Leviton’s new IoT Load Center is a circuit box with snap-in breakers (no rewiring necessary) and Wi-Fi connectivity for remote monitoring, diagnostics and control via Leviton smart-home app.
Leviton, a leading provider of electrical systems, lighting controls and home automation, has introduced Wi-Fi controlled circuit breakers for its year-old Leviton Load Center power-distribution system.
The IoT-enabled solution allows users to monitor electrical activity and flip breakers remotely from the same My Leviton smart-home app that controls lights and other smart devices.
“Lighting and (serious) load control is something no one else has tied together yet,” says Greg Rhoades, director of marketing for Leviton Energy Management, Controls and Automation.
Smart Load Center Settings
Users can configure alerts for the Leviton Load Center if circuits have been on or off for too long.
The company launched the new solution at the International Builders Show (IBS 2019) in February, where the Leviton brand would be well-known and widely used by a good chunk of attendees. Leviton has been a leading supplier of electrical and low-voltage systems since the company was founded in 1906.
There are two pieces to the Wi-Fi circuit-breaker story: 1) integrating circuit-related data and control with other smart-home products and services through a single app, and 2) building on an innovative Load Center architecture launched by Leviton last year.
Reinventing the Breaker Box
Let’s start with the Leviton Load Center.
Breaker boxes are a bjillion years old, and they’ve barely changed in that time. They’re ugly, unwieldy, and ridiculously inflexible. If new regulations, advanced technology, safety concerns or use cases come along, you can’t just pop out a breaker and snap in a new one. You have to unwire and rewire the breakers, and sometimes the box itself.
Sometimes a new appliance plugged into an AC outlet doesn’t jibe with the characteristics of a particular breaker. It may trip the breakers for no good reason. So device-specific breakers are developed, but they entail a truck roll by a licensed electrical contractor.
Last year, Leviton introduced a new paradigm in circuit breaker systems – the Leviton Load Center, featuring a “plug-on” design that can be “installed more efficiently compared to competitive products.
Leviton differentiates its Load Center by keeping the intelligence flowing even when a breaker is tripped. Hepner explains that other circuit-monitoring systems kill the flow of information when the breaker trips. In this way, Leviton can continue to monitor the conditions that led to the event, in order to provide richer insights into the electrical system – something that’s tough to do for companies that don’t have 100-plus years of history in the electrical business.
Of course, Leviton also incorporates energy-usage and -monitoring features in the Smart Load Center, allowing users to view real-time consumption per load, as well as trends by day, week, month and year.
Anomalies in consumption can alert users to potential malfunctions in a connected load. For example, if the refrigerator is consuming more energy than usual, the user might want to get the device serviced.