Asking For Build Your Own Instructions

Hey there!

I came across your forum post about the IoTaWatt and I’m really intrigued by the idea of a power analyzing device. It sounds like a cool project! I was wondering if you could share any resources or tips on how to build your own. I know about the github but I’m semi inexperianced on reading the github information. Does anyone know where i can find simpler instructions on how to build one.

Thank you in advance

Unless you plan on spending a significant amount of time becoming, at least, competent in several areas that are not simple, it would be best to purchase a pre-built system.

Since IotaWatt is not selling them anymore, you can try Smart Guys in Australia

They are supposed to have some more in September.

Depending on what you are looking to learn and what you are willing to spend there are other choices.

If you are having difficulty just reading the information about Iotawatt on GitHub, actually building one yourself is likely going to be too challenging. Using a pre-built one is trivially easy compared to building one. Yet, if you search the posts here, you will see many people have had issues with that. But, most were successful after getting some help here.

So, the Easy Button here is buy one. That is less easy now, but still possible.

I have experiance with arduino and raspberry pi coding. The purpose of it is to learn more by doing it as a project. And i just have no idea whats what on the github cause I’ve never used githud for anything before. I’m more after what i can learn by doing it then having a system.

Great. This is not a beginner, or even intermediate project. You are going to have to learn how to build hardware. Do you know how to solder at all? Do you have experience in surface mount technology? Do you really want to build a fairly complex piece of hardware or are you more interested in learning about your energy usage?

The PC board is not that big, but it does have quite a few components on it, some of which are surface mount. If you have never had a PCB made and then mounted and soldered all the components, this is probably not the one with which I would suggest starting.

If you want to learn more about power/energy metering with reasonably easy to acquire hardware, I would suggest:

They have a good community of people if you have questions. I still use emoncms for some of my monitoring. It was the 2nd service I started using. It was great a decade ago, when there was little else. I think the combination of InfluxDB and Grafana has much better visuals and capabilities, but it is also more complex to understand.

There are many choices and too much to learn, so pick a direction, learn more about it, then course correct as you learn more, or find things you can’t do going in the direction you are headed.

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Thanks for the advice, this is a lot of good information.I will need to learn about surface mounting and probably wouldn’t go for making a PCB. Thanks for the advice! I’ll do some research on it. I honestly just want some sort of challenge to helo improve my coding and hardware construction. :slight_smile:

What have you already done in hardware?
What exactly do you want to learn?
How to solder?
How to tell different parts apart?
How to place them?
How to figure what is wrong when you put the wrong part in place?
How to figure which part is wrong when none of them let out the magic blue smoke?

Since you said hardware construction, I am assuming that you aren’t really concerned/interested in the design aspect of it.

There are several threads here and a whole section on Homebrew Iotawatt where people have shared what they have done to make their own. That all looked too much like work for me to want to do it. Read all the posts in the Homebrew section and then ask questions about particular things that are confusing to you. You aren’t going to find the Dummies Guide to Building Your Own Iotawatt, since no one has written one. If you are are truly looking for a project, you could probably write that guide once you figure out more with some help.

If you don’t really want to learn that much about building hardware, but still want energy monitoring, this might be a good idea:

You will need to learn a little about hardware, but will mostly be in the setting software configuration domain.

Thanks for the tips. Yes you are correct I don’t have a massive amount of ecperiance in constructing the parts. I can solder, somewhat tell parts from eachother. I know one of the best ways to troubleshoot a circuit is to look at it with a thermal camera so you can see if any parts are warmer than the rest. I’ll have a good look at the Emporia Energy Monitoring, because I have more experiance with the coding aspect than the hardware.

The hardware is just an esp8266 and a couple analog digital converters. It’s really fairly trivial.

The hard part is the software. If you don’t need super fast spi adc’s, which most people don’t, then you can simplify this part greatly by using something like esphome, as well as save a few bucks with i2c adc’s. But if you need the fast reads that iotawatt provides, best to just fork the existing firmware or find another project in active development. I have 20 years experience as a software engineer and I wouldn’t try to build something like that from scratch unless I really hated my free time.

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