Trend recording of AC mains voltage by computer.

Thread Starter

uradhura

Joined Jan 18, 2017
6
I am thinking about recording of AC mains (230volt) voltage as trend by computer
(please don't hate me for my lack of knowledge), If there is a hardware requirement, or
a circuit building, any type of information & idea from you will be the initial success for my
requirement.
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
1,560
The easiest path is an off the shelf solution. Many commercial quality uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) offer data logging that records periodic voltage measurements. At a previous job we had a rack mounted APC SmartUPS that included this functionality. Check to see if the smaller consumer level SmartUPS line also offer this.

There are several other off-the-shelf power data loggers as well. Google for "utility power logging" or "utility power monitoring".

If you choose to make one yourself, you have 2 basic parts. (1) A device that will measure voltage that also has some interface to read data from (SPI, I2C, USB, etc..). (2) a computer or micro controller to record the data.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
4,501
Any number of data loggers out there to do what you want to do. You want a data logger having a differential input for the number of channels you wish to record. Beyond the voltage it is a matter of the mains frequency and how often you wish to take samples. Next is how to interface to computer for example USB or Ethernet? Some data loggers are stand alone so they collect data and at a later time you analyze the data downloading it to a computer.

Much of what you are asking really depends on budgetary restraints. Simply put how much you want to spend and how accurate you want the data and how much data you want to collect.

I have used systems from Dataq and Measurement Computing ranging from low cost starter.kits to expensive systems all of which included the software for data logging. If you want an inexpensive solution consider a starter kit and place a voltage divider in front then scale things.Just make sure you consider a differential rather than single ended input.

This is merely some of my own thoughts on the subject.

Ron
 

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,461
Most off the shelf multi meters out there in the range of 50 dlls or less come equipped with either a serial or usb interface and basic software perfectly capable of doing what you want. I know, because I already own two of those devices with those characteristics. I suggest you do some digging either online or with a local supplier and choose what's best for you.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
4,501
Most off the shelf multi meters out there in the range of 50 dlls or less come equipped with either a serial or usb interface and basic software perfectly capable of doing what you want. I know, because I already own two of those devices with those characteristics. I suggest you do some digging either online or with a local supplier and choose what's best for you.
A real good solution which I didn't mention.

Ron
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
1,560
Most off the shelf multi meters out there in the range of 50 dlls or less come equipped with either a serial or usb interface and basic software perfectly capable of doing what you want. I know, because I already own two of those devices with those characteristics. I suggest you do some digging either online or with a local supplier and choose what's best for you.
I've got one of these I bought in either the late 80's or early 90's from Radio Shack, by Micronta with a serial port. I had forgotten all about that!
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
4,501
Most off the shelf multi meters out there in the range of 50 dlls or less come equipped with either a serial or usb interface and basic software perfectly capable of doing what you want. I know, because I already own two of those devices with those characteristics. I suggest you do some digging either online or with a local supplier and choose what's best for you.
I have a question on that note. Does the software allow you to record over a period of time and save the file? I guess I am asking if it can serve as a data logger? If yes, then I would like to pick up an inexpensive version which does that.

Ron
 

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,461
I have a question on that note. Does the software allow you to record over a period of time and save the file? I guess I am asking if it can serve as a data logger? If yes, then I would like to pick up an inexpensive version which does that.

Ron
Yes, it does. It's a rather primitive protocol though. Data is transmitted as asci numbers representing each segment of each 7-segment digit in the MM's display... rather strange ain't it?

All the software does is interpret said data into definite numbers, and record it incrementally into a text file at preset time intervals.
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
1,560
Also pay attention to any auto-off features of the meter. If you're expecting long term logging, but it auto powers off after some time then your logging might get cut short.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
4,501
Yes, it does. It's a rather primitive protocol though. Data is transmitted as asci numbers representing each segment of each 7-segment digit in the MM's display... rather strange ain't it?

All the software does is interpret said data into definite numbers, and record it incrementally into a text file at preset time intervals.
Thank you there Mr. Martinez. :)

Also pay attention to any auto-off features of the meter. If you're expecting long term logging, but it auto powers off after some time then your logging might get cut short.
That's another important little tid bit also. :)

Ron
 
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