Remotehydrolight ELC

Originally based on the Hummingbird from Jan Portegijs, it's now a simplified microcontroller based design.
  • Max. 18 channels (6 per phase), 2kW per channel, max. 36 kW,
  • phase-angle triggered triacs, single angle per phase. No staggered triggering. -> so from an electrical regulating point of view, it's actually only one channel with 6 triacs in parallel. This leads to a non-sinusoidal waveform.
  • No additional protection features, no valve control, no options, but simple and cheap.
  • PCB is not protected againt triac failure/overvoltage with optocouplers
The PCBs are produced in batches of 100, and then hand-soldered in through-hole technology in a shop in Pakistan.
Quality of the soldered PCB can vary - each one needs to be checked.
The final assembly is done by trained locals in Afghanistan.
For larger capacities, multiple ELCs are operated in parallel.

Cost calculation

In case you're contemplating to build your own remotehydrolight ELC:
I've calculated the approximate parts costs in Europe for some power ratings.

BOM Bill of Materials and parts cost calculation

detailed spreadsheet libre office .ods

For technical details of the parts, read the RHL manual on the RHL website.

Summary parts cost,iIf you build a single unit for yourself:
power rating
2 kW
4 kW
10 kW
20 kW    
36 kW

Costs may vary depending on the availability and price of parts in your place of the world.
Costs can be lowered by approx. 30 USD if you use a drilled solder point grid board (prototyping board with copper dots) or if you etch the PCB yourself.
Even more can be saved (30 - 40 USD) if you build the casing yourself from sheet metal, or if you integrate the ELC into an existing switch cabinet.
The price also includes a MSP430 USB Stick Development Tool for 24 USD. If you already own one, then you're well off.

This would bring the prices down as follows:
absolute minimum parts costs in USD/EUR
2 kW     100
4 kW     110
10 kW   135
20 kW   165
36 kW   225

For the really penny-saving guys: it's possible to eliminate the the costs for the coils by modifying the software, so it uses zero-crossing switching (Manfred Mornhinweg style)
I don't think it's possible to build an ELC much cheaper, without sacrificing safety or reliability. Functionality is already limited to the absolute minimum :-)

If you prefer to buy or build only parts of the ELC, look here for assembly kits

For comparison: The indian guy advertises following prices for a COMPLETE ELC:
2 KW 270 USD
5 kw 410 USD

Maybe this is helpful for some people in their decision-finding.

remotehydrolight ELC website