Discuss Smart Meter Tripping RCD in the Electrical Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

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

 
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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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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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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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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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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.
 
OP
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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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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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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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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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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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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.
 
OP
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@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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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
 
alasdairp
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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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