Tuesday, 3 July 2012

iPlan with Onzo revisited (and not recommended)

iPlan corrosionI've blogged before about our iPlan energy kit and now that another few months have passed, it's time for an update. Sadly, it's not a good one this time.

Back in April, our receiver died. Opening up the panel, we found that the rechargeable battery had all corroded. When I contacted Southern Electric, they were happy to replace to unit. Good. What was not so good, they informed me that they were aware of the design fault and, as a result, no longer shipped the kits with rechargeable batteries. Perhaps they could have warned users?

The next problem was that, although they did send out a replacement, they did not do it particularly speedily. Judging by the material that came with the replacement kit, which had no mention of being a replacement, I was just added to the new customer schedule and, as such, had to wait a few weeks for it to arrive. As a result, we now have a nice big gap in our usage stats, which is not that great for trying to look at annual consumption as it clearly changes with season. It also neglected to point out that, even though only the receiver was broken, the sensor also needed to be replaced.

This was only a minor irritation and sorted out eventually through trial and error. The major irritation is that, now that it is all set up, the new receiver does not display the current power use properly. There is a obviously a loose connection or something, as squeezing the top a little sort out the problem (temporarily). It does not affect the uploading of data but it does limit the utility of the unit - as does keeping it plugged in to avoid using up the non-rechargable batteries it now needs.
Dodgy iPlan displayActual iPlan display
Although I know that two faulty units might just have been bad luck but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the design or build quality of Onzo energy kits.

7 comments:

  1. Yes same here. Batteries in display failed first after 6mths and then after 13mths the ones in the sender failed.

    Now waiting for Southern Elec to send out a replacement sender as leaky battery corroded the inside of it..

    So the so called environmentally friendly choice of Alkaline rechargeable battery technology was wrong as I have to put the whole sender unit into the waste landfill after just over 12mths use.

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  2. 2012 you say that SSE stopped sending out the units with the rechargeable batteries......uhm so how can they say that when I have had them send me a whole new kit back in February this year (2013) Clearly they've obviously been lying to the customers. Mine has corroded again. I opened the back and realized that it is only 3 rechargeable batteries stuck together with a flimsy bit of wire and tacky wrapper round them. I would have thought they would have put a battery in to a sealed unit (all weather) before placing it into the sensor and then used a seal to encase them in again. Well, I guess where they are made, they don't get cold weather and electric boxes outside of the houses lol

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  3. I think it's a nice idea but poorly executed. My parents had a British Gas one, I think, which seemed to be of much higher quality. I don't use it at all any more and would probably look to switch tariffs were I not moving to Australia later this year.

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  4. Had same experience. First unit packed up after 3 mths, replaced and now that has packed up after about 6 mths. Most unreliable and if SSE can afford to keep replacing them at that rate they would do better reducing the tariffs !

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  5. on my 2nd ONZO kit which now seems erratic: not so weird as the SSE marketing people & the SSE website content& structure : ....why couldn't they just email me a year ago to explain that ONZO was just a trial & was now dead - seriously improved customer communications are needed - get the basic right NB: Online upload of meter reading is a v good move & ought to be pretty simple & robust in 2016

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  6. Do you know the onzo battery configuration? I've had the idea to put three rechargeable batteries together the same but the wiring on my original batteries disintegrated so I need a diagram or photo example of what it looks like. Any one know please?

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  7. After taking the sensor apart, it was beyond working due to internal circuit corrosion. So the Onzo was recycled. Smart meters will replace soon anyhow.

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