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Easy and inexpensive means for connecting a SolarEdge inverter to the Internet?

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  • Easy and inexpensive means for connecting a SolarEdge inverter to the Internet?

    SolarPanelTalk (and solar system) virgin here, so please be gentle...

    I'm about to pull the trigger on my first home system using 30 LG 335W modules plus a SolarEdge inverter and SolarEdge power optimizers here in Palm Springs, California. I like the fact that I can read the little LCD display on the inverter if I'm so motivated to get info such as system total DC input and AC output for the inverter, plus scroll through displays for individual optimizers showing input voltage from its associated module and its output voltage to the inverter. I'd like to also take advantage of whatever free monitoring services that SolarEdge claims it offers (who doesn't like to look at spiffy graphics every once in a while?) but to do that, the inverter has to be connected to good folks at SolarEdge.

    My understanding, admittedly obtained just from reading the literature on the SolarEdge website (so please correct me if I'm totally clueless), is that data from the inverter is sent to SolarEdge via either the owner's existing Internet connection or by cellular transmission. The latter method appears to require some sort of ongoing subscription plan plus the initial cost of a cellular board (CDMA, I believe). I hate subscription plans, so that's a non-starter. The Internet connection approach using the owner's system (i.e., my system) is far more attractive, but the standard method for setting one of these things up is to use a Zigbee network-based home gateway to link the inverter to the owner's router. This seems unnecessarily complicated to me and my installer quoted a pretty shocking price for the additional equipment and implementation. No gracias...

    The most straightforward and low cost approach for me is to simply hardwire my router to a standard RJ45 port on the inverter using an Ethernet cable. Piece of cake in theory, but it isn't practical to run a cable from the inverter sitting outside of my garage to my home office where the cable modem\Wi-Fi router sit. Folks in a similar situation appear to opt for the Zigbee approach, which surprises me. Unless I'm simply not getting it, the communication board in the inverter is functionally no different than any other device that is Ethernet-enabled but lacks a WiFi capability, such as an older Blu-ray player. You've got the Blu-ray player in one room, and you've got the router in another, but a direct WiFi connection isn't possible. One answer to the Blu-Ray problem (and I am sure there are others) is to use a pair of "nano adapters" like Netgear makes (or at least used to make) for about $70 for the set. You use an Ethernet cable to connect the player to one of the adapters, which you then plug into a standard electrical outlet on a wall, then take the other adapter and do the same thing with the router in the other room. The link is through the power lines, which I assume is similar to the means for the optimizers to communicate with the inverter. The other solution for the WiFi-less Blu-Ray problem is to use some sort of wireless adapter, similar to those made by Iogear for about 50 bucks I think. Here the wireless adapter you've linked to the player with an Ethernet cable uses its WiFi capability to connect to the router, essentially resulting in a situation no different than if your Blu-Ray player was WiFi-enabled right out of the box.

    So why can't a pair of powerline nano adapters or a single wireless adapter work to connect the SolarEdge inverter to the 'Net? I can't seem to find any discussion of this approach on the Web, What am I missing?

    Thanks,


    Nick in Palm Springs

  • #2
    Originally posted by NPS View Post

    So why can't a pair of powerline nano adapters or a single wireless adapter work to connect the SolarEdge inverter to the 'Net? I can't seem to find any discussion of this approach on the Web, What am I missing?
    Powerline works fine if your home electrical is clean enough. Many forum members have gone to the WiFi adapters with success. They used to go on sale for $10-$15 every so often, I haven't been watching lately.

    Google "tp-link site:www.solarpaneltalk.com" to find threads where this setup had been discussed. I even posted screenshots of the router setup screens at one point, although I didn't find it fast when I just looked.
    CS6P-260P/SE3000 - http://tiny.cc/ed5ozx

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    • #3
      I bought one of these: (but haven't installed it yet -- currently using an old Wifi Router as a "client bridge")
      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      One of these would also work:
      https://www.amazon.com/IOGEAR-Univer...2Badapter&th=1

      Note that you might also need an AC to 5V USB power adapter like this one (it may or may not be included with the wifi adapter)
      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      You'll need to find a dry spot to put these close to an AC outlet. Though if you're in/near your garage this may be a non-issue. Both of these devices will connect to your existing WiFi network and bridge the connection to Ethernet. You'll then run an Ethernet line from the device to your inverter.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JSchnee21 View Post
        I bought one of these: (but haven't installed it yet -- currently using an old Wifi Router as a "client bridge")
        https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

        One of these would also work:
        https://www.amazon.com/IOGEAR-Univer...2Badapter&th=1

        Note that you might also need an AC to 5V USB power adapter like this one (it may or may not be included with the wifi adapter)
        https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

        You'll need to find a dry spot to put these close to an AC outlet. Though if you're in/near your garage this may be a non-issue. Both of these devices will connect to your existing WiFi network and bridge the connection to Ethernet. You'll then run an Ethernet line from the device to your inverter.
        Sorry your post was stopped by our software until I approved it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Forgot to mention... The TP-link pocket routers actually fit inside the DC disconnect of the A series inverters (not sure about HD-Wave). If you've got a smidgen of electrical skill, you can tap the AC power connected to the inverter using a lead with a in-line fuse for the hot leg, and save the trouble of running the Ethernet cable to an outlet and figuring out how to protect it.
          CS6P-260P/SE3000 - http://tiny.cc/ed5ozx

          Comment


          • #6
            Great! I was concerned that the SolarEdge Ethernet port would be sending data in some sort of proprietary manner so that using something simple and cheap like a TP-Link N150 wireless router\adapter in either client mode or maybe repeater mode wouldn't work. I'll just set up an Ethernet cable from the inverter (which will sit on an outside wall) into the interior of the garage. I've got power there and the adapter will be shielded from the elements. My WiFi signal is pretty weak in the garage, making this a good time to buy the range extender I've thought about for a long time.


            Cheers,


            Nick in Palm Springs

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by NPS View Post
              Great! I was concerned that the SolarEdge Ethernet port would be sending data in some sort of proprietary manner so that using something simple and cheap like a TP-Link N150 wireless router\adapter in either client mode or maybe repeater mode wouldn't work. I'll just set up an Ethernet cable from the inverter (which will sit on an outside wall) into the interior of the garage. I've got power there and the adapter will be shielded from the elements. My WiFi signal is pretty weak in the garage, making this a good time to buy the range extender I've thought about for a long time.
              Which range extender are you looking at?

              I also have weak WiFi in my garage. I have been considering the TP-LINK RE305 or splurging on the RE450 in the hopes that one of those would have the necessary range in my garage. Both of those have an ethernet port so they can hook up to my SE5000H-US.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jpoet View Post

                Which range extender are you looking at? I also have weak WiFi in my garage. I have been considering the TP-LINK RE305 or splurging on the RE450 in the hopes that one of those would have the necessary range in my garage. Both of those have an ethernet port so they can hook up to my SE5000H-US.
                If possible, I'm going to try and avoid using a range extender at all. I'm planning on running the Ethernet cable from the inverter into the garage and then run that cable along the ceiling to the side of the garage nearest to the room with the modem-router. That's where I'll mount an inexpensive WiFi adapter in client mode and connect it to the cable. I'm hoping that the signal from my existing modem-router will be strong enough to reach the WiFi adapter with no help. I just tried using a laptop near where the cable would enter the garage and I was able to web browse on my house internet connection just fine, albeit a little slower than if I was in the house. It wouldn't be a tragedy to have to put an extender in the kitchen or some other point between the garage and the router room, but if I can save the money, great.

                Nick in Palm Springs

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by NPS View Post

                  If possible, I'm going to try and avoid using a range extender at all. I'm planning on running the Ethernet cable from the inverter into the garage and then run that cable along the ceiling to the side of the garage nearest to the room with the modem-router. That's where I'll mount an inexpensive WiFi adapter in client mode and connect it to the cable. I'm hoping that the signal from my existing modem-router will be strong enough to reach the WiFi adapter with no help. I just tried using a laptop near where the cable would enter the garage and I was able to web browse on my house internet connection just fine, albeit a little slower than if I was in the house. It wouldn't be a tragedy to have to put an extender in the kitchen or some other point between the garage and the router room, but if I can save the money, great.

                  Nick in Palm Springs
                  well range extenders are a pain in the but any way. If the signal is too week then get a better router in the first place. One with 802.11 AC in particular multiple antennas with beam forming capabilities. These systems tend to have much greater ranger as well as better bandwidth.
                  OutBack FP1 w/ CS6P-250P http://bit.ly/1Sg5VNH

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you have coaxial cable in your home, the Actiontec MOCA adapters work really well. While Ethernet is best, I use MOCA for the vast majority of my connected devices (Roku's, TV's, second wireless access point for better coverage, etc.). Even the GEN1 MOCA (which seems to be more reliable than GEN2) gets well over 80mbit sustained. More than enough for 4K streaming.

                    https://www.actiontec.com/home-networking/

                    At each MOCA adapter, I add a small 8-port Netgear Ethernet switch so I can connect all of my wired devices and electronics. The one in my bedroom as the second wireless access point (aka one per floor -- or one for each end of the house).

                    MOCA is much more reliable and performant than Wifi or Powerline adapters.

                    -Jonathan

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                    • #11
                      Just another data point... I've tried the ZigBee, WiFi bridge/adapter and Ethernet Powerline Adapter to connect my SolarEdge inverter to the internet.

                      The ZigBee works, but seems to disconnect randomly every few days. The only way to get it to reconnect is to mess with the settings on the inverter. It's a pretty well documented problem here on the forum if you do a search.

                      The WiFi bridge/adapter is a slick idea, but the one I had would seem to reset every few days and I'd have to connect it to my PC to reconfigure it into client mode. Note: this seemed to be a problem with the adapter, not the inverter.

                      I finally settled on the Ethernet Powerline Adapter. I simply plugged them in and they worked. Hard to argue with that.

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                      • #12
                        +1 for simply running a cat5/6 cable. But before that, I would try the wifi as it is. You dont need a very strong signal to the inverter because they pass very little data. Its not like you are transferring large files back and forth. Even a 90% average packet drop is enough for monitoring purposes. Most data is aggregated into 5 minute periods anyway minus the immediate power reading which has limited utility unless you are testing something. At least that is the case for SMA monitoring which I am pleased with. I am fairly sure Solaredge is similar.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sevendayconstant View Post
                          The ZigBee works, but seems to disconnect randomly every few days. The only way to get it to reconnect is to mess with the settings on the inverter. It's a pretty well documented problem here on the forum if you do a search.
                          My installer "threw in" the ZigBee, so that is what I went with.. I was concerned about these drops, but I am pleased to report that I have had no problems with ZigBee and my HD Wave. I was prepared to get a network extender of some sort, but am glad I don't have to worry about it.




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