Research on saving power

Consuming power in South Africa is really getting expensive and finding ways to save money on my electricity bill is always a nice idea. That is why I started a project to find ways to save on power usage and also play around with some Arduino gadgets. SO, I have the following object to kick start the project:

  • Save as much money on the monthly electricity  bill
  • Access to usage trends to view daily, weekly and monthly power usage
  • Be able to switch off parts of the house on commend (hopefully remotely)
  • Not get electrocuted

Arduino logoI have been reading a lot about Arduino boards and would like to learn the basics of programming this versatile gadget. It a great liitle PC board that can be used to monitor all kinds of input data, like temp, pressure, light, amps, ect and then control multiple device like motors, switches, lights ect… and looks like lots of fun to get it going.

So firstly I have decided to test the Arduino board and specific modules on small scale to ensure I have it working, before installing this onto the live electrical wires! So  what to get?

  1. Arduino board: I’m not sure which one will be the best for this project, but I’m thinking of getting one that I will be able to use to learn all aspects and not get stuck with not enough input/output. So will go for the MEGA2560 R3
  2. Ethernet Shield: To upload data to a server I’ll need an Ethernet shield that fits on top of the MEGA2560 to connect to my local network and internet. I might also  be able to use a Wifi shield.
  3. Monitor Amps used: This will required something like ACS711 Current Sensor Carrier which I can find at my local robotics store. It’s only rated for 12.5 A but should be good for testing.
  4. Control with Relays: The switch on/off and circuit in the house I would need a relay to open and closed electrical flow using Arduino. The problem is that the relay needs to support max Amps on the circuit, but for testing I assume 10Amps is enough and will try the 4 Channel 5V Relay Module.
  5. Display (optional): I would like a display on the unit to display information like Current Amps used, change settings ect. So the LCD 2.8″ TFT TOUCH DISPLAY looks like a awesome display to play with. Big Smile

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