As a hackerspace, our power consumption is an indicator of something being made. We want to track our electrical meter with a Raspi+Camera.

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As a hackerspace, our power consumption is an indicator of something being made. While people work on cool stuff , we want to track our electrical meter and keeping an eye on our power consumption and thus monthly expenses. Unfortunately, we still have an old analogue meter and we only habe limited access to the basement, where the meter is.

So our RasPowermeter project was born out of pure necessety and the Hackaday WorldCreateDay 2018 was just the initial catalysator to realize it finally.


So here it is, our quick-n-dirty prototype, v0.1 WorldCreateDay2018 revision. It will be usefull for us to save money (+$$$) that will actually enable us to make more awesome projects in Krautspace. But we also want to share it with all of you out there, who also just have an anlogue meter or don't want to have a "smart meter". So we are building it collectively with people in Krautspace and hopefully with people out there, like you! This is why we are putting our creations under an open-source licence.

And as a sideeffect, we will even do something for the environment by saving power by finding used devices still draining power.

WORK over Time = POWER(meter):

This project sounds small, but all projects will grow, and grow and grow. We expect it to be like this also for our RasPowermeter. That is why v0.1 was just equipped with an RPR220 sensor to read out the turning wheel as an indicator for the current power situation (you will find a sketch how to do your own one down below). It took us already the full evening to discuss what to do, to build it, and to test it attached to our power meter.

The next days, we had build a cardboard camera mount for our IR raspi cam and both, the camera and the sensor are recording the first data. So the next steps will be this (but not exclusively these):

  1. creating a week full of measurments
  2. writing an analysis tool to convert the turning wheel data to Power and another tool to readout the digits from the analogue display
  3. improvement of the camera mount
  4. storing the data to a database
  5. data transfer to the Krautspace server 2 floors above.
  6. displaying the data on graphs on a "kiosk" display for everyone to see the current situation
  7. document
  8. celebration!
  9. repeating the previous steps with the next iteration of improvements


We would like you to tell us what you would like the RasPowermeter to be ablt to do! What feature do you urgently need! What data should we be careful with, and what fun thing could we do? Please tell us in the comments below or via our Twitter (

  • 2 × Raspberry Pi 3
  • 1 × Raspi Cam IR: RPi Camera (F), Supports Night Vision, Adjustable-Focus
  • 2 × Alfa WLAN USB Cards + Antenna
  • 1 × RPR220 Reflective Photosensor
  • 1 × Trimmable Potentiometer 10kOhm

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  • WorldCreateDay 2018 Jena - Everything good starts with a good Tschunk-Slushie!

    Gecko Biloba03/23/2018 at 20:13 0 comments

    Every journey starts with a first sip of Tschunk! In this case a Tschunk Slushie! So did 5 people in Krautspace on Saturday the 17th of March. It was World Create Day 2018 in Jena and we 5 people had previously discussed that our hackerspace needed a way to measure and store the power consumption data to be in control to minimize our power consumption and save some Euros. So we arranged a personal meetup during the WCD2018 to not just talk about how cool it would be to have something like this, but also to build it.

    So we used the WCD2018 as a form of calatyzer to get our asses up and our coding and soldering hands moving. We met at 11:00 am and had a brainstorm of what we want to achieve this day. For us it was important to have SOMETHING working by the end of the day and to have a party worthy result. For the evening, people from Krautspace had announced Tschunk-Slushies and a party. So we had no time to loose.

    We splitted into single person groups with one checking for the wifi connection from the subterran basement via one floor the the hackspace. One of us setup the raspberry pi and one of us started to build the circuitry for the RPR220 reflective photosensor. Our designated goal for that evening was to be able to read the turning wheel's rotation velocity. Our common opinion was that this is achievable and we can have the working prototype that is creating us some first measurement data for us to play with after WCD2018.

    The party started at 18:00 and we haven't been ready with all the subtasks by then. So we decided it is time for Tschunk while working. It boosted our activity and be 21:00 we officially wrapped up the project for the day by by installing the sensor. Only the start of the measurement we postponed for the next day and phased into the party.

    We had a great time in Krautspace and achieved a lot with our small team. The remaining guests created a great atmosphere and boosted our mood a lot. And when we came back the next day on Sunday, we activated the raspi and started to measure our power consumption. So everything good starts with a good Tschunk. And if we may spoiler, the recorded data looks interesting and will be a nice challange for us and you to find an algorithm to translate the analogue photosensor data (voltage over time) to power.

    But that we will explain in the next log. Thank you crowd space for WCD2018 in Jena. We promise to keep on working on the project and be finished by WCD2019! And if we get a Hackaday Prize 2018, the next Tschunk Slushie is on us and we will drink it together while RasPowermeter will track the 900 Watts of the Slushie machine! ;)

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bernd2k wrote 03/27/2018 at 15:09 point

Hi Badr, thank you for your nice words. :) We are building it, because we need it and to avoid climbing the stairs too often. And we know we will help others out there to have their personal "smart meter", then it is another drive for us. And the best thing, you can control your data.

So let's see how far we can go and what crazy idea we will get during the path! :)

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Laetitia BEL wrote 03/21/2018 at 12:57 point

I like the idea to use the camera to read the watt-meter to measure the consumption!

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