Would anyone like to help a Zoo

Hello everyone

I have come across this site and forum and found an amazing amount of information and despite once being an electronics engineer my knowledge just isn't that good anymore and the introduction of raspberry pi and all the addon's has come along and given me an even bigger knowledge gap.

So here i am asking for some help and advice. I work for 3 zoos in the south west one of which has invested in an energy monitoring system which is ok but one area that we are unable to monitor is our water and gas meters ( the reason i came across the forums) as they all seem to be of differing type and all of them will need some sort of retrofitting. I was wondering if i was to take photos of all of them and any other details if people might be able to help advice how to pick up some sort of signal. the monitors we have at the moment only need a make or break signal to count and so a reed switch would be perfect unless you can take a hall effect and get it to open and close some contacts.

For the site that doesn't have any monitoring I'm after some help in specifying a system to monitor the electricity (by clip on coils) and from physical meters but don't know where to start.

finally I have another project and I'm wondering if anyone has any experience of monitoring temperature & humidity with any of these units and then directly controlling a heater as i am looking for something that will monitor the current conditions in an enclosure and then adjust the temperature according to the day/ night and seasonal variations that would be found in their country of origin.

Sorry its so long but any help would be amazing because as charities we cant afford much but have big utility costs and little or no monitoring.

Thanks for reading

webby's picture

Re: Would anyone like to help a Zoo

Hi Pete.

Email me direct markstjwebb@me.com  I live in Southampton and could possibly help

Robert Wall's picture

Re: Would anyone like to help a Zoo

I don't know Mark's background but I've been in industrial controls for most of my working life, so I can probably advise on the electrical side.

The electricity monitoring is relatively straightforward - a standard (or maybe non-standard!) emonTx - emonBase - emonCMS setup should give you plenty of data. The emonTH will measure temperature and humidity, then you'd need probably something like a Raspberry Pi with relay or contactor outputs added to interface to your existing plant, but with a custom program controlling the setpoints according to date and time against a profile you determine. It sounds quite involved but interesting.

Water and gas meters tend to be a bit problematical as some have a proprietary interface, some use a published interface, some have a magnet on a wheel that might or might not be detectable with something as simple as a reed switch, and some have no provision at all, and you'd need to install you own flow monitor. It's very much a matter of how old the meters are and what you can find out about the exact model you have. The quick and easy way to find out if they have a magnet is to use a compass!

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