well pump was around 2500 watts, at constant state. It doesn't react quick enough to display inrush, so if you were going to use it to figure out what size generator you would need, you could be out of luck, since I have personal experience with the large initial draw of something like that well pump (39 amps as I recall) and had to upsize the generator.
    I'm going to clean the refrigerator's coils this weekend too: it seems to run a lot
    As I was leaving the house yesterday, I noticed about 100 watts unacccounted for. Then I figured it might be the water circulator pump heating up the domestic hot water.
    Anyway, it's a gadget. How much can you really change your lifestyle? Even if we had time of use rates, smart appliances, etc, am I really going to start the dryer in the middle of the night to run unattended (my wife says no).
  10. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Man, I feel much better knowing that I am not the only one that checks the meter daily and records the data. Having it up on my desk would be sweet, but sometimes I need an excuse to go outside. My wife was looking at my calendar once on outlook, and said "What are all those numbers for on each day of the week? " I gave her a look, and she said vevermind and started to chuckle :)
  11. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    I am digging up this old thread.

    I saw this, or something like this on tv, it looks spectacular.

    Does anyone else have any experience? Specifically I am looking for something that will log it and then let me look at the data when i turn my computer on. The TED 5000 looks promising, a bit more than I was hoping to spend, but thats ok. Additionally paramount would be the ability to output the data into excel. If it is just sitting in proprietary software or somewhere on the web i can see pictures of graphs, but not the actual data, I am not interested.... software changes, operating systems get updated, and I want to keep my data.

    Anyways, something I am very interested in getting, was wondering if anyone else decided this would be a good use (waste) of money :) in the last 2 years.

    It looks like the device really needed to use google power meter to be worth anything... but that service has just been shut down.... that convolutes things...

    Thanks
    Rick
  12. Hunderliggur

    Hunderliggur Minister of Fire

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    I installed a TED 5000 system the end of July and have been running it since. I got the 4 CT model so I could measure several loads simultaneously. I have two main panels so one set each there (one is eventually off-grid, the other is always utility). I have also specifically monitored the well system (about $0.10/hour to pump 3 GPM in case you are interested) and the kids rooms (two windows AC units). I did not buy the power filters. The only problem I had of any importance was interference when running my Generac generator for 96 hours!. Too much noise. You can (and probably should) connect all CT leads to the same pair of breakers that the monitor unit is plugged into. The monitor unit is a nifty data logger and web server. It store a large amount of data and is downloadable in a delimited file for whatever use you need.

    My main goal was to determine if I could run my off grid panel from a 4 KW inverter (I can) and what drives my energy usage (AC in the summer, swimming pool pump). Interestingly, 3 GPM costs the same as a mid size window AC unit. I piped my well water through my radiant floor and I get the cooling value of a window unit while I irrigate my paddocks. I keep the basement humidity low so condensation is not an issue.

    I would not spend the extra (like I did) for the portable display unit. Nice novelty, but you can get something similar for free from the iPhone App Store. 4 Thumbs Up of the TED 5000.
  13. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    excellent! The TED 5000 really seems to be the system, there are a few alternatives, but they really look like they are missing some key features. It would be great if google powermeter was still up, oh well.

    I havent found anything else that competes with the 5000. Probably will get it soon, about $200, honestly I dont expect to be able to trim enough to get it to pay back, we are quite lean at the house. But Its a interesting piece of information. might be able to give me some insight into wood stove v. heat pump use.

    Any other systems you would suggest I consider?
  14. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    In theory the smart meters that many utilities are installing have the capability to do energy monitoring. The tough part is getting access to the data as inevitably the utility will try to make a buck at selling you data from a device that you are paying for.
  15. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    woohoo, just pulled the trigger on a 5000-g (no remote display). Of course when discussing with others, no one can figure out why you would want this...

    I guess people just dont understand....

    It was more than i wanted to spend, but thats ok...
  16. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I understand. :)
    I just couldn't justify an upgrade.
  17. Hunderliggur

    Hunderliggur Minister of Fire

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    They had a TED-5000 on one of the Solar Decathlon houses on the National Mall when I went there today.
  18. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    Well, I will keep you all posted. Mine is on the way to me. and I should be able to install it pretty quick, just need to get a 240v breaker... and the box in the mail :)

    If anyone has setup tips, please let me know.

    More info to follow....
  19. Hunderliggur

    Hunderliggur Minister of Fire

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    You don't need a 240 breaker. I believe you are getting the single unit to measure the entire panel only, correct? The current meters clamp around the TWO main inputs (make sure you get the red dots facing the right way). Two 120 breakers adjacent to each other work fine. You need to put the control unit so you can hard wire to your router for the network access.
  20. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    Thats right, but the design as I understand it requires the 2 clamps and then 240v

    "Connect the black and red wires from the MTU power cord to a spare 15, 20, or 30 Amp two-pole circuit breaker." It does then say that you can connect those wires to any of 2 120 breakers next to each other as long as they are allowed to use 2 connectors (and my understanding of it is that hte US national code only allows 2 connectors for a whole house surge protector).

    [​IMG]

    I also have 2 slots open, so I can add a 240 breaker with no problem (but i do have to go to home depot to pick one up)
  21. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Is anyone using one of these with a solar installation? I wonder how well it would work to track/record production data... The monitoring package for the inverters they want to sell me for my solar install is VERY expensive... seems for $300 I can get the TED 5002 which they say is for home + solar monitoring.... the demo on their website didn't give me much to go by....
  22. Hunderliggur

    Hunderliggur Minister of Fire

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    I am not using it for solar YET, but yes, it can be configured for solar production monitoring. I have a 5004 since I wanted to evaluate many loads: Panel 1 (to be run from solar or generator) Panel 2 (utility only) Circuit Set 1 (well and pressure pump) Circuit Set 2 (AC's this summer). I can configure and reconfigure to get whatever monitoring I want.
  23. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    I got the TED 5000 yesterday. The installation was quite easy and i have it up and running. Although its still far to early to make any changes in how we operate the house, the thing is awesome!

    Here is this morning.... The spikes are likely the heat pump we have, maybe the electric stove.

    http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/attachmentNew.php?attachmentid=4327338
  24. Hunderliggur

    Hunderliggur Minister of Fire

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    What software are you running? This does not look like my Ted 5000 graphing at all. Did I miss a download?
  25. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    that was actually the output from plotwatt. I cant say that I am thrilled with it's performance, but it lets me watch the power consumption while I am away from the house. When at work I cant use firefox, and no smart phones... so my options are limited myenersave doesnt display a graph, so i am using plotwatt.... definitely would like to see some other, better 3rd party options.

    not sure if I can set the ted5000 up to send the info to multiple 3rd parties... i can definitely do one... will have to figure that out as time permits.

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