IET logo
 
IET
Decrease font size
Increase font size
Topic Title: Power Logging
Topic Summary: early investigations
Created On: 21 January 2014 08:30 PM
Status: Post and Reply
Linear : Threading : Single : Branch
1 2 Next Last unread
Search Topic Search Topic
Topic Tools Topic Tools
View similar topics View similar topics
View topic in raw text format. Print this topic.
 21 January 2014 08:30 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



Zs

Posts: 2925
Joined: 20 July 2006

hello all,

I have been looking, quite seriously, into buying myself a decent power logging kit and have been putting out some feelers for the past months.

I now have an hotel chain and a group of engineering companies (manufacturing type of engineering) interested. Distance driving would be involved for both of them.

So, I might well take the jump and buy the kit. About £3k so I would be cashing in the premium bonds in order to do so. I'd like to replace those sooner rather than later because they are really there for emergencies.

However, with some genuine interest and a leaning toward writing reports I reckon this might be right up my street from time to time.

I'm looking at the fees/payback time/hassle factor.

I know some of you offer this service, would you mind sharing your experiences?

Thank you

Zs
 21 January 2014 08:47 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for dickllewellyn.
dickllewellyn

Posts: 1150
Joined: 19 March 2010

I would be keen to see how you get on with this ZS. I will then know who to call upon! I've got a couPle of customers with some peculiarities in their usage that would be nice to pin down, but certainly not enough for me to warrant looking into it seriously myself.

Keep us posted.

-------------------------
Regards
Richard (Dick)

"Insert words of wisdom and/or witty pun here"
 21 January 2014 08:52 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



jamieblatant

Posts: 513
Joined: 11 January 2006

Pm me zs I can offer a solution using a standard soccomec meter that we combine with a web interface and you can remotely acess using the web and build your graphs in excell

Also you can use multiple meters and that and it's future proof

I can hire you one on demo if you like to try out

-------------------------
Keep up with the antics of the UK,s most humoured electrical company
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RtIndustriaLtd
Twitter: @rtindustria
 21 January 2014 09:14 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for OMS.
OMS

Posts: 19688
Joined: 23 March 2004

I guess it depends on what you are going to log.

If it's just unravelling revenue disputes, sorting out private metering and that sort of thing then you'll be retired before the kit is paid for let alone made a profit.

If it's power quality analysis you'll be offering, then you'll get called in when just about every bit of snakeoil dialogue has been exhausted, and there is no money left - unless you can also interpret the analysis and give a solution (and stand by it).

I now have an hotel chain and a group of engineering companies (manufacturing type of engineering) interested. Distance driving would be involved for both of them


I'd guess they want different things in reality - not all power quality analysers do everything needed - so I'd advise you to be clear about what you need the kit to do before splashing out the cash. This sort of stuff has an appaling rate of obsolescence, the software is cranky to say the least (you do not want to be wading through a comma delimited file of maximum demands taken every minute for a 3 day period and trying to turn it into a trending graph of power used for design purposes - trust ne, I've been there) and often there is a big risk of damage or loss to your kit as you tend to have to leave it in situ for reasonable time periods - which means getting there and back twice.

The fees won't be big - unless you are adding the value by analysis of the problem and suggesting the solutions

The payback - well, see above

The hassle factor - quite large in my experience

TBH - we usually hire in the kit for occasions when we need it (and we can be bothered to actually do it) - usually we get the client to get someone to do the donkey work, analyse it ourselves - draw conclusions, write the report and then charge by weight. It's not easy money.

Offer it as an additional service by all means - but it's in the same bracket as thermal imaging - useful on occasions and for the right client, but be very wary of throwing loads of cash at it - you may not get another job for it for many months.

If you take something like a Fluke 1735 Power Logger, then you can hire it for around £120/week - and a lot less if you push - but it'll cost around £2800 to buy - and recalibration costs are usually horrific as well.

If you go up the scale from there, then you can get into serious money territory very quickly.

Think about what the client actually wants done - often, you may not need all the bells and whistles to get a solution to the problem

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 21 January 2014 09:22 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for Parsley.
Parsley

Posts: 1020
Joined: 04 November 2004

Zs

Instrotech in Watford on the same estate as CEF& Eddies contacted me last week inquiring if I was interested in purchasing any of their ex hire kit might be worth a look.

Regards
 21 January 2014 09:37 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for leckie.
leckie

Posts: 1868
Joined: 21 November 2008

Or hire stuff from them and see how it goes for a while.
 22 January 2014 11:43 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



impvan

Posts: 771
Joined: 07 September 2005

If it's simple current logging for what-power-goes-where, or finding which phase has a bit of capacity left on it, I use one of the eco-warrior energy monitors.
It's made by eco-eye, three phase up to 200A. When I bought mine it didn't internally log, so I have a little raspberry pi to store the live readings. I think he's got round to doing a version which logs to a memory stick now. There's a simple graphing/analysis utility with the kit.

While it won't give me harmonics analysis or deal with complex impedances, it did cost less than £200 all in....
 22 January 2014 05:33 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



Fm

Posts: 680
Joined: 24 August 2011

Zs,

I ave a tiny tag tge 0001 datalogger

Im quite happy with it.
 22 January 2014 05:48 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



Fm

Posts: 680
Joined: 24 August 2011

Jamie,

I like your idea, can you provide some idea of costs, do you have a functional unit?
 22 January 2014 06:48 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



jamieblatant

Posts: 513
Joined: 11 January 2006

Hi fm I do

I can give you a demo or send you some info pm me I'll give you my e mail

-------------------------
Keep up with the antics of the UK,s most humoured electrical company
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RtIndustriaLtd
Twitter: @rtindustria
 22 January 2014 07:07 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



AdrianWint

Posts: 262
Joined: 25 May 2006

We log the incoming supply to our factory (400A 3P).

After looking around we decided to purchase a 'standard' 96mm form factor 'measurement centre' that did data logging. It will record upto 18 parameters at 1second intervals into its internal memory. That memory takes around a month to fill & can be read out over Ethernet. You can also set alarms which can be logged when they exceed a threshold. It's access software also includes graphing capabilities.

Maybe you should consider something similar? Maybe its a bit heath-Robinson compared to a packaged power analyser but its doing fine for us.
 22 January 2014 07:44 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for OMS.
OMS

Posts: 19688
Joined: 23 March 2004

as we seem to drifting away from power quality and more towards monitoring then perhaps time to mention the Measuring Instruments Directive (2004/22/EC) as it relates to energy metering

Regards


OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 22 January 2014 08:33 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



Zs

Posts: 2925
Joined: 20 July 2006

Hello,

Thank you for your replies. My question wasn't so much about the kit as the experience. However, I will google all of your mentions.

Well, it is early days and I'm juggling a few factors relating to this subject. I'll not give too much away at this point because I really am still making the plans and am not sure how I'll set this up. I also must be careful not to shoot myself in the foot before I've even gone out and done any. So forgive me for not revealing the proposed business model to you just yet.

But I know what is being asked of me from the existing prospects so that is a start. If there is a market for it, it will be more than monitoring power usage and printing out a graph. I'm keen to have the harmonic information available but not necessarily the whole lot. I do want to be able to dial into it in real time. I do want to be able to adjust the timings for the recording of information. I'd like a simple and safe installation process,and I'd prefer something with easy software.

Not much to ask really is it? I jest. Hopefully I'll be going to see some of my suspects in action at some point soon.

But so far nobody has come on here and replied that it is not worth it so I am encouraged very much by that. Do any of you think you wasted your money on one?

Thanks,
Zs
 22 January 2014 10:31 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



Fm

Posts: 680
Joined: 24 August 2011

I used to use

http://www.edcscotland.co.uk/a...nalysis_Services.html
For my harmonic surveys, dont do that type of thing anymore but they always gave good services and were vsd experts.

My logger is for simpler purposes to let me determine existing loading, to see if i can squeeze more out of an existing supply.
Good lick with whatever you decide on.
 23 January 2014 06:00 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for GeoffBlackwell.
GeoffBlackwell

Posts: 3530
Joined: 18 January 2003

I went down this road some years ago. The equipment I purchased was limited by today's standards, as it just monitors three phase power, power factor, etc. It does not have 'power quality' facilities. It cost around £1500 which was a reasonable amount at the time.

I decided to buy because I had completed a number of surveys with hired equipment and I assumed that the level of interest would continue. Once purchased the interest reduced and I doubt that I have recovered the investment through the hire fees I have charged. Reports are a separate issue as they involve more work.

Note that power usage monitoring is now often 'built in' on new installations.

So for monitoring power usage and the occasional power system fault analysis it has not proved to be very successful - hiring would probably have been more profitable.

I have used 'power quality' equipment provided by the clients - some of it cost mega bucks. However, 'power quality' analysis can be complex and this can be a problem if you don't do it very often.

It depends on your market - I would be inclined to stick to hiring until I was sure of a sustainable income.

Regards

Geoff Blackwell
 23 January 2014 12:04 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for dg66.
dg66

Posts: 1672
Joined: 11 January 2008

Originally posted by: Zs

Hello,



Thank you for your replies. My question wasn't so much about the kit as the experience. However, I will google all of your mentions.



Well, it is early days and I'm juggling a few factors relating to this subject. I'll not give too much away at this point because I really am still making the plans and am not sure how I'll set this up. I also must be careful not to shoot myself in the foot before I've even gone out and done any. So forgive me for not revealing the proposed business model to you just yet.



But I know what is being asked of me from the existing prospects so that is a start. If there is a market for it, it will be more than monitoring power usage and printing out a graph. I'm keen to have the harmonic information available but not necessarily the whole lot. I do want to be able to dial into it in real time. I do want to be able to adjust the timings for the recording of information. I'd like a simple and safe installation process,and I'd prefer something with easy software.



Not much to ask really is it? I jest. Hopefully I'll be going to see some of my suspects in action at some point soon.



But so far nobody has come on here and replied that it is not worth it so I am encouraged very much by that. Do any of you think you wasted your money on one?



Thanks,

Zs


I guess you thought OMS's first post on this topic was more positive than i did.

-------------------------
Regards

Dave(not Cockburn)
 23 January 2014 02:16 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



Zs

Posts: 2925
Joined: 20 July 2006

ah, dg, when OMS posts I can hear his fatherly tones as I read. I reckon I'm being protected from doing something daft . I nearly always take it on board but from time to time I do the problem child thing. The blues guitar weekend against which I was firmly advised by a nervous OMS, was a blast...

Thank you for those, Geoff, you replayed something similar that I have heard from another so I take it on board.

In reply to OMS;

If it's just unravelling revenue disputes, sorting out private metering and that sort of thing then you'll be retired before the kit is paid for let alone made a profit.


No, getting involved in revenue disputes is not what this is about. The snake-oil guys can do that. For those who don't know about that side of our industry, what those companies offer is a service to make sure that a client (large, usually) is getting the best rate for their electricity. The better set-ups get paid a commission from the electricity provider regardless of whether they switch the client or not. But you have to watch out for that, at the bottom end they must switch to get a commission. So, it is a free service to the end user without any genuine advice about electricity.

If it's power quality analysis you'll be offering, then you'll get called in when just about every bit of snakeoil dialogue has been exhausted, and there is no money left - unless you can also interpret the analysis and give a solution (and stand by it).

Yes, that is a risk. If someone else can learn to do it though, any reason why I can't? It is where the learning curve comes in and where the expertise grows. That bit won't be easy but if I can crack it well enough, it may become a USP. That is also the longer term part of setting this up. This has been ticking along for some months and the bed-time reading is more physics than whodunnits these days. It all started when I saw a specific clause in an engineering specification on the subject of the design and harmonics. I made it my business to find out why that was in their spec and it is in fact fascinating. I like it and I like making my living out of interesting things.

I now have an hotel chain and a group of engineering companies (manufacturing type of engineering) interested. Distance driving would be involved for both of them

I'd guess they want different things in reality -

My guess is that they don't know what they want other than someone sensible to take ownership of their queries and lead them by the hand. That's my strength way above knowledge of our physics, some of you have seen my reports. But it is also why this is a business plan idea and not cast in stone yet.

This sort of stuff has an appalling rate of obsolescence,

Like your mobile phone OMS I know it does.

The fees won't be big - unless you are adding the value by analysis of the problem and suggesting the solutions.

Possibly and I take that on board big time, but a look at the hire costs of a Fluke 1735 confirm that the existing locally accessible enquiries will pay for the kit + if they take a week each. so it becomes worth considering.


usually we get the client to get someone to do the donkey work, analyse it ourselves - draw conclusions, write the report and then charge by weight. It's not easy money.

Ah, that's why I didn't think this post was discouraging dg66. The Great OMS gets someone in to do the donkey work...I take that as recognition of a requirement from time to time even at the hallowed level of things. Recognition that the service has value. I don't charge by weight though but I actually find that quite positive ..don't you? OMS, how much choice do you have when selecting your donkey? are there many out there?

Offer it as an additional service by all means -

Well, there is the nub of it all. If a power logger is installed on a Friday and collected a week later I can still be dong something else during that time give or take client enquiries and the report writing. I was stuffed by short notice cancellation of some erstwhile reliable work a few weeks back and it hit hard trying to get the on the tools stuff back up and running. It was all I had to turn to. Time to think hard about where the guaranteed income is and what kind of reputation I want to re-build out here. Something to do with deciding how I would like to be perceived in the industry. I'm getting older and I just have to force myself to recognise that I won't be crawling around in lofts with the fleas forever. Especially since the I&T spec is shortly going to force us all up into the lofts.


Think about what the client actually wants done - often, you may not need all the bells and whistles to get a solution to the problem

Well, that's got to take priority before any big decision is made. first I need to define the service I can offer within my (knowledge) limitations. The thinking is that I could already offer the basics right now and that the knowledge will grow with the experience.

Next step, I'm making plans to go and see some in action and have a go at installing and setting up the software for two models, one of which is the Fluke 1735. Quite a long way to go but they have offered to have me up to their offices for a day and buy me lunch. I've been offered a loan of a 1735 by a kind forum member who ticks away in the background here, which is a stunning offer. I will probably offer a freebie to the musician I look after and see how it goes. He has voltage fluctuation issues.

Meanwhile a dialogue with the prospects is underway and worst case is that I hire the kit and just do those ones.

I'll talk to my insurers about the kit next week and let you know how they suggest handling the risk of leaving something with a client.

I'm still not sure about this but I think that is because I am inherently lazy around doing the self-motivated things in life. Were there some week-long course with a guaranteed business at the end of it, I'd be on it.

I will let you know how the having a go day goes...couple of weeks away.

I now know that there are quite a few loggers out there in the back of a cupboard. I looked on a few second hand sites last night.

Thank you.

Zs
 23 January 2014 02:49 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



Fm

Posts: 680
Joined: 24 August 2011

The joys of fitting ct leads to bus bars etc and trying to arrange shutdowns for the 2 minutes it takes todo the work.

Good luck
 23 January 2014 02:55 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message



AJJewsbury

Posts: 11496
Joined: 13 August 2003

If someone else can learn to do it though, any reason why I can't?

Well said!!
- Andy.
 23 January 2014 03:24 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message


Avatar for OMS.
OMS

Posts: 19688
Joined: 23 March 2004

I now know that there are quite a few loggers out there in the back of a cupboard. I looked on a few second hand sites last night.


And why might that be, do you think ? - not enough work for them perhaps.

I'm still not that clear what it is you want to be measuring - a "power meter" is just a tool that shoves data from selected parameters into a "logger" - that then allows you to extract that raw data in a variety of formats and do things with it that suit the purpose.

I will probably offer a freebie to the musician I look after and see how it goes. He has voltage fluctuation issues.


I'm sure he does - as do virtually every consumer in the UK to some degree or other. Might I just suggest that having data on those fluctuations to "nth" degree accuracy still doesn't offer any more of a solution than just knowing there are variations roughly between this value and that value - it's knowing the solution (and it's limitations) is what will make you money.

The Great OMS gets someone in to do the donkey work...I take that as recognition of a requirement from time to time even at the hallowed level of things.


Indeed - so as an example, we got called in to look at a very large and complex building that wasn't getting through the black start testing regime - in a number of attempts, the generators were being forced off line by reverse power protection relays - diagnosis required, solution offered.

We instructed the contractor (at his cost) to put PQA's at defined locations in the infrastructure - (he got a guy in at rock bottom cost (I think one of his package subbies)) and to give use the data at defined times (coinciding with events that we required to happen or be undertaken.

As suspected, we captured a particular event that had the main lifts running down (with simulated loadings) so they were over the counterweight ratio, free running and acting as generators. No problem with mains available and load in the building - the power was simply absorbed. Not so with just the emergency generators running - forcing the RPP into operation. Solution - add dump resistors into the lift controller circuits to mop up the system generation

So, there is very often requirements for the fitting of PQA to diagnose a problem - the money, however is in the analysis, not the installation of them.

My guess is that they don't know what they want other than someone sensible to take ownership of their queries and lead them by the hand. That's my strength way above knowledge of our physics, some of you have seen my reports. But it is also why this is a business plan idea and not cast in stone yet.


Exactly - and you don't need instrumentation for that, just knowledge of the physics and the ability to advise the client, that he gets X,Y and Z measured, at what point and for what period (if required - and often it is a big if).

How many queries do you actually see on this and other fora regarding problems where the consensus response is to get PQA undertaken - not many I'd say - and I think GB is saying the same thing

Like your mobile phone OMS I know it does.


Exactly - why have a touch screen, endless apps, camera and imaging capability etc etc etc, when what I need is a means of talking to someone, have them talk back to me and to send the occasional text - the same can be said for instrumentation. It just needs to do what it needs to do - the ability to look at 19th harmonic is great, but if the neutral is melting and the motors are red hot, it's just the triplen and the fifth harmonics we need to concentrate on initially.

Beyond deciding if an installation is G5/4 compliant based on it's THD level, then the analysis, in my experience, will be for a very specific problem - for which you need really top end PQA equipment and an ability to deduce what harmonic filering is required

So, as usual, not meant to discourage you - just to set a baseline from my experience against which you can measure the value of what you want to offer.

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
IET » Wiring and the regulations » Power Logging

1 2 Next Last unread
Topic Tools Topic Tools
Statistics

See Also:



FuseTalk Standard Edition v3.2 - © 1999-2014 FuseTalk Inc. All rights reserved.