One of the most exciting parts of working at LabJack is knowing that we serve some of the most innovative, creative and renegade minds around the world. LabJack devices are used for many different types of applications but when we ship a LabJack we never quite know how it will be used and what type of projects it will aid.Can you spot the familiar little red case? LabJack is honored to be a part of this hardware configuration. Thanks Andy!
Located across the Ohio River from Cincinnati in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, Andy Schroder designed, engineered and created a cutting-edge open source project that we are excited to share with you. It combines bitcoin + the bitcoin lightning network, Tesla; the most beloved and talked about EV, and of course LabJack, to create an innovative solution that is private, secure and convenient for those wanting to charge their electric vehicles. Or alternatively turn those existing EV owners with private/residential charging stations into commercial nodes without having to turn into a full service charging station.
Andy, a LabJack user since 2014, wanted to direct his laser focus on bitcoin, his background in mechanical engineering, and his interest in energy infrastructure and electric vehicles to create the first of its kind network to allow Tesla owners to charge their vehicles on a peer to peer style network. Using this system, anyone with a EV wall charger could also use his system to generate income, especially in rural areas where charging stations are few and far between. We imagine that Airbnb or VRBO owners could offer this and immediately have a competitive advantage. In RV campgrounds adding distributed charge would encourage EV drivers to venture deeper into the rural parts of America without having to wait for a 3rd party to install charging stations. Furthermore RV campgrounds using distributed charge will enable the campground to charge more appropriately for usage, driving down costs for all campers. Right now, campgrounds need to charge for the max allowable energy someone could use per day. They do this because metering and then having an exact energy payment at checkout is too much of a nuisance. Automating it would change the situation. The technology could be used in campers as well to run their A/C, microwave, etc. It doesn't need to be used for just charging, but instead, any electrical load. Although LabJack hasn't figured out how to accept cryptocurrency (yet) and we don't own an EV; we couldn't resist sharing this with our audience.
" I've developed a set of prototype payment modules that allow for electric car charging by making real time machine to machine micropayments over the bitcoin lightning network from the car to the wall charging unit. You can learn more by watching the video below. "
LabJack interviewed Andy and asked him about his project, why he took the time to build this system and of course asked him more about how the LabJack is used in his system. Here is a few excerpts from our conversation:
LabJack: Why did you create "distributed charge," a first of its kind payment/charging solution?
Andy Schroder: "I hope this technology can help transition electrical energy production, distribution and consumption to a more open, decentralized and peer to peer marketplace."
LabJack: What is the LabJack helping to measure, automate or control specifically?
Andy S.: "There are various voltages that need to be measured on the charge port in order to determine its plugged/unplugged state before I can piggyback on the connector to transmit additional data. Once the charge port is ready for digital communication to occur, the LabJack is used to control a relay that connects my device to the charge port...which allows communication between the car and the charger and my module.
LabJack: When did you first start working with LabJack products?
Andy S. "I had already used the LabJack...I discovered it around 2014. I was looking for something that works on Linux and supports Python."
Why did you select LabJack over other hardware platforms?
"It's a lot more convenient for development than using a Raspberry Pi or a PLC because you can plug it into any type of computer." In addition Andy said that "It [LabJack] brings analog IO capabilities that the Raspberry Pi doesn't have built in."
Finally, one last shameless plug for the LabJack Legendary Support Engineers...
Andy S. "I'm sure I email your support team at least 4 times per year. So it definitely motivates me to buy more stuff [LabJacks] because they [LabJack Support Engineers] are responsive! Most companies don't hire a support team that knows what they are doing. I can tell you are a solid company whose managers know what your products are because otherwise they wouldn't dedicate the resources to a support team."
You can read more on this personal website including the full list of hardware, software and open source code. Andy understands this technology is early and needing improvement. He would love to hear suggestions, feedback and find ways to help this concept scale and become accessible to anyone with a Tesla or Wall charger, not just the talented and ambitious. We thank Andy for sharing his project with LabJack and letting us bring it to you. If you have a project you would like to be featured on a future edition of the LabJack blog email News@LabJack.com
Read More on AndySchroder.com