Need a Better Kill-A-Watt Type Unit

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by SayWhat?, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    I have the basic portable, plug-in $20 model that shows usage on the LCD screen, but once you unplug it, everything resets. It also only shows aggregate totals, not on-off times and elapsed usage hours.

    I'm looking for something similar in portability, but with logging and graphing, ideally on a PC. I found one wireless cloud based unit, but it only logs to the company's cloud, not locally and it doesn't appear to have the detail I want.

    I want to log the time on and time off for the connected device and how many hours each day in each state. It can be a graph, a logic type high/lo graph, or simple numerical. For example, when used on a deep freezer, log 'ON' at 12:05PM, log 'OFF at 12:45 PM and show an 'ON' duration of 45 minutes. If a similar cycle repeats four times a day, I should see four On/Off cycles and a total run time of about 180 minutes.

    Ideally it should be wireless and connectable to the LAN/WiFi, but USB would work if the data was stored on board and downloadable.

    When you look at the LCD you can clearly tell when the connected load is on or off simply by the wattage displayed. Less than 4 watts (for example) is while the load is 'OFF' and in standby mode. When 'ON', wattage would jump to 75 or higher in most cases. The device I want should be able to see those changes and log them.

    I don't want anything connected via the main meter or panel, just a portable device similar to the basic model I have now so I can track individual devices.
     
  2. dennisj00

    dennisj00 Hall Of Fame

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    If you can solder and follow instructions (pictorials) Adafruit has a kit to make the standard Kill-a-watt tweet various settings that can be captured in Excel. http://www.adafruit.com/product/143
     
  3. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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  4. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    "$239 "

    Preferably something like less than half of that. :-(




    As far as the other one mentioned, I looked at it before I posted here, but I'd solder my fingers together.
     
  5. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    You've placed some pretty specific conditions on the device. There are loggers that cost a whole lot more.

    I've been looking for something similar and the HOBO is the cheapest I've found. I think they need to figure out how to weather-proof it though.

    The cheapest USB multimeter I could find was $50 and it needed a computer connected to it to collect the data.
     
  6. dennisj00

    dennisj00 Hall Of Fame

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    Here's a more detailed description of the 'tweet-a-watt'. Very little soldering and about $55 a device - not sure if that included the KaW unit. https://learn.adafruit.com/tweet-a-watt/

    I'm using part of his design in a monitor / control for my sump pump.
     
  7. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    I've also seen sort of a Johnny come lately Kill-a-Watt alike unit called the Watts Up. In its more capable trim it isn't any cheaper than the HOBO.
     
  8. peds48

    peds48 Genius.

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    What you need is a Wemo switch paired with IFTTT to a Google Docs spreadsheet. Done all for forty bucks


    Sent from my iPhone 6 using Tapatalk
     
  9. Feb 8, 2015 #9 of 19
    SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    I'm down to under 15 Kwhrs/day consistently. I can identify about 7 of that in refrigerator, deep freezer, fans, furnace blower, computer, etc. I'm sure the water heater is using a few, but I can't measure it since it's hardwired. I've got about 50 watts of outside lighting running overnight on photocells.

    I'm guessing the remaining 4-5 that I can't specifically ID is parasitic in various clocks & timers, nightlights, wallwarts and other power supplies, etc.

    It'll jump back up in a few months when the ceiling fans, window fans and AC come into play.
     
  10. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    Turned the hot water heater off for a couple of days. I have other ways to heat water to dothings for a few days. That seems to have dropped usage another 2-3 KwHrs/day, so it's not looking to be a huge draw.

    Switched some files from the desktop to a notebook to do my web wandering, music, etc. Still have Media Center and a tuner dongle to watch or record OTA programming if I choose. Also has an HDMI output so I can feed the TV if I want to.

    Had a 13W CFL in the desk lamp over the bed for reading etc. Switched that to a .5 watt LED (4w nightlight equivalent)to see how that will work. Coupled with a gooseneck LED notebook USB powered light, I think it will work.

    Turning the desktop off will cut another 3-4 KwHrs/day so even with the hot water heater on, I should be under 10 KwHrs/day for a couple of months until the ceiling fans have to go back on.
     
  11. DN2014

    DN2014 New Member

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    Our local electric power co. will loan us a unit that can plug in Freezer, refig. and other plug in devices.
    Let them run a couple days, it tell the amount kilo watts it is using!
    I checked all my freezer etc.
    I had for a month, didn't cost anything
     
  12. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    One example how to keep your electricity under 5 kWh per day:
    - adjusted yourself to the sun, wake-up with it, go to sleep when it's dark
    - use water solar heater panels
    - use tablet, rare occasions notebook, very rare desktop
    - gas heater, gas kitchen hob
    - midsize electrical kettle
    - use LED and CCFL lamps, turn it off when nobody need
    - to warming yourself do physical exercises, like digging trences,cleaning guts for community service :)
     
  13. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    New electric bill showed up. About $20 less than last month and $15 less than the previous two months.

    I need to see if I can keep that up for another couple of months until I have to put the window AC in.

    Coupled with the savings from dropping Dish, I might be in better shape.
     
  14. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    Here's a kick in the head. Red line is amount in dollars. Blue line is usage.

    Usage has dropped more than half, but the bill has remained almost the same within a few dollars.


    MarKwHrUsage.JPG
     
  15. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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    My electric usage this month is about 1,100 Kwh. It is close to my lowest of the year.
    In August I use about 2,500 Kwh.

    There are many other charges in with the gas and electric bills. Sometimes those do not change or change very little and that might be why you do not see much change in your bill.
     
  16. dennisj00

    dennisj00 Hall Of Fame

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    You'll have to look at your rate structure, but most have a basic tier that includes fixed charges for the service and a low amount of usage (possibly 500 kwhr?) no matter if you use them or not.
     
  17. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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  18. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    The biggest problem is that the per KwHr charge has doubled in that period.
     
  19. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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    I call and talk to my provider every year and get them to check my usage and see what plan is better suited for me and my bill.
    I have not switched companies but I have changed plans 3 times in 3 years. My rate is the same as it was 3 years ago.
    You might try that.
     

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