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Digital circuit breaker

Automatically checks and turns circuit breaker back on
  (+1, -6)(+1, -6)
(+1, -6)
  [vote for,

Automatically tests with a slight (battery powered) voltage if there is a short circuit, and if not turns the circuit breaker back on. It can be set to check for a certain amount of time.

For safety, it will cover the circuit breaker, so that when manually turned off, it cannot turn back on. (This is halfbakery, the other half would have to plan the safety features in detail).

Also, with a set of smart electric sockets (to be added to HB category Home:Electricity:Power outlet) the failed outlet can be stopped and the rest of the circuit restarted.

Controlled from smartphone app as well.

pashute, Jan 08 2014

Autorecloser http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recloser
They're popular on overhead lines. [Wrongfellow, Jan 12 2014]

Wow-wow sauce http://wiki.lspace....x.php/Wow-Wow_Sauce
Nearly as dangerous as the notorious Three Mile Island dressing. [8th of 7, Jan 13 2014]

Breaker reset on every outlet Breaker_20reset_20on_20every_20outlet
Kind of counter-inspired by this idea. Think of it as the inverse of what this is trying to do. [Custardguts, Jan 19 2014]


       Seems a little voltmeter would do the trick, but the problem is resetting the fuse. Maybe a little solenoid switch would work.
rcarty, Jan 08 2014

       When a breaker trips, it means something is wrong.   

       Before restoring power, the cause of the trip needs to be investigated and if necessary repaired.   

       An uncommanded, unattended reset has the potential for very serious consequences … this is a really, really bad idea.
8th of 7, Jan 08 2014

       This would be a bit like a gun that releases its safety catch when it's not being pointed at someone.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 08 2014

       // "Is there still a human in the circuit ? "//   

       "BZZZZZT OUCH ! Open the pod bay door circuit breaker, HAL !"   

       "I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that right now. In fact, I can't do that at all, because it keeps resetting itself. But I still have the greatest enthusiasm for the mission ..."   

       "ClickBZZZZT OW OW OW !! '
8th of 7, Jan 08 2014

       [wrongfellow] has the right of it. Autoreclosers. This is basically an autorecloser for the home. Autoreclosers are somewhat controvercial, because they basically offset inconvenience for a large number of customers, against possible lethal outcomes for a single (perhaps non) customer. Autoreclosers sometimes do kill people. They also drastically reduce downtime by quickly recovering from nuissance trips and also "burning off" some faults (like birds stuck on wires, etc).   

       Which is pretty much a bad idea for home circuits. The "circuit breakers" you're referring to, and are most likely irritated by, are RCD's, or residual current detector breakers. They compare the amperage from actual to neutral and trip if there's any "current leakage" ie current returning on the earth circuit (as well as tripping on overcurrent, ie performing the function of a fuse as well).   

       Normally they're set to ~30mA, or thereabouts, which is slighly less than the average current required to interfere with cardiac function.   

       If you're having lots of RCD trips - chances are you have an old fridge whose insulation is breaking down, or some faulty wiring, rather than the fault being with how the RCD works. It's like blaming your engine light rather than fixing the blown injector.   

       The current path to earth that trips the RCD may be transient, or permanent, or might increase over time as the appliance or circuit breaks down due to age. A battery supplying a "pilot" current may not penetrate the fault path unless it's full power/voltage - leading to failed detection then reclosing on a real fault ie some kid with a fork in an outlet or whatever. None of these reasons are good reasons to have autoreclosing in the home.   

       The best bet is to increase discrimination in the protection architecture in the circuit, ie push the RCD function down to each outlet rather than (or better, in addition to) the primary circuit.
Custardguts, Jan 12 2014

       <Sixth Sense>   

       "I see dead people ... "   

       </Sixth Sense>
8th of 7, Jan 12 2014

       Well, if that's your aim at the outset, then this sounds like a good way of achieving it.   

       Perhaps VX-emmitting insence or hypergolic salad dressing would be even more effective at achieving high home-mortality rates. Depends on perspective, I suppose.
Custardguts, Jan 13 2014

       // hypergolic salad dressing //   

8th of 7, Jan 13 2014

       ...Maybe I'll open that from home.   

       I've always felt there was a broader scope for the application of Hypergolic mixtures, in everyday life. Chlorine Trifluoride for instance (in mixture with pretty much anything at all). Surely this wondrous substance could find gainful employment in any moderately equipped workshop (or mad science lab). I just love Dr. Clark's comments in regards to it's handlability.
Custardguts, Jan 13 2014

       It seems you've read the title and annotations only, and not the idea.   

       I specifically wrote that it tests if there is a short circuit before turning back on.   

       And then suggested an optional way to reopen the breaker even when finding a shorted circuit, by closing that portion of the circuit, in an advanced version.   

       CustardGuard claims the problem would be that the kid with the fork wouldn't be detected. I don't see why not. And last but not least, even if you were correct and a test cannot be relied upon, it could be run via the app, which leaves it to human decision.
pashute, Jan 19 2014

       Use GFI's (outdoors/wetroom sockets), that have their own built-in breakers. Then you just push the reset button.
FlyingToaster, Jan 19 2014

       //CustardGuard claims the problem would be that the kid with the fork wouldn't be detected. I don't see why not//   

       Because it's not necessarily a short circuit, as I said rather clearly above. There are many ways for a person to create a path to earth that wouldn't be detected by anything less than full current. Fleshy human bodies can have threshold resistances, or be making intermittent contact with the circuit. Some appliances work in such a way that parts aren't energised all of the time, especially not immediately after the power comes back on.   

       Additionally, a circuit trip is the best indicator you have that something is really wrong. If, after a thorough inspection of all the appliances on the circuit, you determine there's no issues, then it's (probably) safe to reset. How do you know there's not someone dead in the other room if the curcuit resets without enough delay to make you get up and do something about it. This sort of thing would breed dangerous complacency. I'd much prefer to notice the appliances stopped working, wonder why, prompting me to do a lap of the house and find little johnny or jenny or uncle bob or whoever unconscious beside the power point, rather than have a brief blip that I know I don't have to worry about 'cause it comes back on automatically.   

       This secondary function of ELCB's is very intentional - it forces you to have to take action, and hopefully, some people might be thorough enough to take meaningful action and actually inspect their appliances to see what went wrong. I'd much rather have a reset button on each outlet, forcing the home owner to do a walk around and reset them all, before the main breaker could be reset. That would be much safer.
Custardguts, Jan 19 2014

       The above inspired me enough to post a counter-idea. Linky.
Custardguts, Jan 19 2014


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