Friday, August 3, 2012

This Blog is Not Abandoned

This OpenWattMonitor power monitoring project trundles on. 

I've been distracted by wonderful new things from the Arduino folks. Check out the "Leonardo":


and the Arduino Ethernet:



Find these at http://www.arduino.cc

What's so awesome about the new products is that they have more digital and analog I/O's, so my delay is not gratuitous. Recall that I am unable to monitor all the circuits in my meter base box with the Arduino I have. With the Leonardo and it's extra analog I/O, I can monitor all those circuits.

This blog has been silent because I spent weeks and months researching extra I/O for the Arduino. There are some good solutions for adding I/O but they add complexity and cost.

That's not where I want to go with this: the power of Arduino is simplicity, elegance and low cost. So I stopped and went to other projects. That turned out to be a good decision.  I'm still implementing the hardware I have, but after the measurement shield is done I plan to repurpose that hardware and convert to a newer Arduino platform with more I/O and built-in Ethernet.

I have confidence in the Arduino developers that they will continue to grow and mature the platform in the future.

Also, the Freetronics folks have been very busy and have come out with some super products, like this: http://www.freetronics.com/products/etherten#.UBvLb1S8xVU



I know of no Android port for Arduino and I do not think it is feasible at this time due to the limits of the Arduino platform. However, my personal belief is that Android-on-Arduino is inevitable. If you are reading this and know of a port underway, I'm glad to be corrected in comments - thank you!


Soon, I will need the help of a licensed electrician to change out the breaker box that also serves as my meter base. I need more circuits for future projects. That has kept me from implementing Arduino power monitoring.  When I have this done, I'll have more room for monitoring devices and more circuits for things like solar PV and wind!

There are other new products out there (raspberry pi, VIA APC) that will act as very low-power servers for the Arduino, and I intend to implement something like this for data management from the Arduino. http://www.raspberrypi.org/

This new form of personal computing has taken off and is setting the world on fire. The organization that created, manufactures and sells the product is backordered for at least 5 weeks. It seems there's quite a market for very low power, very efficient and user-friendly computers that don't necessarily run Windows, but can do all the things Linux or Android can do!

Another, more commercial variant is the "Via APC": http://apc.io/

VIA is a well-established and respected PC chip maker and motherboard maker in the far east. They have produced a near-low-cost PC running Android using the "Neo-ITX" motherboard form factor. Unlike the Raspberry Pi, the APC will fit into a Neo-ITX, Mini-ITX or MicroATX case and use the power supply as well. It, too, runs Android and is very power-efficient.

The low-power Android computing market is hot! I'm hoping all the conventional Linux distros will see this and connect into this revolution to benefit from it.

The New Paradigm is Very Low Power computing. People are demonstrating that they'll leave Windows to get it and the computing hardware industry, suffering from lackluster sales, is more than happy to go there in search of new revenue from new markets.

The OpenEnergyMonitor guys have made tremendous strides. They have incorporated, produced new products and have an active, running store where you can buy their products. These guys are doing fantastic work over in the UK: http://openenergymonitor.org/emon/

JKB

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