Smart Solar/Battery

svetz

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My battery isn't even installed yet and I already have a love/hate relationship with it. The problem is it isn't an endless supply of power, it needs to be managed. When the sun is out the panels can charge it back up and supply power to the house. But when the grid is out I should turn/off big consumers when they aren't needed to conserve battery power.

The Problem
If the circuit breakers are off for the water heater or electric car, then when there is excess solar power Enphase will throttle back the inverters causing wasted power. But, if I leave them on and there's no sun I'm wasting battery power.

The Solution
Long ago I posted this smart panel thread as way to overcome that. With monitoring software, it doesn't seem to hard (e.g., use a sensor to determine the solar radiation to calculate what the panels could be generating, determine how much is currently being consumed (including recharging the battery), then remotely flip on/off devices.

The Questions
What tech should be used
for remotely turning devices off and on? For example, these are the ones I know about:
  • X-10 - uses the house's wiring to send signals. Might have issues as Enphase changes the frequency or interference with powerline communications to inverters. No acknowledgements.
  • Z-Wave - 908.42 MHz radio frequency (U.S.), mesh network, doesn't interfere with WiFi
  • Zigbee - 2.4 GHz meshed, could interfere with bluetooth and WiFi
  • Bluetooth - poor range
  • WiFi - increasing devices decreases overall throughput

Device recommendations?
There's no end to the cheap UL listed WiFi 120V plugs at 15 amps. But what UL device should be used for those 240V 30 amp circuits?
What would be ideal would be to replace the circuit breakers with a Smart circuit breakers. You can find such breakers in HomeDepot, but they're expensive and take special load centers, not simple replacements of existing breakers AFAIK.

Related Links
 
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Supervstech

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You could use an endless 120v and hook it to a transformer and use a relay to switch the 240v load.
 

Steve_S

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Do search for "Smart Circuit Breakers" they come in many flavours & varieties and not all need a smart panel for installation.
Some can be incorporated into a whole home management system as well, such as Home.Assistant. https://www.home-assistant.io/ Check THEIR Support List for devices.

Here is something else that may twig you thinking too... It's indirectly related but if you look closely, I am sure you'll the possibilities & potentials.

Also cheek out Andreas Speiss on YT, he really loves automation and making it work in the most creative & inventive ways and on the cheap too...
 

svetz

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...You could use an 120v [WiFi switch] and hook it to a transformer and use a relay to switch the 240v load...
That was my first thought too, but there's not a convenient 120 outlet near the water heater. Haven't looked, but if there's a neutral wire in the conduit I could make one (don't want to use the ground obviously).

...Smartthings ...[and]... Aeotec
So $162, $100 for the switch and $63 for the hub? Have to admit ZWave does sound like the best tech and having a SmartThings hub would allow me to do a number of other automation projects.

...Do search for "Smart Circuit Breakers" ...
Did that, but got tons of bad hits hiding potentially useful products. Plus it's worth a lot if someone says "I use this xyz in my SquareD, replaced a 30 amp QO breaker and it's worked great for years". Searched the Andreas Spiess videos for "breaker", but no hits. I'll keep hunting around and post if I find anything.
 

svetz

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Smart Panel... this is way cool... but not looking to replace the existing load center (illustrated explanation) and not sure if it has a public API.

 
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jwu_cc

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svetz

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Insteon looks similar to jwu_cc's SmartThings solution except it uses RF and powerline as a backup. ETL. Doesn't appear to be as mainstream.
$80 Hub
$50 Relay - 30 amps @ 240V, sold out though.
 

svetz

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So $162, $100 for the switch and $63 for the hub? Have to admit ZWave does sound like the best tech and having a SmartThings hub would allow me to do a number of other automation projects.
Looks like the $45 Z stick could be used to replace the SmartThings hub in jwu_cc's solution, but the SmartHub brings a lot of stuff to the party so I'm not sure it's actually a good value.

Also ran across z-wave fan controls, which would solve another problem... Unless someone comes up with something else this will probably be the way I go.
 

tictag

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From an overall solution perspective, switching loads via the consumer panel is a much more elegant solution than having multiple switched devices all over the house with differing connectivity and control needs. I'm not recommending or even suggesting the Levinton system, but something like it integrated into services like ifttt.com, would offer vast configuration options.
 

svetz

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I agree, not sure why someone hasn't come out with wifi/zwave/etc. replacement circuit breaker (or I'm just not searching in the right places).
 

Steve_S

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I agree, not sure why someone hasn't come out with wifi/zwave/etc. replacement circuit breaker (or I'm just not searching in the right places).
??


There are more as well, try using duckduckgo search engine too.

! NOTE ! If you go tis route get 1 or 2 spares in case needed, they won't be available at your local hardware store.
 

svetz

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Thank you for the video and links...

I found the Eaton Babbrsp1020 in the video (for the low price of $400 :unsure:), but that's a contactor/breaker; the wires coming out are hooked to a wireless gizmo to control it - so not quite the all-in-one and a bit pricey.

The devices linked below that do have the wireless built in... but they not going to fit in my circuit breaker (need QO replacements), for the most part they look like they're designed for DIN rails.
 
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svetz

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Tried Steve_S's advice of using duckduckgo, pretty impressive, still nothing in a qo replacement format that I saw.

Might be asking too much of it... after all... it would need to be fantastically reliable and still fit into a 3/4" x 2.3" x 4" package. It would also need the breaker, the wifi, the brain, and some mechanism (motor or magnetics?) to flip it. Bonus would be to have a CT sensor to report the current flow. I can see why the first versions are a load center replacement, the brain and communications can all be shared, the breaker need only be a contactor style breaker.

Checked kickstarter and goFundMe to see if there were any crowd-sourcing projects, but didn't find any.
 

Steve_S

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DuckDuckGo is an excellent Search Engine and quite often it can locate things that google just cannot. It also does not track your butt with every click ! There are additional features / functionality too (check the images tab). Many sites now block Google robots too but not so much for duckduckgo.

Fingers crossed that you find what your looking for. I think that this is a whole series of products that will become considerably bigger as more & more want to incorporate Smart Home Tech right down into their home power management. Geez, things have change a heap load since I first played with X10 way back in the early days... IoT was still a wild fantastic futuristic dream for a time far in the future.... LOL.
 

svetz

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... I think that this is a whole series of products that will become considerably bigger as more & more want to incorporate Smart Home Tech right down into their home power management. Geez, things have change a heap load since I first played with X10 way back in the early days... IoT was still a wild fantastic futuristic dream for a time far in the future.... LOL....

Agreed... I can easily see some young entrepreneur who knows the latest in RF (ghostwriter66?) and mechanical engineering saying these old farts just don't understand nickle priced CPUs with builtin RF can fit on the head of a pin these days and start a crowd funded project.
 

tim0shel

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I've been using Hubitat for my smart home and also if someone is interested in an Z-stick I have another one I'd sale. But seems like home assistant with an raspberry or Hubitat would be great to use.
 

sunloverjt

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LoRa is also an interesting RF communication standard, albeit still within patent. Adafruit has a number of such smart solar box .


Couldn't agree more than this. I have used LoRa with Arduino and it works like a charm for me.

I have used two LoRa modules and two Arduino Boards to send data from one board and receive it on the other.

Thanks for your input!
 
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