Tenrehte's PICOwatt

Announced at CES 2010, this is a wifi enabled device that sits between a house appliance and the wall socket.  It has a small linux based OS and web site so you can access each device via a web interface.

It can monitor the energy use as well as control the device so it does a lot.  Sadly, it it said to cost about $80 each.

TOO Expensive. Seems like a low tech Kill-a-Watt ($20) and a spreadsheet would still be more efficient.

News | Tenrehte Technologies, Inc. | USA.

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  1. #1 by Russell Priebe on 02/05/2010 - 2:12 am

    Chris –

    as you can see by my email I have a vested interest here – so I’m sure you’ll take my comments with a grain of salt.

    Your point about price is a good one and moving forward we will be able to reduce the cost of the device significantly – but I wanted to point out a couple of things –

    PICOwatt does keep a database of energy usage onboard – and it is downloadable in spreadsheet format or you can view it in table form or graphically on the PICOwatt.

    If you have more than one PICOwatt on your Home Area Network, they automatically recognize each other and all access and control is then routed through a “master” PICOwatt which acts as a “whole house” monitor website – eliminating the need for buying an expensive home energy monitor.

    PICOwatt also lets you set timers to take advantage of things like off peak pricing if available – and if real time rates were internet accessible from your utility, PICOwatt could easily leverage those to reduce operating costs.

    There’s also a facebook app that let’s you access PICOwatt from outside your HAN.

    In development right now are low cost nodes to complement the PICOwatt. These are dumb nodes that facilitate power measurement and switching off and on, but leave all the data recording, timer set points, web pages, etc. to the “master” PICOwatt. We expect these to be in the $20-30 range.

  2. #2 by Chris Jefferies on 02/06/2010 - 7:57 am

    Russell,
    I appreciate your comments. Good to hear from a vendor.

    It seems the ideal approach for me would be a bunch of your low cost nodes reporting energy usage to a master PICOwatt device. That master PICOwatt would send the data to a portal site where users could review the statistics.

    I built a tweet-a-watt (http://www.ladyada.net/make/tweetawatt/) as a proof of concept. With parts, each tweet-a-watt costs about $45. It seems that by optimizing the manufacturing of this kind of device it could be made quite inexpensively.

    After that it’s just a software challenge.

    I’d love to talk to you about this when you get a chance.

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