Some newbie questions


Stumbled across this site whilst looking for something to monitor my new PV panels with.  What you have here is very exciting, not just for this, but it has also given my ideas on how to I could possibly monitor energy usage at the 200ish sites that I run the IT infrastructure on across the UK.  I have over 25 years experience in IT, having started life in IT building microprocessor based (TMS9900) systems for experimental avionics.  Have programmed many projects in Fortran and C (as well as more obscure languages like Coral 66).  However, I have no experience with Arduino. Reading articles on the site and forums has raised a number of questions.

1. People seem to have built emonTx systems (including someone who tweeted today about building one), but they don't seem available anywhere.  were these all using the earlier version, which is not available, and the new version will not be available until you have the shop up and running (which I hope will be soon)?

2. Will the shop be selling fully populated emonTX, or will it just be the PCB?

3. You have selected NanodeRx for emonBase. Could other boards be used?

4. A read alot about instability issues with the NanodeRX.  Is anyone actually running a system based on this board that is truly stable - set and forget?

5. I assume that adapting code to suit my own purposes is not difficult ?

6. I guess my starting point should be to get an arduino based board, and have a play. Is the nanode suitable for that, and are there any gotchas I should be aware of?

Many thanks


glyn.hudson's picture

Re: Some newbie questions

 Hi Lloyd

Thanks for your interest. I'll start at the beginning:

1. For the past 6 months or so we have been selling a few emonTx, emonGLCD and emonBase kits on an un-formal basis. This was manily to test the water and kickstart the development community. We have recently put a halt to this to allow us to build up stock ready to open an online shop in a few weeks time. Please fill in the interest form and we'll get back to you.

2. Initally we will be selling the units in kit form through the shop. A kit will include a PCB, all the needed components and sensors. There will be pictorial step-by-step build guides on the site to help people assemble this units. We imagine it will be maninly enthusiasts, students and other thechnically minided people who will want to buy a kit. In the near future we plan to sell the units ready assembled with SMT pick-and-place electronics and eventually nicely enclosed in custom cases. 

3. Other boards could be used although our current emonBase firmware examples are written for the Nanode. There is a forum thread discussing alternative emonBase's here:

4. There are stability issues with the NanodeRF, we are still working to find the root cause. We have had a number of NanodeRF's posting to emoncms for many months without a reset. The stability issues seem to be worse when posting to Pachube , there seems to be a possible solution on the forums. More testing is needed before we can get too exicited.

5. Adapting the code is not difficult, take a look.

6. An Arduino board is a good place to start, the emonTx, emonGLCD and emonBase (Nanode) are all based on Arduino and use normal Arduino sketches and librarys. Code is can be uploaded using and FTDI cable and the Arduino IDE. 

Lloyd's picture

Re: Some newbie questions

Thanks for the rapid and full response.  One further question before I spend some money.  I was intending to buy a NanodeRF, pre-built.  As I understand it, this comes with a 868MHz RF module.  Will this be compatible with the OpenEnergyMonitor kits?  Or do I need to buy the NanodeRF kit, and swap out the wireless module for  a 433MHz version. (I'm in the UK)



SomeRandomBloke's picture

Re: Some newbie questions

 Hi Lloyd,

Guess it was my posts you saw about getting an emonTX this week. I've been a customer and supporter of the OpenEnergyMonitor project and Nanode projects for a while now, including contributor to the ethernet libraries used.

I got my kit with the 868MHz RFM12B and appropriate length antenna, so it is possibl to have either.

As for other platforms, I'm currently doing a project with an mbed board to provide an alternative gateway as I'd previously exhaused the nanode rf in both code and ram space. The my code on the mbed was able to receive the signal from the emonTX and process it after a bit of simple configuration. Now just trying to calibrate the sketch to get correct readings.


Hope this helps




Lloyd's picture

Re: Some newbie questions

Do you have a date yet when I wil be able to get hold of an emonTX PCB?



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