3 Ways on How to Communicate With a Solar Inverter

From on April 6, 2015 in Category Technology with 16 Comments
SMA webconnect

Utilising system monitoring tools available with SMA is one of the easiest ways to ensure a system is operating as expected. It also improves the ability to troubleshoot a system in the unlikely event that something goes wrong. Setting up communications links between various components within the SMA system solution is vital when attempting to set up monitoring. To this end there are a variety of options available to achieve communications links.

 

1st Option:  Webconnect / Speedwire

This is the easiest way to ensure a simple, highly reliable communication connection is made within an SMA system solution. An Ethernet cable link between devices (either directly, through a daisy chain or star configuration, or via a modem-router), allows data to be transmitted between devices in the system. Communication to Sunny Portal or Sunny Places is then easily facilitated through the modem and ensures the highest level of data non-repudiation.

Webconnect Graphic
2nd Option: Power-line Communications (PLC)

In some installation locations, routing of Ethernet cable to create a hardwired connection between components is either difficult or not possible. In such situations the next simplest solution can be to use PLC. PLC involves using special adapters and a site’s AC wiring infrastructure to make the communications link as depicted below.

While simple to install, this method of establishing communications has some restrictions. Electrical noise in AC wiring can cause the data being transmitted to be lost. It also requires each adapter to be connected to the same phase and circuit otherwise the communication signal will be lost. When using PLC adapters it is important to ensure they support Multicast / IGMP otherwise they will not be able to properly transmit and receive the SMA data feed.

SB PLC Graphic

3rd Option: Wi-Fi Bridges

If a communication link via Ethernet or PLC adapters is not practicable, a WiFi bridge is another option available to establish communications.

When using WiFi bridges it is important to ensure they support Multicast / IGMP otherwise they will not be able to properly transmit and receive the SMA data feed. Setting up a WiFi bridge will also likely require the use of a laptop to configure the device, and information about the site’s wireless network through which communication is being facilitated.

WAP graphic
Conclusion

The practicalities of establishing communications sometimes mean the preferred method, Speedwire, isn’t always possible. In these situations, the installer and system owner can choose from the options presented above to decide what method best suits their need. Whether communications are established by Speedwire, PLC or a WiFi bridge, including system monitoring with an SMA system is one of the cheapest and simplest ways to protect that investment and ensure it continues to provide clean power for the system owner.

Any questions? Feel free to comment below.

 

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I am part of the Global Portfolio & Markets team. I provide market related information direct to the BU’s so they can efficiently design, build and deliver products fit for the market. I also liaise directly with the markets in which SMA operates to understand their specific drivers, as well as providing localised competitive analyses.
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16 Comments

  • avatar

    Rohi Adu Wenji

    January 25, 2017 at 12:16

    Hi… I need to connect Sunny Island 8.0H with STP15000 (RS-485 inc.), how is the assignment of RS-485 connection with RJ45…???

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Viktoria Mai

      January 30, 2017 at 08:49

      Hello Rohi,

      the SI-COMSMA.BGx communication interface in the Sunny Island is required for RS485 communication with a communication device or other SMA products.
      The cabling and the pins are listed in the installation manual (http://files.sma.de/dl/17632/SI30M-44M-60H-80H-IA-en-33W.pdf) in chapter 7.4.7.9.

      Kind regards,
      Viktoria

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Kyle

    November 22, 2016 at 16:26

    I installed a sunny tripower inverter last year. We connected to the net via the web via option 1. Cat 6 and a router. Everything is great except i constantly get communication errors. There is no rhyme or reason to which inverter looses communication. Usually a power cycle clears up the fault. Are power cycles supposed to be done monthly? I didn’t read anything in the paperwork saying it would require maintenance.

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Lucas Unbehaun

      November 24, 2016 at 09:27

      Hi Kyle,

      in case of this individual problem, please contact our local service line to get further assistance.

      Regards, Lucas

      Reply »
  • avatar

    George Smith

    November 14, 2016 at 19:07

    I simply want to mention I really enjoyed you’re blog. You are really come up with superb article and reviews. Appreciate it for revealing your site.
    regards
    George Smith

    Reply »
  • avatar

    Des griffiths

    January 30, 2016 at 21:14

    Recently installed sunny invertor with 4kw solar panels .The invertor is installed in the attic.what is the easiest system to install to get readings on to my computer or mobile phone
    Thanks Des

    Reply »
  • avatar

    Bentley Lee

    January 8, 2016 at 06:47

    I am trying to connect my STP 10000 with a Powerline TP Link TL-PA4010. Is there any way I can configure for them to communicate?

    Reply »
  • avatar

    Ricky

    October 11, 2015 at 18:14

    Hi. I have been trying to get a wireless bridge to work between 4 SMA invertors that need to communicate to a router that is in a house about 200 feet away. I am using 2 Ubiquiti NanoStation Loco M2 transmitters. I have them both set up to act as a wireless bridge (one connected to the 4 inverters and the other connected to the router in the house) The way they are setup, however, they dont allow direct access to them via computer or smartphone so there is no real way for me to test whether or not they will work for communication between the inverters and the router. Is there anyway you would be able to tell me if this setup will work? Here is the video i used to setup the wireless bridge. Thank you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__xzHnK6IVs

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Sarah Römsch

      October 12, 2015 at 13:22

      Hi Ricky,
      Thanks for your message and the link. For optimal support, I suggest that you contact our Service Line directly. You find the telephone numbers here. You can also use this contact form.
      Best regards,
      Sarah

      Reply »
    • avatar

      Sarah Römsch

      October 19, 2015 at 07:59

      Hi Ricky,
      I’ve received a more detailed answer from my colleague. Hope it helps:

      What you describe in principle could work, however there are somethings you will need to ask of the hardware supplier of the Wifi bridge you propose to use, to determine whether they will work.

      For setting up a wireless bridge where you would be using the inverter’s Webconnect modules, you will need to work out whether the wireless bridge technology you are suggesting supports IGMP v3.0 / Multicast protocol. You will also need to check whether their technology is capable of transmitting reliably over a distance of 60m (~200ft).

      If you have set the bridge up already, you could either use a PC with Sunny Explorer installed (http://www.sma.de/en/products/monitoring-control/sunny-explorer.html) to see if you can detect the inverters, or alternatively if the home is connected to the internet you could attempt to use the Plant Setup Assistant on http://www.sunnyportal.com

      SMA Service will not be able to provide support configuring a 3rd party device.

      If you have further questions about your SMA products, please contact SMA service in your local region (I assume that is the US for you, in which case there details can be found here http://www.sma-america.com/service-support/overview.html)

      Reply »
      • avatar

        chris

        February 16, 2017 at 06:18

        Ricky, did you get it to work? I have the same setup and was curious if I got it working with the NanoStations from Ubiquiti.

  • avatar

    Lynton Stewart-Asley

    May 6, 2015 at 12:08

    Has anybody got a recommended WiFi bridge for use with a SunnyBoy 4000TL

    Reply »
  • avatar

    Dean Trigg

    April 22, 2015 at 09:14

    I have two HF2500 inverters supporting my 4.2MW system.
    These inverters have Bluetooth capability however, I can only get the signal to pair the devices if I’m standing right next to them which seems to defeat the object. also, when pairing, I’m asked for a password, I have no idea what the password is. is there a default password? given that my LCD displays are faded, trying to get connectivity so that i know what the performance is of my inverters is important. Can you help?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Leonie Blume

      April 23, 2015 at 08:21

      Hi Dean,
      Scott sent you an email. Please check your inbox.
      Best regards
      Leonie

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Barrie Davey

    April 12, 2015 at 21:33

    Each time I have to do this. Some cleaver IT chap has changed the procedure, why can’t you leave it .

    Reply »

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