Detection of specific household appliances

Hi,

I'm new to this forum and I'm considering the possibility of using Arduino for my interactive artwork. What I would like to do is to detect the usage of household appliances like the electric kettle, microwave, refrigerator etc.

What I found from my initial research is that it is possible to switch appliances on and off using the Arduino but so far I haven't found a sensor which can be plugged into the normal power point and detects the electrical surge caused by the appliances usage and send an input signal wirelessly to Arduino board.

I would really appreciate it if someone could suggest to me what type of technology/sensors avaiable to do this? Thanks

what type of technology/sensors avaiable to do this

You need to look for AC current sensors. These are small transformers that you put the mains cable through so you would have to make an interface box with a mains plug on one end and a socket on the other. You would then need a radio link in each box as well, something like an Xbee. Also you will need to add a few components to join the two together. As you need one of these per device it can get quite expensive.

Hi thank you for your reply. So it is possible to do that. I saw this gadget online, it is a power meter that measures power usage of a household appliance.

http://jaycar.com.au/ShowLargephoto.asp?id=9554&IMAGE=

I wonder if anybody has make something like this which can transmit signal to arduino?

Check this out: http://www.ladyada.net/make/tweetawatt/

I monitor the total electricity used by my household, its possible to determine which appliances are in use by the total load with some degree of accuracy. Its difficult to spot the difference between the toaster and the microwave, because they use about the same and low electricity using appliances get lost in the noise. TV, computers,fridge, lights etc. But I can spot the kettle, oven, washing machine, tumble dryer and electric shower without too much difficulty.

http://pluggy.is-a-geek.com/arduino/index.html

The electricity use is measured by measuring how long it takes for the aluminium disk in the meter to rotate.