Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Installing a 3 phase energy meter in your home

About 2 years ago, I decided that it would be a good idea to log how much electricity I was using. If the endeavor resulted into an internet connected device, that would be even better.

So I set out looking for an energy meter. I was looking for one which had an interface which would all me to connect it to the computer (or Raspberry Pi or an OpenWrt device).

Since I have 3 phase supply coming into my house. There are 5 wires coming into my main electrical distribution panel: Red, Yellow, Blue, Neutral and Earth. The RMS voltage between any one of the 3 live wires and neutral is 230 volts.

I selected the Selec MFM383C which is a 3 phase meter with Modbus interface. I also used 3 nos. current transformers: Selec SPCT-62/40-100/5-1.5(1T)-0.5 one each for each phase line (Red, Yellow and Blue). These transformers are of the ratio 100:5.

The connection scheme is as shown below. One has to take care to make sure the direction of wire passing through the current transformer and the order of connection of terminals of current transformers is consistent across all three phases.

Here are photos of my distribution panel after I was done installing:
My house's main electrical distribution panel.
You can see that the various phases have been routed to different category of equipment.
The Red goes to Lights and Fans.
The Yellow one goes to the kitchen - Washing Machine, Microwave and Fridge and to Air Conditioning.
The Blue one powers the 3 water heaters in the three bathrooms.
I printed out the labels and a layout of my apartment to map the switches to the various electrical outlets for easy fault finding and isolation. The main protection device is an RCCB on the top left. There are MCBs for each rooms/ high power appliance.

Here are the detailed photos of front and back side of Select MFM383C.

Here is what the current transformers look like:

100:5 current transformers. each of the three phase cables:
Red, Blue and Yellow pass through each of the current transformer.

Finally I used the following to read the Modbus registers from the energy meter.

  1. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
  2. Samsung EPL-1PL0BEGXAR USB Connection Kit
  3. USB to RS485 Serial Bridge (uses FT232RL and MAX485)
  4. Modbus Monitor Advanced app
Using the Modbus Monitor Advanced app to read registers from MFM383C

To know the addresses of the registers, you will need to consult the datasheet for the energy meter:
  1. Selec MFM383C
  2. Select MFM384C
  3. Selec SPCT-62/40-100/5-1.5(1T)-0.5 Current Transformers
Please note that the newer model MFM384C is similar in operation (and connection) to MFM383C but there is difference in the memory organization (addresses) of the various Modbus registers between the two.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

OpenWrt 15.05 Chaos Calmer on TL MR3020 with rootfs on external usb drive

The latest version of OpenWrt is quite bulky. Although it feats neatly within TL-MR3020's 4MB flash, doesn't leave enough space to install the modules required to shift the root file system to an external drive.

My TL-MR3020 with FT232RL board to access its serial console
and a USB hub with a flash drive in one of its slots.

In previous versions of OpenWRT, you had 840KB of space left on internal 4MB flash to install the essential kernel modules for usb, usb mass storage and ext4 which are all essential for mounting USB flash drive. My Weather Station used TL-MR3020 flashed with OpenWrt 12.09 and used this methods.
In the latest version just about a few hundred kilobytes are left after flashing the image which aren't enough to install the modules required for mounting USB flash drives. So we have to resort to the following steps:

  1. Open up your TL-MR3020 and solder in a USB-UART (FT232RL) board to gain access to its serial port.
  2. Install the toolchain for compiling OpenWRT on your 64-bit Ubuntu Laptop
  3. Compile OpenWrt for TL-MR3020 on your ubuntu laptop. While doing so, we will include the modules required for mounting flash drives and leave out the bulky modules like LuCI web interface that can be installed later on the rootfs which has been relocated to USB flash drive)
  4. Connect your TL-MR3020 to your laptop using Ethernet cable and flash the newly compiled image
  5. Disconnect the ethernet cable between TL-MR3020 and your laptop and connect a USB cable to the soldered USB-UART board to gain access to TL-MR3020's Serial console
  6. Issue commands to TL-MR3020 using PuTTY over Serial and configure it to connect to your WiFi router as client.
  7. Issue commands to TL-MR3020 using PuTTY (over serial or over WiFi) and configure it to mount external USB flash drive as rootfs.
  8. Issue commands to TL-MR3020 using PuTTY (over serial or over WiFi) and configure it to install LuCI and other essential modules that had been left behind when you compiled the image for OpenWrt.
  9. Done. Now you can access your router using your browser as well.

  1. Open up your TL-MR3020 and solder in a USB-UART (FT232RL) board to gain access to its serial port. To do this refer to this image for the pin out. (You only need access to TX, RX and GND):
    Note the location of RX, TX and GND.
    Connect this to a SparkFun FTDI Basic Breakout - 3.3V Board
    Make sure to use only the 3.3V FTDI board
    Make sure you connect TX on TL-MR3020 to RX on FT232RL and
    RX on TL-MR3020 to TX on FT232RL.
    GND on MR3020 will connect to GND on FT232RL
  2. Install the OpenWrt toolchain on your 64-bit Ubuntu laptop.
    Instructions to do this are in my blog post here. The blog post covers how to install toolchain for Attitude Adjustment - a previous version of OpenWrt. In the current case we need to perform this process for the latest version - Chaos Calmer. So please replace all the URLs that point to tools for Attitude Adjustment to that of Chaos Calmer. The respective URLs for Chaos Calmer are at the end of the blog post.
  3. Compile OpenWrt for TL-MR3020 on your ubuntu laptop:
    1. Download to your 64-bit Ubuntu box
    2. Extract the archive:
      bzcat OpenWrt-ImageBuilder-15.05-ar71xx-generic.Linux-x86_64.tar.bz2  | tar -xvf -
    3. Go into the folder and run:
      make image PROFILE=TLMR3020 PACKAGES="blkid block-mount kmod-fs-ext4 kmod-usb2 kmod-usb-uhci kmod-usb-ohci kmod-usb-storage"
  4. Connect Router to laptop using LAN cable. (If you have a new router, use web console to first flash a generic OpenWRT image of some previous version which is known to work fine. Look here on how to do that. Once that is done, use the OpenWrt webpage to flash the new custom compiled image.) Flash the following image using OpenWrt's web console  ~/OpenWrt-ImageBuilder-15.05-ar71xx-generic.Linux-x86_64/bin/ar71xx/openwrt-15.05-ar71xx-generic-tl-mr3020-v1-squashfs-factory.bin
  5. Disconnect the ethernet cable and connect to your router using a USB cable from your laptop to FT232RL board that you soldered to your TL-MR3020. Now use PuTTY or minicom to gain access to console on your router. Look here on how to configure your router to connect to your home WiFi as a client.
  6. Once the router has successfully connected to your home WiFi, you can either continue using serial console or use PutTTY or SSH over WiFi. Issue commands to the router and mount the external flash drive and shift the rootfs to it:
    1. We need to check the path where MR3020 has mounted the flash drive. Execute the command
      ls /dev/sd*
      to know the path. In my case this was /dev/sdb1. In your case it could be /dev/sda1. Use this path in the following steps wherever required.
    2. The remaining steps required to move the rootfs to the flash drive have been taken from this page here. Mount the USB stick and copy the flash /overlay to the USB stick by executing the following four commands in succession:
      1. mkdir -p /mnt/usb
      2. mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/usb
      3. tar -C /overlay -cvf - . | tar -C /mnt/usb -xvf -
      4. vi /etc/config/fstab
      5. The last of the above four commands will open a text editor. Press I to insert and modify the file. The should look like this:
        config 'mount'
                option target   /overlay
                option device   /dev/sdb1
                option fstype   ext4
                option options  rw,sync
                option enabled  1
                option enabled_fsck 0
      6. After editing the file press Escape on your keyboard followed by colon (:) and then type "wq!" and press Enter to save the file.
        Reboot the router and check if you have gained the extra space of the USB flash drive using the command df -h
         _______                     ________        __
        |       |.-----.-----.-----.|  |  |  |.----.|  |_
        |   -   ||  _  |  -__|     ||  |  |  ||   _||   _|
        |_______||   __|_____|__|__||________||__|  |____|
                  |__| W I R E L E S S   F R E E D O M
        CHAOS CALMER (15.05, r46767)
          * 1 1/2 oz Gin            Shake with a glassful
          * 1/4 oz Triple Sec       of broken ice and pour
          * 3/4 oz Lime Juice       unstrained into a goblet.
          * 1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
          * 1 tsp. Grenadine Syrup
        root@OpenWrt:/# df -h
        Filesystem                Size      Used Available Use% Mounted on
        rootfs                    7.2G     17.0M     
        6.8G   0% /
        /dev/root                 2.3M      2.3M         0 100% /rom
        tmpfs                    14.0M     72.0K     14.0M   1% /tmp
        /dev/sdb1                 7.2G     17.0M      6.8G   0% /overlay
        overlayfs:/overlay        7.2G     17.0M      6.8G   0% /
        tmpfs                   512.0K         0    512.0K   0% /dev
  7. Next install the packages which we had left out while compiling OpenWrt. Make sure your TL-MR3020 is connected to home WiFi and therefore the internet and issue these commands to it over PuTTY/SSH:

    opkg update
    opkg install luci
    opkg install kmod-usb-serial-ftdi kmod-usb-acm kmod-usb-serial curl coreutils-stty usbutils bash nano grep getopt ip-full 

    This will install LuCI the web interface as well as few other useful utilities for your IoT projects.
  8. Use web browser to visit from your laptop (use a LAN cable connected between your laptop and TL-MR3020 and your laptop's WiFi must be off)
    Configure whatever your TL-MR3020's settings to whatever you want to.