Author Topic: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation  (Read 17523 times)

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Online EEVblog

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Installing a home energy monitoring and reporting system on Dave's home solar power system.
The 3G based wireless Connect 23 from Solar Analytics:
https://www.solaranalytics.com.au/
Designed & Manufactured by WattWatchers:
http://wattwatchers.com.au/

 

Offline mux

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2016, 10:26:24 pm »
First off; I'm thoroughly amazed that thing is legal! It's got dicky 4A screw terminals to hook up the power! What kind of bullshit is that?



They're not even the shielded kind! You can stick a screwdriver in there and get a high energy event going, especially with an inverter in island mode!

Also, this is NOT how you wire up something outside of the house



I'm amazed that a country so in danger of burning down at any moment has such lax regulations on electrical equipment and installations, apparently. This wouldn't fly under IEC(6)1010, ever.
 

Offline timgiles

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2016, 10:37:05 pm »
Would be interesting to see what the saving that 9600 dollar battery would have given you.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 10:50:01 pm by timgiles »
 
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Offline station240

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2016, 10:58:35 pm »
Yeah Tesla Powerwall was in the news recently, they announced they made 2500+ Powerwalls this past quarter.
That's something like 28 per day, not good.

Plenty of people that preordered a Powerwall that have heard nothing, or just the odd email about we'll contact you soon to arrange a install date.

Tesla are very secretive about what is in the Powerwall, I don't think they want you poking around to figure out how it works.
It's a worry when the indepth information you find on such an expensive item, is on 3rd party websites.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2016, 11:49:35 pm »
First off; I'm thoroughly amazed that thing is legal! It's got dicky 4A screw terminals to hook up the power! What kind of bullshit is that?

I'm not sure if that's sarcastic or not?
You do know this doesn't actually carry any significant current, right?
 

Offline abaxas

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2016, 01:46:38 am »
My god, that fusebox box thingy is savage. A level of shonkiness that would even scare the Chinese!
 
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Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2016, 01:51:28 am »
What is shonky about it?

I admit it doesn't present any industrial neatness, but there's nothing exposed - and it gets protected when the board is secured.  Never seen or touched in normal activity.

I have not seen inside many of these - but there are worse.
 

Offline elliottveares

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2016, 02:08:27 am »
Wow, the distribution board looks a mess inside Dave! No nice DIN rail mounted MCB's in a line with nice neat wiring. That RCD (left to the Export meter) also looks rather old; what circuits does it protect? Is it current or voltage operated?

 

Offline RGB255_0_0

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2016, 02:28:19 am »
That thing would give PhotonicInduction a heart attack  :-DD

What is labelling, exactly? All those cables flapping in the breeze and looks like there's no strain relief on them.

Anyway, was an interesting video/advert.
Your toaster just set fire to an African child over TCP.
 

Offline mux

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2016, 02:40:45 am »
First off; I'm thoroughly amazed that thing is legal! It's got dicky 4A screw terminals to hook up the power! What kind of bullshit is that?

I'm not sure if that's sarcastic or not?
You do know this doesn't actually carry any significant current, right?

Hm, in that case it's slightly okayisher, but still really not done to use removable screw terminals for medium voltage. It's not good design, that should just have been a standard DIN bus bar screw terminal.

It'd also be nice if you responded to the comments about that horrid wiring job in the distribution box. I haven't seen that in decades; even my brother's 1970s 10x renovated and crappily rewired house at least had a standard DIN panel with bus bars and proper marking.

You know you're going to get absolutely lynched over this kind of stuff if you're critical of less-than-perfect design in product reviews, and have told us this for over 5 years already, right? This isn't excusable stuff.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2016, 03:15:54 am »
The rewireable fuse! Nothing a semi decent DIN rail surface box to replace all those randomly placed breakers ( you can at least run it through the back directly) and then at least route all the cables ( solid core cable, best not to flex it too much) into a loom along the hinge of the SRBP board.

Probably a move of the 2 meters to the right of the panel, removing the old meter and the ripple controller, that thing under the meter with the big blue Siemens capacitor visible through the window, it is an entirely electromechanical device that responds to a tone transmitted via the power lines for a neighbourhood, here in South Africa they were used to do street light switching, replaced by remote photocells doing group switching and now slowly being upgraded as the wiring is transferring from copper to ABC aluminium cabling with individual photocells per lamp. Then the 2 meters move into that space, and you have enough room to put in a decent 2 or 3 DIN rail box, which will allow you to have the incoming breaker, solar inverter breakers, RCD or two and then more breakers so each room can have it's own breaker for sockets, and separate lighting breakers, with room for more expansion ( or the monitor) as needed.

The panel rear then looks neater ( no knitting randomly going around and shonky cables every which way) and you will have a neater panel along with a neater box.

But, as I was told, I work too neatly to be an electrician. Can't help it too much as I was trained as an Instrument Tech, and there I had to make neat wiring and tie it up properly.  I tend to use a lot of cable ties, generally 200 per panel, just to get the wiring neat and tidy, at least for the first round, additions often tend to be tied to the existing runs, and I sometimes do not remove the redundant ties.

But Dave is not able to touch his own wiring, he needs to call an electrician ( as per state rules) to change a light bulb!
 

Offline Razor512

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2016, 04:10:21 am »
For the tesla power wall, I feel that it is a bad investment at its current cost. Lithium Ion batteries do not last forever, and they lose capacity with each charge cycle. Due to its use case, it will go through many charge cycles per year, and it is not worth having a unit that will fail to cover its own costs within its lifespan, or fail right as it reached a break even point, in those situations, you are putting in extra work, adding more points of failure, and getting nothing in turn other than shifting where your money goes rather than saving it.

Remember, when a battery system, it is not a simple calculation of capacity to match your usage, it is complex as the capacity figure is always changing, thus the rate at which it offsets its own cost, does down with each cycle. Think of it like an MMORPG where you level up quickly at first, but each increasing level requires exponentially more XP, thus progress slows, in the case of the battery (if put in MMORPG terms) the total XP needed to reach the break even level might be a fixed number, but with each charge cycle, the amount of XP gained when attempting to reach that level gets smaller.
Think of it like saving up for a new car, while the workplace gives you a pay cut every 2 weeks; the amount of progress made becomes less and less over time.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 04:12:10 am by Razor512 »
 

Offline Laertes

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2016, 04:36:22 am »
Hmm, I wonder: when did you build your house(or when was it built, if you bought it)? Because I'm pretty sure that kind of "free flow" distribution box wouldn't have been acceptable in Germany from like the mid eighties onward, and I wouldn't expect many electricians to touch one of these setups for doing additions - they would probably all tell you to rip it all out and replace it by a "proper" DIN-Rail based box, do the wiring and labeling "right" etc.

Then again, the germans have been known to completely gild the lily when it comes to regulations and norms - Daves box does seem to be safe enough to do the job, can't see any reason to worry about it in the video. It just looks a bit ugly is all.

Also, if you don't do that regularly already, make sure you test that GFCI. These things can and do(albeit rarely under those kinds of conditions) fail and that one looks pretty old...
 

Offline donmr

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2016, 06:25:43 am »
Can you explain that current transformer better (or show another picture)?

I see 2 wires going thru the hole, into and outof the circuit breaker.  Won't the currents just cancel each other?
 

Offline The Soulman

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2016, 08:50:23 am »
Wow never knew these panels even existed! I've seen some shabby stuff but this is far more worse than the worsted boxes (yes boxes) I've ever seen (including Belgium).
It may have the proper gauge wires and all but come on..  :palm:
Please let someone send something decent in the mailbag:

 

Online Someone

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2016, 08:53:00 am »
But Dave is not able to touch his own wiring, he needs to call an electrician ( as per state rules) to change a light bulb!
You can work on the wiring but it requires an licensed electrician to certify it, and there is no issue with replacing bulbs or other plug in equipment.
 

Online Someone

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2016, 08:56:37 am »
For the tesla power wall, I feel that it is a bad investment at its current cost.
It greatly depends on the specific situation, where people require (demand/expect etc) to have electricity 100% of the time it can be good value. As a load balancer as its being marketed at the moment, there is a negative rate of return for most people.
 

Online Someone

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2016, 09:50:00 am »
Wow, the price was a surprise. It will be trying to compete against smart meters as they become routine in NSW but pricing for those is still in the imaginary stage of a project.
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2016, 09:52:33 am »
The metering and switchboard may not look pretty but it is obviously not to difficult to work on. Plenty of space.
It has probably been there over 30 years and so probably only fair to compare it with other installations of that age. 
Obviously they don't put fuses in anymore but they are quite legal to keep in an existing installation.
That RCD does look a bit dated.
It would be expensive to get it upgraded though, because the metering would need sorting out too.

As far as the web ui goes, I don't think it would be too hard to make the graphs zoomable. Html 5 Jquery api.
 

Offline orion242

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2016, 10:12:36 am »
Don't look too awful to me.  At first I thought the panel everything was mounted to was metal.  Conductors just going through that would have been troubling.  Plenty of half assed installs here that are far more scary that this.

What surprises me is the number of breakers.  Here in the US 30-42 space panels are pretty much the norm on anything built in the last ~20yrs.  Most use 75% or more of the available spaces.  Looks like that panel only had about a half dozen.

Do you have other sub panels in the house or is that it?  How many sqft is your house?
 

Online Someone

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2016, 11:05:51 am »
Do you have other sub panels in the house or is that it?  How many sqft is your house?
Thats a very normal layout for an Australian installation, even large houses might have only 2 lighting and 2 power point circuits.

You often see just 4x 16A or 20A circuits:
Oven
Hot Water
GPOs
Lights

And then additional if renovations were done or its a newer install:
Air Conditioner/Heater
Kitchen/Bathroom
Swimming Pool

Here are some examples of modern installs probably done in the last 20 years:
http://www.sundayenergy.com.au/solar-news/is-my-house-single-phase-or-three-phase
and guides about replacing fuse wire for laughs:
http://athomerentals.com.au/news/article/how_to_replace_a_blown_fuse
 

Offline Dan Moos

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2016, 11:25:59 am »
Add me to the list of folks caught off guard by your panel. Is this what panels are like in Australia? Electrical considerations aside, it just seems inefficient spacewise, and messy aesthetically.

The comment about some panels lacking room for expansion due to widely spaced layouts more or less sums up my distaste for yours. In the U.S., the breakers are in a modular layout that pretty much enforced maximum space efficiency. Also, instead of a random ratsnest of wires, it would have the wires coming in in a way almost like a well done PCB.
Have you ever seen a panel  in the U.S.? I'm legitimately curious what your thoughts are here, because to me, yours looks like what you would call a " bodge"
 

Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2016, 11:43:09 am »
From my (casual) observations, DIN rail systems are not to be found in most Aussie households - especially of older homes - unless there's been a rewire.  I expect they are a lot more common in new construction.

Dave's board is pretty typical.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2016, 11:46:02 am »
Electrical considerations aside, it just seems inefficient spacewise, and messy aesthetically.

The comment about some panels lacking room for expansion due to widely spaced layouts more or less sums up my distaste for yours.

From what I understand, a lot of electricians don't often think too much about future board use.  They just see a spot where they can mount their gear quickly and easily - and that's where it goes.  Shuffling stuff around to make something new fit will be the next guy's problem.
 

Offline orion242

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Re: EEVblog #877 - Solar Analytics Home Energy Monitoring Installation
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2016, 11:52:43 am »
Do you have other sub panels in the house or is that it?  How many sqft is your house?
Thats a very normal layout for an Australian installation, even large houses might have only 2 lighting and 2 power point circuits.

You often see just 4x 16A or 20A circuits:
Oven
Hot Water
GPOs
Lights

And then additional if renovations were done or its a newer install:
Air Conditioner/Heater
Kitchen/Bathroom
Swimming Pool

Here are some examples of modern installs probably done in the last 20 years:
http://www.sundayenergy.com.au/solar-news/is-my-house-single-phase-or-three-phase
and guides about replacing fuse wire for laughs:
http://athomerentals.com.au/news/article/how_to_replace_a_blown_fuse

Its 230v over there so I guess that's 2x the power at the outlet as here.

I just think of a 1500w microwave and the wife's hair dryer... that's a blown circuit there.  Table saw, air compressor, shop vac, fridge, freezer, etc.  @ 120v not too many of these can share a circuit.
 


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