teleswitch faulty

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Property with "total heating total control" installation from back along. I believe that the heating (4 x old mass storage + immersion) is controlled by a radio teleswitch; I believe it relies on a signal embedded in the 198kHz service which is then decoded inside the teleswitch module.
anyway for some time now (like at least a year) the heating has been unreliable.

in this district SSE have been doing a lot of work recently burying formerly overhead 11kV lines, and arranging temporary generator services. apparently the heating worked well when they were on a generator supply but has been very rare to come on ever since.

do these teleswitches fail?
 

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How can I find out what time periods this teleswitch should operate on? there must be some central control for the various teleswitch code groups....?
attached is the somewhat unhelpful guide from Bulb energy (the present supplier for this property), I seriously cant believe that they are suggesting listening for the clunk or watching the meters.
also attached extract from recent statement including MPAN nr, can anyone help to identify the timings for this teleswitch please?
 

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They are deliberately randomised. Otherwise you might have ten million electrical heating systems all switching on at exactly the same moment. Which would be very inconvenient for the electricity generation, transmission and distribution systems.

If you want to know your own, exactly, listen for the clunk or watch the meter.

I see you are in Scotland and your was installed more than 20 years ago. Are you in a hilly area where radio reception is poor? Recently built block of flats? Or is there anything nearby such as a wifi router or baby alarm, that could interfere with the signal? If you can lay your hands on an oldish portable radio you can carry it around and listen to see if the LW signal is poor near your meter.

What do you hope to gain from learning the exact times of yours?

BTW the meterpoint number number is occasionally useful to know. You might like to write it on a durable label and stick it close to your meter.
 
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yours is
S 02 047 101
17 1286 7921 353

which means

S Profile Type. This does not seem to be published any more, but from memory it means it is a Supply meter, i.e. you are not a generating staion.

02 Domestic Economy meter

047 DNO specific time switch code

101 Line loss factor


17 Northern Scotland SSE (used to be "The Hydro")

1286 7921 Unique identifier

353 Check digit


The numbering system was created by people who did not understand, or perhaps did not trust, the concept of reference numbers. "1286 7921" is your unique number. All the other stuff is not reference number, it is data associated with that reference number. However the systems have been designed to require all of it.
 
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listen for the clunk or watch the meter.
really?!
the meter & teleswitch is on a semi-outdoors porch, I used to live there and you never hear it. I rigged up a lamp on the heating supply so that the current occupant would be able to know when the circuit energised, but... really? in his world, he is unable to sit there all day watching the lamp/looking at the meter/listening for the clunk! who is? and why should he have to!

see if the LW signal is poor near your meter
yeah, Ive done that, ages ago... the LW AM signal is present but very poor, this is Orkney Islands and it's quite distant from the Tx (Cumbria I believe), so the audio reception is v poor in daylight hours and not great in darkness. I thought the E7 signal was so slow that it "always got through" though. but perhaps not....

What do you hope to gain from learning the exact times of yours?
so that the occupant can check if it the juice is coming on when it's supposed to!

I've been here before and the first line "customer support agent" or whatever her title is initially attempts to fob you off with the fault, telling you that it probably is working but it comes on in the middle of the night, so youd better check your heaters are working first etc etc. I need to be able to tell the support agent that it is not coming on when it is supposed to.

tricky bcs the occupant is a tenant really, living in my old house, and he is semiliterate, not really able to negotiate the present system of trying to access a local linesman's help by calling an 0345 which gets you to the philipines.... (not too sure if I am able to do this)

from the sound of it, the E7 is actually energising but somewhat sporadically now, and this has only recently started, all through summer it was never coming on at all. Or at least, thats what Im getting from the tenant, of course I dont live there so its all second hand information... seems true enough because the cheap rate meter reading has hardly moved for 12 months. I know there is load on the circuits, Ive checked resisntance L-N on the heating fusebox and it responds to switching the storage heaters on/off, plausible enough at like 5-10 ohms IIRC for a few heaters in parallell.

Thanks very much for the numbers decode, that may prove useful.
 
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They are deliberately randomised. Otherwise you might have ten million electrical heating systems all switching on at exactly the same moment. Which would be very inconvenient for the electricity generation, transmission and distribution systems.
always wondered how they got around that, i thought they grouped teleswitches together so that you could switch manageable groups in/out.... whatever, there must be a way of addressing teleswitches at least by groups, possibly individually? if so then it seems not unlikely that there is timetabling, and probably periodic re-timetabling, so there is a chance that some teleswitch codes might be forgotten or misprogrammed.
if there is timetabling, which seems very likely, it sounds like it might be part of a customer's rights to be informed of the timetabling (?)
 
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I recall a conversation with a Network Engineer in late 1970's about a new housing estate near Swansea. The houses were all electric with Teleswitched night storage heaters. The transformer in the substation supplying the estate went "OUCH " when the Teleswitches all operated at the same time. The electricity supply technical people were looking at ways to improve the situation. One option was to have the TeleSwitches fitted with random delays between the ON command being received and the contact closing.
 
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TeleSwitches fitted with random delays between the ON command being received and the contact closing.
yes I can see that makes some kinda sense. My first thought is that said random delay would have to be within certain parameters in order for the whole system to work.... is not the underlying concept here to make use of the surplus coulombs which are only surplus within certain defined periods?
so probably a dither of up to an hour?
I guess a randomised delay function is probably quite a good contender for a failure point in a teleswitch....
 
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but by a single grid

If there are ten or twenty million homes whose heating systems are switched on within a single minute, that is quite a load change.
 

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