Fuse – The Smart Consumer Unit
Fuse is a fresh take on the design of consumer units catering to both the electrician and home owner, irrespective of electrical knowledge. The intuitive casing design is supported by an E-ink display and an accompanying application.
DCA Design, United Kingdom
Team Lead: James May
Design: Dan Salisbury
Consumer units, or fuse boxes, are the point of entry for electricity entering a building. They serve to distribute power and protect those inside in the event of an electrical failure.
Fuse uses an E-ink display to actively show power consumption and its relative distribution around the home. Within a consumer unit, it also clearly communicates to the user which circuit each switch is controlling. This allows the installer to actively configure the display, removing the need to hand-label the circuits as is the current norm. E-ink is an appropriate technology for this application as it draws no current when in stasis.
The switches feature a distinct ridge detail. This is not just for ease of activation, but also to provide clear visual feedback if a circuit fails, as the switch will be evidently out of position. In the event of failure, the housed module slides the appropriate switch out of position. This breaks the alignment of the switches, making it very clear which circuit has a fault. The main display further updates to provide guidance for the user to restore power.
This is powered by the mains or – in the event of a supply interruption – an on-board battery for a period of time. Fuse is a first in monitoring power consumption and distribution in a consumer unit. Sensors connected to each individual circuit provide usage statistics, which are shown on the smart E-ink display and the Fuse app. The wireless communication architecture would enable the extension of the Fuse platform to control and manage other connected devices in the system, providing the opportunity to connect to smart plugs and other peripherals. In the event of a failure, the application helps to identify the problem and so that the user can rectify it safely.