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Home battery systems are growing in popularity.

If you’re thinking of adding to your smart home with a battery system, you should definitely consider how you are going to keep track of the energy. This includes what you have stored in your batteries, when they are charging and from which source, and when energy is being used.

Most battery systems come with a simple monitoring system to show how much the battery is charged, and the energy being used.

Monitors that come with batteries often look something like this…

Battery DC screen

This straightforward breakdown is great, if you are home most of the time and you don’t mind walking to your battery system to check how it’s going.

However, if you prefer to access information on your battery system from the comfort of your couch, from work or even while on holidays, you will need a more advanced monitoring device.

The carbonTRACK Direct Current (CTDC) monitoring device shares insights and information about your batteries with the easy to use carbonTRACK smart phone app. It does this by communicating with the carbonTRACK home energy hub (CT200i), which lets you monitor and control the rest of your house.

In this way, carbonTRACK has the unique ability to connect your whole home.

What’s the difference between AC and DC electricity?

AC, or “Alternating Current” electricity, is the type used on the grid and in most household devices. With AC, the electrons don’t flow in a single direction. Instead they vibrate back and forth, like an ocean tide, surging with power that can send electricity long distances.

DC, or “Direct Current” electricity, is what solar panels produce and what batteries hold in storage. With DC, the electric current flows in a constant direction.

Watch this short video to see how AC and DC work.

At present, all electricity from the grid is in the form of AC, and houses are wired with AC circuits. Solar panels on the other hand, produce only DC power and batteries only hold DC power. Households with solar have inverters installed, which connect to the grid, solar panels and batteries.

The inverter measures how much energy is imported and exported from the grid, how much solar is produced, what the storage capacity of a battery is AND converts DC to AC. But inverters are not always user friendly, meaning you might have difficulty measuring and understanding what’s happening with your solar and batteries.

How carbonTRACK works with households that have AC and DC electricity

carbonTRACK has two types of DC monitoring devices, one for solar panels (CTDC-HV high voltage) to measure how much DC energy is being produced by the panels, and one for batteries (CTDC-LV low voltage) to measure the amount of DC electricity charging and discharging a battery.

An inverter is required to convert the DC electricity from batteries and solar panels into appliance-friendly AC. The CTDC monitors sits between the inverter and the batteries or solar panels (see image).

cabonTRACK infographic explaining how our DC monitoring works

Why monitor and manage DC electricity?

Installing a solar or battery system without a monitoring system is like flying blind. These are big investments for the average person, and you’ll be taking a big risk if you blindly trust that the system will look after itself.carbonTRACK App screen

carbonTRACK monitors your system and notifies you if there’s a fault in your system, so you can get it fixed quickly and you don’t miss out on potential savings or earnings.

Even better, it allows you to control the energy your home uses, and when it uses it. This way, you can match your household energy use with your solar production curve throughout the day, to use that precious solar energy on-site and reduce your reliance on the grid.

Alternatively, you can save your battery energy to use during peak demand times to lower your electricity bill, or as a backup power source when the power’s down.

And these benefits of installing a carbonTRACK system are just the beginning. Check out our How It Works page for more information.

If you’re ready to create your smart home, start with carbonTRACK.

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