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120VAC Panel Remote Control
12-04-2016, 13:07 (This post was last modified: 12-04-2016 13:08 by davidbrady.)
Post: #1
120VAC Panel Remote Control

Here's a short video explaining my attempt at remote control of my bus. So far I have control of all the 120VAC and 12VDC loads. In subsequent phases I'll add monitoring of gauges and IR for A/V. Hope you enjoy this:

I have $600.00 into the pieces needed to make this work on my coach, but my coach already has the Powerlink AS PLC and motorized CB's. I have a bunch more money wrapped up into replicating the Vantare panelboard on my workbench. I don't want to experiment on my Vantare; hence, the workbench setup. Plus, Square-D no longer sells the Powerlink AS. They moved on to the Powerlink G3 (which is also good, just bigger and more expensive). So, my workbench setup serves as a valuable backup for my coach system components. There are other remotely controlled CB's on the market. Square-D (now owned by Schneider) makes the Powerlink G3 which like the Powerlink AS are motorized, Eaton/Cuttler-Hammer makes a line of solenoid operated latching breakers that can be driven with Modbus over TCP (the BABRP, BABRSP, BRRP and CLRP set of breakers), Carling Tech provides their range of motor driven remotely operated breakers. A quick google shows a bunch more. If I were to start from scratch I'd look for a system that's currently supported so that you don't have issues down the road with breaker availability. Right now, ebay is my friend.

As far as driving any of the above remotely operated breakers, free software like OpenHAB with it's rich set of bindings, including the Modbus binding, makes things very cheap, simple, extensible, and maintainable by the user. What you need is some sort of PLC that directly interacts with the CB's and then you need a way of talking to that PLC. Most modern day PLC's speak Modbus, so it's a very simple thing to have a dedicated computer in the house that runs an openHAB server that reads and writes Modbus commands to the PLC. The openHAB server can take user inputs from switches or from laptops or any handheld.

The remote capability is also free and provided by openHAB. OpenHAB has their own cloud service called my.openHAB. In my video demonstration my Android is talking to the server in my house via the openHAB cloud. My.openHAB takes care of all the IP addressing needs and it takes the place of the usual dynDNS stuff, so no static IP address or dynDNS is required. The coach can be anywhere and you can be at any other remote location and your handheld can receive openHAB alerts (email or sms text) or send commands to the coach openHAB server via the cloud. My.openHAB proxies your local server site over a secure https link which means it's encrypted and your communication between your remote Android and your my.openHAB cloud server is authenticated, plus there's secret keys involved in the connection between your local server and the cloud, plus you get to control the set of switches that you wish to share with the cloud (my.openHAB), so it seems they've taken reasonable security precautions.

If anyone needs help exploring or setting up some of these concepts I'm happy to help!

david brady,
'02 Wanderlodge LXi 'Smokey' (Sold),
'04 Prevost H3 Vantare 'SpongeBob'

"I don't like being wrong, but I really hate being right"
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