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Electricity is one of the basic commodities that is staple to every Filipino household.

Not only is it essential to the household but it also plays an important role in the daily lives

of every community member for it drives their daily activities whether be it at home or in

their workplace. It fuels the growth of the economy by being an indispensable factor in

everyday lives. Being such a vital part in everyday life, billing the electrical consumption

of customers is an important and must be done with accuracy.

Different distribution utilities and cooperatives provide electricity to their respective

franchise areas where they handle the distribution of electricity. Distributors have different

methods of billing but use the same factors when determining the bill of their customers.

With the development of technology, analog meters are now being replaced by digital

meters. These provide much accurate readings and are less prone to errors when being

read by a meter reader. In this way, distributors offer the consumers a much better

computation of their bills and avoid errors in billing.

As a staple in a regular household, the electric bill is always considered when

determining the monthly expenses. For a household who has a steady source of income

this is not an issue. But for the middle to lower social economic groups whose income

cycle makes paying a postpaid bill difficult it may pose as an inconvenience. People prefer

to spend according to how much is available to them, and they do not want to have bill

shock or the sudden rise of their bills without knowing what caused it.

Often times, the customer does not know how much their monthly bill would cost

and would be shocked when the bill arrives. They have no way of determining how much

electricity they can use with their limited budget and sometimes be short on budget in the
Design and Development of a Chapter I: Problem and its Background | 2
Power Cap Limiter with Android Application
Magadia, DA., Magbuhat, JK., Vidal, AM.

end of the billing period. Appliances left unattended or energized when not in use still

consume electricity and constitute to raising the electric bill. Without a device limiting the

consumption of the users, they will not be disciplined to act regarding this concern. These

appliances can be the reason that they have a higher electric monthly consumption.

The proponents sought for the solutions of these problems and came up to the

idea of developing a power cap limiter with an Android application companion. The device

will use a method similar to data capping, where consumers are given a consumable

amount of mobile internet for a given duration of time, when that amount is fully consumed,

consumer will no longer be able to connect to the internet. In power capping, when the

consumer consumes his set limit of electricity, the unit would then be disconnected from

the meter and be unable to further utilize electricity. This gives the consumer a control on

how much electricity to use according to his available budget.

Consumers that are distant to their residence will still have an access because a

mobile application is paired with the device. The application will help monitor the energy

consumption and provide controls for the device while distant from the device itself. This

application would provide alerts, notifications and real-time status regarding the

consumer’s balance and electric consumption.

The project aims to aid the middle to lower social economic groups to become

smarter when it comes to electricity consumption. It encourages fiscal responsibility to the

consumer. They will be able to avoid bill shock because they can monitor their daily

consumption through the android application paired with the project unit. Unattended

appliances will cause their set limit to be exhausted in a shorter period of time than initially

expected. This would prime them in becoming more keen and responsible consumers.

The project could also serve as a counterchecking device to ensure that the readings on

the energy meter from the distribution utility is still accurate.

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Power Cap Limiter with Android Application
Magadia, DA., Magbuhat, JK., Vidal, AM.

Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to design and develop a power limiter.

Specifically, the project sought to attain the following objectives:

1. To evaluate any existing power limiter in terms of the following:

1.1. Design

1.2. Construction

1.3. Operation

1.4. Areas of Improvement

2. To determine the project’s design requirements and considerations from the

following regulatory bodies:

2.1. Philippine Electrical Code (PEC)

2.2. Institute of Electronics, Electrical Engineer (IEEE)

2.3. International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

2.4. National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

3. To prepare the electrical plans and specifications considering the following:

3.1. General description of the project

3.2. Construction Layout

3.3. Software Program

3.4. Design Computation and Analysis

3.5. Design Layout

3.6. Circuit Diagram

3.7. Bill of Materials and Specification

4. To determine the methods of fabrication and assembly:

4.1. Materials / Tools

4.2. Methods
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Power Cap Limiter with Android Application
Magadia, DA., Magbuhat, JK., Vidal, AM.

5. To determine the methods of testing on the performance characteristic of the project:

5.1. Procedure

5.2. Results and Discussion

6. To present the financial feasibility of the project:

6.1. Total project cost

6.2. Sources of financing

7. To discuss the effects of the project on society and the economy as a whole.

Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework of the study presents the stages of the actions in

designing and developing the project. The approach in each stage and steps to be taken

are presented in Figure 1.1

The project started with the evaluation of any existing power limiter design and

construction it showed the general appearances of the project. Its operation will be

evaluated carefully to help with development of the project. The areas of improvement of

the existing design will be considered as a great factor, in designing and developing the


In the development of the project, design requirements and considerations will be

based upon the provisions under PEC, IEEE, IEC and NEMA, which provide accurate


Upon gathering data from existing power limiter, the project plans and

specifications will be prepared. It includes the general description of the project

construction layouts. Software program, design computation and analysis, layout the

design, circuit diagram and bill of materials and specifications are also considered for the

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Power Cap Limiter with Android Application
Magadia, DA., Magbuhat, JK., Vidal, AM.

Evaluation of Existing Power Cap Limiter

•Areas of Improvement

Project Design Considerations

•Philippine Electrical Code (PEC)
•Institute of Electronics, Electrical Engineer (IEEE)
•International Electro-technical Commission (IEC)
•National Electrical Manufacturers Association

Project Plan and Specifications

•General Description of the Project
•Consruction Layout
•Software Program
•Design and Computation Analysis
•Design Layout
•Circuit Diagram
•Bill of Materials and Specifications

Fabrication and Assembly

•Materials / Tools

Testing and Evaluation

•Results and Discussion

Overall Financial Aspects

•Total Project Cost
•Sources of Financing

Effects of the Project

•On society
•On the Economy

Power Cap Limiter with Android Application

Figure 1.1 Paradigm of the Study

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Power Cap Limiter with Android Application
Magadia, DA., Magbuhat, JK., Vidal, AM.

After laying the project plan with factors being considered, fabrication and

assembly methods will be determined. In this stage, all the components and needed

materials will be prepared. Appropriate specification of materials tools to be used will be

considered carefully and the methods of fabrication assembly will be studied.

To ensure the quality, durability and functionality of the project, different

procedures on the performance characteristics of the project will be conducted. Upon the

result of the test to be performed, some considerations will be made for the further

improvement of the project.

Financial feasibility of the project will be presented. Showing how much the total

project will cost and the source of financing. Also, the effects of the projects on society

and economy as a whole will be discussed. The significance of the project and how it will

help people be smarter in their electrical consumption.

Through all this design preparations fabrications and assembly, and testing

procedures, the project, power cap limiter with android application will be completed.

Scope and Delimitation of Study

The study will focus on a device that will help electrical consumers to monitor and

control their electrical consumption. The materials that will be used are based on the

financial capability of the researchers.

The device will function as a submeter and not a distribution meter. The prototype

will be installed on a three-unit residential apartment. After the distribution utilities’ electric

meter, on the end user’s side. Three electric meters will supply the units. Three SSR or

solid state relay will be used for the prototype, each unit will be connected on the SSR

which will be responsible for the control of connection and disconnection of the consumer

from the unit.

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Power Cap Limiter with Android Application
Magadia, DA., Magbuhat, JK., Vidal, AM.

The power cap limiter will act as an accessory of the end user to check and monitor

their electric consumption. The monitoring function of the power cap limiter covers the

real-time energy consumption, the current rating, the current load allowance for capping

and the status of the prototype itself. It has three available contacts and so can monitor

and control three units of residential loading. Different accounts and user logins is

essential to avoid conflicts between tenants or end users.

A DFRobot Voltage Regulator (32mm x 344 mm x 20mm) with input and output

voltage range of 3.7 – 34V and a maximum input current of 3A with will be the one

responsible on supplying the voltage on other components. This will ensure the constant

voltage flowing to the circuit and prevents overvoltage that can damage other components.

The proponents will utilize the capabilities of Raspberry Pi Zero as a programmable

device and will act as the main processing component for the prototype operation. It has

a 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM and mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60. The Raspberry Pi Zero

will use Python programming language, to have a less complicated code in programming

the project. It is also a Wifi ready device that doesn’t need any wifi module to access the

internet. The prototype will be paired to an Android application to help on utilization and

modification of user controlled variables such as the setting of power consumption

capping. An internet connection is needed to control the android application paired to the

prototype. The android application is developed and will be made through Java

programming language.

In case of loss of internet connection, GSM services will also be available. For a

GSM module is installed to the Raspberry Pi unit. This will grant an access to the setting

of power capping consumption via sending an SMS to the registered SIM card inside the

prototype. The SMS will not be free for it is also charged as a regular SMS from the

network company. The user can input a limit value of P50.00, P100.00, and P150.00. If
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Power Cap Limiter with Android Application
Magadia, DA., Magbuhat, JK., Vidal, AM.

the user wants a higher limit, the limit value of P50.00, P100.00, and P150.00 can be input

multiple times to achieve the desired limit.

The power cap limiter also records the history log of the end user’s recent and old

activities. It also has a database of the consumption in a daily and monthly basis, despite

a built-in memory for the raspberry pi, the researchers will use an additional storage using

an SD card as he main storage of the data. The management of the memory has a concept

of FIFO (first in, first out), that the first past records will be overwritten by the next data

and so on.

A Battery charging module with an output voltage of 3.7V and input voltage of 5V,

full charge voltage of 4.2V, charging current of 1A will be used along with a LiPo battery

pack with output voltage of 3.7V and a capacity of 2000maH will be for emergency backup.

A current sensor (13mm x 13mm) with input current rating of 0 – 30A AC will be used.

A 7 inches touchscreen LCD with resolution of 800 x 480 p will be use as the main

display and user input device. Having the touchscreen function this grants the end user to

have a more convenient and easier access to the prototype.

The solid state relay to be used has an output current of 40A and input voltage of

3-32V DC and 80-250V AC. It has a trigger current of 7.5 mA and a voltage drop of 1.6V.

Three circuit breaker will be used, with a 2 pole, 220V and a 60A capacity.

The project will not serve as a distribution meter and an anti-meter tampering

detector and has no capability to detect jumper or pilferages. The device has no capability

to notify users about the load balance of the GSM module. It is the user’s responsibility to

check the balance of the module. The mobile application is delimited only for phones

running on android operating system with KitKat versions and higher.

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Power Cap Limiter with Android Application
Magadia, DA., Magbuhat, JK., Vidal, AM.

Significance of the Study

In summary, the study for the design and development of the prototype will focus

for the improvement and betterment quality of life. The study is specifically significant to

the following:

To the End User. Budgeting is a critical point in their living, and electric

consumption is an important factor that affects their financial status. The researchers

sought that the prototype will be a solution on the problem for it has the features of setting

a desired consumable amount of electric consumption for it will prevent the consumers to

have an extra electric bill charge.

To the Apartment Tenants and Owners. Having different rooms and units,

owners or tenants have a hard time on monitoring their exact electric consumption, it

results on buying an additional Digital Electric Meters that are expensive. The prototype

offers a function of monitoring the electric consumption not only for a single unit but it can

handle multiple units depending on the consumers.

To the Distant Consumer. The prototype also has GSM-modules that can be

assessible even in other locations that has cellular signals. This can help the consumer in

controlling the device in longer distances. You can also track a high electric consumption

in case the consumer left an appliance open because the prototype offers a Realtime

reading and monitoring. The prototype comes with a password for authorization to

promote security purposes for electric stealing or unattended use of electricity via illegal

wiretapping to the household.

To Batangas State University. The Prototype is a development of the latter

project of Meralco, the GSM-operated Electric Meter. With the proper exposure outside

the campus, the project can represent the university in Invention Expose or
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Power Cap Limiter with Android Application
Magadia, DA., Magbuhat, JK., Vidal, AM.

TECHNOPRENEURSHIP programs, for our prototype promotes energy efficiency and

easier distant electric consumption monitoring to improve human’s quality of life.

To the Electrical Engineering Department of Batangas State University. The

prototype will be a great contribution for the university and as well as an achievement for

our department. The production of new ideas also donates good reputation, concurrently

this help our department to have a high prospect that can encourage new aspiring

electrical engineering students to join our program.

To the Electrical Engineering Students. As the pioneer of Power Cap Limiter

with Android Application in the department, this prototype can become an actual

application in study of Electrical Engineering. This will also contribute on student’s

additional understanding and basic principles regarding Microcontrollers.

To the Future Researchers. The prototype can open new opportunities and new

rooms for improvement to the next researchers. This can serve as a feasible reference

and a strong foundation to guide them in their future project or research

To the Researchers. Significantly, the experience itself regarding the prototype

will enhance the researcher’s knowledge in electrical-electronics engineering field. This

will help the researchers to contribute facts regarding single-board computer Programming

and creation of Mobile Applications.

Definition of Terms

For clear understanding of the study, the following terms were defined.

Android Application. An Android app is a software application running on the

Android platform. Because the Android platform is built for mobile devices, a typical
Android app is designed for a smartphone or a tablet PC running on the Android OS.

Cap. To put a limit on expenses or amounts charged. [8]

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Power Cap Limiter with Android Application
Magadia, DA., Magbuhat, JK., Vidal, AM.

Circuit Breaker. Protective electrical switch that turns itself off (trips) to interrupt

flow of electricity, if the current exceeds a preset limit. When the current returns to normal,

the circuit breaker is either manually or automatically reset for reuse. [9]

Current Sensor. A current sensor is a device that detects electric current in a wire

and generates a signal proportional to that current. The generated signal could be analog

voltage or current or even a digital output. The generated signal can be then used to

display the measured current in an ammeter or can be stored for further analysis in a data

acquisition system. [10]

Electric Meter. An electric meter is a device which is used to measure the

consumption of electrical power supplied to a consumer. [11]

GSM Module. A GSM module is a chip or circuit that will be used to establish

communication between a mobile device or a computing machine and a GSM system. It

requires a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card just like mobile phones to activate

communication with the network. [12]

LCD. Liquid crystal display is the technology used for displaying readings

continuously, as on digital watches, portable computers, and calculators, using a liquid

crystal film, sealed between glass plates, that changes its optical

properties when a voltage is applied. [13]

LiPo. A lithium-ion polymer battery, is a rechargeable battery of lithium-

ion technology using a polymer electrolyte instead of a liquid one. These batteries provide

a higher specific energy than other lithium-battery types and are being used in

applications, where weight is a critical feature - like tablet computers, cellular or

telephone handsets.

Microcontroller. A microcontroller is a self-contained system with peripherals,

memory and a processor that can be used as an embedded system. Most programmable
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Power Cap Limiter with Android Application
Magadia, DA., Magbuhat, JK., Vidal, AM.

microcontrollers that are used today are embedded in other consumer products or

machinery. [15]

Power Cap Limiter. Are devised for the automatic disconnection of power from

the circuit of single-phase wiring systems once the rated power consumption of the

receivers incorporated into the system is exceeded. [16]

Python Programming Language. Phyton is an interpreted, object-oriented

programming language that has gained popularity because of its clear syntax and

readability. [17]

Raspberry Pi. A Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized computer originally designed

for education. The Raspberry Pi is slower than a modern laptop or desktop but is still a

complete computer and can provide all the expected abilities that implies, at a low-power

consumption level. [18]

Smart Meter. A device that allows consumers to monitor energy consumption on

a regular basis and in real-time. In theory customers should be encouraged to turn off

appliances when not in use. Consequently, these actions should result in lower electricity

bills. The meters also send information about energy use straight to the suppliers to

generate more accurate billing. [19]

Solid State Relay. A Solid State Relay or Contactor (SSR or SSC) is an electronic

component that switches Power (AC or DC current) to a load circuit and provides electrical

isolation between an application's control circuit and load circuit. [20]

Submeter. Allows property owners who supply utilities to their tenants the ability

to account for each tenant’s usage in measurable terms. By fairly billing each tenant for

their portion, sub metering promotes conservation and offsets the expense of bills

generated from a master meter. [21]