Tracking Energy Use

We have been tracking our energy generation and consumption very precisely in the last years. We use the data from the Solar Chargers to calculate the total energy produces and different devices to track consumption and charging of the battery bank. The primary tracking of the charging and discharging is done with a shunt attached to the battery bank. Many RV'ers have the Bogart Engineering or Victron BMV7xx devices, we do too. but on top of that is a Raspberry Pi collecting data every 15 seconds for later analysis. This allows us to track the State of Charge and other parameters very precisely also going back and not only showing a Snapshot of the current status.

But one thing is knowing the total consumption as the green line above shows another is to actually know what consumes the energy. The main amount of energy is consumed from the 120 Volt AC that is always on in our RV. We have used the Elgato Eve devices for over 4 years to track consumption.

The advantage of the Elgato Eve devices in an RV is the communication that is Bluetooth and does not require a wireless network. One limitation is the communication can only be with an Apple device. This is also an electronic switch and can be scheduled too. The device keeps 21 days of data stored with consumption every 10 minutes. But the data can be transferred to the Apple device and be used for graphs and exporting as long as you owned the device. The new version of the device is not blocking 2 outlets and can be used for devices pulling up to 1500 watts.

We have a total of 15 of those devices, but above is the summary for different groups. Not all energy produced from the sun is used from 12 Volt AC and there is also loss in the inverter and other components that are not tracked, like the Microwave oven and Air Condition that pull too much energy to track with the Elgato Eve devices. Based on the last 30 days is 70% of our energy produced spent on devices being tracked.

Our largest consumer is our electronics, An Asus Router, Synology Nas, 5 Computers, 6 Phones, 2 Access Points, and more 32% in total. The kitchen is only using 25% this is our residential Refrigerator, Toaster, Electric Cooking, Electric Kettle. But the Microwave/Convection Oven is not included in this number.

With a recent change to our system for 12 Volt can we now also track the usage for things like Light, Furnace, Fans, Sensors, or anything else using 12 Volt. This is 22% of our consumption. Having all LED lights is not using a lot, but we do not limit the lights we use at night. The propane furnace is used for heating 24/7 on cold days with a large 30 gallons propane tank can we run for many months in the summer and 1-2 months in the winter on 20 gallons of propane. Last year we used a total of 105 gallons of propane the whole year.

The large great consumer is our electric water heater. We have insulated the tank with extra insulation and lowered the temperature to 110 Fahrenheit (140 Fahrenheit is the default). The water heater still uses around 20% of our energy, but we have an option to reduce our daily consumption if we have multiple days with clouds that limit our production by using propane heating.