Mains frequency fun.

This is one of the most interesting things I have found and done in a technical aspect for some time……. (And yes, after you read it, you too will come to the conclusion that, A. I don’t get out much and B. I should get out more).

We had a customer ask us to help get some Opto set up to measure the mains frequency, why does not matter.
I thought it would be easy, turns out it only sorta is.
Long story short, there is a lot of noise from computers and stuff on the mains and that makes measuring it tricky.
Longer story short, use a 100 Hz filter and you are pretty much good to go with an Opto frequency module.

Here is the really fun part…. In order to double check that the filter was working, I put an Opto module at my house (with a filter) and another on my desk here at work (with a less than optimal filter).
I then networked the two Opto modules into my computer and used groov to plot the mains frequency measured from around 6 miles apart (that’s around nine and a half clicks).
Not sure what I was expecting, but I giggled like a kid when I saw it….

groov mains frequency - home and work

So, there you have it, my house and work have the same mains frequency.
That is soooooo cool!!!!! I mean just stop and think about what’s going on here.
We are measuring the frequency across town and they are just about are in lock step!
We can do this because I have set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to my home, so my work computer thinks it’s on the same network as my house where the rack of Opto gear is with the measurement module is on it.
The work computer is also on the work network, where my rack of Opto gear has the other measurement module on it.
groov is running on my work PC, and simply logs the data from each module.
They both have noise filters on them (the red one, the one at my house is the better filter – don’t ask) and so they track really well.

For another blog is how much the frequency changes and why.

Too Cool!!!!