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I'm wondering if there is a wall outlet power meter that I can somehow interface with from a computer. I'm aware of all the google power meter products, but those are for an entire house. I'm trying to measure the electricity usage of a single outlet during an experiment without having to physically read the power meter and recording the result. Let me know if I need to explain anything.

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7 Answers 7

If you're willing to do a little modification, you can use a Kill-A-Watt and hook it up to your computer.

Adafruit has a "Tweet-a-Watt" project that interfaces with a Kill-A-Watt and wirelessly sends the power readings to the receiving unit (which they then hooked up to tweet the current readings)

Kill-A-Watt and XBee

In the Adafruit forums, I found a guy who was trying to read the Kill-A-Watt directly with an Arduino, instead of wirelessly sending the readings. You could use an Arduino and read the measurements directly into a serial console on your computer and save the results to a file that way.

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This sounds like a good, cheaper alternative, but I'm trying to avoid custom hardware work for this project since the power meter is just one small part of it. –  wangburger Jan 28 '11 at 19:35
    
Our public library lends out Kill-a-Watts, but they seem to be limited to 15Amps, check yours. Not sure there is a 20Amp version. –  rjt May 26 at 21:22

Equal Networks makes a power strip that relays power consumption through Wi-Fi. It looks like the target customer is commercial use, not residential, since I couldn't find pricing information on their site.

Product data sheet.

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This also looks like a good solution. I'll consider it too. I'll up vote your answer when I get enough rep :) thanks –  wangburger Jan 27 '11 at 16:25
    
Links are dead (404). –  Tester101 Jun 21 '12 at 19:07
    
I fixed one, but I couldn't find the data sheet one on their website again. –  Doresoom Jun 21 '12 at 19:30
    
Here's its patent. We've come full circle on Google searches for Equal Networks power strip, I'm afraid. This question is currently the third hit. –  Doresoom Jun 21 '12 at 19:33

In addition if you spend the extra money on a TED Device you can still use that at the device level doesn't have to be connected to your whole house.

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I +1 the Kill-a-watt option, however that does require manual reading. But at $20 it's cheap.

If you want to go quite high-end, there's the option of a metered PDU. I recently bought a tripplite rackmountable PDU for power control on computers. It also includes quite an array of measurements of power draw and so on. The one I got didn't have a programmable API, but it did have a web interface so I just wrote an expect script to get the data I needed and invoke power cycling operations.

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You might be able to pick up a metered rack pdu off ebay. Normally these are quite expensive but a second hand one may do the job. These often come with web interfaces and provide detailed power consumption per port.

You'll need to obtain one that will work with standard electrical outlets though as some of them are 3 phase.

e.g. something like: http://www.ebay.com/itm/APC-AP7830-Metered-Rack-PDU-20A-120V-24x-NEMA-5-20R-/281141812282?pt=US_Power_Distribution_Units&hash=item41755b9c3a

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Reviews on this product sound awful which wireless often is. Appears to be Kill-A-Watt brand.

JAYBRAKE P4200 P3 P4200 Kill-A-Watt(R) Wireless Monitor With Carbon Footprint Meter http://amzn.com/B009SDXB7Y

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