Product Idea: Zigbee/Z-Wave/Thread Standard Circuit Breaker

Just wanted to see if there was any interest here in a new product concept. I believe there are only a few of these available on the market (Eaton and Leviton) and they don’t have any of the connectivity or features I am looking for, not to mention they are looking extremely proprietary and will most likely never support many ecosystems. I am looking for a simple standard North American style breaker available in different load and “pole” configurations that could be easily retrofitted into an existing breaker box. As with any smarthome, avoiding excessive/additional WiFi devices at all possible cost is a must, so I would love to see Zigbee, Z-Wave, or even Thread and Inovelli’s standard hub compatibility. Some of the features I am thinking would be helpful, but I’m open to suggestions/corrections as well:

  • might come off a little obvious, but wireless control even when the circuit is cut to the output is a must
  • full control over remote operation, both on and off features and even a test/tripped mode would be helpful as well
  • full reporting of all states, on/off/tripped/last time power was lost if l grid is completely down, and of course energy monitory and reporting of anything and everything that would be helpful.
  • maybe even an on-board supercapacitor for extended reporting and control in the event of a short power blip or outage (if there is room in the design obviously…)
  • “brown-out”/ low voltage or even high voltage warning detection/notification and the ability to automatically trip or turn off the breaker in such event would be super helpful as a clean cut of power is much safer on almost all devices than too low or too high of voltage. Automatic trip feature in such a condition could be a configurable option to have this an on-board automation that could be enabled or disabled at user discretion.
  • (dependent on hub/setup/configuration) ability to trigger automations dependent on state of breaker, usage threshold, voltage thresholds, etc…

Hoping the Geniuses here at Inovelli have the resources/connections to pull something like this off or hopefully partner with someone who can bring my vision to life! It’s not too far off from a light switch, so I am hoping it’s something you guys are willing to give some serious thought and hopefully implementation:) Love what you guys do and look forward to seeing all the innovative products yet to come in the amazing Inovelli future!

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Oof. That’s going to be tough supporting multiple load center breaker styles. You have BR, CH, GE, HOMLINE, etc. NEC does not support installing non tested breaker in other vendor load centers either.

Side note: the new Leviton load center is super nice and has wireless breakers, but at $100 for standard breaker it is way expensive.

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Gotcha, I was thinking maybe just
BR plug-on style since that’s the most common I believe in most modern homes built in the US within the last 20-30 years, but I do see your point about supporting different load centers and not being a certified electrician, I wasn’t aware of how strict the NEC is, but it makes sense for safety.

I like the idea of leviton’s smart load center, but I definitely don’t like the price and I can’t get behind the extreme proprietorship of their products and ecosystem and I fear a subscription based feature model is in the near future for them as well, not to mention it doesn’t support half the features I’m looking for either…

I’m definitely looking for something that doesn’t require it’s own bridge/ecosystem or WiFi connectivity since you will then be at the mercy of the company for product features, subscriptions, and there is always fear support for a certain model or series line will be discontinued or not supported and then I’m left with expensive circuit breakers that no longer function as intended or don’t function at all.

Thanks again for your prompt response and feedback, I greatly appreciate it! Still hoping there’s a glimmer of hope that something like this might be available in the near future🤞

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Leviton has a smart circuit breaker panel. Not sure if it covers your whole wish list or not. I will say though, the ability to turn ON a breaker remotely will likely never exist because it presents a massive safety concern (think electrician flicks it off, starts working on a circuit, someone’s automation automatically turns it back on… ZAP)

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Good call on the automation or remote operation of the breaker as a safety concern, however I would assume that the physical switch or button that would be used by an electrician to deactivate the breaker would have an override that would completely block all remote actions whether triggered by a hub/app, automations, etc. Once the electrician or whoever was done working turns the physical switch back on, all automations or remote operation could safely resume and everyone stays safe. I am just thinking that the future of being able to remotely deactivate and activate the breaker would be useful to conserve energy with an electric hot water heater, hot tub, etc, especially if it could be safely automated. But I definitely agree that a physical safety override of some sort should be standard.

I’m definitely trying to stay away from leviton or any mainstream proprietary provider. I don’t want to be at the mercy of their systems and remote servers or fear that they will set up a paywall for certain features or start a subscription model at any time, besides most of the features I’m looking for wouldn’t be available anyway in your canned commercial solution.

I’d be very surprised if that was true. BR is common, but not so common that they’re some kind of standard in any way. Plus, there are a whole lot of houses out there older than 20-30 years (including mine).

I have been going with relays for my automation/control. Much more affordable, especially if you hang out in the Plus Series vs the Pro Series from Shelly: Shelly Pro - Shelly Cloud

Automating all of my roller shutters with the Plus 2PM and then will build in automations to my Blue Series 2-1 switches via Node-Red or Home Assistant.

Many solar people are using Lumin or SPAN for load centers.

Lumin gives ability to make dumb panel into smart panel. ᐉ Smart electrical panel for home | circuit breaker box

You could always install a Z-wave relay to short the circuit and trip the breaker - presto, remote Off control for your circuit!

(Do not do this.)

Something like the Aeotec HD switch can be used for automating your hot water heater, and possibly hot tub depending on the size of it. It’s rated for up to 40a loads. As for a hot tub, I’d be looking at WiFi controllers before looking at something to completely cut the power. You need that continuous water circulation otherwise you’ll spend more in chemical trying to keep your water balanced than you’ll save in water savings. A WiFi controller would allow you to lower the temps to keep the heater from kicking in while keeping your circulation pump active.

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Not just an electrician or homeowner doing work but I can see depending on implementation a breaker tripping due to a fault and an automation or someone from their phone turning it back on without checking the fault first leading to a fire being an issue there too.

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I believe what you are asking for violates NEC code. Currently when a breaker trips there is an assumption that something is wrong. A human is required in the “hopes” that the human will fix what ever is wrong.
I know sometimes breakers trip due to some temporarily overload, however having the ability to automatically reset the breaker is not considered safe.

Also keep in mind that all / most / many installations require ArcFault breakers. While I think the group controling NEC was sold a bill of goods by the breaker mfgs, still it is a requirement until folks find the problems are more that the added “safety”

Thinking of my home, I can’t think of any reason I would want to control a breaker. I only shut off a breaker if I’m doing some electrical work on that branch and I surly don’t want that breaker to be able to turn on by some automated means.

Just my thoughts.

I would like breaker from a energy monitoring point of view, that way I don’t need to mess with clamps on mains.

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I want to get energy monitoring for the really big loads, like my A/C, range, and water heater.

I use Sense. It works okay, but not as good as individual monitors.