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Thread: about connecting geyser controller to plug point

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    Platinum Member SilverNodashi's Avatar
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    about connecting geyser controller to plug point

    I would like to ask some advice, from a COC POV.

    A "SR690C geyser controller" needs to be plugged into a plug point, and then drive a geyser. This doesn't quite sound right to me but it's a popular solar geyser controller.

    Now, the question, since the control unit it plugged into the wall socket, it has an earth, and then a new cable runs from the unit into the roof, into the geyser element - which can't be more than 2KW.

    Is this acceptable? I know it won't pass a COC, but since it's now on a plug point, would it need to? The geyser is probably about 8m away from the plug, as the wire runs up along the wall, into the roof, along the trusses.

    Here's the PDF manual: http://www.solarenergygroup.co.za/fi...20SR609C-1.pdf

    And this is what is looks like: https://www.alibaba.com/product-deta...804667964.html

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    That instruction manual is written in Chinglish and is full of contradictions. I've attached a copy below for posterity.

    'Controller can only be installed indoors, and is far away from dangerous place and away from the electromagnetic field.'
    Statements like this do little to inspire confidence. Opinions on what constitutes a 'dangerous place' are going to vary wildly without any tighter definition of 'dangerous'. How is an installer supposed to quantify the electromagnetic fields in the area of the installation. Also no limits of EMI are stated. These kinds of statements reek of ass-covering' which creates wiggle room when it comes to warranty claims.

    I'd guess this is the instruction that's got you skittish;

    'Controller should be equipped with an additional plug, which should have minimum 3mm distance between the pole of the plug or effective compliance with the provisions of the installation. For example, switch or fuse, please note wires should be separated, and use the AC.'
    Normally I identify the critical words in a regulation or instruction like 'should', 'must', 'may' etc because these indicate whether the instruction is mandatory or simply a preferred method/suggestion but with this particular manual it's so shoddily translated it would be a wasted exercise to do this.

    TBH, with crap like this I tend to read it and take it more holistically to see if I can figure out what they're bleating about. I wouldn't normally go against manufacturers instructions and preferences without a good reason and a basic risk assessment as long as 1. They're instructions are well written and conveyed 2. They don't go contrary to any local regs or statutes.

    Even the holistic approach fails in this case, plugs don't have 'poles' (....isolators do though) and the rest really doesn't make sense apart from I guess they're saying it must only be supplied by AC and not DC. I'm actually getting the impression they may have used the word 'plug' when they meant 'isolator' because of their 3mm pole distance requirement.... but this is a guess.

    Bottom line is you could contact the manufacturers or the local agents for clarity but if it were me I'd just install it in a sensible fashion that would be compliant with the regs.

    Solar Controller specification SR609C-1.pdf
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    Platinum Member SilverNodashi's Avatar
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    Thanx Andy. I was actually thinking today, I should just run the same geyser wire from the DB board, into this unit, and then connect the wire going to the geyser on the output. then the client can still use the isolator in the DB if need be. There is a double pole isolator in the roof, but to run a wire from there, and another one back would be a bit tricky - i.e it would be in a new trunk along the wall. Either way, aesthetically it won't look very pleasing.

    The geyserwise units at least have a remote relay control box that goes into the roof, directly between the geyser and istolator, and just a tiny comms wire down the wall to the unit.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    These things can fall under different regs depending how they're installed, if for example it's attached to the geyser or very close to the geyser it could be classed as part of the fixed appliance although I'm not sure how the remote control part of it via the comms cable would affect this without doing some digging.

    I've never actually seen one of these particular things first hand so maybe one of the other sparkies is more familiar and can give you some pointers from their experience.
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    Platinum Member SilverNodashi's Avatar
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    Ok, so I ran into another issue. The SR609C's temperature probe needs to go into the same pocket that a kwikot geyser element go into. A typical kwikot geyser element probe has two pins, which connect to the element to give it electricity. So, with it removed, the element now has two "bare" female connectors. How does one electrical wires to the element in this case? I suspect using male terminals, directly pushed into the element isn't the best way?

    This is the thermostat: http://www.autospec.co.za/productmed.../rear_face.gif
    This is the element: https://mybroadband.co.za/vb/attachm...6&d=1459238891

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I think you're playing a dangerous game if you alter the original thermostat and element arrangement.

    The element has shrouded female terminals and the thermostat has unshrouded or exposed male terminals. This is a dangerous arrangement under normal circumstances because if you pull the thermostat out of the element when it's live the exposed terminals are a shock hazard. Normally you'd have the supply side as shrouded female and the load side as exposed male, think a normal 16A wall socket. Also the push together terminals you get that crimp onto wires are often only rated at 10 Amps.

    Whatever you do, if you alter the original thermostat and element arrangement the result will not be compliant.
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    Platinum Member SilverNodashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    I think you're playing a dangerous game if you alter the original thermostat and element arrangement.

    The element has shrouded female terminals and the thermostat has unshrouded or exposed male terminals. This is a dangerous arrangement under normal circumstances because if you pull the thermostat out of the element when it's live the exposed terminals are a shock hazard. Normally you'd have the supply side as shrouded female and the load side as exposed male, think a normal 16A wall socket. Also the push together terminals you get that crimp onto wires are often only rated at 10 Amps.

    Whatever you do, if you alter the original thermostat and element arrangement the result will not be compliant.
    Andy, the wires were pulled out while the isolator was off! I know electricity very well and won't endanger myself unnecessarily.

    BUT, let's stick to compliance here Many solar geyser companies sell and install this geyser controller along with their solar geysers. It's not uncommon. I just want to know what I can use that's safe. Those push-in terminals, even the 20A ones, feel a bit loose. There's a 2Kw element in so it won't draw more than 12-15A.


    One of my concerns, is the fact that it isn't SABS approved. So, on that basis alone (let's say all wiring is done according to standards) would a COC be given if the unit isn't SABS approved?

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I should probably have said 'one' or 'someone' instead but when I said 'you' in my previous post I wasn't referring to you as a person or casting aspersions on your ability, I was meaning anyone.

    If it would fall under the cert of compliance as a part of a fixed appliance it would need to be SABS approved. I think it might even be illegal to be retailing these things if they're not SABS approved.

    I still think removing the original thermostat is going to end in tears and could be inherently unsafe. This unit may not be configured as a primary control and when the power is off or it goes wonky it might hand control back to the geyser ie does it default with its contacts in the closed position or in the open position? If it defaults to the closed position and it's wired direct to an element then overheating and boiling water blow-off is imminent. I had a look at the manual and it doesn't answer these concerns so I'd assume the worst until there's evidence otherwise.
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    Platinum Member SilverNodashi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    I should probably have said 'one' or 'someone' instead but when I said 'you' in my previous post I wasn't referring to you as a person or casting aspersions on your ability, I was meaning anyone.
    You, english, plural, I know what you meant

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    If it would fall under the cert of compliance as a part of a fixed appliance it would need to be SABS approved. I think it might even be illegal to be retailing these things if they're not SABS approved.
    How can we find out about this statement, in terms of legality? The supplier don't want to take it back and refund as it's "been used". Kinda understandable, but if it's illegal then surely they could be forced to return and refund?

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    I still think removing the original thermostat is going to end in tears and could be inherently unsafe. This unit may not be configured as a primary control and when the power is off or it goes wonky it might hand control back to the geyser ie does it default with its contacts in the closed position or in the open position? If it defaults to the closed position and it's wired direct to an element then overheating and boiling water blow-off is imminent. I had a look at the manual and it doesn't answer these concerns so I'd assume the worst until there's evidence otherwise.
    It defaults to the open position if there's no power. Right now I have it wired from the geyser isolator so if someone else had to work in the roof and switch off the isolator, the timer doesn't work at all and no power is fed back to the geyser. I got a nice adapter from geyserwise to put in there, but don't know if that would actually make it acceptable in terms of SANS?

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    If it would fall under the cert of compliance as a part of a fixed appliance it would need to be SABS approved. I think it might even be illegal to be retailing these things if they're not SABS approved.
    Quote Originally Posted by SilverNodashi View Post
    How can we find out about this statement, in terms of legality? The supplier don't want to take it back and refund as it's "been used". Kinda understandable, but if it's illegal then surely they could be forced to return and refund?
    I think the answer to this lies outside the SANS 0142 electrical regs and outside my area of expertise (probably more up DaveA's street) and has implications from the Consumer Protection Act to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. I'd also suggest the VC regulations which are the NRCS compulsary regs . For example VC9006 which is the regulations for hot water cylinders states that;
    '3.1 Fixed electrical storage water heaters shall comply with the requirements of SANS 151 Fixed electrical storage water heaters'

    It also later states; '3.4 The applicant shall inform the NRCS of any change in the material, method of manufacture, design or components affecting any mandatory requirement of this compulsory specification. In the event of such change/s the NRCS may, at its discretion, demand the submission of fresh evidence of conformity or a new application for approval'

    VC8055 could also be applicable.

    Here's a few links that might be relevant;
    http://www.ee.co.za/article/guide-re...oducts-sa.html
    http://safehousesa.co.za/standard-regulations/
    http://safehousesa.co.za/regulation-...ical-products/
    http://safehousesa.co.za/wp-content/...g-for-webs.pdf
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