Hey guys I have owned a iotawatt for almost a year now and it’s been sitting in the box. There are some logistics issues with getting a box near my main panel in order to install it.
I am experiencing power flickering and while researching a way to log it, I discovered something about iotawatt capable of doing that. I wanted to confirm this is the case and then ask an important question: when the power flickers its for a short burst and the lights rapidly blink. Its different types of bulbs and different types of switches. I truly believe its a supply problem but when I contacted the power company they said its not showing a problem. So I guess the question is will the iotawatt help me record a short fluctuation of the power when it does occur?
Is it worse with AC dimmed lights and/or does it happen at particular times of the day or minute past the hour? If so you might be dealing with ripple control. It’s often audible in anything with coils such as AC fans, speakers, and induction cookers.
I can not find any pattern to it. Really we don’t use the lights all that much or the brighter overhead recessed. Sometimes its an island light that is a chandelier and the flickering is intense! I want to see if its a feed problem or something else going on. I paid electricians to check and tighten things up and it didn’t fix the problem. Of course I checked some of their work and the leads to the breakers were loose so I don’t think they really were going to solve it.
Is It not always the same light, the same lighting fixture - or the same circumstances. The lights will be perfect and then flicker out of no where, Next we will have a situation where the lights flicker intensely. I am just trying to figure out where and why.
IoTaWatt is not a power quality meter. It’s an energy I don’t think it’s the appropriate tool to capture what you are describing. In any event, it would be more productive if you were to actually connect it up and see what it shows before making judgements. It’s entirely possible that it would show abnormal voltages of longer duration.
I’m referring to current monitoring not power voltage monitoring. I found a better tool for that already. My install will be costly and complex so I am tr4ying to understand if what someone told me (the intervals being long) will be an issue.
Thanks for the insight and the link to the article. I have talked to other neighbors and it appears to be a systemwide problem. I have already sent an email to the power company and Monday I will follow up with them.
I guess my issue is - will iotawatt be worth the installation expense (mine is quite complicated) if the update interval is too long?
I don’t believe IotaWatt will help solve your power QUALITY issue. But, it will give you insight into you power usage. While the IotaWatt does measure voltage and the numbers are interesting, they are not frequent enough to learn anything about power quality. I have mine on a mini-UPS, so the IotaWatt keeps running when the power goes out. I can sometimes catch a major disturbance, but most of the time it isn’t very helpful. I can easily tell when the automatic standby generator kicks in, since it is generally several volts higher than nominal line voltage.
As the link I shared and other searches will confirm, figuring out power quality is complicated AND expensive. The equipment needs to have a high sample rate and a LOT of storage. Even with that, it would only confirm what you see with your eyes, the voltage is changing/not constant. It won’t tell you why. It could allow you to correlate the events to time and therefore other things. Most likely, there is a loose connection somewhere. That somewhere might be at the power company transformer.
I believe you said your neighbor said they were having similar issues. Talk to your other neighbors to see if they are having similar issues. If they are contact the power company and have your neighbors do the same and make sure you (and they) say that all your neighbors are having an issue (assuming they are).
In a newsletter at work, they mentioned ting as a loss prevention device for your house - on the electrical side, which caught my attention, most stuff is based on the water side - reading their spiel seems interesting/legit as far as I can tell https://www.tingfire.com/ hope I’m ok posting that here.
Yes! Sorry I should have updated. A couple developments: the power company sent their technician with a super cool (basic) multimeter and said everything looked A-OK. They also tightened the bolts on the transformer and feeds to my house but I explained that the problem was neighborhood-wide now that I compared notes with the neighbors and had more fuel for my fire!
So - those guys said they were going to put an order in for their contractor to use thermal imaging and look at the lines along the feeds to see if there were any tree branches.
They didn’t call back like they said they were so I pursued it more and they told me that the notes said it looked A-OK. I explained it wasn’t good enough and we had some real problems. They finally agreed to check it out and a contractor called me. He said he had his guys check the lines and there are a lot of branches that need pruning - badly. I asked why it was such a problem and he said the neighbors don’t like the pruning because it takes away hedging and privacy and I said: “yeah I don’t care”. Anyway he said he was sure this was a problem and did I really need him to come out and put a piece of recording equipment in place. So I said YES please come out and put it on to which he did!
I just texted him because he asked me to write down all the blinks we had (Which I didn’t agree to) but at like 8:10 we had a violent one that lasted several seconds so I wanted to let him know. I txted him and tomorrow hes coming out to check the recordings out!
So long story short: probably branches and we should know more tomorrow. When he comes out I will ask him about the pruning and how long that takes!
Start a new thread about current monitoring, if you have questions about that. Once again, it depends on what you are trying to understand. There are differences of opinion on what is required to get good enough measurements. People fall into one of two camps:
Those that believe you need to sample every point of every cycle sufficiently quickly to to not miss anything.
Those that believe you need to sample every point of some cycle sufficiently quickly so you don’t miss anything on that cycle. But, since most loads are reasonably consistent, it is NOT necessary to sample EVERY cycle of EVERY circuit.
IotaWatt follows #2. If you need/want #1, you won’t like it. Some people are very passionate about #1. You will find them on some places on the internet, but generally not here. I understand the lure of #1. I even have a tube of power measuring ICs in box somewhere near my bench in the basement. I think I have had them for almost a couple of decades. I have been measuring my power with something that does #2 for longer and using IotaWatt since shortly after it was available. Unless you have some VERY special/specific requirements IotaWatt is great and it is easy, no electronics or software design required.
So, feel free to ask questions about your concern, listen to the answers, and then make your choice.
As far as the branches go, those must be some significant branches. The power company here is constantly trimming trees, but we still get issues during big wind storms when trees fall down.