Home Power Monitoring

Back in the day I used to read Byte magazine and faithfully read Steve Ciarcia’s articles. I went down a career path that did not include much in terms of pure engineering and left it as a distant memory. I recently decided it was high time to renew my hobby in tinkering with electronics and software. Fortunately, Steve is still around at Circuit Cellar with a group of dedicated writers willing to share their experiences with their readers.  I will never make a living in designing electronics and embedded systems nor do I want to. As a hobby, good enough is good enough for me.

My first project will be home power monitoring. The end-goal is to install solar modules on the roof and I would like to trend environmental information both inside and outside of the home so I can baseline my power consumption profile. True one can purchase technology to measure power but where would the fun be in that? 

Functional Requirements

Real-time Information
RMS current, RMS voltage, power factor, power factor angle, apparent power, real power, reactive power

Temperature – this will be a separate project to measure external and internal temperatures throughout the home. I felt that adding a temperature measurement  is trivial and will not add too much complexity to the project.

Historical Data
Average, Max, Min, Median of real-time data derived from data historian

Over mesh network at home. I want to include other devices around the house from which all data aquistion will be collected by a data concentrator. Not sure what the data concentrator will be at this point.

Human Machine Interface
Simple LCD to display real-time information at the point of measurement

Web and iphone viewing of near-real-time and historical data.

Do as much work using open source software.

Utilize an affordable and easy to use embedded system so that my kids might take interest in learning electronics and interfacing

Well off to the races I go.