Web Energy Logger: Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTIONS


ANSWERS

Q1: How do I get more information?

You're always welcome to email or even call me (Phil Malone) to talk about the WEL. Another place to look for answers is my online documentation. I have one main PDF document, called the WEL User Manual . It describes the WEL in more detail, and explains how to configure your WEB logging and charting. Use the Support Files link in the main menu to locate these and other documents.

Phone: (301) 387-2331 10am - 9pm EST
Email: info(at)WELserver.com Go to the Support Files page.

Q2: What is the Web Energy Logger?

The WEL (or Web Energy Logger) is an internet appliance (smart box) that is used to monitor, record and display a bunch of information about your house or building. It's mostly about measuring LOTS of temperature sensors and a couple of electrical power meters, but the fun part is all the WEB charts and diagrams it produces automatically. See our Homepage

Q3: What sensors does OurCoolHouse offer?

I offers a range of temperature sensors, and a few special interface circuits (like current switches). Read on to get wiring tips or to learn what other sensors the WEL can read. Check out my Store to buy online

Q4: I lost the wiring tips sheet that came with my sensors. What are the colors again?

You can download the Quick Wiring Tips sheet from here. Download Tips pdf

Q5: What do I need to meause electrical power?

To measure power, you need a WattMeter with a pulse output. But more than that, you need one with a high frequency output so the WEL can calculate the amount of power used each minute. I recommend a unit from Continental Control Sytems called the Advanced Watt Node. To get a high frequency output you need to specify the frequency as part of the part number. eg: WNB-3Y-208-P-300Hz.

The WattNode has several other options eg: -PV (for monitoring a PV array) or -3P for monitoring three sepparate power circuits.

In all cases, only a licensed electrician should install current transformers and meters.

Visit the Continental Control Systems website to download the WattNode manual. www.CControlSys.com

Q6: Can I use a water pressure sensor

The WEL has two 0-10V analog inputs that are suited to meters. One possible presure sensor is the PTD25-10-0100H from ProSense. This is a 0-100 PSI meter with a 0-10V output. PTD25-20-0100H Specs & store.

Q7: Can I build my own sensors?

Maybe. The WEL can read several different 1-wire devices (not all of them). The full list is found in Appendix A at the end of the WEL User Manual (V2.2), which can be downloaded from the "Support Files" section of this site. If you are good with a soldering iron, and use use a 1-wire chip that the WEL supports, then go-for-it :) Support Files

Q8: I already have a TED5000 power meter, can the WEL read from that?

Sure. The latest WEL 4.0 series can read from two different net-aware power meters... the TED5000 and the eGauge. As long the meter/gateway has Fixed IP, and is on the same network as the WEL, the WEL can automatically read it's power usage data. This data can then be added to the WEL's live system diagram and charted along with other thermal data.

Q9: What sort of charts and diagrams can I generate?

If you post your data to the WELServer website it can automatically generate a master "System Diagram" based on an image you upload, and the sensor value text positions that you specify. It can also create a number of trend graphs that can each plot multiple sensor values. REAL system image and graphs

Q10: Can I get my data to use in a spreadsheet?

Yes. As well as displaying your data, the WELServer website also generates a tabulated text logfile containing your sensor data along with the date-time that it was collected. The data in this log file is ordered based on your own preferences, so it's easy to process. One logfile is created for each month worth of data, and they can be downloaded from the website at any time. With the WEL, data is the prize.

Q11: Where is my data logged and how long will you store it for?

Your logged data is stored on one of my WELServer web servers. These are located in large co-hosting facilities on the internet. When you purchase a WEL, you get a username and password to access your own slice of my WELServer. This enables you to configure your logging, and download your data.

Datafiles are restarted each month, and after 15 days, the prior month's logfile is zipped up to save space.

I do NOT indend to store these zipped logfiles for more than a month, so it's important that if you want to save your data for the long haul... you MUST download the logfiles. Once you have downloaded the data, I'd appreciate it if your would then delete the file from the server. It's all just good housekeeping.

Since no hard-drive is immune to failure, if you realy want to ensure the safety of your data, I'd recommend doing a download (without deleting) on a regular basis (eg: weekly)

Q12: If the WEL is an Internet apppliance, what is its IP address.

The WEL supports both static and dynamic IP addressing. If you want the WEL to have a specific IP, then you can set it using the built-in Network Configuration page. Otherwise you can configure the WEL to request a dynamic IP using DHCP from your Router or PC. If you have a preference one way or the other you can request for the WEL to be setup before it's shipped to you, then it's ready to run out-of-the box.

Q13: How much does the WEB service cost?

There is no monthly charge for the standard charts, live image or logs.

Q14: How do I hook up a Continental Control Systems Watt-Node?

The standard WNB unit only uses two of it's three pulse outputs. P1 for Net Power in, and P2 for Net Power out.

Assuming you wire the unit into your mains circuit correctly, without any generation capability you will only ever get pulses out on the P1 circuit.

The latest WELs can handle up to 6 pulse inputs.

With 100A CT's you should set the scale factor to 2.0 for both devices (to read Watts), and set their "accumulation" to "h" to get total Kilo Watt Hours.

Once you're up and running, do a "sanity check" on the power consumption by seeing how much the load increases when when high power device comes on (like a Water Heater or backup heater). Compare the size of the jump with the rated power of the device.

I recommend setting up a dedicated chart just to plot power load.

In all cases, only a licensed electrician should install current transformers and meters.

Q15: Do people use multiple Web Energy Loggers?

A single WEL will handle a pretty large installation, so it's unusual to need more than one per locations.

However, some contractors/installers like the WEL so much that they have used them on multiple locations. Sunnyside Solar in Colorado is a great example.