Collecting data from Smart meters using Zigbee

Hi,
Does anyone know whether it’s yet possible to connect via Zigbee to Bulb supplied Smart meters?
If yes - how did you achieve this?
If no - where did you get the information from, and do you know when this might be possible.

I would like to connect my newly installed meters via Zigbee to a SmartThings hub so I can collect real-time electric and half-hourly gas data.
Currently I use an Energyhive device with a cable clamp. This provides real-time data to the energyhive back-end, and I can API pull that data every minute using Webcore and SmartThings. This is then passed to an Influx database and graphed using Grafana. I want to replace the energyhive device to get more accurate electric data plus the gas data. I also have an old Wattson IHD using a separate cable clamp.

My understanding is that SMETS2 requires the meters to support HAN connections from customer devices not just the Suppliers IHD. This is one of the main reasons I signed up for smart meters (the other being the smart tariff). Smart meters are not fulfilling their potential until customers can read data via the HAN.

@Solarspider, yes but no.

Firstly the device has to support the Zigbee SE protocol (which requires a dedicated zigbee modem for it - the SmartThings hub cannot do this - there are a few discussions on their forums).

Secondly the device has to be approved for connection to the hub.

Thanks mowcius.

So, has anyone been able to connect ANY Zigbee devices to their meters yet to pull usage data? If so please could you share device details and the process you used.

Have Bulb provided any details to customers on what devices can do this and are approved so far?

Thanks mowcius.

So, has anyone been able to connect ANY Zigbee devices to their meters yet to pull usage data? If so please could you share device details and the process you used.

Have Bulb provided any details to customers on what devices can do this and are approved so far?

No and no (Bulb supplied SMETS2 at least, I seem to remember someone getting a device paired to their SMETS1 meter via Bulb but I can't find the thread right now)

To connect a device, it first has to be on the CPL (AFAIK all devices but read only devices IHDs/CADs may not need to be on here), then you go and ask Bulb - they’re pretty much required to connect it for you. It may take them a while as I doubt they really have a process for it yet but it will get connected if you hassle them enough.

If my smart meter was functional, I would get hold of another approved device and give the process a try.

So, has anyone been able to connect ANY Zigbee devices to their meters yet to pull usage data? If so please could you share device details and the process you used.

Have Bulb provided any details to customers on what devices can do this and are approved so far?

The most active thread on this topic is here.

I know @tkerby bought the Glow CAD mentioned in that thread. Glow is the new Hildebrand service that has replaced, and is incompatible with, Energyhive. I’m not sure if he ever managed to get Bulb to pair it with his meter. I recall him saying the information provided is only the very basic usage, it doesn’t include all the information the meter is capable of providing. I’m sure he’ll give us an update when he gets the notification from this thread.

I decided not to go for the Glow CAD in the end, because it requires their cloud service to work. Whilst they provide an API for you to access the data, you can’t log directly from the CAD. It has to do the round trip via their servers first. Since their cloud service doesn’t require a paid subscription, the servers are paid for by selling your anonymous usage data. This may or may not bother you. The main thing that puts me off is the device will stop working when they decide they can’t afford to keep running the service any more, and that’s not acceptable. I want to be able to access the data directly on my local network without going via a third party, and as far as I’m aware there are no devices that can do that yet and available for purchase.

It sounds like given your current Energyhive setup, you just need to migrate from that to the new Glow system.

To give everyone an update

TL:DR - Bulb have agreed to connect a Hildebrand CAD but the model that will work is not yet available.

Long form - I received the Glow CAD and provided details to bulb but we discovered that the original model on sale only supports SMETS 1. I’ve been working with Hildebrand to start a trial of their updated model but there are two hurdles. First, it is awaiting a CE mark so cant be sold just yet (a few months away). Second, it’s expensive for Bulb to connect these devices (I believe there is a cost per batch) and there are some commercial discussions going on between Bulb and Hildebrand in the background.

Bulb have agreed in principle to connect CADs to the meter but they need the following data

Device GUID (usually 16 characters long, in pairs, likely physically printed on the device)
Device install code (32 characters long)
Device model
Device manufacture identifier (4 characters long)
Device firmware version
Year and month of manufacture
SMETS2 version (eg. 1.0, 2.0, 2.1 - always X.Y)
GBCS version

I suspect that eliminates the possibility of home brew kit unless someone produces a commercially certified and closed CAD bridge that could be accessed over WiFi/Bluetooth or built into your own electronics.

Thanks @tkerby, great info.

I don’t suppose you’ve had any discussion over Bulb’s plans for the WiFi-enabled IHDs they have been supplying? If they actually intend to support this side of the device then that could resolve a lot of issues and make things much simpler.

@Hooloovoo, is there anything to suggest that they support local data access? I was under the impression the WiFi could only be used to send/receive data from your supplier.

@Hooloovoo, is there anything to suggest that they support local data access? I was under the impression the WiFi could only be used to send/receive data from your supplier.

I’ve no idea. But if Bulb supported it by default, it would avoid the need for having to pair a second CAD, at least while you’re a Bulb customer. It wouldn’t be a perfect solution, I agree, but probably the one of least hassle.

I don’t believe that there’s anything Bulb can do there if the Chameleon CADs themselves don’t support it.

What I meant was, if Bulb supported receiving customer data from the WiFi connection made available by the Chameleon CADs, as opposed to the WiFi doing nothing at all which appears to be the case at the moment. Presumably Bulb do plan on making use of the WiFi otherwise why would they bother with the expense of supplying the WiFi-enabled version? Perhaps Chameleon aren’t making the non-WiFi version any more which would explain why some people got those, and later people got the newer stock with WiFi. Since Bulb have no transparency over this process I guess we’ll never know.

I don’t object to the internet round trip for the data if it’s going via the supplier. My objection to the third-party stuff requiring cloud services is that I end up with a £50 paper weight when they go out of business. At least with the Bulb-supplied WiFi-CAD it wouldn’t have cost me anything should Bulb go out of business. Besides, I think Bulb have must lower chance of going out of business than a third-party with zero income stream other than selling limited-appeal devices and attempts at monetising data.

Ahh, gotcha.

Thanks for the info everyone.
My installation engineer said that the IHD WiFi is only used to enable software updates to the IHD itself.
I agree that it’s a logical route by which we should be able to pull usage data. Hopefully Chameleon add CAD functionality in future.

I did look at the Hildebrand CAD, but not going to get that until I know it’s going to work with Bulb. The Hildebrand energyhive cable clamp and associated API has worked brilliantly for me for several years. They did say it has gone end of development though as they are focusing on the Glow CAD now.

tkerby, if you get it working, please do let me know!

The Hildebrand energyhive cable clamp and associated API has worked brilliantly for me for several years.

Forgive me if this is stating the obvious, but there’s no reason why you can’t continue using your CT clamp. I understand it would be better to get the data directly from the smart meter, but in the mean time your existing system will continue to work just fine.

Hi Hooloovoo, Yes, it’ still connected, as is my Wattson IHD.

What’s interesting is that comparing the ‘live’ data from my new Chamleon IHD to the Wattson and energyhive seems to show a significantly lower reading on the Chameleon than the other two. I know cable clamps are not very accurate, but they are often several hundred Watts higher than the Chameleon, and that’s a significant percentage when the total usage is only around say 500 watts.

That’s probably because at the lower usage figures the majority of your devices have poor power factors, like phone chargers, CFD or LED lights and other inductive loads.
Your clamp meter can only measure (or approximate) VA, the apparent power, whereas the meter is measuring W, the active power. These are subtly different.
Additionally clamp meters perform noticeably worse at low load.