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  1. #1
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    Default CBI Smart Breakers

    I think this is the right place for this. In order to try and optimise my solar use, I have installed 3 of these CBI smart widgets on my geysers and one on the pool pump.

    I got the sparky to do the setup, but these things are about as wide as 2 normal CBI breakers however they need both live and neutral into the top, unlike a normal breaker, so one does need to fiddle a little to make it all work. Don't get your sparky to install when you are away like I did as the missus had a cold bath the next am.

    Once I got back, I was able to get them running on the app which you download on the apple app store, and presumably also for the android. I did have to move a wifi repeater into the garage. Our DB board is also an all steel affair, which makes it a bit of a faraday cage, but nevertheless we are getting enough bandwidth to control things.

    I am trying to make sure that my geysers come on in sequence during the day while I have max solar power and, much the same with the pool pump. Then I give the main geyser, that services the madams chambers, a quick hour top up around 04h00 to ensure there is not too much maternal unhappiness for the am showers.

    I was caught out yesterday am, by the vermin teenager that showered for no less than 20mins and I stepped into a nice cold shower when I attempted to freshen up.

    I have since identified which breaker controls which geyser and this am was better. My son may have had a cold shower, but at least I beat him to it.

    I must say that this seems to be an essential next step in optimising the use of your daily solar generation and so far, despite the learning, I am quite happy with the way it is going. One can setup other conditions such as switching on wind and sun and temp etc, but I have not explored this at all. I am sure there are other options for achieving a similar level of automation, but so far this is delivering on my expectations and seems to work pretty well. If you go this route you are also supporting a SA manufacturing concern, which i am quite partial to these days.

    Anyway, I would say that if you are considering some more automation to get the best out of your solar generation, this may be worth your time investment to have a gander at. Obviously I cannot comment on their long term durability yet, as they will be switching under load pretty much every time they operate, but based on their breaker performance, I am cautiously optimistic.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Please post a link for this product..

  3. #3
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Apologies. This is what I was on about.
    https://www.cbi-lowvoltage.co.za/asc-qr

    I have only got the breakers as this stage. I have just noticed that I am not able to talk to them during the current power failures. This seems to be an issue as I am wanting to heat my geysers.

    I also noted that if you skip a step, it does not recover it. So we had a power failure this am and now another power failure (load shedding) and because the one geyser missed its switch on time, it does not go back and recover it. Anyway, its all still quite exciting at this stage as I am learning quite a bit. These breakers also give you a daily consumption which is quite handy if you like that sort of thing.

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenplumb View Post
    Apologies. This is what I was on about.
    https://www.cbi-lowvoltage.co.za/asc-qr

    I have only got the breakers as this stage. I have just noticed that I am not able to talk to them during the current power failures. This seems to be an issue as I am wanting to heat my geysers.

    I also noted that if you skip a step, it does not recover it. So we had a power failure this am and now another power failure (load shedding) and because the one geyser missed its switch on time, it does not go back and recover it. Anyway, its all still quite exciting at this stage as I am learning quite a bit. These breakers also give you a daily consumption which is quite handy if you like that sort of thing.
    Did you in fact check that you set the unit to continue it's cycle when the power recovers. Or the setting that it must go On or Off when power recover.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    Did you in fact check that you set the unit to continue it's cycle when the power recovers. Or the setting that it must go On or Off when power recover.
    Nou via jy a ding? I will have to go digging to see if i can find such a setting.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenplumb View Post
    Nou via jy a ding? I will have to go digging to see if i can find such a setting.
    Dis hoe die Sonoff werk.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    I'm using Sonoff timers for a lot of different appliances.
    They don't have a 30A option though... so I built my own.
    Working great.

    Would like to get a better one in the future.
    Willem Louw
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenplumb View Post
    Nou via jy a ding? I will have to go digging to see if i can find such a setting.
    There is no such setting.
    If the power goes off while the unit is switched on then it stays off till the next cycle.
    Very dumb unit but it works and is rated for 30A
    Last edited by Woolf; 2021/06/02 at 03:45 PM.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Well i was in Dbn over the weekend and it seems that all the breakers went offline? not sure if this was the main fiddling, or just loss of internet or both? Either way, when I got back I had to go back through the whole re-synching process and I see that I have since lost 2 of the four I have in use. Dodgy wifi in the garage and with the breaker box being a steel faraday cage, it is not helping.

    I have a local access point/extender in the garage, but I suspect wifi problems are the root of my issue, but they have been reliable up to this weekend.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by W3771M View Post
    I'm using Sonoff timers for a lot of different appliances.
    They don't have a 30A option though... so I built my own.
    Working great.
    Would you care to share how you achieved this?

    Thanks
    Last edited by jcdup; 2021/06/10 at 07:21 AM.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by jcdup View Post
    Would you care to share how you achieved this?

    Thanks
    Small relay driving a contractor or bigger relay. Pretty standard when you want to switch some power through a small system. Just have to watch for Back EMF if you are driving big relays and contractors as they can blow digital lines quite easily.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenplumb View Post
    Small relay driving a contractor or bigger relay. Pretty standard when you want to switch some power through a small system. Just have to watch for Back EMF if you are driving big relays and contractors as they can blow digital lines quite easily.
    Is back EMF really a problem on these timers it they drive an AC 220V relay?
    The output stage is via a relay inside the timer.
    Last edited by ekkekan; 2021/06/10 at 09:36 PM.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenplumb View Post
    Small relay driving a contractor or bigger relay. Pretty standard when you want to switch some power through a small system. Just have to watch for Back EMF if you are driving big relays and contractors as they can blow digital lines quite easily.
    Thanks!

  15. #14
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenplumb View Post
    Small relay driving a contractor or bigger relay. Pretty standard when you want to switch some power through a small system. Just have to watch for Back EMF if you are driving big relays and contractors as they can blow digital lines quite easily.
    Is is advisable to separate the power switching contactors from your control device. So if you install the contactors in the main incomer DB and control them from another panel which has the sensitive equipment..

  16. #15
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Mackay View Post
    So if you install the contactors in the main incomer DB and control them from another panel which has the sensitive equipment..
    So when the control module is connected to the grid as well as the contactor do you still do as indicated?

  17. #16
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    Is back EMF really a problem on these timers it they drive an AC 220V relay?
    The output stage is via a relay inside the timer.
    All depends how you are driving them.

    A relay driver module, will usually cater for backEMF, however if you are using hobby grade electronics and using a digital ttl line to drive the relay you could easily blow it. Purely a precaution as I am sure there are lots of guys playing this space with arduinos and Pi's etc and they should just be aware that it is quite easy to blow digital lines with relays and contacts if you don't cater for a diode or two.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    I used a 80Amp Solid State Relay
    Click image for larger version. 

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    IMPORTANT With a heatsink
    Click image for larger version. 

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    And a DC Sonoff : https://eiferer.co.za/products/sonof...v-24v-diy-wifi
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The Sonoff uses a 5V DC power supply.
    The output triggers the Relay.
    Willem Louw
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  19. #18
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Could I use a standard sonoff basic R3 to switch the coil of a 220V contactor (something like the Schneider Electric Acti 9 iCT 4 Pole Contactor - 63 A, 230 V ac Coil, 4NO)? to control my geyser?

  20. #19
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by stephenplumb View Post
    Apologies. This is what I was on about.
    https://www.cbi-lowvoltage.co.za/asc-qr

    I have only got the breakers as this stage. I have just noticed that I am not able to talk to them during the current power failures. This seems to be an issue as I am wanting to heat my geysers.

    I also noted that if you skip a step, it does not recover it. So we had a power failure this am and now another power failure (load shedding) and because the one geyser missed its switch on time, it does not go back and recover it. Anyway, its all still quite exciting at this stage as I am learning quite a bit. These breakers also give you a daily consumption which is quite handy if you like that sort of thing.
    If your geyser is not wired to your inverter, yes then there is no power at the geyser during grid outage and the unit goes off line and you cannot talk to it despite your wifi still being up and running.

    Its own battery lasts a mere 15-20 minutes, if it even has one because this is how long it takes for me to get a notification from the unit that it is offline. Then you know the grid is down.

    Yes, it will not recover a missed step but continues with the next programmed step in the cycle.

    So not the cleverest unit, true. But this is a small price to pay for the convenience of programming it from your phone, anywhere you have internet signal.
    Nico Swart

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  21. #20
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    Default Re: CBI Smart Breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    So when the control module is connected to the grid as well as the contactor do you still do as indicated?
    Yes. The problem are the transients (voltages and fields) produced when switching heavy loads. (The flash that you see when the contactor operates.)
    These are big electrical spikes that get induced into all wiring in close proximity. It is like lightening on a smaller scale..
    Last edited by Richard Mackay; 2021/06/11 at 03:27 PM.

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