The idea

This is a project to develop and build open source energy monitoring, control and analysis tools for energy efficiency and distributed renewable generation.

These technologies are at the heart of sustainable energy systems, monitoring and controlling how energy flows between the various parts of the system. These tasks can be achieved using a low cost, modular, open source microcontroller system known as an Arduino, powerful and flexible enough to form the basis of a wide range of systems.

PV installation monitors, solar hot water controllers, household energy monitors etc, can be assembled from a selection of modules linked together with an Arduino and configured using simple to use software libraries.

The diagram below gives an overview of how these applications can fit together:

Download: ProjectDescription.pdf

The potential advantage of a modular system is that it allows users to customize their energy systems.  For example dynamically linking a variety of energy sources with their demand enabling all sorts of interesting increases in functionality while also economizing on parts.  The diagram below is how we see this working:

 

Main points:

  • Sensing energy in external environment
  • Analysis and visualisation of energy over periods of time to increase our understanding of energy flow
  • Actuators respond to environment and also act as inputs via feedback loop
  • Remote interaction also possible via internet or wireless links
  • Software in micro-controller allows a wide range of adaptability in behaviour
  • Open source hardware and software allows changes to be made easily without the reliance on closed proprietory systems. This allows maintainability and flexible integration in the long term.
The idea to do this project came out of a desire to develop tools that make life more sustainable and enjoyable and a desire to make our own things: building upon the ideas and work of projects like linux, reprap and fablabs that explore the potential of open source and local manufacturing.

Open Source

This project is an open source project. Following the principles of the Free Software Movement the software source code and hardware designs are available at no cost to everyone under the GNU General Public License. This makes it possible to do more than just use the technology; you can learn how it works from the physics of AC and DC electricity to electronic circuit design and software programming. You can build it yourself (and with others) and modify it to your needs. You can take part and benefit from a collaborative effort to develop and improve it. If it breaks you can learn how to repair it and when it comes to the end of its useful life it is easier to take apart so that different components and materials can be recycled in to new technologies.

At the heart of every commercially existing electricity monitor, central heating controller, solar water controller, wind and PV monitor is a proprietary microcontroller system and closed protocols. Replacing this with open source hardware, software, firmware and communications protocols leads to a more  integrated system that ultimately yields significant overall benefits to the user in terms of convenience, usability and maintainability. Read more.. 

Local manufacturing

As part of this project we would like to explore and work towards the potential of local manufacturing (often called decentralized manufacturing or desktop fabrication) The idea of being able to make the things we want and need either in our own homes or in labs/workshops and small businesses in our local communities. To learn more have a look at the following projects that are working on the idea: RepRap the project to build an open source 3D printer and MIT FabLab’s100kgaragesa book by Kevin Carson and more resources on p2pfoundation manufacturing page. Read more...

Join us

Please feel free to join in and share your thoughts and ideas on this project. The scope for developing new applications and real world case studies/installations is limitless; posting your findings here is most welcome in this collaborative project. Hope to hear from you soon!

 

 

Kevin.Mao's picture

Re: About

This is a system that can monitor the meters, water, gas data, and remote control air conditioning, water heaters and other appliances.

Andrew's picture

Re: About

Love this project, guys. I am new to Arduino but already have lots of cool projects in mind including:
- an irrigation controller which interfaces with tank level sensors, allows for multiple water sources (mains water, rainwater, treated greywater) and soil moisture sensors
- controllers for hydroponics and aquaponics systems
- all sorts of temperature and energy sensors, data logging and analysis

Hope to learn a lot from you all, and to share what I learn.

Andrew

glyn.hudson's picture

Re: About

Thanks for the kind words Andrew. Welcome to the exciting would of Arduino! I hope you find the information on this site usefull. Let us know how you get on. Probably best to use the forums in the future, comments can get hard to follow. 

All the best, Glyn.  

georges's picture

Re: About

Very Nice project.
But for many contries we need 3 AC Inputs.

Best regards

Georges

glyn.hudson's picture

Re: About

If you are refering to three wire single-phase electricity monitoring (e.g United States) its already been done, see here for details:  http://draythomp.blogspot.com/p/test-html-code.html

Goog luck, Glyn.