I would like to try solar heating in the future. I currently use natural gas for space heating and water heating. I know my total gas consumption, but would like to be able to find out how much each appliance consumes. Flow meters are too expensive.
Can I use the ir/motion sensor from a light to monitor when the flame on the water heater comes on? Can I use an old, 10 mhz, 286 computer to monitor the on/off cycle, or would a 120 mhz Pent. be better for this job? ( Future expansion for solar system controls possible ? ) Is there a better/best difference between using serial, parallel or game port? ( I cannot afford a $ 1,000.00 system for DAQ hardware and software from Omega.) Is software for this type of system available ( DOS, WIN or LIN ), or should I learn Q Basic and try to write my own DAQ software? Are there better options? Am I asking the right questions?