Following the decision to use the LowPowerLabs Library for the emonTx V4, no further work will be done on the JeeLib ‘Native’ format, and users should consider migrating to LPL.
The history of emonLib, and why we want Continuous Monitoring
The original emonTx was designed as a small, battery-powered device for monitoring whole-house power, which transmitted its data to the emonGLCD – a liquid crystal display. As such, it was essential that it operated at minimum power and the “discrete sample” monitoring mode was created (though it was never called that until much later). In this mode, current is sampled for approx. 200 ms, and the data sent by radio to the GLCD. The emonTx then goes to sleep for about 10 s, using very little power, before repeating the measurement sequence.
This works surprisingly well provided the power demand doesn’t fluctuate rapidly. But there’s a problem if a load is switched on and off rapidly, with only a few seconds in either state (e.g. an oven or hob). If the load is switched on while the emonTx is “asleep”, the energy consumed during that interval won’t be recorded, hence the average power measurement will be incorrect.
Converting the emonPi to continuous monitoring
A few years before emonLibCM became standard for the emonTx, the emonTx V3 had been introduced. V3 uses the RFM69CW radio, which is capable of handling the transmitted data as one complete message. The emonTx 3-phase sketch needs to use this capability because the processor is too busy taking and processing measurements to be able to handle the radio traffic one character at a time. Neither the 3-phase sketch, nor the standard emonTx sketch, now use JeeLib, but the transmitted message is totally compatible with JeeLib – or JeeLib in compatibility mode, as the mode for the original message format is now called.
Implementing continuous monitoring on the emonPi is difficult because of the need to handle incoming radio traffic while continuously monitoring two power channels (and optionally, reading as many as 6 temperature sensors.) The RFM69CW employs what is called “packet mode”. The transmitter can accept the entire message into its internal buffer, then transmit it independently of the processor. Meanwhile, the receiver can, independently of its processor, receive, validate and hold the message, ready for processing when the processor can handle it. What JeeLabs could not predict when they created the ‘classic’ JeeLib packet format was that Hope’s packet format for the RFM69CW would be different, making it impossible to use the RFM69CW’s ‘native’ format, yet be compatible with anything using the ‘classic’ JeeLib format.
Therefore, if you want to use emonPiCM and other sensing nodes sending their data by radio, there is no choice, the format that OEM uses must change. If you only have an emonPi, you can use CM if you wish, there is nothing else to change. If you have other nodes sending by radio and don’t want or need CM on the emonPi, or you use an emonBase, there’s no need to change.
There appeared to be three main options:
Use the LowPowerLabs library. It is well-established, it lives up to its name by using a low data rate of 4799 bits per second, which allows the transmitter power to be turned down. That’s eminently suitable for environmental monitoring, but the regulations regarding the use of the radio band mean that the emonTx running the standard CM sketch would be breaking the law if it transmitted more than once every 8.5 s.
Write our own software library. As mentioned above, both the emonTx 3-phase sketch and the standard emonTx CM sketch use our own transmitter library, but an equivalent receiver library has not been written.
Use the JeeLabs RFM69 driver. This is, compared against JeeLib, a very simple piece of software and is easy to understand. It has a couple of shortcomings: it does not check that the channel is free before transmitting, and there was a bug in the receiver code that resulted in an incorrect RSSI value being returned.
On the basis of these factors, the decision was made to go with the JeeLabs RFM69 driver, patched to correct the RSSI bug, for the emonPi and emonTH. For the mains-powered emonTx and emonTx Shield, we modified the OEM transmitter software to check that the channel is clear before transmitting.
The sketch that runs in the Atmel ATMega 328P primarily provides the energy monitoring function and handles the radio traffic coming in from other sensor nodes.
It uses emonLibCM, set up for two current channels, to obtain and process current and voltage readings and, from external sensors, temperature readings and the pulse input.
It is now possible to fully calibrate the emonPi. Calibration commands come in via the serial data connection from the Raspberry Pi. The interface has been designed so that these commands can be generated manually and routed to the front end via the Raspberry Pi, and so that it might be possible at some future time to set up and calibrate the front end via the emonHub/emonCMS GUI.
emonPiFrontEndCM.zip (55.6 KB)
Loading the front-end sketch
The file must be compiled with the “Export compiled binary” command and the resulting
.hex file (NOT the one having
with_bootloader in the name) transferred to the emonPi. The procedure to get it from there into the “emon” front-end processor is given in section 8 of the emonPi Wiki: EmonPi - Wiki | OpenEnergyMonitor
The sketches listed below are available. They send r.f. data in the new ‘RFM69 native’ format to the emonPiCM. The single-phase energy monitoring ones have also been updated to use emonLibCM and include a standardised on-line configuration and calibration section.
emonTx V3.4 single phase: EmonTxV34CM_rfm69n.ino
EmonTxV34CM_rfm69n.zip (71.4 KB)
emonTx Shield single phase: EmonTxShieldCM_rfm69n.ino
EmonTxShieldCM_rfm69n.zip (69.0 KB)
(note: This sketch offers no protection against r.f. collisions – protection may be enabled but battery life is shortened, possibly to below 75%, depending on r.f. traffic)
EmonTH_V2_rfm69n.zip (54.8 KB)
emonTx V3.2: EmonTxV32CM_rfm69n.ino
EmonTxV32CM_rfm69n.zip (45.4 KB)
emonTx_V2 (RFM12B or RFM69CW): emonTx_V2_CT123_Voltage_Temp_Pulse_rfm69n.ino
emonTx_V2_CT123_Voltage_Temp_Pulse_rfm69n.zip (59.5 KB)
emonTx 3-phase emonTx_3Phase_PLL_rfm69n
(all hardware variants, both Classic and RFM69 Native formats)
Existing sketches for the GLCD can be recompiled using a patched version of JeeLib. See below.
There should be no need for an emonBase to use the new ‘RFM69 native’ format – it will only be required if and when the 'RFM69 native’ format becomes the standard. Until then, the only use case will be if it replaces an emonPiCM, thereby removing the need to convert the monitor nodes back to the ‘RFM69 classic’ format.
emonBase_rfm69n.zip (42.2 KB)
emonEProm.zip (68.1 KB)
rf69.zip (38.0 KB)
rfm69nTxLib.zip (62.2 KB)
Libraries used by each sketch:
emonPi front end:
emonTx V3.4 (single phase),
emonTx Shield (single phase),
emonTx V3.2 (single phase),
emonTx_V2: (single phase):
- JeeLib (JeeLabs)
- OneWire (Paul Stoffregen)
- DallasTemperature (Miles Burton)
- OneWire (Paul Stoffregen)
* This is a standard Arduino library.
It is possible to convert JeeLib to operate in RFM69 Native mode, however great care must be taken as it means making a change to one of the JeeLib files itself. When this is done, most of the emonGLCD sketches should work with sensor nodes and emonPi that are using the RFM69 ‘native’ message format.
In the file RF12.h, near the top, you will find these lines:
/// RFM12B driver definitions // Modify the RF12 driver in such a way that it can inter-operate with RFM69 // modules running in "native" mode. This affects packet layout and some more. #define RF12_COMPAT 0
Change the last line to read
#define RF12_COMPAT 1
Now, for the IDE to recognise the change, you must completely exit the Arduino IDE, restart it and compile the sketch as normal.
If for any reason you need to revert to the JeeLib ‘Classic’ mode, you must restore the line to its original state and restart the IDE. Due to the way the Arduino IDE works, it is NOT possible to have two versions of the library - even in different directories.
JeeLabs published 5 separate documents describing the RMF69 Native format. Those and a chart showing the various formats have been consolidated for convenience into a single PDF document:
JeeLib Radios RFM69 Native.pdf (859.5 KB)
The original JeeLabs documents are:
RFM69 on ATmega » JeeLabs:
Classic vs native packets » JeeLabs:
RF compatibility options » JeeLabs:
RF69 native on ATmega’s » JeeLabs:
Using RFM12’s with RFM69 native » JeeLabs:
Inside the RF12 driver » JeeLabs:
Inside the RF12 driver – part 2 » JeeLabs:
Inside the RF12 driver – part 3 » JeeLabs:
RF12 packet format and design » JeeLabs:
RF12 broadcasts and ACKs » JeeLabs:
RFM12B Radio Module:
RFM69CW Radio Module: