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The Magic Box

published, Aug 26, 2010 1:08am
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One of the things we've always wanted to do at smartenergygroups.com is control stuff. One of the activities of the #energyaware is to routinely conduct the switch patrol, zooming about the house turning stuff off. We've made some gadgets to help this process as well.

created on: 08/26/10

However, it's not always possible to conduct a switch patrol, especially when out of the house, and some automation is always helpful - get the computers to help save us energy.

created on: 08/26/10

One of the features of SEGmeter is a relay circuit, which is a low current switch. This can be used to drive an even bigger switch, that can control real circuits, like lights, heaters and hot water systems.

Our simple protocol enable smartenergygroups.com to send commands to SEGmeter, telling it to turn on, and off. Back in SEG it's possible to then start to automate things such as:

  • An internet controlled kill switch for the home, available on the iPhone or in home SEGpad
  • Acts a thermostat, using the Temperature sensor on SEGmeter to send commands to turn heating and cooling on and off
  • Acts as timer, setting times that devices can operate, e.g. pre-heating the house in off peak hours on cold days. Automatic shut down at bedtime.

The Magic box pictures is equipped with two 40 Amp relays for our electric heating and AC systems and a smaller 20 Amp relay for the lighting circuits.

created on: 08/26/10 created on: 08/26/10

All this will be controlled by SEG and, in our mission to help people use less electrons.




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In this example I'm using low cost solenoid type relay that have that satisfying click.  They can easily be substituted with solid state relays, or perhaps even a commercial relay.



What brand/model are the relays, Sam?

Hey Kayne,

They are the highest rated ones I could get at Jaycar...  They are coil activated ones.

I'm nearly there with the codez.  I have my test mule sending and reciepting execution of commands, so stand by for software updates soon.  It will need SEGbox codes and SEGmeter code upgrades to work (when it comes).


there is a certain AC in my house that chews 60W in standby that is itching for a relay...

You don't happen to have the jaycar cat numbers? I can't seem to find them...

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