Control our printer remotely checking consumption
Today, I would like to explain to you what I believe to be a device of enormous utility. It is a switch that can be controlled remotely thanks to its connection to the WiFi network of our apartment / office. By connecting to the appropriate application, we talk later on how it works, we can schedule individual events at scheduled times and days. In addition to turning on and off the connected device instantly, also schedule individual events at scheduled times and days. If instead we have a print in progress, which with good probability will end at night, we set a timer. And the printer will turn off safely. The advantages do not stop there. In fact we can also access the “Consumption” section of the app to get a complete and accurate picture. In addition with lots of graphs on daily and monthly consumption in Kwh.
The small device can be found on Amazon shipped at a very low price (less than 20$) and the installation is simple and fast. The name is SONOFF Pow WiFi and looks like a simple box bank 13 x 8.1 x 4.8 cm. Once you open the door at the bottom there is a terminal block. Here we will fix the three terminals of the input cable and the three output cable. I connected a piece of wire with a male plug to the input and a piece of wire with a female plug to the output.
Let’s download the app for Ios and Android.
And once powered up the switch we have to keep pressed the only button present for 7 seconds. Then we choose the + sign on the screen of the phone or tablet that is. We follow the instructions and enter data of the network to which we want to connect.
The switch control application
When the procedure is over, who will find with the screen in fig.1 in a position to access all the functions I was talking about. First of all we turn on our device and the image will change as in fig.2. We will understand instantly if we have turned on or off, as the status changes in a very visible way.
By tapping on the light blue or grey bar we enter the section of the various functions of our switch. As you can see from the image in fig.3. Here we can set up programs for switching on and off fig.4. You can indicate a timer, if the user is off it will switch on and vice versa fig.5. Very interesting thing we can access the history of consumption in Kwh, fig.6
We can always know in real time how much is consuming the device. Controlled by our switch will be enough to read the data reported in each screen both summary and specific.
It must also be said that we can add other switches and check their functionality from the same app. Personally I have this device connected to the 3D printer controlled by a Raspberry Pi with video camera. I turn on power off and control everything in a complete way, and at the slightest sign of hitch or finished prints I disconnect the power safely. Not to mention the indisputable advantage of seeing the consumption in terms of electricity.
From here we can also answer a question that is very often asked in the various Facebook groups on 3D printing:
“HOW MUCH DOES MY PRINTER CONSUME?”
First of all we have to see what we are printing but in general we say that it is not very much the consumption in terms of Kwh. In fact, what is the master is undoubtedly the heated plate which is the most hungry in terms of energy, but it must also be said that once it reaches temperature this is turned on later only for a few seconds. Taking into account, almost all 3D printers for hobby use consume less than a TV, a 50-inch LED, or a desktop PC. Calculating an average cost of 0.03/0.05€ per Kwh and a daily power on time of 5h for 30 days a month, at least in my case the cost on the bill varies between 5€ and 7€ per month.