- 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
How It Works
How It Works
The data is parsed and stored in the DashBox’s database
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.
- 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.
- 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.
There are two main methods for one or more Brultech monitors to forward real-time data to the DashBox:
- 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.
- 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.
One or more Brultech energy monitor connects to the Dashbox using one of the following methods:
- 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.
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
- 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
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.
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.
The pie chart breaks down the cost energy used for each load and provides the percentage of total house consumption
Viewing all channels simultaneously
Zoom into the “All Channels” graph to analyze a given time range
Comparing “Total House” and “Air Conditioning” for the day of Aug 21, 2014
How to identify a transitioning load when viewing the total house consumption (Main Panel)
- Highlight the section of the “Main Panel” using the cursor.
2. The zoomed chart lists the three highest transitioning loads. In this example the “Clothes Dryer” is at the top of the list.
3. Click on the blue colored text (Clothes Dryer in this example).
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.
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.
6. As shown in the chart below, the “Clothes Dryer” and “Air conditioning” loads may be viewed together.