Comparison: Seven devices between €69 and €500 for monitoring environmental parameters like temperature and humidity with PRTG

As the founder of “The network monitoring company” Paessler AG it came quite natural to me to not only monitor our home network but also various environmental metrics in our family home. We had moved into our new home a year and a half ago and having temperature data series has been quite helpful to do the fine tuning and bug-fixing of the heating and venting systems.

I am not so much a maker person like my colleagues who built their own smart thermometers for our office building. I like to use prefabricated devices. So I ordered 6 different out-of-the-box devices (mostly from Amazon) to monitor temperatures etc. in our house. I connected all these sensors to my PRTG installation which also monitors the heating system and solar panels via ModbusTCP and many other systems of the house.

Read on in my blog post on the Paessler company blog.

How I monitor my garage door for €69 (and without access to power and wifi)

Every other night we forgot to close our garage door in the evening and it stayed open all night. Obviously we needed a door monitoring that alerts us whenever the door was left open after 20:00. There were just two tiny problems: There was no close-by power outlet or ethernet port and the steel enforced concrete structure of our garage shielded off our home wifi networks.

In this article I will describe a solution which is based on the Sigfox IoT wireless network and PRTG which I use to monitor our home.

Continue reading “How I monitor my garage door for €69 (and without access to power and wifi)”

How to Monitor all available Wifi Networks and their Signal Strengths with PRTG (Custom Sensor Script)

In this article I will show how to monitor all available wifi networks (SSIDs) and their signal strength using PRTG.

Continue reading “How to Monitor all available Wifi Networks and their Signal Strengths with PRTG (Custom Sensor Script)”

The Basics of Modbus Monitoring with PRTG Network Monitor (With Custom Sensor Script)

Article explains how Modbus/TCP works and shows how to monitor Modbus/TCP enabled devices with PRTG Network Monitor

The Modbus protocol has been around forever (since 1979 to be exact) and is used by many industrial systems, but also energy systems like heat pumps and solar converters. Initially it was used via serial communications, then – in 2007 – a TCP based version was created that communicates via TCP, usually using port 502.

The following article explains how Modbus/TCP works and shows how I can monitor Modbus/TCP enabled devices with PRTG Network Monitor using a simple PowerShell script.

I wish I could share a one-size-fits-all script that just works for most people. But unfortunately this task usually requires some hacking and coding…

Continue reading “The Basics of Modbus Monitoring with PRTG Network Monitor (With Custom Sensor Script)”

Monitoring solar panels and our home’s energy usage/mix via Modbus using PRTG (ft. SMA Sunny Island and SMA Sunny Tripower)

We have solar panels on our roof which are able to generate a peak power of 10 kW. An energy controller controls the converter, our heat pump and our battery with the goal that most of the solar energy is used locally. First we use the solar energy in our home, we charge the 230V-battery, and we load the heat storage tank. Only if even more solar power is generated we send the rest into the grid.

To visualize this and I am monitoring this system with PRTG using the Modbus protocol.

Continue reading “Monitoring solar panels and our home’s energy usage/mix via Modbus using PRTG (ft. SMA Sunny Island and SMA Sunny Tripower)”

A low-cost, always-on mini dashboard on my desk

On my working desk I wanted to have an always-on screen with the current status of the systems and KPIs that I am monitoring all the time. Of course I did not want to run a PC all the time, so I needed something “lighter”.

I also wanted something made from out-of-the-box systems, not an arduino system that I would need to solder together with the risk of hurting myself.

In this post I will share how I created my little desktop dashboard for around €350.

(Yes, of course my desk always looks this tidy…!)
Continue reading “A low-cost, always-on mini dashboard on my desk”