Monitor if an outlet has power - send email

  • I have a co-worker who wants to monitor the status of their GFCI outlet that the sump pump is hooked to. Occasionally it will trip when they use their smoker or something and they won't notice until water backs up. What they would like is a simple monitor that would send them an email when there is no power. So I am tossing around some ideas

    • current meter and a light bulb - battery pack for node power (expensive)
    • LED on all the time and light meter taped together (blocking outside light). If value goes to 0 email is sent (cheap but I wonder how reliable)

    They do not currently have a domoticz setup so I would have to get a pi to get this going, adding expense. If anyone has some very simple suggestions I am missing I would really appreciate it!

  • You could use an optocoupler. Limit the current by using a X2 capacitor. Like this:

    Current sensor like above, Arduino with a GPRS shield to send SMS

  • I think the issue with the current sensor is the pump would need to be running for it to work and they are looking to know that the pump could run if it needs to.

    This page provides a design based on a capacitive voltage detector (like the "pen" you stick in an outlet to see if it has power):

    Seems plausible but you could also just power the arduino from the GFCI. I would have the arduino monitor a float switch in the sump pump. You could send a signal indicating the water level every 2 minutes.

    • If the pump dies or is blocked or malfunctions but the GFCI is still powering the arduino you would get a signal that the water level has risen and is going to flood the basement.

    • If the GFCI trips and your controller does not receive an update from the sensor you could send an email indicating a possible powe failure. This is a tricky alarm and not all controllers can do it. You need to know when the arduino last sent a message to the controller and act accordingly. You also only want to send one email even if the power is out for a long time. And it is nice to send a follow-up email when the arduino comes back online.

  • Or just measure the water level.
    so that you measure at a level when the pump should have started. And maybe a weekly/biweekly water level status as info that sensor is "alive"

    Then you don't have to worry if there is electricity in GHFI or the pump is broken/blocked in water hose and wont work
    Maybe you can use the same power as to the pump, and have a back-up battery on the Arduino as well. if power disappears and run on battery, send power outtage alert

  • If they are using another appliance in the home which trips the outlet, why would they need email?

    Power outage alarm?

  • I was thinking of a similar system, but hadn´t time so far to realize it.
    The idea:

    • The sensor sends a "on" a soon as it gets power
    • Use a large capacitor to feed the sensor for some seconds after power-off (enough to send a command) , but sense directly with some diodes, if power is still there, if not, send "off"

  • The arduino should send a "presentation" message when powered up which could be the "on" message. If there is a way to send a "Powering Down" message at the loss of power by using a capacitor, that would be fantastic. In my setup it would have to have enough juice to send the message via the long range radio. I suspect some of the experts on this forum have done something similar to this solution.

  • Another possibility, depending on which controller you are using - send the "on" message each 60sec , and check on the controller side if this "alive" signal is there / missing

  • Hello,

    Measure A socket directly is always a risk.
    just take a power adapter, power the Mysensors Note and send a Life Bit to your Application.
    Is the Outlet power down the Note send no Life Bit and your Application can send a E-Mail.


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