Newbie questions about InfluxDB integration

I’m standing on the end of the diving board and getting ready to take the plunge into energy monitoring. I am trying to figure out if I should go with a DIY-oriented solution like IoTaWatt or a more canned solution like Emporia. I have a big house with a 400A service split into two breaker boxes. One of these is backed up by a home battery system, and there are two solar arrays, one of which charges the battery and then overflows into net metering.

My real interest is in monitoring consumption, and being able to get detail for circuits of special interest. Monitoring the panels and the battery are a “maybe someday” thing. My picture of an IoTaWatt solution would be two IoTaWatt boxes, one for each circuit box, each monitoring total consumption and up to 14 individual circuits. I’m thinking that to combine the data from the two boxes I would upload to InfluxDB. That would involve a choice between running InfluxDB locally on a spare server, or using InfluxDB Cloud. The thing I really want to understand is monthly consumption so I can figure out how much energy is going to what.

I am a retired IBM software engineer, so I can script and program if needed, but I’m not looking for development and maintenance of this monitoring to be a post-retirement “job”. Two questions:

  1. Am I architecting this right, or is there a better way?

  2. How do you estimate data flows and query rates into InfluxDB?

It’s common for the uninitiated to want to monitor everything. There’s the old expression “You don’t know what you don’t know”, so that’s the first thing to explore. Find out what the big picture is. If your panels are in the same place, I would recommend just getting one IoTaWatt, monitor the mains, solar, and select large circuits. You don’t need to upload anything, you can get all the data you want using Graph+ locally on the IoTaWatt.

Once you learn the capabilities of IoTaWatt, what your big users are (They will literally jump out of the graphs), you can decide if you want to expand with a working knowledge of what’s involved.

If you are talking about the billing metrics for influx cloud, I’ve been uploading my home data for a couple of years and my January bill was $3.27. Of tht $2.71 was data storage which is 9 measurements at 10 second intervals. I could easily pare that down with a better retention policy.

Thanks, that was reassuring. Is installing an IoTaWatt into an electrical circuit cabinet realistically a DIY job or should I hire an electrician? Thinking about safety here.

In my UK 3-phase Distribution Boards I am very happy to install the CT’s. I’m fortunate in that I have ‘industrial’ 3-phase Boards so have plenty of space.

There is also nothing live exposed in the particular boards I have (unless you really, really try to poke things where you shouldn’t) - your board might be different - some of the photos on here of US boards are scary to us Brits - but you (if in US) are on 110v which ‘bites’ a lot less than 230 (or 415 for 3 phase) - still can be fatal though.

Only you can decide if you are comfortable with fitting the CTs.

On the monitoring side of things I agree with Bob, start with 1 IoTaWatt and monitor incomer, solar, battery and (by calculation) consumption. I use PV output to capture my solar and consumption - it is about $15 a year.

I’ve answered another post a few minutes ago about consolidating circuits. It is easier on a US 2 phase system as (I think) you can use the same CT for both phases provide you get the cable direction right - there is something in the docs on it.

The onboard analysis/reporting is fantastic for investigation work - but for pretty dashboards you will want influx & grafana.

If all goes well with Unit 1 and you decide to add Unit 2 then you will need influx to consolidate the data into one bucket for reporting purposes.