Monitoring and Inet control. Am I married to a manufacturer?

fastlinefastline Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
Per my other threads, I am compiling a system.  Obviously is smart to have monitoring on any system and web based systems make good sense.  However, I would like to know if I have to get in bed with the OEM of the inverter unit or if systems can be somewhat universal?  In the case of Schneider, must I use their system to see all their data?  If I use a different charge controller that is not Schneider, can I still work with it?  
I think one that burns me is Outback.  Apparently you MUST(?) buy their Mate just to program the inverter?  They are purposely making this harder than it should be.  

What I basically need and want is a web based system so I can monitor the system on the go and operate AGS functions manually if needed, and possibly shut the system down if ever needed.  

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,108 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Many gear makers use some form of Modbus for access to logging and settings.  I'm using a Raspberry Pi to track my Midnite Classic charge controllers operations, for example.  I'm only reading various registers, but could also write to change settings if I wanted.

    I haven't got around to seeing what can be done with my Outback inverters yet.


    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,771 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think they want to keep the ignorant from doing idiotic things to a power system. If someone is that cheap that they can't afford $200 or so for a Mate or SCP they will find out how useless a computer is in/after a major lightning storm off grid. These basic devices are a path into a system that has been compromised.

    As Estragon said you can program with Modbus any of the Schneider or Outback inverters.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,429 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I find it simpler to use the OEM interface, which also gives you insulation from pushing a invalid command that turns the thermal monitor off and the unit cooks 4 weeks later.
     
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,108 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yes,  you definitely need to be careful.  Things like inconsistent use of "register" and "address" in documentation, for example.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • fastlinefastline Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    So, I guess maybe I need talked at like a child on this front.  Do the OEM books provide specific hex codes that all have to be entered into an aftermarket monitor system?  Could you still get remote operations like say an AGS genny start, system shutdown, etc?  

    I wish a Mate was $200 but looks like well over $400, and I don't even like their interface.  I took a tour and like Schneider better.  However, since Schneider cannot be bothered on the phone, I am excusing them for an inverter.  I liked how Schneider was able to capture and graph transient current events which help see when something is hitting the line.  For the most part, the Outback system looks like something a teenager could design.  

    There is also issue of staying with the same OEM for all equipment.  I will need at least 2-3 charge controllers and considering Midnite, but I won't be using their inverters.  

    What I really want is an interface that I can operate some of the system remotely.  If I have a charging issue with a controller and I am 500mi away, I need to shut the controller down.  It would be helpful to have other simple inputs like temp sensors, and maybe a couple webcams?  that might be pushing it.....lol

    What other systems are out there worth considering?  Do they void factory warranty?  
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,429 ✭✭✭✭✭
    fastline said:   ...................
    What I really want is an interface that I can operate some of the system remotely.  If I have a charging issue with a controller and I am 500mi away, I need to shut the controller down. ...........
    It's much more likely you will need to shut down a inverter & loads, due to the AGS frying the starter motor.  Charge controllers rarely go ape and overcharge,  loads are much more likely to need intervention
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • fastlinefastline Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    LOL, good calls Mike, and probably correct.  Could you speak to the different monitor solutions?  

    Regarding the AGS, I absolutely agree!!!  The AGS is one area that I want tons of settings and I am designing my own autostart conversion for my Hondas.  I am an engine builder and electronics guy by trade so I sort of know what I want regarding start routines.  

    I seemed to like the Schneider setup on the AGS.  
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,108 ✭✭✭✭✭
    This is the Midnite modbus (OEM book?) I used for my DIY monitor:

    http://www.midnitesolar.com/firmware.php?firmwareProduct_ID=6

    I agree Mate interface is a bit clunky.  I only use it for changing genny limits when changing generator charging source.  I would never do AGS remotely, so haven't bothered with a DIY version yet.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
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