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Energy And Solar Monitoring D.I.Y. Version2 Using ThingsBoard Self Hosted Server


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Continuing my journey with DIY Solar And Energy Data Visualization :)
I eventually gave up on Grafana - Free community edition not powerful enough to do exactly what I wanted.
So after some more research I have setup a fully self hosted thingsboard server and found almost everything I needed using just the free community edition.

End goal is to have all my solar and energy data on easy to read and understand dashboards.
And most of all it must be available online to view from anywhere that I have an internet connection.
Further integration into an app will be the next part of this journey, who does not like a good app :)

Thingsboard has a very robust and easy to understand API, so the app should be a breeze to do.

 

Progress to date

Screen 1 (Almost Completed) - Home Page, Provide a full easy to read overview of ALL The Data.
From there I can drill down to individual datasets for further analysis or viewing :)

  • Environment Info (Solar irradience, temperatures, humidity, sky conditions, cloud-cover etc)
  • Overview dials for Eskom Data
  • Overview dials for Solar Data
  • Overview dials for Battery Data
  • Eskom usage cost per hour at any given time
  • Sensor types and software versions
  • Over the air sensor software updates

Screen 2 (not completed) - Eskom Monitoring - Currently tracking/measuring:

  • Total Usage
  • Geyser
  • Stove
  • Highest power draw per day
  • Cost and units used per day
  • Average usage per hour per day

Screen 3 - Not completed yet - Battery Monitoring
Screen 4 - Not Completed yet - Solar Monitoring

Still To Do/Add - Suggestions Welcomed

Drop by and let me know your thoughts, suggestions, recommendations and or questions :)

https://things.diysolarsa.com/dashboard/721dec10-453c-11eb-98cf-bbe9b2be0448?publicId=1b882610-430f-11eb-a274-371723afc4e6

 

diy-energy-solar-monitor-dashboard-thingsboard-version2.jpg

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At last I have some time to add the new solar data sensors to measure the voltages and amps and calculate the watts :)
Next its time to build a watertight enclosure for the other environment sensors that will be attached directly to the side of the Solar panels frame.
This will then also measure the exact angle of the panels and the direction they are facing as well as the solar irradience measured at the angles the panels are set at.

Live Data View:
https://things.diysolarsa.com/dashboard/721dec10-453c-11eb-98cf-bbe9b2be0448?publicId=1b882610-430f-11eb-a274-371723afc4e6

 

image.thumb.png.a0af607cde02379626bafd18fd633b28.png

Edited by WannabeSolarSparky
Forgot to add link to live data
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OK I have some questions...

your end says no clouds, but only 60W/m^2 irradiance, really? is this onder 'n afdak? or are there clouds? I should think this time of year you should have 1000+W/m^2 irradiance... or in a very screwed up way of calculating are your panels only producing 60W/m^2? Seems too constant throughout the daylight period, btw...

How are you measuring temperature, what sensors are you using? If I go to my panels right now, will have to rotate them in about an hour, they are big time radiating infrared radiation, touch them, they are 50+degC actual temperature, I can't believe yours barely get to 30degC or is it majorly windy down there?

Why are you still consuming from mains right now, 200W or so, or is there not enough solar energy production/panels to cover your daytime needs?

 

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16 minutes ago, Kalahari Meerkat said:

OK I have some questions...

your end says no clouds, but only 60W/m^2 irradiance, really? is this onder 'n afdak? or are there clouds? I should think this time of year you should have 1000+W/m^2 irradiance... or in a very screwed up way of calculating are your panels only producing 60W/m^2? Seems too constant throughout the daylight period, btw...

How are you measuring temperature, what sensors are you using? If I go to my panels right now, will have to rotate them in about an hour, they are big time radiating infrared radiation, touch them, they are 50+degC actual temperature, I can't believe yours barely get to 30degC or is it majorly windy down there?

Why are you still consuming from mains right now, 200W or so, or is there not enough solar energy production/panels to cover your daytime needs?

 

Hi There Kalahari :)
If you see in my post I mention that the environment sensors are not yet attached to the outside on the solar frame.
It is currently sitting on my desk in my office so its only reading the light in my office and thats also why it is mostly consistant throughout the day. :)
I have to still make a waterproof enclosure for it before I can mount it outside on the frame.
Temperature sensors are Dallas Instruments DS18B20
Humidity and sensor temperature - DHT22
Angle and direction sensors -
MPU9250 module houses a 3-Axis gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer and embedded temperature sensor.
Irradiance Sensor MAX44009 that can measure up to 180000kux which makes it suitable for direct sunlight and then using calulations to get an approximate W/M2. Actual Pyranometers are too dam expensive for this purpose.
City Data comes from openweather measured at Sunsetbeach (close enough to me)

 

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28 minutes ago, Kalahari Meerkat said:

Why are you still consuming from mains right now, 200W or so, or is there not enough solar energy production/panels to cover your daytime needs?

 

This is all experimentation before I go for a Full Home System.
Currently my solar setup only runs my Home Office and any excess solar goes to power my BTC miners.
The eskom Data is for my house so that I can gather enough data for planning my Full solar for the home, after I have saved enough cash to get it done.

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39 minutes ago, Kalahari Meerkat said:

OK I have some questions...

your end says no clouds, but only 60W/m^2 irradiance, really? is this onder 'n afdak? or are there clouds? I should think this time of year you should have 1000+W/m^2 irradiance... or in a very screwed up way of calculating are your panels only producing 60W/m^2? Seems too constant throughout the daylight period, btw...

 

I have put the environment sensors outside next to the panels and put the temperature sensor against the panels so that you can see the data :)

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@WannabeSolarSparky thanks, I must get off my butt and also start making up a few units and coding what I need... I also need to come up with some weatherproof enclosures but also need some quartz glass or something that will allow UV light to pass, probably only needs to be 10mm X 10mm and I can glue this over a hole in the waterproof box, I have two VEML6075 UV A&B sensors and also a few BH1750FVI based light sensors to come up with some irradiance measurement as well, that I still need to interface and place outside and need to get a bunch of Dallas temp. sensors.

I do have a DHT22 outside and we've seen 50-odd degC in the shade this summer, a few times... and humidity from a low of 4.6% to a high of 99.9% and since this summer has been an abnormally wet one (beginning of the new solar cycle & all) we had a few days where even during the day the humidity remained a 'Durban high', which we only see every 10 or 11 years for a summer or two.

Ok, now that your sensors are closer to where they should be, numbers start looking a bit more reasonable... good luck in getting this lot mounted more permanently soon where they really should be, I need to also stop procrastinating and get a few more things done...

I wonder whether you have come across any reasonably priced rain gauge/bucket sensors that one could also use to interface and automate this process as well?

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4 minutes ago, Kalahari Meerkat said:

@WannabeSolarSparky thanks, I must get off my butt and also start making up a few units and coding what I need... I also need to come up with some weatherproof enclosures but also need some quartz glass or something that will allow UV light to pass, probably only needs to be 10mm X 10mm and I can glue this over a hole in the waterproof box, I have two VEML6075 UV A&B sensors and also a few BH1750FVI based light sensors to come up with some irradiance measurement as well, that I still need to interface and place outside and need to get a bunch of Dallas temp. sensors.

I do have a DHT22 outside and we've seen 50-odd degC in the shade this summer, a few times... and humidity from a low of 4.6% to a high of 99.9% and since this summer has been an abnormally wet one (beginning of the new solar cycle & all) we had a few days where even during the day the humidity remained a 'Durban high', which we only see every 10 or 11 years for a summer or two.

Ok, now that your sensors are closer to where they should be, numbers start looking a bit more reasonable... good luck in getting this lot mounted more permanently soon where they really should be, I need to also stop procrastinating and get a few more things done...

I wonder whether you have come across any reasonably priced rain gauge/bucket sensors that one could also use to interface and automate this process as well?

https://www.robotics.org.za/SEN-15901
You could probably get it a bit cheaper from chi
na if you want to wait :)

Edited by WannabeSolarSparky
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6 minutes ago, WannabeSolarSparky said:

'tis plastic and here, nee boet, die son, hy maak alles klaar, the amount of UV radiation we see, any and all plastics, will be fscked 24 months after being put outside, if you're lucky, it will NOT survive, so I've been thinking I may need to homebrew a bucket rain sensor, but certainly can't be plastic...

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51 minutes ago, Kalahari Meerkat said:

'tis plastic and here, nee boet, die son, hy maak alles klaar, the amount of UV radiation we see, any and all plastics, will be fscked 24 months after being put outside, if you're lucky, it will NOT survive, so I've been thinking I may need to homebrew a bucket rain sensor, but certainly can't be plastic...

"Ja wat, dis son sal dit vinnig opvreet", if you want more professional that's gonna last in the sun then you gonna "Poep-en-betaal" 

Edited by Moderator
Language boys..
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50 minutes ago, WannabeSolarSparky said:

"Ja wat, dis son sal dit vinnig opvreet", if you want more professional that's gonna last in the sun then you gonna "Poep-en-betaal"

Nee ou, daar is nie meer 'n Transvaal nie 🙂 That's why I guess, homebrew is the only option will do  the same to get an anemometer and direction indicator going, not that we have all that much wind, but what the heck, once I get one going it may surprise me...

Since we're on the new subject 🙂 is there a standard height at which one should measure wind speed & direction, if you know? Presumably rain gauge should be in the clear 1m above ground, next to the temperature & humidity sensor, I guess...

Edited by Moderator
Language boys..
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2 minutes ago, Kalahari Meerkat said:

Nee ou, daar is nie meer 'n Transvaal nie 🙂 That's why I guess, homebrew is the only option will do  the same to get an anemometer and direction indicator going, not that we have all that much wind, but what the heck, once I get one going it may surprise me...

Since we're on the new subject 🙂 is there a standard height at which one should measure wind speed & direction, if you know? Presumably rain gauge should be in the clear 1m above ground, next to the temperature & humidity sensor, I guess...

Similar to a rain collector, the anemometer should reflect the wind patterns as if the instrument was placed in a large field. The standard wind measurement should be taken at 10 meters (33 feet) above the ground. A roof-top works the best. Try to place the anemometer as high as is convenient.

Location! Keep your rain gauge in open areas as far away from obstacles as possible, whether trees, houses, or fences. Having your gauge level at aproximately 1-2 meters above the level is another great way to keep the readings accurate. This will help rain from splashing out and to help with winds blowing.

Lol no clue- thats what google says :)

 

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Dankie, when I get a round tuit, I'll keep it in mind... 🙂

Being clear of trees and buildings is not a problem and I guess closer to ground, rather than up at 30m on top of the antenna tower is a better option for maintenance and finding things again after a storm... then again, daardie Kalahari sandjies would be less at altitude, methinks, maybe I should double up, when I eventually get motivated enough to do it and place one at 1.5m in the clear and another near the top of the antenna tower and draw some longer term conclusions between the two locations... it would also be interesting to see the wind differential, I've been on top of the tower, working on antennas and can't hear what is being said on ground level to me, where its wind still, since on top of the tower, things were anything but...

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  • 2 weeks later...
7 minutes ago, Kalahari Meerkat said:

Cute, is this lot even still viable? I mean what hardware does one need to throw at BTC mining these days and will you at least recoup the cost for this over a half way reasonable time period?

I used to do ASIC mining a few years ago but that, unless you have the latest hardware is no longer viable due to the high cost of power and the high difficulty.
I have a few small GPUs that are only used to draw excess solar. They mine about R20 per day on average so it almost offsets the eskom part of my monthly bill.

So yes, it is still viable with small cheap gpus, but only if you are doing it to use excess solar :)

Edited by WannabeSolarSparky
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2 minutes ago, Kalahari Meerkat said:

and... I should have asked what power used for 1BTC or portion thereof? May it nor be cheaper selling the electrons to the City or elsewhere?

My Solar is just a small experimental setup used to power my home office and save me from loadshedding.
I am still saving up to do a full system for my house.

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@WannabeSolarSparky, I ran out of likes, so consider this is a like for your posts, makes perfect sense to use unused solar for bitcoin mining. I don't do it myself, but I have plenty of solar power left over every day, and considering the value of bitcoin today, I would be silly not using old hardware to mine. Problem is that all of my old rigs were expropriated without compensation by family members 😁 

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11 minutes ago, Tsa said:

Any suggestions on where to start looking at BTC/Altcoin mining as you do using your excess solar?

I take it you run it on some dedicated machine? 

I simply have 2 small old 1050ti gpus (about the smallest you can still use to mine btc) on my office pc that I continue to use even while they are mining.
They run 24/7 and my cpu also gets used when its idle.
You will be surprised at how little work your pc actually does when you use it for normal tasks, so mine does not get that luxury of sitting idle.
I can still do all my normal stuff, youtube, netflix, facebook, emails etc all while the gpus are doing their mining.


The safest/easiest is to use NICEHASH Platform if you only have small cheap gpus.
They will use your gpus to mine altcoins and their platform pays you out in BTC.
If you do have a machine to stash in a corner dedicated to mining then that will also work.

Edited by WannabeSolarSparky
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On 2021/02/28 at 12:25 PM, Kalahari Meerkat said:

'tis plastic and here, nee boet, die son, hy maak alles klaar, the amount of UV radiation we see, any and all plastics, will be fscked 24 months after being put outside, if you're lucky, it will NOT survive, so I've been thinking I may need to homebrew a bucket rain sensor, but certainly can't be plastic...

I have an old WM918 (plastic) anemometer that is now 20 years old and still in perfect health.

I have 35 year old PVC gutters and downpipes that are still in perfect condition. 

Many houses have PVC drainpipes on the outside wall. Most modern cars have plastic bumpers, mirror housings, door handles.  They really do not fall apart after 2 years.

I think that you are selling plastics a bit short.  I realise that some plastics are not UV resistant, but you did say "any and all plastics".

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Just now, Calvin said:

I think that you are selling plastics a bit short.  I realise that some plastics are not UV resistant, but you did say "any and all plastics".

I think what you are maybe not considering is that everyone wants bio-or-otherwise-degradable items these days, I have no doubts that plastics in the western cape will do better than in the northern cape, as well, specially if they were manufactured deeper into the previous century. As it is, if anyone will sell their plastic goods with a 20 year surviving the northern cape UV & sunshine guarantee, then I'll happily consider it, but haven't come across those yet. And no, I am not selling any plastics, short or long 🙂

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