Hallo from Alberton

Evening everyone,

Vince, from Alberton (South East of Jhb),
Using a Microcare 15kw inverter and LA Gel batteries as a UPS for the unforeseen outages and loadshedding.

For now, planning to learn more before I move over to a PV / Solar system.
First step I want to do is make my home efficient. Have led lights in the entire house, I moved over to Gas stove, need to sort out the two geysers with a timer and blanket, etc etc etc.

In future would also like to upgrade the software of the Microcare inverter so I can move across to Lithium batteries, hopefully the Gel batteries last me for 5 years….by then the Lithium batteries should have come down even more


Welcome Vince, always good to see new members joining.

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Hi Vince. Lekker to see you this side to. You will learn allot from the guys this side. @Gh3kko is a big Microcare user to.

Good move with your efficiency drive! There’s so much you can do to improve it.
Get familiar with your electricity consumption so you can measure your improvements (not easy!)


Any suggestions on energy monitoring devices?

I have 3 db boards (with sub dbs for pool and garage / workshop area). Chronicles of buying an old property that was extended over time in phases.

I am quite fond of the Lovato DME D111 and DME D121 as fairly cheap single phase energy meters with Modbus RTU over RS485 so you can read the data into something else.

Electromechanica sells them

You wouldn’t happen to know their refresh rates? IE, how often does it populate a new number in the modbus registers?

I can’t seem to find the answer to that question in any of the documentation, but I know from using them that reading data every second does result in different values every time, so the data must be updated at least that often.

That’s exactly how I tested the Carlo Gavazzis. I polled them as quickly as I could, recorded the values, and then I sat with a heat gun that I flicked on and off to make sure the power value ramps up and down all the time. Loaded the values into a spreadsheet and checked the most common delta between different values. So I determined:

EM24: 600ms
ET112: 750ms
EM340: 2 seconds (!)
Smappee Powerbox: 100ms

The Smappee is an expensive bit of kit. So I’m always holding my ear to the ground for an affordable solution with refresh times that match the Smappee, or at least gets closer.

Sorry to Vince for hijacking the thread a bit! Just had to ask :slight_smile:

Please continue as I really want a credible measuring tool

I’m sure I can do a similar test with one of the Lovato meters. I’ll let you know the result.

The ones I mentioned are all excellent measurement devices. Do not get me wrong. My interest is on a much deeper technical level: Grid limiting.

When you use an energy meter to control the inverter power levels to ensure that you are not feeding energy into the grid, the ideal is to have a system that responds in under 2 seconds. Now as you can see, if the energy meter itself only updates about once a second, and you still have to allow room for the data communications and for the hardware to actually react to it, that’s a bit of a deal breaker.

But for just measuring household energy use, all the meters mentioned in the thread so far will be more than good enough.

Vince, if you don’t want to go super high tech and want something easy, you can check at the Shelly EM. There some local online shops that selling them but you can import direct from Shelly to. Will be cheaper then. We last did a bunch order between friends and split the shipping. I’m running one on my solar ac input on my db and one on the geyser.



The one’s Plonkster and Stanley mention is the way to go if you like high tech stuff and data. My plans is to get the ET112 for my setup.

So a quick test, just polling the grid voltage from a D111. It gets the grid voltage to 2 decimals, so it changes by small amounts all the time. At 700ms the value changes every time it is polled, at 600ms it changes most of the time, but is sometimes static for 2 consecutive readings and at 500ms it is mostly static for 2 readings. So I guess from that not very scientific test, I guess the values are updated every 600 to 700ms.

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That is not bad for an affordable meter. Although it seems (from a quick google) that it’s not really cheaper than a Carlo Gavazzi ET112.

The ET112 has serve me well. It’s easy to install, fits in the DB and when you hook that up to a rPi running Venus OS it gives you all the measurements in the nive VRM cloud for mahala :slight_smile: