In most Ghanaian rural communities where people live in compound houses, fights over how much one tenant is supposed to pay for electricity consumption are rampant. This issue has prompted KNUST students to develop a monitoring panel that checks the energy electrical appliances consume in such homes.
Designed by three KNUST finalists, the device measures in real-time energy consumption of specific home gadgets. The students named this device the Breaker Panel.
The Breaker Panel was made by Frederick Obeng-Nyarko, Hillary Ruby Lani Kisser, and Sonia Leninsor Afua Akoto.
According to Hillary, the traditional monitoring panel has no form of interaction between what’s happening in the panel and the homeowner. “So whether there’s too much voltage coming in, there’s no way of finding out. Your bulb will burn out and you don’t know what happened,” she said.
The Breaker Panel comes with a mobile app, current transformer sensors, and microcontroller. Frederick explained how the monitoring panel works.
“The current transformer sensors measure the energy consumption of loads (bulb) and pass it to the microcontroller, sends to GSM and it’s sent the mobile App which plots a graph to see energy consumed to monitor whatever is happening with gadgets.”
The values picked up by the sensors are sent to the mobile app to show the breakdown of the energy consumed.
An additional feature of the Breaker Panel is that it provides electrical protection for each circuit in a common enclosure.
The trio is still working on the panel to incorporate a feature that will enable remote control of the distribution panel. Also, the team wants to add AI to help optimise energy consumption through Efficient Demand-Side Management.