Friday, 5 February 2010

OWL

At some point in early/mid 2009 I bought an OWL CM119 wireless electricity monitor. It has a transmitter that connects to my main supply wire and a wireless handset with a huge LCD display so I can see live readings of how much power I'm using (as well as keeps a history). Recently I found out that they made a USB receiver and software so it uses your existing transmitter and you can also receive it on your PC for permanent use/graphing/whatever. I thought that sounded awesome so I ordered it.


It sounds good in theory, but in reality it's incredibly disappointing. The biggest problem is that it only records information when your computer is on! Yes you have to leave the computer on to actually log the data as it has no internal memory like the handheld device I've already got. How useless is that?! (hardly energy efficient!). Now this isn't so much of a problem for me as I've always got my mailserver on at home so I just connected it up to that and then I hit the next snag, the software. Put bluntly, it's rubbish. it's extremely basic. It does exactly what you want, but it doesn't run as a background service, heck it doesn't even minimise to the system tray! You have to have it on the taskbar all the time. NICE! :(

Thankfully OWL have an API software development kit which you have to ask for so I'll do that an if they let me have it then I'll just write my own service to log the data.

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