Wednesday, February 12, 2014

GEM (Green Eye Monitor) Review

So the first question is going to be what is a GEM and what will it do for me? The GEM is a 32- Channel Energy Monitor system, that indicates true Watt or Kilowatts, and Kilowatt Hours, as measured from Current Transformers installed in your electric panel. It can also monitor 4 - Pulse Count Inputs for something like a gas or water meter, and can monitor up to 8 - temperature sensors.
My GEM communicates with a server in Australia called "" once every 30 seconds it sends a short stream that indicates the status of all sensors attached to it. Using my Web Browser or iPad or iPhone, I can connect to the Server and see what is using energy in my home. The dashboards are iPad friendly using a browser so really no app is required. The following are examples of some of the gadgets from my dashboard:

What's On Now and Heat Map

 Main Circuit Usage
Branch Circuit usage 
The Installation was fairly straight forward. I was once an electrician, so had no problems installing the Current Transformers into the electric panel. I would recommend you have an electrician do this part for you if you are not experienced in this area. This is a picture of the panel with the CT's installed. The 200 and 100 amp CT's split so you can slip them around the wires, the 40CT's require you remove each wire from the circuit breaker and slip the CT over it.

The GEM has a communications board at the top and the sensor board with the 32 zones:

The GEM can connect to a PC via the WiFi, or Ethernet. There is also a handy Network Utility to help you identify the GEM on your home network.
I purchased my GEM direct from Brultech Research at (a Canada Company) Their support was helpful when I contacted them about a question on communications.
What have I learned so far? Well I learned that working at home, and having computers and servers as a hobby can cost lots of $$. So far 39% of my electric consumption goes to power my UPS and 24TB Server in the basement. Also 25% goes to power my office, a few computers on all day, and 7.9% powers my 84 bottle wine cooler! I was surprised to see how efficient the LED lighting is around the property. I run 21 outdoor lamps in the evening and it is barely noticeable in the overall power used. 

So far so good, it has been working for about three weeks.
I am going to use the information I learn to tweak my usage patterns to reduce my overall electric usage. As an example; I may upgrade my Server to something more efficient, and convert to a Gas Dryer. Now that I can actually see what is using the power I can better manage it. 

UPDATE: I have made many changes since this post - See