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Thought I would throw my tenant's problem regards Smart Meters (SM) into the mix, in the hope someone could maybe suggest what is going on?

May 2016 - tenants switch to E.org - no problem.
March 2017 - had Liberty 100 PAYG SM (top-Up via App) installed and immediately the RCD/fusebox starts tripping intermittently - every few hours, every day, after few days - see picture.
April 2017 - I contacted E.org and they stated that SM not cause switches to trip, fault is fusebox. Accept what they say.

Tripping continues and tenants check and monitor if appliances causing problem. None found.
BG electricians check home electrics 4 times and state domestic side and RCD all ok - Dec 2017, Aug 2018, Sept 2018 and Oct 2018.

After much elimination find Cause???!!!
Customer Top Up - when tenant tops up via app and then a few minutes later credit shows up on phone, then RCD immediately trips.
Supplier reading - after informing E.org about above and they do On Demand reading from their end, then RCD immediately trips.

E.org change SM Oct 2018 and tripping now worse.
BG check after SM change and state domestic side and RCD all ok.
E.org state that fault is RCD as have changed SM and thus are insistent they are not at fault.
BG believe it is SM, so I am between a rock and hard place.
Requested E.org replace SM with Dumb Meters as a way of eliminating or confirming SM is cause of tripping, but will only do if I pay.

Now starting case with Energy Ombudsman… And tenants’ life not good as now 3/4 times a day have to reset RCD.
Any ideas/advice?

Liberty 100 SM next to RCD.jpeg
 
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O

Octopus

Get a local independent spark through recommendation to check it out

It’s hard to believe that topping up a meter can trip a rcd

Have you got a picture with the fuseboard cover open so we can see the breakers?
 
D

Deleted member 26818

Theoretically, there should be reason that the meter can cause a downstream RCD to trip.
 

Marvo

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Probably not the kind of advice I should be posting on the publicly viewable forum but I'd either relocate the meter a greater distance from the CU or I'd wrap the CU in thick tin foil with a bonding wire attached to it and see if the nuisance tripping stops. Obviously isolate, and do a risk assessment first etc.

Smart meters can have fairly powerful WAN transmitters and even GSM transmitters which could cause issues with RCD's if in very close proximity.
 
the only way to cause an imbalance on a downstream RCD is to cause a leak from one of its outgoing live conductors. Even if there is a neutral-earth fault downstream, there would still be no leak as long as there is no potential difference between earth and neutral.
If the smart meter could cause a change the potential on the neutral above earth, it would cause an imbalance in the presence of a N-E fault.
Has someone actually IR tested the neutral bar with main switch off to the MET with the main earth and all bonding and cpcs connected?
 
O

Octopus

the only way to cause an imbalance on a downstream RCD is to cause a leak from one of its outgoing live conductors. Even if there is a neutral-earth fault downstream, there would still be no leak as long as there is no potential difference between earth and neutral.
If the smart meter could cause a change the potential on the neutral above earth, it would cause an imbalance in the presence of a N-E fault.
Has someone actually IR tested the neutral bar with main switch off to the MET with the main earth and all bonding and cpcs connected?
I’ve given you a disagree because lose connections on the supply side can and do trip rcds
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12
Will request tenant send me pic with fuseboard cover open. And reason taken so long from initial problem starting immediately when change to SM in March 2017 and going to Energy Ombudsman now is that we also could not believe top up cause RCD trip - but it is true! Also, please see below BG report picture from 11 Oct 2018.

elecforum BGReport.jpg
 
I’ve given you a disagree because lose connections on the supply side can and do trip rcds
Agree completely, that's why I said "cause an imbalance" because I know there are other ways to trip an RCD.
I just wanted to get the obvious question about whether it was tested properly out of the way!
Given the BG guy has written "power trips out" which is useless without saying what trips (presumably the RCD), I wouldn't be sure they had an eye for precision.
 

PEG

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This is a situation crying out for more in-depth testing,including data logging,etc.
I hold minimal faith,in BG being capable of delivering this...
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #20
I have asked E.org what the mobile phone signal strength is when they installed the 1st and 2nd SM. The house is in a poor signal area. Would the need to boost the signal from the SM cause interference in the CU?
Will get tenant to take pic when next trip.
 

SparkyChick

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As far as I know, mobile modems vary their signal strength based on the strength of the signal they receive, so if the signal is weak, they'll increase their output accordingly.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #23
This is a situation crying out for more in-depth testing,including data logging,etc.
I hold minimal faith,in BG being capable of delivering this...
4 electrical checks - 3 by BG, last one by PH Jones.
What exactly regarding in depth checks are needed, so I can request these be made.
I feel responsible for tenant, as not fair they are living with RCD tripping constantly, and who knows how long Energy Ombudsman get to resolution, 8 weeks, after xmas!
 

Strima

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As far as I know, mobile modems vary their signal strength based on the strength of the signal they receive, so if the signal is weak, they'll increase their output accordingly.
Yup, the weaker the signal the more power the send out trying to get good comms with the local mast.
 

TJ Anderson

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Even if there is a neutral-earth fault downstream, there would still be no leak as long as there is no potential difference between earth and neutral.
If there was a neutral earth fault downstream e.g. shorted together then there would indeed be no PD but there would be earth leakage, it will parrallel the neutral return current through the cpc. If RCD protected then that would trip from the L-N inbalance
 

TJ Anderson

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4 electrical checks - 3 by BG, last one by PH Jones.
What exactly regarding in depth checks are needed, so I can request these be made.
I feel responsible for tenant, as not fair they are living with RCD tripping constantly, and who knows how long Energy Ombudsman get to resolution, 8 weeks, after xmas!
To be fair, I think the BG spark has done what he can. He has taken Zs to prove effective connection to earth. He has taken IR at 250vdc. He likely selected 250vdc so he could test with loads connected to eliminate both wiring and loads for earth faults. Sensible. He has also ramp tested RCD.

I agree with others that it may well be interference from meter comms mobile being so close to RCD. IIRC the RCD in that board will be an MEM with a functional earth wire it may act like an antennae!
 
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Wilko

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Hi - From afar I guess we can never solve this, but there are couple more things for an Electrician to look at in my view. Did the BG Electrician actually personally observe the remote test and the tripping RCD? I would be seeking cooperation from the meter company with some more testing. Something like : Standing at the box with main switch, RCD and all circuits on, have the remote test done and observe the RCD trip. Reset RCD and turn all MCBs off and repeat the remote test and observe any trip. Safely remove the outgoing N from the RCD (still leaving all MCBs off) and repeat the remote test and observe any trip.
 

Leesparkykent

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I remember a thread on here a few years ago where on a site walkie talkies were the cause of RCBO’s tripping. And I think it was the same thread where @GMES had the same or knew someone who had the same issue with over 300 RCD sockets and walkie talkies.
 

Strima

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You need to find someone with an electromagnetic radiation tester to see what the meter output is.
 
O

Octopus

Probably not the kind of advice I should be posting on the publicly viewable forum but I'd either relocate the meter a greater distance from the CU or I'd wrap the CU in thick tin foil with a bonding wire attached to it and see if the nuisance tripping stops. Obviously isolate, and do a risk assessment first etc.

Smart meters can have fairly powerful WAN transmitters and even GSM transmitters which could cause issues with RCD's if in very close proximity.
1. The CU is in a daft place - and shouldn't really be in the meter cupboard
2. Would changing it to a AMD3 board help
3. Could the SM be disabled for a set period to see if the tripping stops?

Interesting thread..........
 

freddo

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The communications parts of those meters are in the top grey section of the meter as a plug in module, so it is positioned as close as it possibly can be to the RCD.

Perhaps another reason not to have a smart meter fitted!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #34
Hi - From afar I guess we can never solve this, but there are couple more things for an Electrician to look at in my view. Did the BG Electrician actually personally observe the remote test and the tripping RCD? I would be seeking cooperation from the meter company with some more testing. Something like : Standing at the box with main switch, RCD and all circuits on, have the remote test done and observe the RCD trip. Reset RCD and turn all MCBs off and repeat the remote test and observe any trip. Safely remove the outgoing N from the RCD (still leaving all MCBs off) and repeat the remote test and observe any trip.
@Wilko
Yes, BG actually observe top-ups causing trip.
Re: Remote Testing - E.org electrician change SM-tripping worse, but he could not touch CU/domestic side. So as per Wilko above, E.org electrician himself suggested that if I got an Electrician out that day, the two could work together - he work on the SM, while my man work on CU/domestic side. PH Jones electr1.ician comes and E.org electrician not contactable! PH Jones confirm 4th time, domestic side all ok.

@Murdoch
Re: On Demand test - yes, every time E.org did test while I on call with them, RCD trips
1. Yes, CU is in daft place
2. AMD3 board help - no idea as I am ignorant
3. I suggested replace SM with Dumb meters but E.org rejected idea, unless I pay cost. But, will ask Monday if they can remotely switch off SM and make it Dumb Top Up

Pictures below CU open
Only RCD - red middle switch trip
Also, tenant tells me today, that when trip happens - Plug circuit all off, But Light circuit stay on (lights work).
elecforum CU Red.jpg elecforum CU.jpg
 

marconi

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Ines Spires: Some thoughts:

1. Box in the area beneath the consumer unit and place some security seals so that it is obvious if anyone has attempted access.

2. Demand from the energy supplier confirmation that the anti-tamper features of the Secure Liberty 100 are working correctly and that the meter is not suffering from spurious tamper alerts. Are they receiving tamper alerts? Ask them what happens if a single tamper alert is reported to them; does it simply log the alert or is the supply shut off briefly and then restored. If there is a series of tamper alerts what happens?

3. Real tamper alerts are covered by (1) above.
 

Taylortwocities

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Also, tenant tells me today, that when trip happens - Plug circuit all off, But Light circuit stay on (lights work).
Of course. It’s only the sockets (to the left of the RCD) that are protected by the RCD.
The circuits to the right of the RCD do not have RCD protection. Don’t know why the labelling has been crossed out.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #38
Ines Spires: Some thoughts:

1. Box in the area beneath the consumer unit and place some security seals so that it is obvious if anyone has attempted access.

2. Demand from the energy supplier confirmation that the anti-tamper features of the Secure Liberty 100 are working correctly and that the meter is not suffering from spurious tamper alerts. Are they receiving tamper alerts? Ask them what happens if a single tamper alert is reported to them; does it simply log the alert or is the supply shut off briefly and then restored. If there is a series of tamper alerts what happens?

3. Real tamper alerts are covered by (1) above.
1. and 3. A second E.org electrician came after I demanded a Deadlock Letter. He did not change the new SM but did the following "removed the old anti tamper block and installed new 1 and 2 tails" as a free complimentary service. Not sure what that means. Picture below is before he did remove and install.elecforum Liberty 100 SM next to RCD.jpeg
 

marconi

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Ines Spires: Further thoughts for what you might ask the energy supplier.

1. Is the enclosure containing the consumer unit and meter made of metal? With the door (is it made of metal too?) shut the meter will/may have a difficult time transmitting and receiving signals, especially if the cellular network coverage is relatively poor at the property. Ask the energy supplier what the meter is programmed to do if there are no signals received from the meter or if the meter does not receive any signals for a 'prolonged' period? Ask this because inside the Liberty 100 is a big switch which is normally 'on' but can be turned off either remotely or by the computer inside the meter.

2. Find out what happens if the credit available in the meter runs out. Does the meter cut off or the supplier remotely cut off the electricity supply? What I am wondering is whether the App top ups are not being received by the meter (or intermittently) so the meter runs out of credit and turns off the supply which causes the RCD to trip. But you said the lights stay on - so maybe there is a brief turning off of the the supply until the new credit is loaded or there is a reserve amount of limited credit which kicks in sufficient to keep the electricity on a little while until the meter is topped up so folk are not plunged into darkness. If there is a problem with cellular reception and the meter is inside a metal box then it could be the tenants have paid for a top up but the meter only receives it when the enclosure door is opened to reset the trip.

3. Ask your tenants by how much they top up the meter - large or small amounts. Then consider (2) above.
 

Wilko

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... If there is a problem with cellular reception and the meter is inside a metal box then it could be the tenants have paid for a top up but the meter only receives it when the enclosure door is opened to reset the trip.
Monday morning brilliance !!!
Not to make fun of the hardships endured by folks because of this fault, but your thought did remind me of those silly slapstick films ...
 

SparkyChick

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That particular meter (or at least the one Big Clive took apart) has a facility on the modem for an external antenna. Maybe they could provide one that could be sited away from the consumer unit and disconnect the internal one.

Would be a relatively straightforward way to establish whether it's the close proximity of what is essentially a mobile phone to the RCD that's causing the issue.
 

Lucien Nunes

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Only two likely causes.

a) RF from the meter. Simple test for an electrician to do: Replace the RCD with a DP switch and move the existing RCD into a separate enclosure 1m away connected by tails. If the RCD now holds, it was proximity to the SM that was the problem.

b) SM integral isolator causing glitches in supply. As touched on by Murdoch and Johnduffell, arcing and momentary interruptions can trip a downstream RCD. This tends to occur because the sharp risetime of the interruptions cause unbalanced currents to flow to earth via capacitive interference filters in appliances on RCD-protected circuits and/or by disrupting the operation of active RCD circuitry.

If this situation persisted, I would expect to see the lights flicker or something to start overheating. The problem also existed with two SMs, so I don't think this is it.

I like Sparkychick's suggestion to get them to test a remote antenna.
 

marconi

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Ines Spires: Further to my #39 and thought (2).

https://www.securemeters.com/files/8715/3121/7040/liberty100_family.pdf

I have managed to track down the specification for Liberty 100 smart meter. On page 2 of 4 is the functionality for the Pay As You Go(PAYG) mode which I have copied below. I will make an enquiry tomorrow with the manufacturer Secure to understand this functionality better and in particular how (c) and (d) operate in practice when credit runs out.

(c) might explain why the SM cuts the supply off - which trips the rcd for the sockets- but is soon restored to allow low power demands to be supplied - such as the lighting - for a period until the meter is topped up or the emergency credit runs out. If during this period the load limit is exceeded I guess the power will be turned off again - but if some emergency credit remains the power is again restored subject to the load limit until all the emergency credit is spent. The tenants might be topping up with too little money and underestimating the cost of the electricity they are consuming and thus the rate at which the credit draws down - effectively running the smart meter on empty or close to empty much of the time - triggering the emergency credit mode. Or the top up signal is not being reliably received by the meter causing much the same thing to happen.

You or the tenants ought to ask the energy supplier whether the load limiting option has been enabled in the smart meter.

PAYG functionality

a. Credit and PAYG modes (meter maintains account and tariffs)

b. Display of current and historical consumption with cost of consumption data

c. Emergency credit with optional load limiting

d. Friendly credit (avoids disconnection during unsocial hours or weekends)

e. Debt recovery
 

marconi

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Ines Spires: I have done a bit more research and studied the picture of your meter box - I think the your wall recessed meter box is made of metal which would make it an unsuitable place to install the smart meter - a failing of the meter supplier/installer. See what OVO Energy and meter box makers TRICEL (look at Smart Meter paragraph) say here:

Electricity meter in metal cabinet - can I get smart meters? | The OVO Forum - https://forum.ovoenergy.com/smart-meter-booking-and-installations-66/electricity-meter-in-metal-cabinet-can-i-get-smart-meters-1307

Types of electricity meter & moving your meter - Tricel - https://tricel.co.uk/electricity-meter/
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #45
An update of where I am at the moment with E.org/SM Provider. Sorry for the length.
I thank you all so much for the advice you have been giving me.
From the advice and information supplied so far I asked E.org, who would then ask the SM provider, the following questions yesterday, replied today.

1. Me- If tenant wanted to top up SM without app - how do they do it?
E.org- with card at shop, but it would then immediately credit the SM. The SM is still a Smart Meter.

2. Me- If tenant moved to another energy supplier who can not use the Liberty 100 SM, then the E.org installed SM goes Dumb and tenant has to manually top-up, how would they do it?
E.org- shop would give a digit code which tenant would then key into SM. BUT, SM would not go Dumb - it would still be a Smart Meter and send out signals/frequencies. !!!

3. Me- I said that I totally agree with E.org /SM Provider that SM is NOT faulty.

CAUSE - WHY TRIP
But, the way ALL SMs have to operationally function and where this SM has been located is causing the the RCD to trip.
(i)-transmissions emanating from the SM is causing some form of disturbance/interference, such as electromagnetic interference (EMI), radio frequency interference (RFI) and even upstream harmonics or otherwise, which is causing the RCD to trip.

(ii)-communication parts in the Liberty 100 are at the very top of the unit - the SM has been placed immediately underneath where the RCD is in the CU - it can not get any closer.

(iii)-mobile modems vary their signal strength based on the strength of the signal they receive, so if the signal is weak, they'll boost their output accordingly to get good comms with local mast, so increase the risk of interference.

(iv)- CU and SM are in a metal cabinet - this would cause the SM to have to boost it’s signal, so increase the risk of interference.

(v)- I did not mention this point - RCD in that board will be a MEM with a functional earth wire it may act like an antennae! - I think the unfortunate guy at E.org was getting overwhelmed! Sorry TJ Anderson.

SOLUTION I REQUEST
So, to eliminate that the SM is causing the RCD to trip, I asked can E.org do the following:
(a)- the Liberty 100 can be both a SM and a dumb PAYG top terminal. It has the function to remotely or by the computer inside the meter to switch off the Smart Meter so it becomes a Dumb meter - can E.org do this?
E.org- we do not have the ability to remotely switch off the SM

(b)- the Liberty 100 has facility on the modem for an external antenna. Could E.org provide one that is sited away from the CU and disconnect the internal one?
E.org- we can not do this as we can only replace the whole SM

SOLUTION FROM E.org
The SM Provider again state that the SM can not cause the RCD to trip. BUT, the fault is because CUs only have a life span of 10 years and as this one is old, the RCD has become sensitive and so trips. To solve the problem replace the current CU with a new one.
My Response:
Me- RCD started tripping immediately after the SM was installed, and CU was fine until then - tenant was E.org Dumb Meter customer for year till switch.
E.org- Unfortunate coincidence
Me- RCD trips when tenant does top-up and and E.org do On Demand test
E.org- Unfortunate coincidence AND we do various requests during the day

WHAT CAN I DO?
1. Do test by moving RCD 1m away - Lucien Nunes #42
2. Do test RCD and MCBs - Wilko #27
3. Do test of electromagnetic radiation - Strima #29
4. Wrap CU in silver foil - how? Is it safe? - Marvo #6
5. Replace CU with new one - but would new CU still trip as next to SM?
6. Replace E.org SM with Dumb Meters - which E.org say I can do, but at my cost
7. Move to another energy supplier that would make E,org SM dumb - or would it still stay Smart as E.org say it will?
8. Get tenants to keep good credit in SM as suggested by Marconi - I believe tenants keep high positive credit, but will ask them.
9. Any other suggestions or combination of above??? Aaaargh, candles and wood burning stove???

Have just sent E.org email with links supplied by Marconi about SM in metal box. Lets see what they say.
Have requested all Logs that the SM creates. E.org asked me which ones, I said all logs (felt stupid, but have no idea bar what you all have suggested) - is there any specific ones I should ask for?
And, one other connected question - will the constant tripping cause damage to the CU/RCD or effect its callibration?
 
S

Silly Sausage

WHAT CAN I DO?

I'd be demanding instant replacement with a regular pre-payment meter.
 

Strima

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There’s no need to wrap the whole DB in foil. Wrap a foil sheet around a sheet of card a couple of times. Then wrap in some plastic sheet to insulate it if you wish.

Slide this in between the SM and DB. Observe the results. This is only a temporary fix to see if you can block the local RF emissions to the RCD.

Age of the DB has nothing to do with this and they’re talking big swinging fleshy ball things...
 

marconi

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Ines Spires: Re: 9. Any other suggestions or combination of above??? Aaaargh, candles and wood burning stove???

Buy some heavy duty plastic sheeting and gaffer tape. If safe and practical, leave the meter enclosure door open. Make the innards of the enclosure watertight using the plastic sheeting and gaffer tape. Leave it this way for a week.

See Toolstation items:
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64699
All Weather Tape 50mm x 25m


25592
Polythene Sheet Heavy Duty Gauge

Polythene Sheet Heavy Duty Gauge - https://www.toolstation.com/shop/p25592?
 
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i have a customer with exactly same fuseboard with exact same issues. I insisted on the old meter going back in

hey presto fault fixed

@Wilko
Yes, BG actually observe top-ups causing trip.
Re: Remote Testing - E.org electrician change SM-tripping worse, but he could not touch CU/domestic side. So as per Wilko above, E.org electrician himself suggested that if I got an Electrician out that day, the two could work together - he work on the SM, while my man work on CU/domestic side. PH Jones electr1.ician comes and E.org electrician not contactable! PH Jones confirm 4th time, domestic side all ok.

@Murdoch
Re: On Demand test - yes, every time E.org did test while I on call with them, RCD trips
1. Yes, CU is in daft place
2. AMD3 board help - no idea as I am ignorant
3. I suggested replace SM with Dumb meters but E.org rejected idea, unless I pay cost. But, will ask Monday if they can remotely switch off SM and make it Dumb Top Up

Pictures below CU open
Only RCD - red middle switch trip
Also, tenant tells me today, that when trip happens - Plug circuit all off, But Light circuit stay on (lights work).
View attachment 45297 View attachment 45298
 
This is almost certainly an RF interference issue as suggested by some of the posts above. Not only is the meter (RF in the top) VERY close to the CU, but the RF will travel up the tails into the CU.

# Ideally the smart-meter should be moved outside of the box.

# Did you actually try inserting screening between the SM and the CU? Idealy a piece of insulated Aluminium (c. 20 swg think) with a cut out to allow the tails to pass by? It should be Earthed with as short a lead as possible. That might sort it.

# I would swap the RCD for a new one - preferably a different make that will fit the CU ok. That is certainly well worth a try.

# If not, a 100nF X2 rated capacitor between across the mains L & N each side of the RCD should short out any differential RF. If it were an RCBO then you would also need Y rated capacitors to a good Earth on the incoming side. You would need someone who knows what they were doing, though!
e.g. (70p each in bag of 5; easy to fit - need sleeving)
B32922H3104M000 | EPCOS 100nF Polypropylene Capacitor PP 305 V ac, 630 V dc ±20% Tolerance B32922H Series | RS Components - https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/polypropylene-film-capacitors/1248412/
RFI caps.jpg
# You can get in-line RF mains filters but they are bulky and very expensive
 
O

Octopus

^^

“Ideally the meter should be moved out of the box”

Me thinks the supplier will say the CU shouldn’t be in the meter box and needs to be moved ....
 
^^

“Ideally the meter should be moved out of the box”

Me thinks the supplier will say the CU shouldn’t be in the meter box and needs to be moved ....
Actually, I agree with you there. But it is an old-ish installation and it is not uncommon to see this, especially in rented flats (etc). It would be a much bigger job to move the CU, and the CU was fine until the radio SM was fitted right up tight to it. I was mostly trying to show other ways that might well work and would be cheap, easy, effective and safe.
 

sparks55

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This is becoming more and more amongst jobs posted on my builder and similar web sites
Always seems to be EON and EDF smart meters could it be installers ???
 

marconi

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https://assets.publishing.service.g.../file/712151/2018_Q1_Smart_Meters_Report_.pdf

Page 5/18 Executive Summary third bullet:

To date, around 12.3 million smart and advanced meters have been installed in homes and businesses across Great Britain by both large and small energy suppliers – around 11.3 million (92 per cent) of these were installed in domestic properties and a further one million in smaller non-domestic sites.

With regards to the OP's reported Smart Meter/RCD problem it may well be that RF interference with this particular MEM RCCD 'is the most likely' cause. What I find surprising though is if RFI from Smart Meters is a potential problem to RCDs/RCBOs that there are not many, many more tripping problems being reported across the 12.3 million smart meters installed in the UK - I can find no reports of Smart Meter RFI-RCD tripping when I google. Nor can I find any installation instruction on minimum separation distance between Smart Meters and RCDs/RCBOs or any cautions about installing Smart Meters in close proximity to RCDs/RCBOs in safety critical supplies say in hospitals, or indeed operating mobile phones close to RCDs/RCBOs.

I remain dubious about RFI being the root cause of the RCD trips in the OP's case.
 
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Marvo

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Agree that the MEM RCD might be more sensitive than some of the other brands.

This is probably a one in a thousand or one in ten thousand issue where the brand of RCD, the lack of separation, the fact it's GSM not WiFi WAN, the poor GSM reception in the area resulting in higher transmission strengths and the CU and meter being in the same enclosure all create the perfect storm type arrangement for nuisance tripping.

Smart meters are still relatively in their infancy so the frequency of RFI problems with RCD's might not have been sufficient to warrant in depth investigations and official recommendations on distances etc. There's also the issue that with the bad press smart meters have had any RFI nuisance type reports are likely obfuscated and not openly discussed by the manufacturers and probably blamed on other things wherever possible.
 
When GSM handsets first came out and were easily and affordably available, it was found that in particular seats in one make of National Express (I think it was) coaches, the automatic gearbox would change gear incorrectly if the mobile phone was used. It happened many times as was well documented at the time. Non critical electronics (and that will include RCDs) only need to be OK at 3 V/m signal strength and close to a 2W peak GSM transmitter 30-50 V/m peak is not uncommon.
 

marconi

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Ines Spires: I wondered if there was any news on this most interesting (for us) albeit annoying(for you) problem?
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #61
Apologies to all those who have been following this thread. I have been ill for a while so have not been able to deal with the electricity supplier who installed the smart meter. Unfortunately the problem of the RCD tripping is still ongoing. I am better and I will get further information soon. I will update here asap. Thanks
 

DPG

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Arms
Esteemed
Patron
Apologies to all those who have been following this thread. I have been ill for a while so have not been able to deal with the electricity supplier who installed the smart meter. Unfortunately the problem of the RCD tripping is still ongoing. I am better and I will get further information soon. I will update here asap. Thanks
Hope you get better soon.
 

snowhead

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Mentor
Any updates, another thread has cropped up with MEM and Radio signals.

 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #64
To all Forum members who have advised me and have been following this thread I apologise again that I have not responded for a while but health issues has resulted in this delay in responding.

SM=Secure Liberty 100 SMETS1 -- Energy Supplier=E.org -- SM installer=Providor
I am going to give a summary of information I have gathered from this thread, other sources and going through the copious documents that I have been able to get from E.org. Plus E.org’s view about this issue.

First, please see this Video of App top-up causing RCD to trip:
View: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1at9CUZUcngw0wo7Gh_V55IlV49f1oykj

0 minute=Credit App. 1.00 min=1st trip. 2.00 min=Reset switch. 2.10 min=App credit confirmation. 2.25 min=2nd trip


E.org View:
SM “will NOT cause issues with trip switches” AND the SM “is NOT faulty.”
Providor made three visits - initial SM installation, then SM replacement and finally SM ‘re-testing’/viewing.
Fact that RCD started tripping immediately after SM installed, the view of E.org is that
it is an “unfortunate unintended consequence” and “they are not at fault”.

E.org Solution:
As CU is over 15 years old the RCD is most likely faulty - “If the conductor material has weakened over the years, this can cause random tripping”
So according to E.org, the customer, at my OWN expense, should do one of following:
1. Replace RCD or CU
2. Move CU out of meter cabinet
3. Replace E.org SM with E.org non-Smart meter


My View:
I agree with E.org, the SM is NOT faulty.
BUT the SM’s ability to function and how it operates CAUSES the RCD trip.
It is the unintended consequence of the SM that causes the previously non-problematic RCD in the CU to trip, due to:-

1. SM Location - this Liberty 100 SM’s communication hub (transmitter and SIM) is at the top of the unit. The SM has been fixed immediately underneath the CU where the RCD is located. There is no separation. The CU already pre-existed in the Meter cabinet with no problem with the pre-existing dumb Meter.

2. SM Operation - the way this SM needs to functionally operate, by sending out and receiving mobile signals, is causing Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and/or Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) to cause the sensitive RCD to trip. For example, RCDs only need to be OK up to 3V/m, whereas it is not uncommon for GSM to have peaks of 30/50 V/m, so causing interference and so causing RCD to trip.
Providor’s records after each of their three visits show no testing has been done regarding any SM interference checking.

3. RCD Not Random Tripping - the RCD trips EVERY time a SM data event occurs:
  • tenant does top-up via App - see video
  • In-home Display/App credits electric
  • In-home Display/App credits gas
  • E.org themselves do an ‘On Demand’ test from their end
  • other times when RCD trips - I am guessing, but happens when data is either sent or received by SM for E.org’s own purposes

4. SM Signal Strength - I am assuming that the SM uses the GSM/2G mobile network (all figures in dBm)
-105 to -100 = Bad/drop call
-99 to -90 = Getting bad/signal may break up
-89 to -80 = OK/shouldn't have problems, but maybe

Providor Mobile SMETS Signal Strength test in their initial installation report
Vodafone -98. O2 -85. T Mobile(am assuming it is EE) -99
Providor ask the question themselves - Are all strengths less than -93 dBm? No.
Seems to be their cut-off point.

So only ONE operator signal is below -93 dBm, at -85 dBm, in the ‘OK/maybe’ range. The other two operators are in the ‘getting bad/break up’ range.

5. SM Signal Boost - the mobile phone transmitter within the SM has to send and receive data events - if the mobile signal reception is not good, then the transmitter within the SM has to be boosted each time a SM data event occurs. This incrementally increases the mobile signal frequency and so increases the risk of interference that causes the RCD to trip.
Providor’s records after initial installation, the last two visits, show no testing has been done regarding any mobile signal strength checking.

6. CU/RCD age - it is old, but only started tripping IMMEDIATELY after SMs installed.

7. SM Replaced - When the SM was replaced by Providor, but not the In-house Display, the RCD kept tripping non-stop. The RCD just would not stay up for the next few hours. This concerned the SM engineer immensely. (Poor dear!) Later the RCD did begin to stay up. The In-home Display during this time showed red, then yellow and by day 3, green. I believe that the continuously tripping RCD was due to the replacement 2nd SM updating it’s records, so there was continuous data transmissions occurring. Whereas the initial 1st SM was a totally 'blank' installation so there were no previous records to update.

8. CU RCD Type - RCD in this property CU board will be an MEM with a functional earth wire, so it may act like an antennae - picking up emitted signals from the SM so causing the RCD to trip.

9. Four different electricians have tested the CU and all electrics on the consumer side of the house and have stated that all is good, including the CU, which E.org are blaming.

My Solution (maybe):
To eliminate that the SM is causing the RCD to trip, rather than a fault with the CU.
1. The Liberty 100 has facility to be switched off from being a SM to being a dumb PAYG physical key top-up terminal.
E.org states not have facility to remotely switch off SM to make it dumb.
2. The Liberty 100 has facility on the modem to have an external antenna. I suggested, as a test, that they disconnect internal antenna and connect external antenna and site it a distance from CU. E.org would not do.
3. Requested replace SM with dumb Meter terminal. E.org would not do.


Energy Ombudsman
I have contacted the Energy Ombudsman, but they have informed me that as my tenant has recently left, I have to initiate a totally NEW complaint with E.org about the SAME problem, give them 8 weeks to deal with the matter, wait then for a Deadlock Letter, then contact the Energy Ombudsman, who then take another 8 weeks to deal with the matter. So at least 16 weeks, sometime in February, before some sort of resolution, if any! RCD continuously tripping over Xmas and New Year.

I then asked, if I move to another energy supplier, in the hope by doing so the SMETS 1 SM goes ‘dumb’ and so it stops transmitting signals, what then. The Energy Ombudsman informed me that the SM then becomes the new Energy supplier's property and they have to deal with this issue. I’m not sure if another Energy supplier would want to take me on as a customer with this ongoing problem.

Any ideas anyone please. I'm going doolalee.
 
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suffolkspark

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Arms
Esteemed
Heck thanks for the update, after all this hassle I'd just have the board moved onto the inside of the house on the reverse, doesnt sound like your going to get anywhere with these idiots.
 

James

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Mentor
Arms
Supporter
Esteemed
how about something like this?
possibley make a shelf between the meter and the CU, or even box in the consumer unit with a small cupboard?

 

Strima

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Arms
Esteemed
As has been suggested before, insert aluminium sheet between the DB and SM to see if this blocks the signal. Alternatively get one of those RF blocking bags for keys and put that in the gap to see if that stops the tripping.
 

freddo

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Arms
Supporter
Esteemed
As CU is over 15 years old the RCD is most likely faulty - “If the conductor material has weakened over the years, this can cause random tripping”
Say what?! The only faulty RCDs I've seen (other than that bad batch of MK RCBOs) is ones that have become gummed up inside and don't trip.

Random tripping? Seems quite repeatable from the video.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #74
UPDATE: Finally went myself, not wait for tenant, and did what has been suggested - try and put some sort of 'block' between the SM and the CU. Did as @Strima suggested, silver foil.

RESULT: The RCD in the CU has STOPPED TRIPPING!!!!!
Take away the silver foil and the RCD starts tripping again.

Did another test by covering SM with silver foil as well, leaving gap at bottom.
When do top-up via App, previously this caused RCD to trip, but now it does not.
So by putting thick silver foil barrier between SM and CU, even though the SM transmitter is at the very top of the SM, directly underneath the RCD, no Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and/or Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) disturbance is 'transferring' across to the CU above it.

View of SM fitter, Providor:
States categorically that SM can NOT cause RCD to trip, but say tripping fault is due to CU being 15 years old and that RCDs only have a lifespan of 10 years and so become sensitive.

View of SM owner, E.org:
Fact that RCD started tripping immediately after SM installed,
it is an “unfortunate unintended consequence” and “they are not at fault”.

Sorry, but I had to put the view of E.org in again.
 

DPG

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Arms
Esteemed
Patron
Nice to see it cure the problem, and also that it is repeatable. Thanks for letting us know.

It must be a weight off your mind!
 

snowhead

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Mentor
Nice to see it cure the problem, and also that it is repeatable. Thanks for letting us know.

It must be a weight off your mind!
Untill the meter reader comes for the manual check and reports "suspicious activity " involving the Smart Meter, and pulls the foil off. o_O
 

DPG

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Arms
Esteemed
Patron
I'd personally put a little note in there explaining exactly why I'd put the foil there, and to let me know if they had a problem with it.
 

Megawatt

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Arms
Thought I would throw my tenant's problem regards Smart Meters (SM) into the mix, in the hope someone could maybe suggest what is going on?

May 2016 - tenants switch to E.org - no problem.
March 2017 - had Liberty 100 PAYG SM (top-Up via App) installed and immediately the RCD/fusebox starts tripping intermittently - every few hours, every day, after few days - see picture.
April 2017 - I contacted E.org and they stated that SM not cause switches to trip, fault is fusebox. Accept what they say.

Tripping continues and tenants check and monitor if appliances causing problem. None found.
BG electricians check home electrics 4 times and state domestic side and RCD all ok - Dec 2017, Aug 2018, Sept 2018 and Oct 2018.

After much elimination find Cause???!!!
Customer Top Up - when tenant tops up via app and then a few minutes later credit shows up on phone, then RCD immediately trips.
Supplier reading - after informing E.org about above and they do On Demand reading from their end, then RCD immediately trips.

E.org change SM Oct 2018 and tripping now worse.
BG check after SM change and state domestic side and RCD all ok.
E.org state that fault is RCD as have changed SM and thus are insistent they are not at fault.
BG believe it is SM, so I am between a rock and hard place.
Requested E.org replace SM with Dumb Meters as a way of eliminating or confirming SM is cause of tripping, but will only do if I pay.

Now starting case with Energy Ombudsman… And tenants’ life not good as now 3/4 times a day have to reset RCD.
Any ideas/advice?

View attachment 45280
Ines I’m no expert but how could the meter possibly trip that RCD since it’s feeding the premises and ahead of all your overcurrent and short circuit protection. It also seems unlikely that the wireless reading could trip a breaker. I wished I had an answer
 

snowhead

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Mentor
I think it was discussed earlier in the thread but possibly the RCD trip circuit (30ma) is being unbalanced by the radio signal and tripping.

It's probably unique to the design of this older RCD.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #80
@snowhead Top-up via App works and credit is shown on in-house display unit. So SM is working as 'Smart'. No need for a manual check. Foil has just stopped any EMI or RFI 'disturbance crossing over into CU'. Signals from and to SM still go out into the 'ether'.

@DPG I will put a note or quickly remove foil when meter reader comes, hehe. And yes, it is a massive load off my mind. Now my tenants have got their quality of life back, not having to FOUR PLUS times EVERY day and night to reset the RCDs. Now with the ongoing complaint.

As an aside, to highlight the incompetency of the SM fitters and their company.
Same SM fitter from Providor installed a Gas SM. I have recently found out that this was unsafe and illegal as it did not meet Regulation Standards, current and when Gas SM fitted.

Current Regs state that whenever a Gas Meter is exchanged, either with a SM or Dumb Meter, if two anaconda flexi stainless steel pipes are connected to the Meter, one has to be replaced by the Meter fitter during installation with a fixed copper pipe to bring it up to the latest Reg Standards. I have had done myself.
Providor did NOT do this, but just took out the old Dumb Meter and installed the SM and connected it to the two existing anacondas. I wonder in how many other homes they have done this illegal work? Now, I will start this as a separate complaint with E.org!
 
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Strima

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Arms
Esteemed
Ines I’m no expert but how could the meter possibly trip that RCD since it’s feeding the premises and ahead of all your overcurrent and short circuit protection. It also seems unlikely that the wireless reading could trip a breaker. I wished I had an answer
UK smart meters contain a SIM card that connect to the local mobile phone network. In areas of poor reception the device increases antenna power and output to try and get a better signal. This is in the form of non-ionising radiation and has an adverse effect on electronics and biologicals. The aluminium foil blocks the signal, note I spelt ALUMINIUM correctly... :tonguewink:

The increased power of the phone signal caused the RCD electronics to detect a fault and operate the device.

@Ines Spires I would again hassle them and request an external antenna is fitted to the SM, they are readily available and easy to install, this should stop the nuisance tripping.

And I'm now in smug mode.

download.jpg
 
Plant and animal. Not plumbers though as they have their own genome...
The International Angency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of W.H.O, categorised all RF / microwave energy close to the body as a Group 2B "possible human carcinogen" in 2011 and that is likely to be upgraded to a 2A "probable human carcinogen" in the next couple of years as the scientific and medical evidence has become stronger. It can also cause headaches and outher neurological adverse symptoms in some people.

As to the RFI/EMC interference issue, electrical and electronic equipment only has to be immune to a signal strength of 3 volts per metre under the EMC Regulations. Close to a mobile phone or a Smart meter, the levels are often over 20 volts per metre. So the Smart Meter should not have been installed so close to the Consumer Unit. But does OFGEM or anyone else give guidance on this - of course not.
 
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