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don't buy SR609C geyser controllers


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Ok, so quite a few companies stock this geyser controller and it's being installed by many solar geyser installers as well. It's slightly cheaper than a geyserwise controller. sustainable and thesunpays are two common names in the industry who stock them. Rather get a geyserwise unit. 

I would not advise anyone to ever buy a SR609 / SR609C geyser controller. Why? 

- It's not SABS approved so you will probably have trouble replacing it through insurance. Your insurance may probably also deny your burst geyser payout.
- It plugs into a wall socket, and then have another power cable into the roof to the geyser. This might be fine for some people, but IMO a geyser should be permanently wired in such a way that un-informed people can't turn it off or fiddle with it. 
- The above point also mean, that if your insurace were to send out a plumber to fix a burst geyser, while you're on holiday (and your neighbor / family member / friend) watches the house, the plumbers might reject the job if there's no isolator in the roof - or worse, redo the wiring to be of correct standards. And then you might have to redo it when you get back. SO, one way around this issue is to run a power cable from the isolator in the roof to the geyser controller, and another one back to the geyser again. 
- it doesn't have a proper safe connection for geyser elements with push in terminals - commonly used on Kwikot, Franke, etc. i.e a "screw in" type element has two screw rerminals where you can connect the wires to. With these elements you connect the electrical wiring to the thermostat, which then push into the pocket and connect to the push-in terminals. You have to remove the thermostat to insert the SR609 thermostat, thus exposing the push-in terminals.
- The menu options on the screen are not that easy to understand or use. It's fine if you're a geek, but your mom and uncle will battle using it. 
- You can't activate the geyser element on demand. So, let's say your scheduled time-on is at 15:00 but you want to shower at 10:00am, you can't just active element at 8:00am. You need to set the timer to activate at 8:00am. There are three timers, so if you already have those set, you would have to change one of the timer's time settings to 8:00am. 



Geyserwise VS SR609C:

- Connecting the geyserwise to your geyser is much simpler. There's a small cable that goes down the wall, to the display unit. The rest of the equipment stays in the roof and get installed right next to the isolator. This makes a 3rd party plumber's work also much easier. 
- The geyserwise unit replace the existing thermostat with another one, built by Geyserwise for this purpose. i.e. it won't void your COC
- The geyserwise unit is SABS approved and insurance don't have a problem with them
- The geysewise unit allow you to activate they geyser element with a push of a button, instantly. 
- Lastly, the geyserwise menu options aren't Chinglish - you can actually understand it without consulting google or youtube. 

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57 minutes ago, SilverNodashi said:

- It plugs into a wall socket, and then have another power cable into the roof to the geyser. This might be fine for some people, but IMO a geyser should be permanently wired in such a way that un-informed people can't turn it off or fiddle with it. 

I'm pretty sure that's a SANS violation. Permanent installations get permanent wiring. There is some debate about air conditioners already, and a geyser is certainly more pernmanent than an AC!

Attached a picture a Sparky friend of mine posted. That's what a 9kbtu (ie small) AC did when left on 12 hours straight. Granted, poor quality socket... BUT... they are common, and someone is going to plug that controller into one of these somewhere...

16462969_1241859575902209_91128180729265980_o.jpg

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Question though? How about using the controller to power a contactor, and putting the contactor next to the geyser with isolator and what-not, plus bypass switch downstairs for overriding? I suppose that would be better, but the cost of the contactor would likely push you so far over that you might as well buy the Geyserwise instead :-)

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The problem is that when you get a solar contractor to install your solar geyser, they come and install it with the controller. If you look at the price you assume they are only installing the best and approved equipment. You ask them about the controller they tell you they have installed thousands of them and have not had a problem with them yet. 

1 hour ago, SilverNodashi said:

You can't activate the geyser element on demand.

You can. Press the top right button (Heating) twice. The set temperature will flash for 20 seconds and then switch on power to the element until the set temperature is reached. 

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Just now, plonkster said:

I'm pretty sure that's a SANS violation. Permanent installations get permanent wiring. There is some debate about air conditioners already, and a geyser is certainly more pernmanent than an AC!

Attached a picture a Sparky friend of mine posted. That's what a 9kbtu (ie small) AC did when left on 12 hours straight. Granted, poor quality socket... BUT... they are common, and someone is going to plug that controller into one of these somewhere...

16462969_1241859575902209_91128180729265980_o.jpg

My point exactly. 

But, in this case, if it drives a 2KW element, like this one does, then you're limited to 10A - 13A current draw - safe enough for a standard 16A plug. Problem lies with the non-permanent power arrangement and COC. So I ran some wires from the Isolator in the roof to the controller, and another one back to the element. 

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Just now, plonkster said:

Question though? How about using the controller to power a contactor, and putting the contactor next to the geyser with isolator and what-not, plus bypass switch downstairs for overriding? I suppose that would be better, but the cost of the contactor would likely push you so far over that you might as well buy the Geyserwise instead :-)

That's the problem! 

The SR609C cost R1095 @ thesunpays.co.za and a geysewise cost about R1200 from various websites. So the R115 saving won't even afford a contactor, which can cost anything between R200 and R800!

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8 minutes ago, Don said:

The problem is that when you get a solar contractor to install your solar geyser, they come and install it with the controller. If you look at the price you assume they are only installing the best and approved equipment. You ask them about the controller they tell you they have installed thousands of them and have not had a problem with them yet. 

And then you get "burnt" a couple years later....

 

8 minutes ago, Don said:

 

You can. Press the top right button twice. The set temperature will flash for 60 seconds and then switch on power to the element until the set temperature is reached. 

Aah, I couldn't see that in a manual. Thanx for the tip ;)

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46 minutes ago, Don said:

heating.JPG.8f0cc9f0d010bb20d20155fb8b374a0c.JPG

You can activate or deactivate manual override with the heating button. Here is an English manual. :)  

Interesting, that's a different model than the one I have!

When you google SR609C a few different models come up. Mine doesn't have the "Heating" button. Instead it has a manual heating (M.H) button - I somehow misread it as "H.M" (i.e. for time)....

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Having one of those controllers for 6 months now , I for one would differ from your opinion.For one the element you buy from The Sun Pays is a 1.5kw , well with in specks, 2 nothing stops ýou , and you should , still have a isolator at the geaser it self. Also remember that the soleniod at the geaser controles the filling of the ģeaser and this is a very handy feature "creating" alot  more hot water as it does not get filled every time you use hot water.

It is abit tricky to setup at first but if you read the manual you should be ok , I got it going so it cant be that hard. 

Like most things if you do something silly it won't go well for you but most of the time commensence will take you a long way.

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Just now, PaulF007 said:

Having one of those controllers for 6 months now , I for one would differ from your opinion.For one the element you buy from The Sun Pays is a 1.5kw , well with in specks, 2 nothing stops ýou , and you should , still have a isolator at the geaser it self. Also remember that the soleniod at the geaser controles the filling of the ģeaser and this is a very handy feature "creating" alot  more hot water as it does not get filled every time you use hot water.

It is abit tricky to setup at first but if you read the manual you should be ok , I got it going so it cant be that hard. 

Like most things if you do something silly it won't go well for you but most of the time commensence will take you a long way.

1. Their elements only fit in geyers with a BSP screw so in the case of a Kwikot geyser you can't use their element.

2. There is an isolator already, not sure where this goes...?

3. solenoid?

Not to sound funny, but my comments were aimed a lot more at the fact that it won't pass a COC, than how easy it is to install.

The thing is, and I realize this is the wrong place to post this as most people here are DIY people and probably don't care about regulation, etc, but what happens if your place burn down, even if it's totally unrelated to this installation? Or, worse, the geyser burst due to it's age, but insurance rejects the claim?

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13 hours ago, SilverNodashi said:

The thing is, and I realize this is the wrong place to post this as most people here are DIY people and probably don't care about regulation, etc, but what happens if your place burn down, even if it's totally unrelated to this installation? Or, worse, the geyser burst due to it's age, but insurance rejects the claim?

I don't think the generalisation of people around here is fair as in my experience all the DIY work seen here exceeds  ,in quality as well as safety , the work of  some qualified electricians you find. Regulations are there for the safety of everyone and I would venture that not one here is going to risk his family in exposing them to any kind of risk.

Speaking of SANS I have read through the SANS10142 and no were it states that your are not allowed to "plug" a geaser into a socket. The regulations does stipulate that you cannot exceed the Amp rating of the wall socket (and that counts for everything) and that a dedicated circuit must be used for water heaters , it also mentions that as most water heaters is a fixture the disconnecting device (ie isolator or socket) should be in proximity of the fixed device , recommended 1.5m and that everything should be bonded. But as I am not an electrician and can not give a COC I only share my interpretation of what I read. 

Anyway looking at the pictures I also noitsed that my controller is not the same as what is shown above. Mine is designed specifically for the low pressure solar geasers sold by The Sun Pays and it controls the water level as well as the temperature within the geaser. You can program it to keep the geaser full or set it to fill at specific times . In our case it fills at 7 am in the morning and then at 1pm just to make there is enough time to be heated by the sun. 
So it would be unfair for me to commend as to the above mentioned controller as I have no experience with it. 

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1 hour ago, PaulF007 said:

I don't think the generalisation of people around here is fair as in my experience all the DIY work seen here exceeds  ,in quality as well as safety , the work of  some qualified electricians you find. Regulations are there for the safety of everyone and I would venture that not one here is going to risk his family in exposing them to any kind of risk.

I agree 100% with Paul. All questions I have seen on the forum relates to what is required by law, SANS, etc. to get a better understanding of what is required and why. Not to find loopholes and see where we can take shortcuts. 

In the last year I had 2 jobs done by "Professionals":

1. Electric fencing with 2 energizers - I just had a feeling that it was not performing as it should. Bought myself a high voltage and tested the electric fence. Huge voltage drop. They used stainless steel wire. One of the worst conductors of electricity. I read somewhere South Africa is the only country in the world making use of stainless steel wire for electric fencing. Why? Because it is a little cheaper than aluminium wire. I had a 50% voltage drop on my fence. I replaced the stainless steel with aluminium wire, now I have a 0% voltage drop. 

2. Solar geyser installation - A month later I went into the roof and had a look at the wiring. According to me they used the wrong size cable and very untidy job. They come in here and rush to get everything done in record time. I found 2 wires that were not even fastened at all - lose connections. I installed the right sized cabling and redid all the wiring myself.

In my opinion, if you want something done right the first time and and to standard, do it yourself. 

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1 hour ago, PaulF007 said:

I don't think the generalisation of people around here is fair as in my experience all the DIY work seen here exceeds  ,in quality as well as safety , the work of  some qualified electricians you find. Regulations are there for the safety of everyone and I would venture that not one here is going to risk his family in exposing them to any kind of risk.

Ok, yes, many people here can do a better job than many "professionals", I agree. But the guys who sign the COC's and follow regulation often do stuff by the book and may, or may not deny a claim if the installation wasn't done according to regulations. 

 

1 hour ago, PaulF007 said:

Speaking of SANS I have read through the SANS10142 and no were it states that your are not allowed to "plug" a geaser into a socket. The regulations does stipulate that you cannot exceed the Amp rating of the wall socket (and that counts for everything) and that a dedicated circuit must be used for water heaters , it also mentions that as most water heaters is a fixture the disconnecting device (ie isolator or socket) should be in proximity of the fixed device , recommended 1.5m and that everything should be bonded. But as I am not an electrician and can not give a COC I only share my interpretation of what I read. 

A geyser is a water heater. I don't have a wiremans license either, but I know they reject a COC if there's no isolator in the roof. And in a case like this, it could be argued that someone could switch on the plug, down in the hallway, while you work in the roof and then get electrocuted. Some years ago I couldn't get a COC, on this technical point cause my gate motor transformer was in the garage, without an isolator at the gate - even though I could see the plug point in the garage. Had to put in an isolator.  

1 hour ago, PaulF007 said:

 

Anyway looking at the pictures I also noitsed that my controller is not the same as what is shown above. Mine is designed specifically for the low pressure solar geasers sold by The Sun Pays and it controls the water level as well as the temperature within the geaser. You can program it to keep the geaser full or set it to fill at specific times . In our case it fills at 7 am in the morning and then at 1pm just to make there is enough time to be heated by the sun. 
So it would be unfair for me to commend as to the above mentioned controller as I have no experience with it. 

There are a few variants of the SR609C, which one do you have? The ones I got from thesunpay look like this, but with a "M.H" button, instead of "Heating". 

 

SR609C-Solar-Water-Heater-Controller-for

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1 hour ago, Don said:

All questions I have seen on the forum relates to what is required by law, SANS, etc. to get a better understanding of what is required and why. Not to find loopholes and see where we can take shortcuts. 

Amen to that, there is definitely a level of wanting-to-do-it-right, which is awesome.

1 hour ago, Don said:

I found 2 wires that were not even fastened at all - lose connections

Actually had the same thing when I had my prefeed system installed. The earth wire wasn't properly fastened and the thermostat wasn't set. I had to go into the roof at 9pm to fix it because the water was only luke-warm and you know how our significant others react to that kind of nonsense. This was after the plumbing guys brought their electrical guy with them to issue the CoC, because the plumbers themselves cannot technically issue the CoC.

 

26 minutes ago, SilverNodashi said:

gate motor transformer was in the garage, without an isolator at the gate

Mmmmh. I have a similar setup. It's already better than it was. The previous owner had this thing where he'd attach external (to the house) connections by simply drilling a hole from inside an existing socket cavity through the wall and wiring the device to the backside of the socket. I moved my gate motor from that hard-wired connection to a plug-in point precisely to make it safer and simpler to disconnect (without taking the whole kitchen with it), but it seems I'm also going to need to add an isolator.

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20 hours ago, SilverNodashi said:

A geyser is a water heater. I don't have a wiremans license either, but I know they reject a COC if there's no isolator in the roof. And in a case like this, it could be argued that someone could switch on the plug, down in the hallway, while you work in the roof and then get electrocuted. Some years ago I couldn't get a COC, on this technical point cause my gate motor transformer was in the garage, without an isolator at the gate - even though I could see the plug point in the garage. Had to put in an isolator.  

Exactly but in fact the way I understand it any electrical fixture , so anything that is fixed to a wall or floor (Apart from Light Fittings) must have a isolator with in at least 1.5m of the device. I suppose the logic would be that you cannot move the device to a "controlled" environment where you can work on it and thus will need to have a way of disconnecting it within your control. 

Just for fun I have attached the SANS 10142 .I don't know if it is the correct one or a guidance or anything but from the most of what I have read in it it looks ok.

SANS10142-1Amdt8.pdf

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On 23/02/2017 at 9:32 AM, Don said:

The problem is that when you get a solar contractor to install your solar geyser, they come and install it with the controller. If you look at the price you assume they are only installing the best and approved equipment. You ask them about the controller they tell you they have installed thousands of them and have not had a problem with them yet. 

You can. Press the top right button (Heating) twice. The set temperature will flash for 20 seconds and then switch on power to the element until the set temperature is reached. 

What if the output port isn't giving power though the heating is set , what do I do then?

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On 2017/02/23 at 9:28 AM, ___ said:

I'm pretty sure that's a SANS violation. Permanent installations get permanent wiring. There is some debate about air conditioners already, and a geyser is certainly more pernmanent than an AC!

Attached a picture a Sparky friend of mine posted. That's what a 9kbtu (ie small) AC did when left on 12 hours straight. Granted, poor quality socket... BUT... they are common, and someone is going to plug that controller into one of these somewhere...

16462969_1241859575902209_91128180729265980_o.jpg

So the power rating of the plug was exceeded. or most commonly it over heated due to small cable and/or cable not tighten in plug.  Not the plug or the equipment fault. Welders do it and heavy grinders.  THe rating of the equioment was exceeded. TEHREFORE NO INSURANCE will pay out in the case of a fire!!!

 

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On 2017/02/25 at 10:30 AM, SilverNodashi said:

Ok, so I got a nice connector block for the geyser element instead, as below: 

 

 

G1.png

G2.png

Are you sure the thickness of red and black cable is to specs?  They look thin I would most def use thicker cable its a few cents more and the insurance will not complain!

 

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