Data acquisition for home installations


Old 12-10-09, 05:29 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 7
Data acquisition for home installations

After grappling with my own heating system for a bit I've become frustrated with my limited visibility into how it is really operating. I'd like to start tracking various parameters over the winter to truly get a picture of what is going on. I know that based on the age of my boiler I should get a better understanding of all of this BEFORE it dies and I am in the market for a replacement.

From the threads I've read on here there are people throwing around some pretty precise numbers regarding cycle times, boiler temps, etc. This leads me to believe that at least some of you have blazed this trail before me. I'm looking to put some sort of simple data acquisition system in place. I'm up to the task of homebrewing my own system but I'm short on time based on real-world commitments. The low-tech manual tracking plus pen and paper approach or medium tech manual tracking plus Excel aren't good solutions based on my job and travel schedule.

I've got two main questions:

1. Does anyone have any recommendations on anything resembling off-the-shelf for this?

2. Based on people's experiences, what are the variables I need to be tracking?

For reference, I have a 30-ish year old Weil McClain boiler with a Tekmar 256 for outdoor reset and a Lux TX500b programmable thermostat for day-night setback on a single zone.

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Old 12-10-09, 07:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: pittsburgh pa
Posts: 154

cant helpo n the data hardware/software stuff,but
boiler run/on time
outdoor temp
boiler supply temp
boiler return water temp
possibly circ pump runtime
as many as you can = room temp sensors.
boiler pressure
boiler stack temp
Old 12-10-09, 07:40 PM
esalman's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Shrewsbury, MA
Posts: 196
I'm starting a similar project, still researching. the parameters Seabee suggested are a good start. I would add CO2 level. Do you have a microprocessor in mind?

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Old 12-10-09, 07:44 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 2,459
Here's a couple that vary widely in approach, capabilities, cost, etc.

Energy Monitoring & Efficiency Systems by Onset

Web Energy Logger (my favorite...)

T.E.D. : Electricity Monitor, Energy Monitor, Power Monitor
Old 12-10-09, 08:26 PM
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Old 12-10-09, 08:41 PM
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Old 12-11-09, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: A Galaxy From Afar
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For a wireless network of sensors look into the ZigBee pieces. Modules are available for all types of I/O and are readily available.

A PC can be used as the host controller.


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