For my third blog entry on the Intel® Energy Checker SDK, I will take on a two-part DIY and super fun project. I always wanted to extend the use of the SDK into my home and be able to monitor my personal energy consumption. As an engineer, I live by the motto: “you cannot manage what you cannot measure”. Isn’t the electric bill all about that, one may ask? Sure, it is a good year-to-year and month-to-month trend indicator and it will likely fit the needs of most of us for a while. However, using my bill, I cannot break down my energy consumption per function. What is the cost of running my lab equipment in the garage? How much does the entertainment system cost us per month? Etc. To be honest, I do not know if this information will trigger some good changes in the way I run my electric equipments – I sincerely wish so –, but at least I will have the knowledge.
I was aware of the existence of a cool little device called Kill A Watt produced by P3 International (P4400). This power analyzer actually fit requirements #1, #2 and #4 out of the box. Unfortunately it is a closed device and it cannot share its readings with the outside world. Luckily, there is also a cool DIY kit from Adafruit Industries – called Tweet-a-Watt – which precisely allows you to turn a P4400 into a wireless power analyzer using Digi’s XBee® 802.15.4 RF modules. With this kit, requirement #3 can be met. Sure, there are many other devices and kits available in the market, but for my project, this was the best pick. If you decide to take on similar project using different device(s), please share your experience with us!
Celebrate Earth Day 2010 with Adafruit – we’ll have posts all day and night with fun power/earth/green related projects and we’re having a one-time only sale on solar panels! Get a 2W solar panel 6V, 330mA out for $20, today only!