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CBI Astute Smart Controller


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It certainly lowered the average age of component in my DB 🙈

Ah ok. The Astute doesn’t use a clamp, it has a shunt internally to measure current. It then take current and voltage to calculate power and factor with a neat little chip.    My problem with a

You make a few fair points. Our use cases and lifestyles all differ. For me personally, running a 200l and 150l geyser - which usually consumes around 20kW's per day, I've now been able to reduce

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CBI have contacted me this morning and indicated that a rep will be visiting my local builders store in the morning to offer training for staff members at builders ... and can arrange to get as many units as required. 

Apparently the pricing structure (launch special) is an in house special offered by builders warehouse and not CBI.

 

 

 

 

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Nope, you can add more than one WiFi timer to the app, it lists them separately and you can set up timers for every one of them individually, I use one for the geyser and one for the pool pump, so that I can remotely control them according to the load and amount of sunshine to maximize pv potential 

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On 2020/11/16 at 12:46 PM, isetech said:

I have installed a few of these already ... found them while looking for a timer to control 4 kw geyser elements ... I "dont" recommend the standardtouch CBI timers to customers after being burnt too many times.

I have installed one at home to monitor the power consumption of my geyser ... and also to see if it is going to last longer than 6 months.

Pros -

30 amp resitive load.

Easy to pair and setup.

manual override.

Kwh recording.

Current draw of the appliance 

voltage ... not sure how accurate the reading is ... still have to check using a true RMS meter.

Even the price is pretty resonable for the switching capacity.

 

Cons - 

it doesnt hook up to home automation devices. 

Talking about price ... I have been buying them for just under R500 from the elctrical wholsalers ... I contacted CBI in connection with the price at builders warehouse ... they said builders is running a special on the product at R349 inc vat ... Contacted builders warehouse ... they have no idea what I am talking about ... went to a branch ... pointed out the label and promotional ad on the wall still no idea ... they cant tell me if they have stock anywhere in the country ... I know for a fact that CBI have stock because I can get stock from all the electrical wholesalers. 

Trying to get one from builders could be a challenge. 

Could you share more info on the kWh logging? Even though its only capable of switching 30amps, it could be a cheap and cheerful solution when trying to measure the load of a device to see if it can be put onto a solar system.

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1 minute ago, Noobie said:

Could you share more info on the kWh logging? Even though its only capable of switching 30amps, it could be a cheap and cheerful solution when trying to measure the load of a device to see if it can be put onto a solar system.

I think a much more practical and probably easier way to do what you're wanting is to use a Sonoff POW and wire it inline with an extension lead that way you just plug one side of the lead into the wall socket and the other into the appliance / device you want to measure the load on.

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3 minutes ago, Jatho said:

I think a much more practical and probably easier way to do what you're wanting is to use a Sonoff POW and wire it inline with an extension lead that way you just plug one side of the lead into the wall socket and the other into the appliance / device you want to measure the load on.

That would work, the issue is the POW can't carry 30amps, if I recall its 20amps

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Yeah, What I actually want to do is see what my house main supply consumes. I am on a 60amp supply but I dont think I draw anywhere near that.

What I should probably do is swop out the 60 amp mains breaker with a 25amp breaker and see if it trips out. If it doesn't trip out then I could run the houses main supply through this device and measure the total consumption 

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On 2020/11/17 at 5:40 PM, Tariq said:

......I use one for the geyser and one for the pool pump, so that I can remotely control them according to the load and amount of sunshine to maximize pv potential 

@Tariq.

What Kw is your pool pump rated at?

I am thinking of using the Astute but am a bit worried about the in-rush current being too much for it to handle. My pump is 0.55Kw

 

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4 hours ago, Noobie said:

Yeah, What I actually want to do is see what my house main supply consumes. I am on a 60amp supply but I dont think I draw anywhere near that.

What I should probably do is swop out the 60 amp mains breaker with a 25amp breaker and see if it trips out. If it doesn't trip out then I could run the houses main supply through this device and measure the total consumption 

Like the previous poster said, your best option for whole house monitoring is a clamp based meter. It's not 100% accurate, but it will give you a very good idea of your average consumption. I happen to have an unused one if you interested; I based my inverter specification off the data I gleaned from an Efergy clamp on type system.

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1 hour ago, Bobster said:

I'm intrigued by this. How does the ASC detect and react to things like sunrise/sunset, weather, load etc? I have a half-baked idea about how I might use this to refine the controlling of my heat pump.

ASC? If you mean the CBI Astute then it doesn't detect anything on its own. It's just a really big relay, with power monitoring and Wifi capability. You can use the CBI App to program timers for it and measure power, but that's pretty much it.

If, however, you decide to flash it with Tasmota (fiddly in this case) then you can make it really smart. I should make a post somewhere on the benefits of flashing proper smart firmware to the 'smart' switches, as opposed to using the dumb apps these come with.

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21 minutes ago, gbyleveldt said:

ASC? If you mean the CBI Astute then it doesn't detect anything on its own. It's just a really big relay, with power monitoring and Wifi capability. You can use the CBI App to program timers for it and measure power, but that's pretty much it.

If, however, you decide to flash it with Tasmota (fiddly in this case) then you can make it really smart. I should make a post somewhere on the benefits of flashing proper smart firmware to the 'smart' switches, as opposed to using the dumb apps these come with.

Thanks for that. I was reacting to what's said on the web site, though reading it again now it seems that they are saying that the APP can use those inputs.

"The CBI Home App enables the user to configure the ASC to react to current, voltage, time, power and many other variables or a combination thereof."

Even then it's got to be using some sort of clamp to detect load and feed that into the app. Then you'd need create a rule. 

As you say, the ASC itself is dumb, but if the app can turn it on and off then the intelligence can be built into the app, and the app has to get the inputs from somewhere.

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Ah ok. The Astute doesn’t use a clamp, it has a shunt internally to measure current. It then take current and voltage to calculate power and factor with a neat little chip. 
 

My problem with an App based system is that it talks to a service in the cloud (like Tuya) and, should internet go down, so does all your automations. Us “die hards” flash these (and many other) devices with Tasmota, giving you a nice, common platform for stuff from various manufacturers to talk to each other. And to make it pretty, we use Home Assistant to display/control all this stuff, although it’s mostly not critical for that to remain working. Multiple redundancy and everything remains on the local network.

‘I really should do a write up about the benefits of this. I find myself repeating myself frequently.

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  • 3 weeks later...

As an eletrical contractor I have installed hundreds of timers for people to "save money" (which I personally dont believe is true ... but hey if you want a timer ... I will install it for you) from years of doing it ...it generally takes a couple weeks or one cold bath and the wife is on the blower to get it removed or bypassed ... money for jam ... like installing geyser blankets ... I dont beleive they save money ... but if the customer wants one ... who am I to judge. 

Which is pretty much what happened in our house this week ... I have been fine turning the timer to see if I can actually save money ... taking bath/shower times into account ... the wife decided to have a shower after a trip to the beach ... the unit is bypassed and will be connected to control the lights in the house while away on holiday next year ... I will leave light switches on and set shedules for various lights to switch ... the same thing with the security lights ... I will set the alarm programable outputs to randomly switch on the security lights.

The beuty about the ASC ... you get to monitor the usage (KWhr) ... so the big question that everyone is waiting for ..." did I save electricity ?" yest I did 2 Kwhr per day on avaerge ... my daily average consumption was around 6 kwhr per day ... with the ASC bypassed my average consumption around 8 kwhr per day ... the question you need to ask yourself ... "do you want a happy wife ... happy life" or would you rather save 2 kwhr per day and stand in the shower in luke warm water at 9.30 pm because someone didnt stick to the schedule. 

I am told the ASC rating 30 amp resistive (AC1 ) and 10 amp (AC3) rating to allow for inrush current.  

 

 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, isetech said:

As an eletrical contractor I have installed hundreds of timers for people to "save money" (which I personally dont believe is true ... but hey if you want a timer ... I will install it for you) from years of doing it ...it generally takes a couple weeks or one cold bath and the wife is on the blower to get it removed or bypassed ... money for jam ... like installing geyser blankets ... I dont beleive they save money ... but if the customer wants one ... who am I to judge. 

Which is pretty much what happened in our house this week ... I have been fine turning the timer to see if I can actually save money ... taking bath/shower times into account ... the wife decided to have a shower after a trip to the beach ... the unit is bypassed and will be connected to control the lights in the house while away on holiday next year ... I will leave light switches on and set shedules for various lights to switch ... the same thing with the security lights ... I will set the alarm programable outputs to randomly switch on the security lights.

The beuty about the ASC ... you get to monitor the usage (KWhr) ... so the big question that everyone is waiting for ..." did I save electricity ?" yest I did 2 Kwhr per day on avaerge ... my daily average consumption was around 6 kwhr per day ... with the ASC bypassed my average consumption around 8 kwhr per day ... the question you need to ask yourself ... "do you want a happy wife ... happy life" or would you rather save 2 kwhr per day and stand in the shower in luke warm water at 9.30 pm because someone didnt stick to the schedule. 

I am told the ASC rating 30 amp resistive (AC1 ) and 10 amp (AC3) rating to allow for inrush current.  

 

 

 

 

 

You make a few fair points. Our use cases and lifestyles all differ.

For me personally, running a 200l and 150l geyser - which usually consumes around 20kW's per day, I've now been able to reduce this to between 10 and 12kW's per day for both these geysers. The one is scheduled to run an hour and half in the morning, and the second runs for 2 hours in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.

I was targeting a 30% saving after installing these, and am very happy with the results of a 40 to 50% saving.

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My opinion ... this device is a good start ... it is a step up from the standard timer but lacking certain critical feature to be an ideal geyser timer/controller.

The price @ R349.00 at Builders is a reasonble price compared to what you will pay at an electrical wholesaler (even as an electrical contractor @R410.00) for what you get ...  30 amp switching contact ... none of the cheaper options offer anywhere near this switching capacity ... sonoff has a slightly better option which includes temperature control but not the switching capapcity ... you could add a contactor with 30 amp switching capablities.

I  like the fact that it can connect to the internet and controlled via an app ( but that is expected of devices in 2020) ... what I dont like is the  fact that the data cannot be stored or controlled within my home network ... I did take note of all the messages indicating "lost connection" ... I am with Telkom it doesnt suprise me ... now throw in the laod shedding AGAIN :( 

What would make this device a worthy piece of equipment ... a power usage trend  ... rather than total daily consumption ... and a temperature probe as an optional extra.

Using an ASC is a simple application if you are 1 person living on a property alone and use the hot water at specific times of the day to shower ... mop the floor or wash dishes ... know the heat cycle of your geyser ... which is around 1hour 30 minutes for a standard geyser ... with careful planning and data collection ...tweeking the geyser set temperature  ... you might be able to find the ideal settings to save a few bucks.

Add in a couple rug rats ... an unstructured lifestyle ... a helper around the house during the day ... weekend fishing/cycling beach trips ...your time control becomes a bit of a challenge.

As I mentioned this is purely my opinion from someone who has tried this on more than one occasion at home ... I have power quality equipment which I have linked to my geyser to monitor consumption trends  ... fitted timers in the past ... replaced my element 2000 watt element with a 1000 watt to reduce the max power demand ... which allows me to run my fridges and geyser off a smaller power supply ... each application is different.

I have considered installing an electronic temperature controller with a solid state relay and a plc with sensors and nofications to manage my geyser consumption ( I might just do it one day for kicks) but cannot justify the costs right now ... the geyser has a 1000 watt element set ot 55 degrees ... with hot water in our house all the time ... consuming around 8 kwhr per day at R2.09 (minicipal rate) total cost per month around R500 on average.

if I want to save money ... then a lot more consideration into stuff like ... geyser capacity ... element size ... set point ... location due to climate ... pipe lagging ... incoming water ...by pass valves for different seasons ... etc etc etc ... for a R125 saving ... I can live with the way it is right now ... and will find a better use for my ASC ... like switching off all the equipment in the office/workshop in the evenings ... it I start adding up the power consumption of the compressor ... chargers ... leds and stuff glowing in the night ;) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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