elektro:camp(<<2011.05>>).

With the first edition of elektro:camp in October 2010 being a blast, we had already forged plans to organize a sequel of the event in 2011. We initially thought a yearly gathering would be appropriate. The fields of smart grids, home automation and renewable energy are however evolving at quite a rapid pace. Combining this with people anxious to show off what they've been working on for the past six months made us decide to already hold a second elektro:camp at the end of May. Christoph Lindenmüller from the Hochschule der Medien in Stuttgart volunteered to be the host this time. Having a place and a date means that elektro:camp(<<2011.05>>) is now official! Further information about the event can be found here. Registration is again free and can be done at the same url.

EC10 was a blast!

EC10 was a barcamp for people working on open source smart grid technologies. The event took place on the 29-30th October at Fraunhofer ITWM in Kaiserslautern. We had a.o. people from the Volkszaehler, Fluksgronians and MySmartGrid open source projects presenting their ideas and demonstrating the technologies that instantiate them. From converting a Dockstar into a home energy server, using a bunch Jeenodes/AmICAs or 6lowPAN for wireless home sensor networking, reading out the optical interface of a German eHZ energy meter, to combining the UART port and strace to detect pulses coming from a DIN-rail electricity meter.

Mathias holding up his 6lowPAN wireless linkMathias holding up his 6lowPAN wireless link

The Flukso presentation covered two topics: the new Fluksometer v2 hardware and autodetection of Fluksometer sensors in a Javascript environment through Bonjour (Firefox-only for now). The presentation can be downloaded here while the autodetection demo code is available in this Github repository.

I think I might have picked up a rumor that plans for an EC11 are already unfolding...

Sold Out

We've had a spike in orders lately, including some sizable ones. A big thanks to all of you!

In order to be able to service all current requests, we unfortunately have to announce that we've run out of Fluksometers as of today. But don't despair, since there's more, bigger and bolder coming in the near future. So stay tuned! You can send us your coordinates via the contact form if you would like us to keep you updated on Fluksometer availability.

elektro:camp(<<2010>>).

Numerous lines of code are being written and hardware schematics drawn for the so-called 'smart grid'. On a social level, we're observing a rapidly rising interest by households and companies for better monitoring and control of their electricity consumption and solar production. Mathias Dalheimer of the mySmartGrid project and myself find that the time has come to organise a barcamp on open-source smart grid technologies. The Fraunhofer ITWM institute in Kaiserslautern is kindly sponsoring this event by letting us use their facilities. So without further ado, here's the open invitation to come to Kaiserslautern on the 29th and 30th of October. We'd love you to actively share your ideas, demo your work and tinker away during these two days. Please let us know you're coming by adding your name to this wiki page. Registration is free as in beer.

Spread the word and I'll see you in K'lautern!

Flukso water meter

The current application of Flukso lies in the monitoring of electricity consumption and photovoltaic production. From the very start though, there has always been the desire to monitor all household flows (hence the Flukso name). Monitoring electricity just seemed more straightforward and definitely less intrusive than monitoring resources like water or heating.

That is, until one of our 'Fluksonians' (thanks Michel!) pointed me to Lieven's water and gas meter hacking experiments at lika.be. Lieven uses a Hall-effect switch which can either be inserted in the water meter's drilling or glued to the gas meter. When such a Hall-effect sensor is located close enough to the meter's rotating magnet, a clean pulse can be derived from the sensor. This allows the sensor to be coupled to a modified Fluksometer, with an extra output for powering the sensor. This is why you find two cables connecting the Hall sensor to the Fluksometer in the picture below.

Water metering with a hall switchWater metering with a hall switch

This means we now have experimental support for water metering. Yay! Well, at least for a certain popular type of water meter in Belgium. I am interested in finding out whether this approach works with other types of water meters as well. Post a comment or contact me directly if you're interested in tinkering with your own water meter.

Again, kudos to Lieven for devising this elegant water and gas measurement hack! It allows us to re-purpose the utility meter to our own needs in a non-intrusive, non-seal-breaking and robust way. We might even not be voiding our warranty this time.