Monday, February 21, 2011

This is so Cool

I went a little nuts on the whole house monitor.  This seems like the ultimate place to collect and analyze data.  With a dedicated computer and the software available out there right now a person could do almost anything.  Now I'm thinking about wireless mesh network sensor and control systems, smart attic fans and temperature equalization systems.

To the man with a hammer the world looks like a nail; to the man with an Arduino, Zigbee, laptop, and sensors the world looks like something he should be controlling.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Started my whole house monitor

While I'm waiting for parts to come in I started on my monitor for the whole house.  This is where I'll incorporate all the controls and displays for the various devices.  It's on the tab above and is far from done, but it is a nice start.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Swimming Pool Pump

The pump I mentioned before is installed and working.  After trying to research every energy efficient pump out there I decided on the Hayward Ecostar.  Turned out to be a really cool pump.  This thing is a permanent magnet variable speed pump that can be dialed in to whatever I need.  I'm currently running it at 1750 rpm most of the time and kicking it up to 3000 for several hours in the evening to make sure things stay clean.  At 1750 rpm it only uses 265 watts and that means I can run it during the peak period.  Since my peak period is from noon to seven PM, I pay the lowest rates possible.  There's a bunch of other things that work in my favor as well.  The lower pressure puts less strain on the plumbing system, makes my solar heater work better, less wear on the pump, salt water chlorination is more efficient, etc.  Why don't they recommend installing at least a two speed pump when you buy a pool?

I may not save any money running it this way, but it is nice being able to run the pool in the afternoon.  This is Arizona!

Update, September 7, 2012: This pump failed.  Hayward (the manufacturer) did an excellent job of resolving the problem; they actually replaced the pump with a new one.  The date of this edit is well after the problem occurred because I didn't think to update it until now; to see the post where I describe the problem look here <link>.  -dave

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cold Weather

Fine, after all the planning and testing, the weather snapped cold.  I know it isn't as cold as the Central and Eastern states, but it got down into the teens here in the freaking desert!  So much for power savings.

My no-freeze system kicked in on the pool and the 2.8KW pump turned on and stayed that way until the temperature went over 38F.  I also had to give in and run a few appliances to keep my stuff from freezing up.  The rotten thing about it is the day before the cold snap I got a new pool pump.  One of those permanent magnet, variable speed things that could have done the no-freeze circulation task at 250-300 watts, but it was too cold to try and install (you get wet doing things like that).  So, when you're admiring my accomplishments at controlling power usage, remember something always goes wrong.