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Forwards readings from a Current Cost ENVIR through a MQTT Broker

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Current Cost (EnviR) forwarder

This project allows to bridge a Current Cost EnviR to a MQTT broker. Each data read from the Current Cost are then forwarded to separated MQTT topics. This allows to have :

  • a small computer box (like a Raspberry PI B+ or on my side a Cubox-i2Ultra mini-computer) (running Debian or Archlinux for example)
  • the Current Cost EnviR, connected through USB to that linux box
  • a MQTT broker (on my side Mosquitto 3.1) running somewhere (may be on the same host, or may be installed elsewhere)
  • a MQTT consumer, for example a domotic system (on my side, Openhab 1.6) (may be on the same host, or also located elsewhere) (see below for an example configuration)

Current Cost Forwarder schema

There are right now two ouput topics, one for temperature and one for watts. Base topic names are customizable. By default you'll have :

  • metrics/current-cost/watts
  • metrics/current-cost/temperature

You can customize the base topic with the --broker-topic additionnal parameter and use, if you are using multiple IAMs, the ${id} and/or ${sensor} and/or ${channel}tokens to adjust the output topic name. You may customize more accurately topics with --broker-topic-watts and --broker-topic-temperature (those parameters will override the base --broker-topic). iIn your shell / command line, you have to enclose the topic name with single quotes and not double quotes (otherwise the tokens will be interpreted as shell variables and thus replaced by blank by the shell itself). --broker-topic 'metrics/current-cost/${id}' // will publish on metrics/current-cost/000123/watts and metrics/current-cost/000123/temperature --broker-topic-watts 'metrics/current-cost/energy' --broker-topic-temperature 'metrics/current-cost/temp' // will publish on the exact given topics exactly like they are provided as parameters --broker-topic-watts 'metrics/current-cost/${channel}/energy' --broker-topic-temperature 'metrics/current-cost/temp' // will split watts under separated channels (thus 1 message from the device will produce 1 temp metric + 1 watts metric per channel) 

Current Cost EnviR device

Current Cost EnviR

If you are not running as root, the device has to be readable by the user starting this program ("sudo chmod a+r,a+x /dev/ttyUSB7" for example).

Example of valid device :

cubox-i# ll /dev/tty*USB*
crw-rw---T 1 root dialout 188, 0 Jan 1 1970 /dev/ttyUSB0

To check if the current cost is correctly found under linux (the Current Cost will be shown as a "Prolific Technology" entry) :

cubox-i# lsusb
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 067b:2303 Prolific Technology, Inc. PL2303 Serial Port

To check the mapping between your /dev/ttyUSBx device and the Bus ID / Device ID, use the following command (just put the right device under the --name parameter) :

cubox-i# echo /dev/bus/usb/`udevadm info --name=/dev/ttyUSB0 --attribute-walk | sed -n 's/\s*ATTRS{\(\(devnum\)\|\(busnum\)\)}==\"\([^\"]\+\)\"/\4/p' | head -n 2 | awk '{$1 = sprintf("%03d", $1); print}'` | tr " " "/"

To have additionnal informations about your device :

cubox-i# lsusb -D /dev/bus/usb/002/002
Device: ID 067b:2303 Prolific Technology, Inc. PL2303 Serial Port
Device Descriptor:
  bLength                18
  bDescriptorType         1
  bcdUSB               1.10
  bDeviceClass            0 (Defined at Interface level)
  bDeviceSubClass         0
  bDeviceProtocol         0
  bMaxPacketSize0        64
  idVendor           0x067b Prolific Technology, Inc.
  idProduct          0x2303 PL2303 Serial Port
  bcdDevice            3.00
  iManufacturer           1 Prolific Technology Inc.
  iProduct                2 USB-Serial Controller

Messages read from the Current Cost EnviR are either "raw", either "hist". At this time, history messages are read but not forwarded (please open an issue if you have any need about that).

Raw messages read from the USB device looks like :


Official specification referenced here :

If read characters are garbage, you may need to run :

stty -F /dev/ttyUSB0 57600 cs8 -cstopb -parenb -icanon min 1 time 1

To check if everything is working on system-side :

while true; do
  cat -v < /dev/ttyUSB0

How to run (from release)


Grab down the latest release : releases

Start manually

Just use the provided

unzip -o

Options are :

17:47:56.575 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MAIN] ERROR org.tensin.ccf.CurrentCostForwarder - The following option is required:     --broker-url 
Usage:  [options]
    --activate-console-forwarder       Activate an additionnal console forwarder : everything that will be published on MQTT topics will too be sent to the console (for debug purposes). Default: false
    --broker-auth                      Is the broker auth (true|false). Default: false
    --broker-data-dir                  The MQTT broker data dir (for lock files). Default: /var/tmp/
    --broker-password                  The MQTT broker password (if authed)
    --broker-reconnect-timeout         The timeout between each reconnect on the broker. Example values : '30s', '1m', '500ms', aso. Default: 5000ms
    --broker-topic                     The base broker topic to publish on. /watts and /temperature will be added. Default: metrics/current-cost/
    --broker-topic-history             The broker topic to publish on for hsitory. Overrides base broker topic from --broker-topic. Example : metrics/current-cost/${sensor}/history. ${sensor}, ${seed} (e.g., '538' in  or '001' in ) and ${type} (e.g., hourly, daily, monthly) are optional.
    --broker-topic-temperature         The broker topic to publish on for temperature. Overrides base broker topic from --broker-topic. Example : metrics/current-cost/${sensor}/temperature. ${sensor}, ${id} and ${channel} tokens are optional.
    --broker-topic-watts               The broker topic to publish on for watts. Overrides base broker topic from --broker-topic. Example : metrics/current-cost/${sensor}/watts. ${sensor}, ${id} and ${channel} tokens are optional.
  * --broker-url                       The MQTT broker URL to publish on
    --broker-username                  The MQTT broker username (if authed)
    --debug                            Debug mode. 0 = no log, 1 (default) = INFO, 2 = DEBUG, 3 = TRACE. Default: 1
    --device, -d                       Device name to use, e.g., /dev/ttyUSB0. If not provided, the first /dev/ttyUSB* will be used
    --device-reconnect-timeout         When expected device is not found (or was found previously but not anymore), we'll wait this timeout before trying to reconnect. Example values : '2s', '500ms', aso. Default: 2000ms
    --pid                              The PID filename. Default is current directory, file Default:
    --timeout                          Start/stop timeout. Example values : '30s', '1m', '500ms', aso. Default: 60000ms
    -h, --usage, --help                Shows available commands. Default: false

By default the program will try to read something like /dev/ttyUSB0 or /dev/ttyUSB1, aso (the first one will be used). You have to change the device name (through the --device parameter) if you have several USB devices.

Start through monit

Monit allows to easily start/stop/restart processes.

Just drop the provided monit configuration file in /etc/monit/conf.d/ and adjust your paths.

check process current-cost with pidfile /home/applications/currentcost/
  start program = "/home/bin/ /home/applications/currentcost/"
    as uid root and gid root
    with timeout 15 seconds
 stop program = "/bin/bash -c 'kill -s SIGTERM `cat /home/applications/currentcost/`'"
    as uid root and gid root

Then you may use

monit start current-cost
monit stop current-cost
monit restart current-cost

How to debug MQTT

You can use the mosquitto client to subscribe anywhere (ie, from any computer) to any topic.

mosquitto_sub -h -t metrics/current-cost/watts

How to build (from sources)

Have Gradle installed. Just git clone the repository and build.

git clone
cd current-cost-forwarder
gradle build

How to deploy (from sources)

You have to adjust your SSH settings (hostname, login, home) in the build.gradle file. Then, from the cloned repository, use :

gradle deploy

This action should generate the zip, upload the whole distribution and unzip it. You just have then to (re)start the program.

How to configure OpenHab

Openhab is a very promising domotic system. It can read values from MQTT and (for example) store them in a RRD file. This forwarder may of course be used with anything else that is MQTT compliant, Openhab is just an example.

Acquiring values from MQTT

You have to activate the MQTT binding.

MQTT Broker configuration

In your configuration/openhab.cfg file.

################################### MQTT Transport #########################################
# Define your MQTT broker connections here for use in the MQTT Binding or MQTT
# Persistence bundles. Replace  with a id you choose.

# URL to the MQTT broker, e.g. tcp://localhost:1883 or ssl://localhost:8883

# Optional. Client id (max 23 chars) to use when connecting to the broker.
# If not provided a default one is generated.

# Optional. User id to authenticate with the broker.

# Optional. Password to authenticate with the broker.

Items configuration

Number CurrentCostWatts {mqtt="<[mqtt-broker-home:metrics/current-cost/watts:state:default]"} 
Number CurrentCostTemperature {mqtt="<[mqtt-broker-home:metrics/current-cost/temperature:state:default]"}

This will declare two variables on your MQTT broker that will be constantly filled with the values published in these two topics.

Storing in RRD4J

Activate the RRD4J binding. Then in your configuration/persistence/rrd4.persist file :

// persistence strategies have a name and a definition and are referred to in the "Items" section
Strategies {
	// for rrd charts, we need a cron strategy
	everyMinute : "0 * * * * ?"
Items {
	CurrentCostWatts,CurrentCostTemperature : strategy = everyMinute, restoreOnStartup

Display graphs on web/android clients

In your configuration/sitemap/ sitemap file, add something like :

Text item=CurrentCost icon="chart" {
	Frame {
		Chart item=CurrentCostWatts period=4h refresh=3600 visibility=[Weather_Chart_Period==2]
		Chart item=CurrentCostWatts period=3D refresh=20000 visibility=[Weather_Chart_Period==2]

Chart Screenshot

About Current Cost Forwarder Logs

Changing log levels

In addition to the --debug parameter, you can override the log level definitions of the forwarder with your own log4j2.xml.

Place this file (for example) in the home directory and in the .sh set the property log4j.configurationFile, e.g. :

java -Xms92M -Xmx128M -Dlog4j.configurationFile=${CURRENT_PATH}/log4j2.xml -jar "${LIB_PATH}/${MAIN_JAR}" --pid ${CURRENT_PATH}/ --broker-url "tcp://" --broker-topic "metrics/current-cost" $* 
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Configuration status="INFO">
		<Console name="Console" target="SYSTEM_OUT">
			<PatternLayout pattern="%d{HH:mm:ss.SSS} [%t] %-5level %logger{36} - %msg%n" />
		<Logger name="org.reflections" level="WARN" />
		<Logger name="" level="DEBUG" />
		<Logger name="org.eclipse.paho" level="DEBUG" />
		<Root level="INFO">
			<AppenderRef ref="Console" />

The main "event" logs are "reduced" once the program is started, in order to not have too much logs generated. After a few minutes, only one log about forwarded events will be written down each 100 events.

Example of expected start log

0 [main] INFO org.tensin.ccf.boot.CurrentCostForwarder - Classpath :
     initial classpath=
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/current-cost-forwarder-1.0.0.jar
     dynamic classpath=
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/commons-collections-3.2.1.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/commons-io-2.4.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/commons-lang3-3.1.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/commons-logging-1.2.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/commons-net-3.2.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/dom4j-1.6.1.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/guava-17.0.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/javassist-3.12.1.GA.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/jcommander-1.47.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/log4j-1.2-api-2.1.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/log4j-api-2.1.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/log4j-core-2.1.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/log4j-jcl-2.1.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/log4j-jul-2.1.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/log4j-slf4j-impl-2.1.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/mqtt-client-0.4.0.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/reflections-0.9.8.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/simple-xml-2.7.1.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/slf4j-api-1.7.7.jar
      - /home/applications/currentcost/lib/xml-apis-1.0.b2.jar

0 [main] INFO org.tensin.ccf.boot.CurrentCostForwarder - Manifest :
     Manifest-Version: 1.0
     Implementation-Title: current-cost-forwarder
     Implementation-Version: 1.0.0
     Main-Class: org.tensin.ccf.boot.CurrentCostForwarder
     Source-Compatibility: 1.6
     Target-Compatibility: 1.6
     Built-JDK: 1.7.0_71
     Built-Date: Tue Mar 03 21:51:53 CET 2015

21:52:29.903 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MAIN] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.CurrentCostForwarder - Writing retrieved PID [22995] in PID file [/home/applications/currentcost/]
21:52:29.947 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MAIN] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.CurrentCostForwarder - Now starting CurrentCostForwarder
21:52:29.992 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MAIN] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.CurrentCostForwarder - Now starting reader
21:52:29.993 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MAIN] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.reader.CurrentCostReader - Trying to autodect EnviR device in [/dev/] with pattern [ttyUSB.*]
21:52:30.056 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MAIN] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.reader.CurrentCostReader - Auto-detected current cost device [/dev/ttyUSB0]
21:52:30.128 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MAIN] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.reader.CurrentCostReader - Starting CurrentCostForwarder reader thread on device [/dev/ttyUSB0]
21:52:30.142 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-READER] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.reader.CurrentCostReader - Now connected on specified device [/dev/ttyUSB0]
21:52:30.304 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MAIN] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.CurrentCostForwarder - CurrentCostForwarder started in [357ms]
21:52:30.334 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-FORWARDERS] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.forwarder.mqtt.ForwarderMQTT - Starting MQTT forwarder with topic base name [metrics/current-cost], mqtt broker MQTTBrokerDefinition : broker-auth [false], broker-url [tcp://]
21:52:30.372 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-FORWARDERS] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.forwarder.mqtt.MQTTReconnectClient - Now starting MQTT client on broker url [tcp://], client ID is [root.1425415950369], reconnecting each [5s], without authentification
21:52:30.374 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MQTT-RECONNECT] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.forwarder.mqtt.MQTTReconnectClient - Connection not done on MQTT broker, will now try to connect
21:52:30.377 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-FORWARDERS] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.forwarder.ForwarderService - Activated forwarders are [MQTT]
21:52:30.528 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MQTT-RECONNECT] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.forwarder.mqtt.MQTTReconnectClient - Connection done on MQTT Broker
21:52:33.408 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MQTT] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.forwarder.mqtt.ForwarderMQTT - Forwarding event #0 EventTemperature : temperature [22.6], timestamp [1425415953399] on topic [metrics/current-cost/temperature]
21:52:33.450 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MQTT] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.forwarder.mqtt.ForwarderMQTT - Forwarding event #1 EventWatts : timestamp [1425415953404], watts [594] on topic [metrics/current-cost/watts]
21:52:39.026 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MQTT] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.forwarder.mqtt.ForwarderMQTT - Forwarding event #2 EventTemperature : temperature [21.6], timestamp [1425415959025] on topic [metrics/current-cost/temperature]
21:52:39.056 [THREAD-CURRENT-COST-FORWARDER-MQTT] INFO  org.tensin.ccf.forwarder.mqtt.ForwarderMQTT - Forwarding event #3 EventWatts : timestamp [1425415959026], watts [589] on topic [metrics/current-cost/watts]


Forwards readings from a Current Cost ENVIR through a MQTT Broker






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