Remote monitoring

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
6 replies 1.2K views
Plot_VendorPlot_Vendor Forumite
18 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
I'm hoping the tecchies out there can help with this one ...
Been working away from home this week and got back to find that my panels were on strike: something had caused the solar MCB (shouldn't that be an SCB - secondary circuit board?) to trip off. Interrogating my Solo PV told me that I'd lost about 5 days worth of generation - :mad:

This made me redouble efforts to find a way to alert me ASAP if it happens again. So far, I've found a few monitors/data loggers that claim to do this, with prices from £100 to c£500.

The general principle seem to be that the device connects to your inverter or meter and takes periodic readings which it then transmits via wifi/GPRS/internet. You then access this via the internet (a bit like the Sunnybeam?)

Is this a case of you get what you pay for, or is it much of a muchness? Are there other things to note that I've missed here? All help and advice gratefully received.

Replies

  • Owain_MoneysaverOwain_Moneysaver Forumite
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    MCB=miniature circuit breaker

    I don't know exactly how your solar panels are wired in, but you can get autodialler alarms that will call or text you if there's a power failure. That might be better than relying on you checking something periodically.

    eg here
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
  • zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    Hi

    What's your level of techiness and what make inverter ?:- at 'geek(ish)' level with a SMA inverter you'd be looking at something like a raspberry pi or a small netbook with bluetooth & WiFi , drop some form of linux on it, get hold of a script such as 'smatool' & the appropriate linux libraries, upload the inverter data automatically to a site such as PVOutput and setup an alert via email if no generation is reported ..... you could probably achieve the same with a disused (but decent spec) Android phone and overlay a lightweight version of Linux on top of the Android OS then just use the unit's BT & WiFi capabilities ....

    ... then again, there's the option of dedicated equipment ... :D;)

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • Hi Z,

    Ideally, I'd like an out-of-the box solution (warranties et al), though I could tinker if desperate. I have a Power One 3600 OUTD inverter tied to 12 x 250W Mage panels

    For FiT purposes, I'm told to monitor my generation meter and not my inverter as these "overread"?


    Hi OM,

    Thanks for the link. And the correction (though already picked up in the original post):
    GaryMo wrote: »
    MCB - Miniature Circuit Breaker.
  • KevinGKevinG Forumite
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    For FiT purposes, I'm told to monitor my generation meter and not my inverter as these "overread"?
    Well yes, you have to, that's the meter that's registered on the FiT application. FWIW my inverter under-reads my generation meter by a small amount, less than 1%.
    Baxi Ecogen 24/1.0 Micro-CHP boiler installed Oct-2010; 2kWp Solar PV - 10*200W Kioto, SMA Sunny Boy 2000HF, SSE facing, some shading in winter, 37° pitch, installed Jun-2011, inverter replaced Sep-2017.
  • podcakepodcake Forumite
    116 Posts
    I think you might struggle to get an off the shelf system thats cost effective and does what you want.. I think u'd have to design and build one yourself. I like the suggestions from 'Zeupater' except I'd suggest an Arduino and a current clamp. Probably easier to get hold of than a Pi..

    just add an ethernet shield or similar and figure out a way for it to send a message etc.. if your system drops out.

    The scenario asks two questions for me though:
    • If the MCB is tripping WHY is it tripping (whats the issue).
    • If you are working away, and you find out that its stopped generating.. can you just go home and re-set it??
  • edited 27 June 2012 at 9:39PM
    zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    edited 27 June 2012 at 9:39PM
    podcake wrote: »
    I think you might struggle to get an off the shelf system thats cost effective and does what you want.. I think u'd have to design and build one yourself. I like the suggestions from 'Zeupater' except I'd suggest an Arduino and a current clamp. Probably easier to get hold of than a Pi .....
    Hi

    With ethernet and USB bluetooth on a Linux platform, such as RPi, you would (/should) be able to access SMA bluetooth enabled inverters directly and query the stored generation history ... the use of the PVOutput system would allow live generation to be viewed over the internet from anywhere and email alerts can be setup.

    Using a RPi or Android device linked through the household network would provide a low(ish) cost platform which would have the added advantage of being able to run the server on timed recharged batteries overnight and all of the Linux scripts already exist ... a pretty neat solution although it would take a while, some technical understanding and a little headscratching to assemble - however the OP doesn't have a SMA inverter and wants an 'off the shelf' solution so it's just academic ... ;):D

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
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