Will I be able to build one of these monitors? Yes.

Hi, as a newbie to electronics who has just built one of these monitors I thought I would give some comments in case they are useful to any one else thinking about building one of these.

I have just had solar PV installed - a 3kW system - and I was looking for something to monitor it, and the power consumption in the house. I wanted a product that would show some real time stuff,

  • how much was being generated,
  • how electricty we were using,

also keep some historical information, and allow me to see this whilst I was at home and also over the Internet.

There are a small number of products you can buy off the shelf for this but none that did all of this and was compatible with the type 2 (explained elsewhere on this site) solar PV installation. Then I came across the openenergymonitor site and their monitors.

When I started to read I saw this would be a challenge to get up and running, but also more rewarding and flexible than one of the off the shelf monitors. More work means it is more customisable so you can export your information to any web service you like and you are not tied in to a proprietry site for a product that may be discontinued.

The challenges

  • soldering - the only experience I have is of soledring plumbing joints, and I didn't have a soldering iron.
  • programming, or at least uploading some programs to the devices. My day job is as an IT manager but this is more to do with systems architecture and security. I hadn't done any programming since some BASIC and Pascal in the 1980s.

Tons of useful info on the openenergymonitor site and useful links so I spent a good few hours reading lots and then ordered the Solar PV kit. It arrived quickly and it took me about a day of soldering to put it together and a couple more hours to understand what I needed to do for the programming, then getting all the downloads in the right folder structure, and a little bit of reading the program code when it wasn't doing quite what I expected.

So, in conclusion... Yes a novice can put this together with a bit of care, thought and preparation and some helpful email responses from Glyn (thank you).

I have started using the brilliant hosted emoncms site (another steepish learning curve) for recording the readings and viewing real time information over the Internet.

The product/project/kit has lived up to my expectations are requirements - may require a couple of tweeks to meet these 100% and I hope to be able to do some of these myself and share them. Many thanks to all of you who have made this possible.