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Energy Monitoring AC Power Bar Coming Soon
#1
Hi, I've been working on some improved AC power bars so I'm setting up some pre-orders if you want to save some money and help with the development.

There's two different power bars, the main difference is one will monitor power consumption for each individual outlet. I'm confident the non-monitoring power bar will be ready once I get the PCB's as this board is based off the layout of the current power bar so I'm estimating 4-5 weeks to ship. 

The other with power monitoring will take longer as it has a microcontroller (brain) of it's own so I have to take time to write the code for it, it's all pretty basic but will still take time. I haven't used this microcontroller yet so it's also possible I make a mistake on the layout and have to order new PCB's which would add about a 3 weeks delay. I've taken much time to do everything possible so that doesn't happen but it's possible. I expect to ship this in 6-8 weeks, that's why you can save more on this power bar with a pre-order.

The focus has been to create something safe and high quality instead of budget, based on my experience with the current power bar I'm confident this will be a success. The only problem I have with the original power bar is sometimes a relay can prematurely die which is likely related to an inductive load and that's been covered on these power bars with snubbers and TVS circuit for over voltage. Along with that everything else has been improved, the new PCB's will have 2 ounces of copper instead of the typical single ounce which will allow them to carry much more current then they will ever see. The power bars contain no internal high voltage wires so there's no chance anything can short out or wires degrading over time. The only wires are some 5v jumpers going to a separate PCB for the indicator LED's. 

There's independent fuses for each outlet, if a piece of equipment goes bad and causes a short the fuse for that outlet will blow protecting the rest of the power bar and equipment but more importantly everything else will remain running. There's also a main fuse which I've settled at 12 amps. I was going to push to 15 amps as everything is capable but for extra security went with 12 amps, the 240v version will be fused at 10 amps. Each individual outlet will be fused at 6-8 amps, that's still to be determined. I also removed the main on/off switch so one less thing to go wrong, there's really no reason for it and this is the only other thing that has caused an issue in the past.

Another nice improvement is some fail safes. With the current power bar if you unplug it from controller all outlets turn on which obviously has its issues. If the controller was restarted the outlets would all be on for about 5 seconds till the controller was able to set them. This has been solved on both power bars but the energy monitoring power bar is a little better because it a microcontroller of its own, the non-monitoring doesn't. But in the end you can get the same results. Now both power bars have some jumpers on the PCB for each outlet, you can set these so outlets are either on or off if no controller is connected. For example if you have the power bar on a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) when the power goes out all the outlets will switch to the mode the jumpers are set for. Once the power comes back on and controller starts up all the outlets will resume back.

The power bar with energy monitoring can be pre-programmed through the display so a little easier to work with but if the microcontroller fails in the power bar the PCB jumpers will still do what they should. There will also be an additional LED on this power bar which will turn on if a connection to the controller is seen. A little extra I'm going to add, if the electricity goes out or power bar is unplugged from controller the power bar will record this and once connection is resumed again the controller will send an email telling you how long it was disconnected and all the vital parameters of your aquarium. 

On both power bars there's LED indicators for each outlet so you know if they are on/off and there's a spare USB port so you can plug in another power bar or other Robo-Tank accessory.

At the moment I don't have a list of all the data the energy monitoring power bar will produce but will be the general voltage, amps, watts, cost and anything else I can dig up. I want it to produce every number possible so I will be checking all alternatives. All the data will be stored in logs so there will be graphs for everything and you can use the data to create alerts and custom rules. Over time I also plan to add something so it can learn how much current is typically used for an outlet and if it goes out of range you'll be alerted, things like that but you'll be able to setup rules to do that until then. For example if you have a heater plugged in which drew 2 amps turned on you could set a rule/alert to tell you it's over or under which would likely mean something is wrong with the heater. There's a lot that can be done with this info.

These power bars will also be fully serviceable, trying to design for this was a challenge but I came up with a nice solution with the case design. On the current power bar the outlets are pushed through the case and soldered to the PCB, because of that it's a literal nightmare to remove the PCB. With this case the outlets will push through a flat template which will hold them all in place. This will be pushed into the case which will have standoffs to screw the plate on the outlets. There will be standoffs also on the lid so the top of the power bar doesn't see get any pressure placed on it like the current one does.

Here's the links to each listing and as a bonus all the pre-orders shipped outside North America will be shipped via Chit Chats through the USPS mail system which will save you $40 or more. This is a company that just moved into my province, because shipping with Canada Post is really expensive this company collects packages and drives them across the US border and ships with the United States Mail Service. The beauty of this is the shipping includes full tracking, with Canada Post it costs $40 extra for tracking which is crazy. Unfortunately this is only available for the pre-orders at this time as this company isn't in my city so I have to ship them with Canada Post to their location first and that only works if I ship multiple packages at once. Because of this expensive it doesn't pay off for a single package. They do have plans to open in my city but could be a while.

I will be making a version of both power bars using universal outlets that work for EU, AU, US and UK however that will be an additional 3 week delay as I need to verify the PCB's for the North American version first.

This is the version without power monitoring.
https://www.robo-tank.ca/en/Robo-Tank-Pl...90431c814e

This one has power monitoring.
https://www.robo-tank.ca/en/Robo-Tank-Pl...903e219d01

And finally here's some pictures of what they will basically look like. Already there's a change, you see only 8 LED's but one will have 9 and the other 10.

[Image: SSR_multi-view.jpg]



[Image: SSR_CT_multi-view.jpg]
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Messages In This Thread
Energy Monitoring AC Power Bar Coming Soon - by Rob F - 04-06-2019, 02:17 PM
RE: Improved AC Power Bars Coming Soon - by Rob F - 04-08-2019, 11:00 AM
RE: Improved AC Power Bars Coming Soon - by Rob F - 04-20-2019, 02:46 AM
RE: Improved AC Power Bars Coming Soon - by Rob F - 05-03-2019, 11:12 PM
RE: Improved AC Power Bars Coming Soon - by Rob F - 05-04-2019, 05:08 PM
RE: Improved AC Power Bars Coming Soon - by Rob F - 05-18-2019, 11:16 AM

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