# I'm trying to create a energy grid monitoring system using Arduino

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#### Haseeb Uddin

##### New Member
Im attempting to use Arduino connected with a GSM shield connected to power grid.

The objective is to deploy the unit all over the city so that data can be received in almost real time so that power status can be known.

I need to understand what chip can I connect with my Arduino so that I can relay the status via gsm.

I've worked out what programming needs to be done but I'm not sure what should I be using to read logic '0" or on as power status.

Complete application of the unit is listed here.

I'm using Arduino Uno 3.

#### ronsimpson

##### Well-Known Member
What is the monthly fee to connect via GSM?
Years ago I used Xbee radios to build the network then had only one point connect to the internet.

#### Haseeb Uddin

I'm using in Pakistan, so it's very cheap. Less than $2 a month for 2gb. #### ronsimpson ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member GSM shield There are many GSM shields to choose from. I think you must be certain what type works in your country. what should I be using to read logic '0" or on as power status. Do you want to measure voltage? Do you want to measure current? OR Do you only want to measure on/off? #### Haseeb Uddin ##### New Member Just on off #### ronsimpson ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member When there is no AC power then you much have some battery to keep the Arduino and GSM alive for a while. (long enough for the Arduino to call in and report no power.) BUT When all power goes down there will be 100s of phone calls. So it might take a while to get a connection. So you must have a power supply that powers the Arduino and charges the battery. I don't know what that looks like. There is a point inside the battery charger that tells if there is good power. Or maybe there is a status pin. (charging/not-charging) One option is to measure the 220Vac but the same information can be found on your power supply. It is much better to measure 0/12V to know if the 220Vac is good or bad. #### Haseeb Uddin ##### New Member I have already tested a 5 v 3500mah battery that lets me keep the arduino on for a long time. I'm not sending a phone call, it will only be an sms using AT commands to a predefined number listening for messages. And yes the battery is being charged I want to use 220v because at a later stage i would like the gauge quality parameters as well such as voltage and frequency. #### Haseeb Uddin ##### New Member Someone on another forum tells me I can use an optocoupler, is that workable? #### ronsimpson ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member Just on off i would like the gauge quality parameters as well such as voltage and frequency. So not just on off but voltage and frequency. The optocoupler will give you on/off and frequency but not voltage. #### Haseeb Uddin ##### New Member Voltage and frequency is secondary to us right now. on/off is primary. So assuming we use optocoupler, you recommend stepping it down to 5vdc? or reading it at 220vac? #### cowboybob ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member Welcome to ETO, Haseeb Uddin. Voltage and frequency is secondary to us right now. on/off is primary. So assuming we use optocoupler, you recommend stepping it down to 5vdc? or reading it at 220vac? From a strictly "safety first" point of view, monitoring an isolated 5VDC signal is much better and has the added advantage of being considerably easier to integrate into your Arduino circuit. Are "brown-outs" an issue? #### Haseeb Uddin ##### New Member Welcome to ETO, Haseeb Uddin. From a strictly "safety first" point of view, monitoring an isolated 5VDC signal is much better and has the added advantage of being considerably easier to integrate into your Arduino circuit. Are "brown-outs" an issue? Thank you boss! Brown-outs are a serious issue, I am based in Karachi, Pakistan, which is spread almost over a million acres. But up to 40% areas have up to 12 hour scheduled load management power cut outs. Up to 30% more suffer up to 6 hours of cut out a day, while the power provider claims that the city is 70% load shedding free. There is no watch dog or public interest body looking after or at least making the information public. So we think we can achieve some level of transparency by making the data available on the internet. What are your thoughts? #### cowboybob ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member This shield looks pretty good, especially this feature: "Embedded TCP/UDP stack - allows you to upload data to a web server.". I'm assuming the Brown/Blackouts can/will occur in multiple locations and that multiple sensors may trigger simultaneously, so the Web site you create would, of course, need to be able to handle potential pile-ups. And between the Uno and the shield there are ample GPIOs and ADCs to accommodate additional data beyond the basic ON/OFF conditions you wish to monitor. Also, the device noted above can pull significant current (2A). But from the specs, it appears that for simple SMS traffic the draw is considerably less. Nonetheless, it should have its own Vcc connection to the battery, i.e., NOT derive its power from the UNO pass through power pin. This YouTube video was useful. #### atferrari ##### Well-Known Member This shield looks pretty good, especially this feature: "Embedded TCP/UDP stack - allows you to upload data to a web server.". I'm assuming the Brown/Blackouts can/will occur in multiple locations and that multiple sensors may trigger simultaneously, so the Web site you create would, of course, need to be able to handle potential pile-ups. And between the Uno and the shield there are ample GPIOs and ADCs to accommodate additional data beyond the basic ON/OFF conditions you wish to monitor. Also, the device noted above can pull significant current (2A). But from the specs, it appears that for simple SMS traffic the draw is considerably less. Nonetheless, it should have its own Vcc connection to the battery, i.e., NOT derive its power from the UNO pass through power pin. This YouTube video was useful. In spite of those pile-ups, as the OP requested "almost online", the suggested scheme could be enough but wondering what the actual delays could take in terms of time. #### large_ghostman ##### Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member why not use a mesh and wifi?? no monthly fee then except your broad band connection at home #### dougy83 ##### Well-Known Member You can use the GSM GPRS/SMS module kit available for US$2 (http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/M590E-GS...ge-Diy-Kit-M590-CPU-MCU-Test-OZ-/142387389718).
It runs on a power source from 3.3V to 4.8V (e.g. a single lithium ion cell would work). If you use an Arduino without the regulator, e.g. Arduino nano, then you can power the Arduino and GSM module from the same single lithium ion cell and have better control over the power consumption (I assume).

If you use a transformer for the power supply, you can recharge the battery, as well as monitor the mains frequency and voltage and be safely isolated from the mains. You should disable the battery charger when measuring the voltage or it will likely interfere with any measurements.