Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Current Cost Monitor

A couple of guys at work have managed to lay their hands on a funky new device called a Current Cost meter. It's pretty simple to understand, it measures your household electricity usage and displays it on the screen (left). To do this it comes in two parts, you hook a plastic loop around the live feed going into your fuse box (mine is in the garage) which is connected to some electrical wizardry I don't understand to measure the current without interfering with the wire, and a wireless transmitter device to send the data to the unit you just plug in somewhere in your house.

I jumped at the chance to get one of these things and was one of the first batch to get them at work and a little community of current cost users has built up pretty quickly. That said, pretty much everyone else has beaten me to blogging about it with some very cool results. So here's the list (that I know of) right now, in no particular order we have...As an aside, Dale's just joined my department at work (horay), and Roo is leaving IBM (boo and much sobbing).

There's lots of other people looking into these things too, but those are just the blogs I know about. This type of device isn't exactly new, but what makes this one exciting is the data port and connectivity to a computer. With such a community there's been some cool work done such as graph power usage and send yourself a daily electricity bill. The device itself can't really save you money and definitely doesn't save energy (you have to plug it in) but what it does do a great job of is educating you about exactly what all your household devices like to eat for breakfast.

I'm just starting out at home having had the screen in the kitchen for a couple of months already with looking at what I can do with it while connected to a computer. I'm now logging all the data to a database so I guess one of the first things I'll be doing is graphing my own data. From that I hope to learn even more about what my house does with its power. For now though, the only graph I have (above) is that produced by sending my data via a Nanobroker to Andy Standford-Clark's server. This should hopefully be another fruitful little project for my new (and now you know why it's low power) home server.

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