DashBox Server

DashBox

  • Complete computer system configured as a stand-alone dashboard style website
  • Designed to host data from one or more Brultech monitors
  • Capable of displaying real-time energy, water or gas consumption as well as temperature
  • Net metering capable for solar or wind generation systems



Features


Hardware

  • Rugged anodized aluminum enclosure
  • Powerful ARM processor
  • 16 Gig Micro SD card for data storage
  • Communication options:
    • Two RS-232 serial ports
    • Ethernet port
    • USB jack for optional WiFi stick
  • Hi precision clock calendar with battery backup. Stable over a wide temperature range
  • Requires very little energy to operate (approx 2W-4W). About one cent per day
  • Built-in brown-out protection using super-capacitor technology
  • No moving parts … No hard drive! No fan! No noise!
  • Operates independently from a network or internet
  • Can be connected to a network and the internet for local or remote access
  • All recorded data stays resident and secure. Does not rely on cloud service or internet

Black Anodized Aluminum Enclosure


Built-in Website

  • Comprehensive graphs, charts and gauges provide quick visual indication of real-time and historical energy
  • Modular dashboard section enables the user to create custom dashboards
  • Channel grouping for summing multiples channels. Ex: A/C unit and furnace blower channels may be grouped as a single Cooling channel
  • Capable of displaying water or gas consumption via pulse counts from the monitor
  • Displays temperature from sensors connected to the GEM
  • Designed to be smart phone and tablet friendly
  • Can be configured for various billing schedules:
    1. Flat rate
    2. Time Of Use (TOU)
    3. Tiered rates
  • Budget section allows the consumer to set budget goals for total consumption and individual appliances
  • Provides years of storage
  • Capable of NET metering for renewable energy installations
  • Provisions to forward energy data to ISY (home automation) and Smart Energy Groups

Screen shot Channels

Screen shot TOU.jpg


How It Works

How It Works

Icon DB how it works 1bOne or more Energy Monitors send data to the DashBox via RS-232, Ethernet or WiFi
The data is parsed and stored in the DashBox’s database

  Icon DB how it works 2The DashBox connects to a local network using Ethernet or WiFi (using optional WiFi stick)

 Icon DB how it works 3The dashboard is viewable over the local network or internet

 Screen shot 1A variety of graphing and analysis options are available to help you save money

 Icon DB access pointThe DashBox may also be configured as a stand-alone system with a WiFi access point

Data from the Brultech monitor(s) is relayed to the dashbox where it is saved to a large database. The dashbox has a “dashboard” style website which is accessed using a web browser. The dashboard displays up to the minute real-time data and historical information.What happens to data collection if the connected network goes down? This depends on the communication scenario used.

  1. If the energy monitor sends data via RS-232 , loss of connection to the network has no effect on the dashbox’s operation other than not being able to view the dashboard via the downed network. The data collection continues normally with no loss of consumption and granular information.
  2. If the energy monitor data is posted to the dashbox using Ethernet and the network is down, the dash box will not receive energy data, however accumulated consumption is preserved since our systems use cumulative data method.  Once the network connection is restored, the dashboard will provide the amount of consumption used while the network was down and display it as an average.


Connection Options


Connection Options

There are two main methods for one or more Brultech monitors to forward real-time data to the DashBox:

  1. Direct communication. This preferred option consists of data transfer directly from the energy monitor(s) to the dashbox using either a serial connection or wirelessly with XBee (ZigBee) modules installed in each device. The advantage of this method is that the dashbox will continue to receive up to date data regardless of the LAN or internet status. Additionally, this method makes use of more efficient binary packet format. The dashbox can then be connected to a network/internet for access to the dashboard.
  2. Indirect Communication. This method has the energy monitor(s) connected to a local network (LAN). The dashbox is also connected to the same network. Packets from the energy monitors are posted to the dashbox via TCP/IP. The disadvantage of this method is that it is dependent on the network being problem free.  With the network down, data will not be received by the dashbox.
Direct Communication

DashBox Option1

One or more Brultech energy monitor connects to the Dashbox using one of the following methods:

  1. Wired RS-232 connection

The dashbox connects to the network with an Ethernet cable or optionally via WiFi using a USB to WiFi dongle*. Real-time and historical information is accessed using any computer connected to the local network or via internet if the local network has internet access. Any up-to-date web browser is used to view the information.

Indirect Communication

DashBox Option2

One or more Brultech energy monitor connects to a local network using a wired Ethernet connection or WiFi.

The dashbox connects to a local network using a wired Ethernet connection or via WiFi dongle*.

The dashbox connects to a local network using a wired Ethernet connection or via WiFi dongle

  1. Wired RS-232 connection

The dashbox connects to the network with an Ethernet cable or optionally via WiFi using a USB to WiFi dongle*.

Access Point Capability

DashBox Option3

The energy monitor(s) and DashBox may operate as a stand-alone system and configured as a WiFi access point. This requires a USB to WiFi dongle plugged into the DashBox’s USB port*.

NOTE: The USB WiFi dongle must be designed around a specific Atheros chipset.

A system such as this requires no internet or network connection. The WiFi dongle behaves much like that of a WiFi router.


Dashboard Screenshots


Custom Modules

The DashBox allows the user to create custom charting modules capable of comparing different parameters as shown in the chart below. Here indoor and outdoor temperature is compared with air conditioner power uses.Power vs temper


Consumption Breakdown

The pie chart breaks down the cost energy used for each load and provides the percentage of total house consumption

pie1

 


Viewing all channels simultaneously

All Loads

 Zoom into the “All Channels” graph to analyze a given time range

All Loads zoomed


Comparing “Total House” and “Air Conditioning”  for the day of Aug 21, 2014

AC line chart


How to identify a transitioning load when viewing the total house consumption (Main Panel)

  1.  Highlight the section of the “Main Panel” using the cursor.

Find transition

 2.  The zoomed chart lists the three highest transitioning loads. In this example the “Clothes Dryer” is at the top of the list.

 Find transition2

3. Click on the blue colored text (Clothes Dryer in this example).

 Find transition3

4. The graph now displays the “Main Panel” and “Clothes Dryer” power. Notice that the “Clothes Dryer” load is the one causing the high spikes which were highlighted earlier.

 Find transition4

5. Zooming into the area of the spikes, you can see the clothes dryer heating element cycling on-off to maintain the desired drying temperature while the power used by the dryer motor is shown between the spikes.

 Find transition5

6. As shown in the chart below, the “Clothes Dryer” and “Air conditioning” loads may be viewed together.

 Find transition6