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Monitoring individual 20 amp breakers

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mesican

New Member
I was wondering how you would monitor the amout of amps currently being used on a many 20 amp breaker.

I've looked through some sites and found an amp sensor that you clamp around the cable, which is hooked to the breaker. Then that sensor is then hooked to some control box that manages all the sensors and the lastly that control box is hooked up to a computer and you can see the data. You can makes graphs, etc...

I want to do this and found some sensors, but im not to sure about the control box equipment and also the device that resides in the computer.

Any ideas? Know of any good websites that discuss this?

One more thing, can you make your own amp sensor?
 

John Sorensen

New Member
What kind of data are you ultimately interested in, and where do you want to receive it? Microcontroller? PC? Are you interested in just whether there is a current draw or not, or do you want to know what the current draw is? What is the voltage on the circuits? 110VAC? 220VAC?

There are simple doughnuts that go around a lead that have usually a fixed setpoint or maybe an adjustable one, used for indications of under/overcurrent or tripped status. And then there are current transmitters that will generate a signal (0-5Vdc, 4-20mA), or current transformers that will generate a secondary current proportional to the primary current (1000:1, 100:1,...) It is not very practical to make your own current sensors, though, of course, it is possible. A current transducer I have in front of me is from CR Magnetics and it is a 0-30A 4-20mAdc output. Works fine. But you also have to consider how linear your loads are, and whether you want to spring for a True RMS transmitter, which costs more.


More details might get you a more specific answer,

hth,
j.
 

mesican

New Member
John Sorensen said:
What kind of data are you ultimately interested in, and where do you want to receive it? Microcontroller? PC? Are you interested in just whether there is a current draw or not, or do you want to know what the current draw is? What is the voltage on the circuits? 110VAC? 220VAC?

There are simple doughnuts that go around a lead that have usually a fixed setpoint or maybe an adjustable one, used for indications of under/overcurrent or tripped status. And then there are current transmitters that will generate a signal (0-5Vdc, 4-20mA), or current transformers that will generate a secondary current proportional to the primary current (1000:1, 100:1,...) It is not very practical to make your own current sensors, though, of course, it is possible. A current transducer I have in front of me is from CR Magnetics and it is a 0-30A 4-20mAdc output. Works fine. But you also have to consider how linear your loads are, and whether you want to spring for a True RMS transmitter, which costs more.


More details might get you a more specific answer,

hth,
j.
Ok, I'm not an electrician or knowledgeable in this area so some terms I do not understand or I will miss use them. On that note...

What I am really just looking for is some type of sensor that detects the amps being used on a particular run from the breaker. The reason is that on certain times of the day, more equipment is turned on and eventually the breaker trips (20 amp breaker). I want to avoid this by being able to tell how many amps are being used.

I want the sensors (13 total) to send that data back to a computer where I can then make a program to manipulate the data however I want. The programming part I'm not worried about, it's getting the data to the computer.

Sorry no techincal terms are being used :?
 

Sebi

Active Member
I've seen some similar device from Landis&Gyr with 8080 proc. It monitors continously the power, and switched off some devices sequentially. First the heating, second the dryer machine and so with programmable sequence (priority).
I mean You know the power consumptions of all devices, so need only a signal: device off or on.
 

mesican

New Member
Yea, of course that is something I will want to do later on down the project, but the major issues now are just gathering the data and sending the data to the computer.

I'll check out those names you suggested though.
 

crust

Member
Do you basically want to monitor the power draw on your home circuit? Basically, do you want to do the equivalent of your power meter but on each circuit? In this case, there are lots of systems you can buy. The three phase systems are a bit more complex.
 

mesican

New Member
crust said:
Do you basically want to monitor the power draw on your home circuit? Basically, do you want to do the equivalent of your power meter but on each circuit? In this case, there are lots of systems you can buy. The three phase systems are a bit more complex.
Yes I do, but instead of a meter spinning I need it to be digital output that can be read/stored by a computer.
 

Sebi

Active Member
For this You need a current transformer, and a small 220/6V transformer with AC to DC conversion. (same as found in multimeters). The outputs can produced 0...5V signal.
 

crust

Member
I think the transformer is the easiest (you can even wind this type yourself). Alternatively, they do have meters for just such a purpose that have either an analog or digital outputs. I have a few that use the devicenet protocol (like canbus).
 
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