SMA Smartformer

tmarchtmarch Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭
Anyone have any experience with the Smartformer?
Here's my current setup:
6kw panels
Sunny Boy 6000 with a Sunny Island
Since I need 240 volts I'll need to add a transformer or another Sunny Island. The Smartformer is more expensive than a transformer, but less than another Sunny Island.

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,072 admin
    Re: SMA Smartformer

    I am assuming this is the device:

    http://www.sma-america.com/en_US/products/off-grid-backup-solutions/smartformer-for-sunny-island.html

    Vs using a standard 120/240 VAC transformer or other AutoTransformer?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • tmarchtmarch Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭
    Re: SMA Smartformer

    Yes that's it. Must be fairly new?
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: SMA Smartformer
    BB. wrote: »
    I am assuming this is the device:

    http://www.sma-america.com/en_US/products/off-grid-backup-solutions/smartformer-for-sunny-island.html

    Vs using a standard 120/240 VAC transformer or other AutoTransformer?

    -Bill

    I just took a look at the manual. I assume that it costs a lot more than a simple autotransformer, but all of the additional components and functions may make it worthwhile. If nothing else, it makes it more likely that you get things wired up properly! And it includes all of the necessary overload protections.

    The schematics and instructions seem clear enough, although the description of the load shedding arrangement is IMHO inadequate.

    One thing that makes me shudder is their use of words here: "The bypass switch is a manual automatic transfer switch ...." I guess it is automatic in that it keeps you from connecting both sources at the same time. But that part is covered by the "transfer switch" part of the name. The bypass switch does perform a very useful function. I wish the editor of their manual had avoided that unfortunate phrase.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,036 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: SMA Smartformer

    Looks like a midnight ePanel, with a transformer, and relays.
    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 ,

  • SolaRevolutionSolaRevolution Solar Expert Posts: 407 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: SMA Smartformer

    It is nice that SMA is finally comming out with some BOS gear.

    It definitely looks like it would be a good help for single SI installations but there are some functions left to be desired. It does nothing to address the DC side. Sunny Islands are not a "simple" installation. Especially if you are dealing with split phase (120/240 vac) with the grid and/or generator and loads. It would be nicer to be able to use the SI systems for non-split phase installations. I'm guessing that the North American market is not SMA's greatest focus for the SI.

    I'll have to spend more time looking into this.

    One important detail I see is that the Smartformer is either a step up (120 → 240v) or step down (240 → 120v) but not both in the same installation. This means that if you use it to connect the 240vac Sunny Boy PV inverters and AC load panel to the output of the Sunny Island, you can only feed 120 vac from the grid or gen into the Sunny Island's AC input (unless you get another auto transformer) I don't think that it would make sense to have two Smartformers in one system.

    It has an idle current of 19 watts. The Sunny Island has a idle current of 25 watts. That's a total of 1056 watt/hours every 24 hours. A bit on the high side for a 6kw inverter.

    It will be nice if SMA can get some smaller BOS equipment for larger systems too.

    There is a lot going on in an SI System. The Smartformer looks like it would help make a single SI inverter system much more asthetically pleasing.
    This pic is of a 4 SI split phase system and a 2 SI split phase system using Midnite Nottagutters:
    Attachment not found.
    Thanks again Robin G. I could not have fit the system in this room without you.

    -Alex Aragon
  • SolaRevolutionSolaRevolution Solar Expert Posts: 407 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: SMA Smartformer

    This is a perfect example of how the Smartformer could have helped. This pic is of a "messy" Sunny Island grid-tie system. The SI is inside the utility room back to back with the small gutter at the upper right.

    Spaghetti anyone? I found this installation at a service call. They were having problems and the original installer is out of business. Go figgure. Everytime the well pump came on the SB shows a FAC-BFR error. I went through all of the connections and made it "better" though it still happens sometimes.

    The system has one Sunny Boy 2500 and one Sunny Island 4248. There is an autotransformer, PV disconnect, back up loads panel, 2 transfer switches -one for the SB to grid/SI connection and one for backup loads to Grid/SI.

    -Alex Aragon
    Attachment not found.
Sign In or Register to comment.