Circuit Panel breakers that report usage loads and status


(Aaronsmith) #1

For about 15 years or so I’ve wondered why no one has come up with the idea to put a communications device (hopefully now zigbee/zwave or wifi) embedded chip into the standard circuit breakers that are in everyone’s home main distribution panel… Think of this… the Kill-o-Watt  meters that show you when a plug is using how much energy. I would so love to replace all my breaker switches with a switch that had a Zigbee or Wifi addressable IP interface to my home LAN so that software on my PC/Smartphone-device could report which circuit in the house was using what power and when (total power, which times, etc)  – The breaker could have a simple set of LEDs on the front of it showing from off (black) to red (heavy usage) and even breaker tripped (flashing red/etc)… This is not that complex… What is important is that is is standardized with and API and XML reporting data that any software can read into and display.

I can not buy a USB Wirelesss N device (both 2.4ghz and 5.x ghz) coverage for $22… As things get smaller and more adaptable, I really hope someone reads this and thinks about developing a reporting Kill-o-watt breaker switch that can fit in the panel of any home’s breaker box and give us info on what is happening with the circuit.

I come from the horrible world in the 90’s where I tried to outfit my house with X10 devices (powerline). There are just garbage. I want a simple universal set of devices (wall switches, power plugs, etc) that only add $2 to the cost of the device… To do this you need everyone from Leviton to home depot to agree on a standard model and mass produce it… Everyone needs to stop competing and come together for a standard that can be adopted buy all.


(Duncan) #2

Aeon Labs makes a Z-Wave energy meter that goes in the circuit box:

http://www.smarthome.com/75505/Aeon-Labs-DSB09104-ZWUS-Z-Wave-Home-Energy-Monitor/p.aspx

http://aeotec.com/z-wave-home-energy-measure/135-home-energy-meter-manual-instructions.html

We haven’t tested this yet, but we’re almost done adding energy meter support, so if it works like Aeon’s plug-in energy meter it should work with SmartThings soon.


(dhsemp) #3

This would be awesome – rather than monitor just the main phases coming into your house – why not design a Internet of Things (IoT) compatible 20/30amp breaker for the fuse box – that way each circuit could be monitored independently – now that would be awesome. Right? - Derek


(Henning) #5

I agree this is a super idea. I have looked into several solutions but nothing as clean as mentioned by aaronsmith.
In my case I have a solar array and looking into adding a very small battery backup. If the main power goes out, I want to be able to detect that and cut power to certain breakers. A good example is something like a spa that doesn’t need to be running and drawing high current from a small backup battery. Just enough to run select appliances like freezers. The current z-wave energy meters are good to see power overall, but it would be much more valuable if you can monitor and control each breakers power consumption independently.


(Ray) #6

They do have such device. Just not cost effective for residential or consumer grade. It’s an overload/underload remote reset contractor. Siemens and Schneider and a bunch of other companies make them. I installed many of these on commercial HVAC and motor control. They are PLC controlled and can easily be integrated in ST but very expensive and hard to do with a finished house. As for having all these inside a circuit breaker. It’s not going to happen anytime soon. It’s a safety thing and no company is going to take that reliability with residential. You are not going to be able to get rid of your circuit breaker even in a commercial industry.


(Jon Hodgson) #7

It looks like these might be on the horizon! Eaton is field testing new smart breakers:
http://www.eaton.com/FTC/utilities/EMCB/index.htm

They’ve been working on this for a few years, here is an earlier incarnation:

It would be so sweet if they released these. Until then, I think i’m going to get TED
http://www.theenergydetective.com/