newbie data logging liquid flow meter/ and motor run time feasability

Hi everybody first time post and looking forward to building my first project.

I use an oil burning furnace at my home to heat hot water and run baseboard heat. During the summer months the furnace only runs to heat hot water of course. I'm wanting to build a project that would measure the amount of oil that would flow into the burner and measure how long the burner is turned on, log it to the computer for review to do a cost analyst to see if it's worth my effort to install an electric hot water heater and shut the furnace off during the summer months.

This is my first project any guidance on what flow meter would be capatible and any other hints would be appreciatted.


You don't provide details about your furnace but I guess you could measure the oil flow (probably light oil = diesel) with a flow meter like the following:

Sorry, the description is in german but all documents are in english, I use 3 of these with Arduino. You get the flow very precisely (1 tick/0.5 ml) and you could lift that with a little inlet. I don't know if you have a possibility to get the burner state (some contact should be available) but with the flow meter you get the time when it's consuming oil which is an approximation of the burning time.

I do a similar project, but with natural gas instead of oil, so flow meter was too complicated for me. There's just an on/off valve and pressure seems rather constant, so simply measuring the burner on time and scaling that with what my gas meter shows is sufficient for my needs.

Well, in your case there's probably no "official meter": ecactly telling the cost, but only human readable.

My problem is rather to read the existing temperature sensors (water temp, outside temp) without affecting the heating control system.

I decided to go for a RTC+SD card shield, instead of having a computer connected regularly. So my next issue will be to handle the case of sd card removed. Goal: buffer the data to be logged until card is available again.

Thank you gentleman for the replies the oilburner use a 1/4" flared fittings it would be simple for me to splice a similiar flow meter like pylon showed. A contact closure is easily available for a relay runs the oil pump, so getting a start and stop for the logging. I’m very intrigued by the SD card logging that michael x suggested. As a first time project it could be an interesting and ambititious project. Of course building the circuit is the first project, learning what to do with the data and turning it into real info that I can read on a spread sheet (excel) would be a whole new project.

I'd be a little nervous about splicing into the fuel pipe - there are fuel flow meters that are non invasive though. I'd assume that the burner consumes fuel at a constant rate, so as long as you have some means of measuring how much oil is in the tank, you can use Michael_x's method to count minutes of operation over a week or so & get a consumption rate. Then you just need to log run time and do the mathematics in Excel.