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  • #31
    Originally posted by BillSunGen View Post
    I haven't dug in too deep but there may be a way to access (hack) the solaredge data locally:
    Yeah, that is what I meant by the hook and crook and wedge and shimmy I mentioned. Note that it comes crashing down if SE changes the handshake or data format. They then have to reverse engineer and write the code for the changes or you write it yourself if you are inclined. I don't know about you but my hacker days are behind me. At first blush, it seems a bit too unstable for my taste. It may be perfectly fine but...
    Last edited by DrLumen; 06-11-2018, 05:46 PM.


    • #32
      Originally posted by DrLumen

      You are really just ticked because I complemented Bruce and didn't say anything about you. That is
      really what you are upset about isn't it? Come on, it's ok. You can admit it.
      Oh come on, Butch has tons of field experience on all kinds of PV equipment, my hands on experience
      is limited to one system. Bruce Roe


      • #33
        Hi All,

        Thank you all for the input on this thread. I have been back to the reading/studying mode for a while. I do not have concerns about shade so I am going to go with SMA Sunny Boy inverters, one 5 and one 6. The two inverters should provide some redundancy in case of issues later (being grid tied this isn't really a big concern though). The second factor is that I may be doing portions of the install myself and adding the solar edge optimizer connections to the racking could mean more time on the roof (a factor for someone inexperienced not for an installer who does this every day). Price wise (in my internet shopping) between this setup and the solar edge they were pretty close so not a big factor. Finally it appears that the SMA could make the data available locally in a relatively easy way. Based on older posts here I think it used to be more complicated than described below so if anyone reading thinks SMA is hard to interface please let me know.

        Quote from the article linked here (http://renew.org.au/articles/solar-monitoring-basics/)
        Semi-automated data collection
        An example of this is how I collect data from my own system, an SMA Sunny Boy inverter with Bluetooth. Once a week I use SMAs Sunny Explorer Windows software to talk to the inverter via Bluetooth and download the data onto a Windows tablet. Sunny Explorer creates a series of text files, one for each day, which it places in a designated folder.
        edit: forgot about single quote thing... seems preview does not catch it.
        Last edited by BillSunGen; 07-02-2018, 04:46 PM.


        • #34
          If price is a wash, I'd be doing SolarEdge and Optimizer for the better default warranty and much easier monitoring. If you're worried about PO installation difficulty/time spent, then you shouldn't be installing panels. Installing the POs would be the easiest part of the job. It's literally popping a bolt into the railing, and then bolting on the PO, and pealing and stick the QR code onto a peice of paper. You can leave the QR code pealing and stick until after they're all bolted into place, that way you're not carrying around the paper, but some bolts, nuts, box of POs and your socket wrench/battery operated screw gun. I've seen it done at 20s each, but even at a minute each, how much time is that extra? A lot less than bolting panels into place.


          • #35
            TAZ427, I have not actually watched any videos of the PO installs, just seen some layouts. It isn't really the time or difficulty of bolting it onto a rail though, it is the added complexity that I am concerned about. When doing something new each additional step to learn takes time (figuring out placement, orientation, tools, what a sold connection feels like, what order it needs to be done) and adds another layer to troubleshoot when it doesn't work the first time (Two points of failure per panel and apparently I have to track QR codes!, sadly this is probably the hard part). None of these things are really a problem for the second system someone installs. Unfortunately it would be my first. Having now reviewed the installation manual though it does have the SafeDC control, which is a nice feature for peace of mind when working with electrical connections and of course another layer of complexity.

            To clarify my intent, I would rather find a good installer that I can work with in the central VA area but I think my situation is just outside the box enough (and there is a limited demand in VA which also results in limited supply of installers) that the prices for full service are more than I want to pay (I attribute that to a risk premium being applied and not greed) and followup dropped off when I asked questions (too hard when there are cookie cutter jobs to make $$ on) which led me to learning how to design a system and these forums. I am handy enough and could (probably) make all the connections to code etc but I am not cheap enough (or maybe I am smarter than I look) and would only plan on doing the manual labor side of things. In any scenario I would have my trusted electrician review, connect, and coordinate with the local power co. I just don't want to pay his rate to bolt panels to a roof, which would probably still be cheaper than some of the quotes I got before.


            • #36
              Ok, but it may be worth watching a video on it

              I didn't think it was adding a layer of complexity, and in fact felt that for debugging any issues in the system, it was actually reducing complexity. Being able to see what each panel is doing IMO greatly improves knowing if your system is full operational, and if there something obviously wrong, allows you to quickly diagnose it (or provide information on here to diagnose it.)

              As for connection and layout complications - What are they? You've already have done all the work with the layout of the panels, now it's a mater of slapping one PO per panel, in the middle of one of the rails for each panel. Connection complications? They're all MC4 connectors (same as what's on the panel) which when you hear the click, you're done. More than that, you can't wire them backwards as they swap the Male and Female on the + and - to prevent this. All, you need to is plug on the long cables (outputs) of the POs to their neighbors to make up your strings after you've put all the POs in place. Then when you're putting the panels on, plug the panel wires into the short wires (inputs) again you can't mess it up as they're male and female to ensure you plug the right ones into the right place.

              For the time being you can just stick the QR codes onto your layout page and not worry about it (just do it in the pattern that the layout itself is, so you can use it when you want to.) When you go through the pairing operation it will pick up all the optimizer in the strings. The QR codes are for you to add to the monitoring layout so that you can look at each optimizer individually, and if you can use a smartphone camera, you can read a QR code. You probably don't understand how simple it is, because you simply haven't done it.

              Yes, it is one intermediate step, but I think it makes setting up the strings a bit easier. You can actually see the strings, and count the POs before you ever put a panel in place. Then it makes for a quick panel install, as you're only connecting it to it's PO and not the neighboring panels as that parts already done.

              But it's you're system and your choice. I'd just recommend taking a look at it before saying 'No, it adds another step, and therefore makes it more complicated'. Weigh that '2 points of failure per panel' with 'if a failure occurs, you know which panel the failure is on', when if it's a string only, at best you know which string it's on.


              • #37
                Great, I thought I had made a decision. Watching the video it would be pretty nice if I am doing it myself to have everything wired up before hauling the panels up then just needing to connect and secure them...