arXiv:1208.2331v1 [cs.NI] 11 Aug 2012
Monitoring and Controlling Power using
N. Javaid, A. Sharif, A. Mahmood, S. Ahmed
, U. Qasim
, Z. A. Khan
COMSATS Institute of IT, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Mirpur University of Science and Technology, AJK, Pakistan.
University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada
Faculty of Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.
Abstract—Smart grid is a modiﬁed form of electrical grid
where generation, transmission, distribution and customers are
not only connected electrically but also through strong communi-
cation network with each other as well as with market, operation
and service provider. For achieving good communication link
among them, it is very necessary to ﬁnd suitable protocol. In
this paper, we discuss different hardware techniques for power
monitoring, power management and remote power controlling
at home and transmission side and also discuss the suitability
of Zigbee for required communication link. Zigbee has major
role in monitoring and direct load controlling for efﬁcient power
utilization. It covers enough area needed for communication
and it works on low data rate of 20Kbps to 250Kbps with
minimum power consumption. This paper describes the user
friendly control home appliances, power on/off through the
internet, PDA using Graphical User Interface (GUI) and through
GSM cellular mobile phone.
Index Terms—Zigbee, monitoring, controlling, smart grid
in many countries, communication based controlling and
monitoring architecture is used in smart grid to save power.
Communication network may be wired or wireless. Commu-
nication through wired interface is very intricate and hard to
implement or install. Wireless interfaces are chosen because
they are easy to organize and install. Furthermore, Zigbee has
some technical advantages over bluetooth, WiFi, infrared rays
etc. Zigbee is a kind of low power-consuming communication
technology for coverage area surrounded by 200m, with a data
rate ranging from 20Kbps to 250Kbps, it is appropriate for
use in home area networks, mainly for the remote control of
electric home appliances. Table. 1 shows the comparisons of
bluetooth, WiFi, Zigbee.
Standard Range Number
Bluetooth 10 m 8 2.4GHz 16 bit
Wi-ﬁ 100 m 32 3.1-10.6
Zigbee 10-200 m More than
TABLE I: Comparisons of bluetooth, wiﬁ, zigbee.
In this paper, we discuss different options of hardware
technique for power controlling and monitoring architecture.
For Monitoring, hardware is based on current or voltage mea-
suring circuits, Micro Controller Unit (MCU) relay and Zigbee
Reduce Function Device (RFD). Current/voltage measuring
circuit measures the I/V and sends the information to MCU.
Micro Controller checks abnormality of power and send the
information to the home server where database is maintained
through Zigbee RFD. For controlling purpose, relay is added
in power monitoring hardware. In case of emergency found
by MCU, relay cuts the power supply to the electric home
appliances after receiving the control command. Graphic User
Interface (GUI) software is used as an interface between
user and end devices. User can control all electric appliances
through cell phone, computer or laptop.
II. RELATED WORK AND MOTIVATION
For remote power control and monitoring, many wireless
technologies are discussed; these are: Infrared rays, WLAN,
Bluetooth, and Zigbee. However, Zigbee is suitable for remote
power control and monitoring due to large coverage area up
to 200m and with transmission rate ranging from 20Kbps to
250Kbps. Typically home appliance has three power modes,
normal, stand by and off. In normal mode, home appliances
use maximum power, however, in stand by mode, home
appliances use almost 10 percent of power consumption as
compared to normal mode. In , authors discuss architecture
of automatic cut-off for home appliances during stand by mode
to save power consumption.
In ,  and , power monitoring module calculates
power consumption of electric home appliances in normal
mode. Zigbee communication module is used to send mea-
sured data of current and voltage to server module and store
it in computer. Embedded board is used instead of computer
to reduce power consumption. In case of overload/abnormality
in power consumption, server module sends a control message
to MCU via zigbee modul. MCU cuts power to the load for
safety purpose. Authors design the GUI by using Visual Basic
(VB) to provide user friendly environment. However, power
supply to power monitoring and controlling component is not
discussed by authors.
In , Bluetooth is used for controlling electric home appli-
ances. Bluetooth has low coverage area up to 10m. Bluetooth
Fig. 1: Power Management Structure
is better option for short distance controlling, however, for
long distance controlling is not easy to achieve via bluetooth.
In , author discuss use of Zigbee communication in
Advance Metering Interface (AMI). Zigbee is used to transmit
detailed information of power consumption and also discuss
the way of joining Zigbee network.
In this section, we discuss different hardware options with
different techniques for power monitoring and control purpose
in smart grid.
A. Power Management Structure
In , power management structure for electric outlet as
shown in Fig. 1, has three main parts: Zigbee based power
monitoring module, home server and remote control section.
Power monitoring module based on (MCU), Solid State Relay
(SSR), a current measuring circuit and a Zigbee End Device
(ZED). The home sever module has two parts: one is Zigbee
Coordinator (ZC) and other is embedded board. The remote
control section can be a personal Computer (PC) or Personal
Digital Assistant (PDA).
Sensor in Zigbee based power monitoring module senses
electric current being used by electric outlet. Current measur-
ing circuit measures current and sends to MCU. MCU turns
the electric outlet on/off. MCU based on two-way control
mechanism: one direction for on/off control and other for
current measurement. MCU handles ID of each end device,
control electric outlets and send control message to home
server through Zigbee coordinator. Through MCU, we can
detect condition of all electric home appliances. Embedded
system stores data of all power outlets and serve the user when
To minimize power consumption, traditional relay is re-
placed by SSR for controlling on/off power outlets. In Zigbee
based monitoring module, embedded board is used instead of
PC to minimize the size, power consumption, and cost of home
B. Real-time Power Monitoring Architecture With Direct Load
In , Zigbee based real-time power monitoring architecture
consists of three modules: power management module, Re-
mote Monitoring Control Module (RMCM) and user module.
Power management module contains Power Observing Side
(POS) and Power Control Side (PCS). POS monitors power
consumption from various facilities like power consumption
through switchboard and substation. Alternatively, large power
utilization facilities such as central air conditioner, controlled
by PCS. RMCM enclose major software components of POS
and database. ZC is linked to RMCM through RS-232 interface
for sending and receiving messages to Zigbee device on power
management module. On user side, user can remotely operate
POS through any web browser on notebook or PC, as shown
in Fig. 2.
POS has three main parts Signal Transformation Circuit
(STC), Digital Signal Processing (DSP) board and RFD. STC
collects power consumption data from switch/substation and
scale the information to ﬁt input scope of Analog to Digital
Converter (A/C) convertor of DSP board. DSP board is liable
to calculate various power parameters and become aware
of power omission in real time. This power information is
transmitted to server side through Zigbee RFD. Zigbee RFD
is an end device that can collect data through different sensors
or switches and send to gateway (coordinator or router).
In power control, Zigbee RFD is directly connected to relay.
After ﬁnding power abnormality ZC sends command to Zigbee
RFD to unload assigned power facilities.
RMCS has following major functional components. Authen-
tication and Authorization component (AA) verifying con-
sumer identity and used for security purpose.Warning Mes-
sage Transmission (WMT) component is capable of sending
Fig. 2: Real-time Power Monitoring Architecture with Direct Load Control
warning message to user through e-mails and mobile phone
short message web service after ﬁnding abnormality in power.
GUI component provides different user-friendly graphical web
interface to control system through general browsers. Through
remote control component, user can manually perform Direct
Load Control (DLC). Data management component manages
different data in system like user data, historical data of power
consumption. The power demand forecasts component forecast
the best possible contract capacity based on historical power
C. Power Observing Structure using Bluetooth, Ethernet and
In , Bluetooth Controlled Power Outlet Module
(BCPOM) is hardware architecture for power monitoring and
controlling, as shown in Fig. 3. This hardware consists on
several AC power sockets, vital control side, Protected Digital
Card (PDC) side, Scalable Source Routing (SSR), power
measuring side and communication interfaces based on Zigbee
and GSM. SSR is used to turn on/off each sokets where electric
home machines/appliances can be pluged.
Vital control side is based on four functions: (i) dealing out
commands from communication interfaces bluetooth, ethernet
and GSM, (ii) scheming the SSR on/off, (iii) observing the
status of electric home appliances, and (iv) transmitting the
power status and measured data to the protected Digital Card
Side. GSM interface is used to connect vital control side and
also allows to make a call by using GSM network. Bluetooth
side is a low power embedded bluetooth with a built-in high-
The ethernet side connects electric home machines to in-
ternet. PDC side is used for storing the measurement data
of electric home machines and also store status of these
D. Power Monitoring and Controlling Architecture
In , proposed system for power monitoring is based on
three components: Data Acquisition (DA), Data Processing
(DP) module and Application. Data acquisition consist of
wireless sensors which are used for measuring AC and control
power outlets. A wireless sensor has three technical parts,
MCU with A/C, a sensing unit and a Zigbee transceiver. DP
module collects information from all sensors through Zigbee
and make a database of all collected information and responds
to appeal from users.
E. Power Controlling Architecture
Authors in  discuss the different techniques for control-
ling power in different conditions. One is automatic power cut
off during standby mode. Architecture of automatic power cut
off during standby condition of power outlet is based on A/C
conversion, a two port relay, a micro controller and power
observing circuit. AC input is connected to two port relay.
One port of relay is directly connected to AC output electric
power outlet and other relay is connected to the output relay
through power observing circuit. Power observing circuit has
three major components: transformer, rectifying diodes and
Fig. 3: Power Observing Structure via Bluetooth, Ethernet and GSM
Fig. 4: Zigbee-based Transmission Line Monitoring
additional components. In micro controller unit Zigbee RF
module is added to communicate with the coordinator.
Other is Zigbee controller with IR code Learning Function-
ality. ZC is based on A/C conversion circuit, a MCU with
Zigbee RF module, IR receiver and several switches. These
several switches have different tasks. First switch is assigned
to the ﬁrst power outlet; through this button ﬁrst power outlet
will be controlled. Next two buttons can be assigned for the
light control. One button is for ‘dark’ function and other is for
F. Zigbee Based Transmission Line Monitoring
In , authors propose a Zigbee based transmission line
monitoring system. The block diagram of the system is shown
in Fig. 4. This system is based on Information Collection Unit
(ICU), ZC and data management center. Information collection
unit consists of sensor A/C, DSP, Zigbee RFD. Sensors keep
information of power consumption in analog form and A/C
convert analog information into digital information and send to
DSP unit. DSP unit calculates variation in power consumption
or any abnormality in power utilization and send the informa-
tion to ZC through Zigbee RFD. ZC sends all information
coming from different sensor to data management center.
IV. SUITABILITY OF IEEE802.15.4 FOR SMART GRID
There are various types of wired and wireless interfaces that
can be used in smart grid for communication purpose similar
to Bluetooth, WiFi, LAN, Zigbee, Ethernet, IEEE 1394, PLC,
etc. Communication through wired interface in smart grid
is very intricate and hard to implement and install; that is
why wireless interfaces are chosen, since they are easy to
organize and install. Furthermore, Zigbee has some technical
advantages over others. It is low-cost, low power consuming
wireless communication standard with maximum number of
nodes. Zigbee has quicker response time. In , a new Zigbee
based power meters can easily join the Zigbee network. Power
meter sends the date and time synchronization command to the
Zigbee device which sends this command to ZC. ZC replies
with date and time data to the Zigbee device after completing
the date time synchronization power meter ready to send the
required data and become a part of Zigbee network. Below
we tell the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model layer
on which Zigbee protocol based and Zigbee based power
monitoring and controlling.
In , mound of Zigbee protocol is based on four layers
of standard Open System Interconnection (OSI) model. Appli-
cation Layer, Network Layer, Medium Access Control Layer
(MAC) and Physical Layer. Application Sub layer layer is
in charge for maintenance of required tables that match two
devices according to their desires and services. Network layer
is responsible for creating network by adding and deleting the
nodes and for the route discovery between devices and their
maintenance. Zigbee has two standards for physical layers
that work in different frequency range: 868 MHz, 915 MHz
and 2.4 GHz. MAC layer is conscientious to offer interface
between the Service Speciﬁc Convergence Sub layer (SSCS)
and physical layer.
B. Zigbee Based Monitoring and Controlling
Zigbee technology can be implemented in generation, trans-
mission, distribution, and in consumer sectors to provide
control on power consumption and give accurate data to user
and utility. Fig. 5 shows communication architecture, where
generation side, transmission side, distribution side and con-
sumers are not only connected electrically but also connected
by communication interfaces with markets, operations and
service providers. Zigbee based devices have two types: one
is Full Function Device (FFD) and other is RFD. FFD can be
coordinator or router. It is liable to create the network, select
the radio frequency channel and distinctive network identiﬁer
to avoid collision among data from different sensor nodes and
for security purpose. Zigbee RFD plays role of end device that
collects variety of data from different switches and sensors.
Here we discuss Zigbee based transmission lines monitoring,
meter reading system and load control system.
1) Zigbee Based Transmission Lines Monitoring: In ,
transmission line monitoring system is based on environmental
parameters of lines and towers such as temperature, ice,
wind lightening etc. Sensors are placed on transmission line.
These Zigbee based sensors sense power passing through it
and send to data center via Zigbee gateway that are ﬁxed
on transmission tower. Small blue boxes represent power
monitoring device as shown in Fig. 6.
2) Zigbee Based Meter Reading System: In , Zigbee
based meter reading system has two main parts: Zigbee
network and database unit. Zigbee network is constructed
by Zigbee router, end devices and coordinator. Router and
coordinator must be FFDs and end devices can be RFDs.
After calculating required information end devices send this
information to the relevant router. Router has function to syn-
chronize service to other FFDs like coordinator. Coordinators
send received data through RS232 interface to database unit.
C. Zigbee Based Load Control System
In [1,4], for controlling purpose, Zigbee RFD is directly
connected to relay. Relay is used for turning the switch on and
off. After ﬁnding any abnormality in power used by electric
home appliances control command is sent to the Zigbee
RFD by coordinator. Subsequently, relay turns off those home
appliances. ZC also receives the data from the end devices
through the zigbee RFD.
V. USER RESPONSIVE CONTROL SYSTEM
Zigbee based Smart meters are part of AMI which give all
information about power to customer like showing peak hours
time, current running price, and real time power consumption
by electric home appliances. It involves user to control power
load at his end. This system provides reliable control system
to user through different ways.
A. Control by Internet
In , the software for remote controlling is install in PC
or laptop and connect to internet. The network formation of
connecting remote control by internet is a host-client structure.
This remote control software sets IP address and ports and
sends request to Power Monitoring System (PMS), creates
a link between user and PMS. In , when PMS detects a
power abnormality, warning message hurl to user through e-
mail by means of Mail Transfer Protocol (MTP). In , under
the proposed system, functional schedules are implemented on
java Virtual Machine(VM). When user want to switch on/off
an electric home appliance from a web interface, response time
is less than one sec.
B. Control by PDA with GUI
In , ,  and , PDA is connected to power moni-
toring module for controlling and monitoring electric home
machines. GUI is used in control area to create interface
between user and electronic devices. By making use of GUI,
user can access condition of electric home appliances, time
reaction and energy utilization made by electric power outlets.
GUI provides effortless control of power status of electric
home machines. User can set each switch as on/off by sending
command. The remote control system offers to supervise and
manage power condition of electric home appliances.
C. Control by GSM Cellular Mobile Phone
In , consumer can examine and organize electric home
machines using GSM cellular mobile phone. User sends con-
trol command message through GSM cellular mobile phone to
PMS. After receiving control command PMS allows user to
control if sending command format match with system. User
can be capable for supervise and organize power condition
of electric home appliances anytime and anywhere using
GSM cellular mobile. PMS can also send warning message
to consumer after ﬁnding unusual status of power
Shows the wireless link
Shows the electrical link
COMMUNICATION ARCHITECTURE MODEL
Fig. 5: Communication Architecture
Fig. 6: Transmission Line Monitoring
In this paper, we discussed power utilization, power orga-
nizing and power controlling architecture for power saving
purpose. We also discussed the role of Zigbee in transmission
line monitoring, real time meter reading and direct load con-
trolling of electric home appliances. This paper also describes
the user friendly control home appliances for power on/off
through internet, PDA using GUI and through GSM cellular
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