In October 2010, I wrote a post about using a great little device from CurrentCost called Envi along with Google’s PowerMeter which allowed you to monitor your home energy consumption.
CurrentCost Envi and Google PowerMeter
Around June 2011, Google announced that it was retiring its Google PowerMeter on 09/16/2011.
Google Retires PowerMeter
Sadly, since that time, I have been pretty much dead in the water, as I never really found a good third party replacement for Google’s PowerMeter in the USA. In fact, I have upgraded my PC a few times and never bothered to transfer the programs and configuration setup from one machine to another. To make matters worse, upgrading to Windows 8 in October 2012 essentially killed the ENVI product for me due to lack of Windows 8 driver support.
The product support hasn’t really been updated in years and evidently the Prolific drivers used by the ENVI only support Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 for both x86 and x64. And Mac O/S. If you Google search around trying to find updated drivers, you will find many complaints and issues using Windows 8, but unfortunately no solutions.
The cable used is an RJ45 to USB cable by Prolific.
Today I thought I’d attempt to revisit this driver issue again and ran across a replacement cable on eBay that costs $24.99. I figured that if I didn’t buy this cable, I may as well throw my ENVI away; as I wasn’t planning on running Win7 just for this.
The replacement cable is a USB-to-UART bridge that has a virtual COM port. It uses the SiLabs CP2102 chipset and appears to support an array of Windows… Windows 8, 7, Server 2008, Vista, Server 2003, XP, and Windows 2000. Linux and Mac are also supported.
When the cable arrived, I simply installed the drivers that were included on the DVD then plugged in the new cable. Within a few seconds the device was recognized and installed using COM3.
Note below the “Silicon Labs CP210x USB to UART Bridge (COM3).
After installation, I re-installed the ENVI C2 Terminal software (or you can use PUTTY). I selected COM3, ENVI (CC128 – 57600) and instantly began seeing raw data in the form of XML come across the serial port.
This new cable worked nicely and I’m surprised CurrentCost doesn’t provide some other alternatives to using their outdated cable and drivers.
Now I can get back to finding my old Windows service that captured this raw data and inserted into MySQL for historical purposes or simply use the plug-in to send the data to Pachube. Either way, I’m happy to bring life back to this little monitoring device.
Hope this helps!