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Old 11-20-13, 11:57 PM   #1
ecomodded
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Default wireless kill-a-watt meter reading - hack

I happened upon a indestructible that will give "the kill a watt meter" the ability to send its energy usage information to a computer.

Tweet-a-watt - How to make a twittering power meter...

Tweet-a-watt - How to make a twittering power meter...

from site:

This project documents my adventures in learning how to wire up my home for wireless power monitoring. I live in a rented apartment so I don't have hacking-access to a meter or breaker panel. Since I'm still very interested in measuring my power usage on a long term basis, I built wireless outlet reporters. Building your own power monitor isn't too tough and can save money but I'm not a fan of sticking my fingers into 120V power. Instead, I'll used the existing Kill-a-watt power monitor, which works great and is available at my local hardware store.

My plan is to have each room connected to a 6-outlet power strip which powers all the devices in that room (each kill-a-watt can measure up to 15A, or about 1800W, which is plenty!). That way I can track room-by-room usage, for example "kitchen", "bedroom", "workbench", and "office".

Each wireless outlet/receiver can be built for ~$55 with a few easily-available electronic parts and light soldering, no microcontroller programming or high voltage engineering is necessary!

You can see my setup including graphs and reports at http://twitter.com/tweetawatt

If you'd like to build one for yourself

1. Buy a kit: get all the parts you need, there's a starter kit at the adafruit webshop
2. Make: turn each Kill-a-Watt into a wireless power level transmitter
3. Software: Download & run it on your computer to get data and save it to a file and/or publish it

If you want to know how it was made, check out:

1. Listen: write simple software for my computer (or Arduino, etc) to listen for signal and compute the current power usage
2. Store: Create a database backend that will store the power usage for long-term analysis at http://wattcher.appspot.com
3. View: Graph and understand trends in power usage

Check out the latest readings at http://wattcher.appspot.com

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Old 11-21-13, 09:17 AM   #2
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That sounds pretty cool. I think I've seen it before... Ah here we are, we blogged about it a few years ago: Wattcher: The Twittering Kill-a-Watt Energy Monitor | EcoRenovator.org

However, P3 does have a wireless kill a watt setup now. I think its a pretty new product. There is one receiver unit, and it can monitor up to 8 sensors. However, I think a web interface would be a lot better than a small LCD display. Anyway, here is the link to their product. It looks like the display plus one sensor is $63, but each sensor is only $35.

P3 - Kill A Watt Wireless

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Old 11-21-13, 12:54 PM   #3
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From what I can see, that wireless hack adds its own ADC and microcontroller, in which case you might as well just make an AFE from scratch. That wireless one is interesting, maybe it's possible to make a homemade receiver for it?
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Old 11-21-13, 05:25 PM   #4
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That Kill-a-watt wireless system looks very slick. That would make it much easier for me when running my manual defrosts to know when the thermostat on the defrost has kicked off rather than moving the fridge forward every time and shine a flashlight at it to see the readout
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Old 11-21-13, 05:48 PM   #5
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I already have a whole house power meter but this would be usefule for monitoring each device. Any hacks for a 240v version to monitor total power used by AC condenser?
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Old 11-21-13, 06:34 PM   #6
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Another wireless power monitor:
AnandTech | Ubiquiti Networks mFi mPower Wi-Fi Power Strip Review
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Old 11-22-13, 04:54 PM   #7
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Belkin also has this wired power monitor.

Amazon.com: Belkin Conserve Insight Energy-Use Monitor: Electronics

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Old 11-23-13, 06:54 PM   #8
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I am amazed at all the cool things that people come up with. I have a kill-a-watt meter that i use from time to time. a whole house monitor would be pretty need to have
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Old 08-24-14, 11:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Servicetech View Post
I already have a whole house power meter but this would be usefule for monitoring each device. Any hacks for a 240v version to monitor total power used by AC condenser?
Kill-A-Watt measures current on neutral side. The hot side is only used to power itself. If you thread one of the lines through the neutral side of Kill-A-Watt and connect the hot side of KAW to ground or neutral, it will report half the actual power which is easy enough to calculate from the result.

KAW is down to the bare essentials. It is susceptible to lock ups and rebooting from normal impulses from relays operating, so this might cause difficulties for you.

After all, it is CHINA made and most likely the design was "re-inspired" there as well.

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