The CurrentCost power monitor has become very popular amongst amateur home automators and those technically-savvy who want to keep an eye on how much electricity they are using (and ultimately how much they are going to have to pay in bills). A couple of months ago I purchased the CurrentCost device and a USB cable to connect it to a computer from eBay. Having just seen their eBay store, it looks like they’ve got a fantastic new model on the way, but this article is about the older version.
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I’ve set up a few MRTG config files and some simple shell scripts to graph the available data from my Compaq UPS via Nut. This will give a basic way to monitor the combined power consumption of everything that’s connected to the UPS. Currently this is everything in the rack plus the computer under my desk (and the peripherals on top). If you like graphs, you can see them on this site.
In addition to this method, I also have a plug-in power meter that can be used on individual items. It’s currently plugged into the incoming side of the UPS. For whole house power monitoring, the Wattson looks pretty good, but it’s not exactly cheap.