Home Energy Automation: Save money on electricity

With price-aware-switches you can use power when its cheapest. Like charge your car at night if you have flexible rates or night tariff, for example.

Charging your car at cheaper times can save money

A power-limiter on the other hand, can keep the electricity meter still for most of the day, if you have batteries or solar panels.

You need options, lots of them

Because no electric situation is the same, I am developing a range of generic solutions, both hard- and software, so you can create your own personal solution with them.

Open source and highly serviceable

With proper documentation, you can do your own installation, if you feel like it. And with that same documentation, and a well designed circuit board, most people will also be able to repair these devices themselves.

Current status: prototyping

I have two working prototypes with schematics and software. So if you like, you can start building yourselves. Otherwise you will have to wait for the finished product.

Examples

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Devices

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How to create a power limiter to get zero-on-the-meter to save taxes

If you are one of the many people exporting electricity to the grid, chances are you are familiar with the following…

When you export electricity you also get to pay energy taxes and or other grid fees. So even if your net-consumption is zero, you still own taxes. This might not be the case in your country or your specific utilities provider, but it will be the future for most of us.

With solar you are either importing or exporting power

The graph above is a simplification of typical grid usage for a solar house over the course of 24 hours. At night we consume power from the grid, and at daytime we are exporting. Either way there is power crossing the meter which can potentially cost us money as taxes.

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How to create a smart switch for an electric boiler to save money

My electric water heater consumes a lot of electricity, and it does so at times when it is most expensive. This is because I have dynamic prices which change every hour and I shower at an expensive time. And even if a had a high&low tariff, the problem would still exist.

Most people shower at an expensive moment!

There is more than one way to solve this problem, and I prefer one that is technological in nature.

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Welcome to Energy automation

Hi there and welcome to my site. I am developing a range of products to help with steering electricity consumption in your home.

At present time (Nov 2022) I have a lot of the software done and are already implementing systems into my house, like the smart switch for my electric water heater and car. They only switch on when electricity prices are low.

A smart electricity steering system for my own house

At the picture above you can see how I intend to use computers and hardware switches to steer electricity around.

Right now I am working on a programmable buck boost converter. This will control the charging of the batteries and releasing of energy to the grid when needed.

Prototype of the programmable buck-boost converter is being assembled

Goals

There are a couple of goals I want to keep in sight.

  • Use electricity when it is cheap
  • Zero grid consumption
  • Serviceable
  • Open source

Use electricity when it is cheap

With solar and wind power getting a bigger share of energy production, I can image a growing part of energy consumption being charged by the hour. I myself have such an energy contract called dynamic prices.

Every day I can see the prices for tomorrows 24 hours

This means, that if you switch off your heavy electricity consumers in your house at expensive time, your money savings can be in the 10s of percents.

Zero grid consumption

In my own country (and most others) we love to tax everything. If I produce 100 kWh of power and consume 100 kWh, then I have to pay for 0 kWh and get taxed for 200 kWh. Might not be 100% accurate but we are heading in that direction fast.

With the use of batteries and smart switching, we can keep the meter at near zero net consumption most of the time. Allowing us to keep a lot of tax money that where otherwise lost.

Serviceable

These devices will using through hole components and circuit boards with some room to work with so that most people should be able to repair these devices themselves.

Open source

I realize that most energy situations are unique, everyone should therefore be able to customize the workings to suit their own needs.

Smart meter readout – storing data

In a previous post, I set up my Raspberry Pi close to my electricity meter. I connected the P1 serial port to the Raspberry with a special serial to USB cable (it has the data bits inverted as far as I know). Then I created a script to look at the serial telegrams the meter sends out every ten seconds, and filter out the data I want, which for now is my live energy consumption from the grid.

Now I need to send these numbers to a web server, which will do the storing and presentation of the data. Later on I will have it control some devices.

I know some home automation devices will have the Raspberry be the core computing device, but I don’t like that, I want it to be at my hosting provider, being backed-up and all.

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Pigeon rank plugin for WordPress – part 2

In the previous post, I created a basic plugin, that sets a cookie to track the user’s whereabouts (on the site). It then shows the user id, URL and time at the bottom of every post on the site.

This time I will add code for:

  • Logging all user visits
  • Convert visits into trails
  • Compute and log usefull statistics based on trails
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Parsing serial data from smart meter

In a previous post, I prepared a Raspberry Pi to connect through serial with my smart electricity meter. I used a USB to serial converter for this (P1 cable).

Processing data

Now the next step for me is to convert the serial information into something usefull, I want to know my net energy consumption.

First, i will have a look at the format of the information to decide what I will do next.

Continue reading “Parsing serial data from smart meter”