Current Cost monitoring from an iPhone

For a while now I’ve wanted to be able to check my CurrentCost meter‘s graphs on my iPhone.

Up until now I’ve been hooked up to the “Hursley mothership” and been publishing my data to a central dashboard. Unfortunately, although that draws some pretty graphs, it runs in Java and therefore isn’t supported in Mobile Safari on the phone.

This is still a work in progress, but with a combination of Ubuntu running on a Viglen MPC-L, rrdtool for gathering and graphing the stats, and the iWebKit framework for creating the user interface, I now have a simple iPhone-optimised web application which lets me view the graphs. All that’s happening here is that the data from the serial port is being dropped into rrdtool and graphs generated; and then Apache / PHP is serving up an optimised dashboard for looking at the graphs.

I just mentioned about three different topics I really should blog about in more detail (MPC-L, rrdtool, and iWebKit) but that will all have to wait.

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20 responses to “Current Cost monitoring from an iPhone

  1. Pingback: Current Cost monitoring from an iPhone | PHP-Blog.com

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  3. Nicely done, I like it. Now if current cost would produce a meter that pushed your data to the net, then we all could use something like this or even a native iPhone app.

    Well done.

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  4. Hi

    Thanks for this information it is fascinating. I have been looking for a way to monitor my home power usage in automated way for a while now. I have been using an Efergy meter for a year now and manually recording the figures and only just found the Current Cost devices.

    I was going to use the website below to publish the figures from my CC. However the system would have relied on one of my Macs being on all the time. This system is much more efficient and more personal.
    http://community.pachube.com/?q=node/100

    Any chance of releasing the code that creates the pages?

    Mark

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  5. Thanks for the article. I have a buddy that loads and runs everything on linux. I wonder if he would attempt the iPhone Linux-flavor…he might be able to run everything off of that thing. Great little gadget.

    The iPhone Source

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  6. Fernando – no, you wouldn’t be able to run this on iPhone/Linux… as you wouldn’t physically be able to connect the CurrentCost meter to it.

    Mark – thanks for your interest. Lots of folks are using Pachube with their CC meters now (which actually fulfils Richard’s idea, as it means the data is pushed to the cloud). However, my app isn’t going to prevent you from needing an always-on machine… the CC is connected to a small low-power Linux box (Viglen MPC-L) which pulling the data from the serial port and using MQTT/Really Small Message Broker to publish the data, with rrdtool storing and graphing it.

    As for releasing the code… it’s a mess of scripts somewhat similar to the technique described at http://www.jibble.org/currentcost/ but using iWebkit for the display of the graphs. I might well post the HTML/PHP pages somewhere at some point, as a few people have asked… it’s nothing very complex. No time at the moment though :-/

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  7. Hi

    I have got my CurrentCost working and creating graphs under one my Ubuntu virtual PCs. There does not seem to be a version of rrdtool for Mac OS X, and I am not yet confident to compile one. I have a MPC-L on order!

    Mark

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  9. Hi

    My MPC-L turned up on Friday. I have just got my CurrentCost working displaying graphs via a webpage designed for the iPhone.

    http://metphoto.homeunix.net/met_current/index.html

    Now I just need to work out to set up cron to auto update the graphs!

    Thanks for all the advice and information.
    Mar

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  10. Mark, nice work. Suggestion – set the width=100% attribute on your graph pages and the images should auto-size to the iPhone screen, I think they crop at the moment. I actually have one of the original CC meters and haven’t got history or temperature data on my app yet but since I have a CC128 I ought to get that set up.

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  11. This would be great to monitor current costs while Im out in the field directly from my iphone. I could see this as being a major help.

    JOHN

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  14. Colin Partridge

    Inspired by this blog and also the code on jibble.org I’ve managed to get my Current Cost metering data online, here.. http://www.halfmanhalfmac.co.uk/page9/page9.html

    The machine running this is an old Mac-mini running OS X.

    Cheers Colin

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  17. Sorry to butt in here as a complete novice but is this available yet?

    I.E. in laymans terms, can I get my currentcost data displayed on an iphone if my cc is connected to a pc that’s online?

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    • This wasn’t really a planned application – so there’s nothing packaged. A bunch of people have put these kinds of systems together for themselves, though. There are Current Cost groups on Facebook and other sites where you can chat to other users and find out what’s available.

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  18. Hi
    There a lots of ways to do it. Andy was my inspiration to it, I documented it here: http://www.metphoto.net/metmaker/projects.html

    YMMV.
    Mark

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  19. It is great there are developers like you. I use a company called unitehomedevices.com . They have iphone app for currentcost. I am an energy consultant. I use the app on the field to demonstrate to customers how to reduce their energy cost. Having an account with the site is free, and they also provide controlling of the home devices.

    Anyways, I hope this will help people that are looking for a similar widely used app.

    ref : https://www.unitehomedevices.com/cgi-bin/unitehomedevices_iphone.cgi

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