Service Tip #1: Setting the System Time

From Hans-Josef Hüttges (guest post) on March 15, 2012 in Category Service with 26 Comments
SMA Service

We would like to support your daily work. Therefore, we start a new series: Service Tips. Amongst others, we give you answers on frequently asked questions.

Today’s tip deals with commissioning: Remember to connect the inverter* to an SMA communication product on the same day as you commission your PV plant.

 

There are several reasons for doing this. Our inverters and communication products are synchronized when you connect them. For example, the inverter uses the time provided by Sunny Explorer, Sunny Beam, or Sunny WebBox (with Bluetooth®).

Important for Service Cases

If this synchronization is performed days or even weeks after commissioning, the inverter may operate on an unspecified system time.
It may not seem detrimental at first; however, we need to think about the future here. If the inverter actually does have a disturbance or operates ineffectively at some point, it is not possible to track back when and why the event took place. It is only possible to reconstruct the actions leading up to defective operation and resolve it easily when the system time is set properly.

Further Information

SMA inverters using a Bluetooth® connection via SMA Bluetooth® Piggy-Back offer a unique feature. These inverters terminate their connection to the communication product when they are no longer in feed-in operation. For this reason, you need to connect the inverter to a communication product at least once a day in order to have the correct system time.

Another good bit of advice: The connection between the inverter and the communication product needs to be re-established if the AC and DC power supply has been interrupted for two or more days.

 

Do you have questions or ideas for us to use as a Service Tip? We are looking forward to your contributions.

*This tip refers to all inverters with a graphic display.

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The Author

Hans-Josef Hüttges (guest author)

Hans-Josef Hüttges has been working in the SMA Service Division since March 2011 as technical editor. He is responsible for the development of service manuals, e-learning and videos. His desire: To run the New York Marathon.

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26 Comments

  • avatar

    Bahman

    September 27, 2017 at 04:57

    Hi,
    We are using sma stp20000 tl30. recently its interface graph has shown only one column at the end right of graph area and nothing else. knocking on it does not work. webconnect transfer inverter data just in time without any history in sunny portal. but device work perfectly.
    Could you please help me what its problem would be and how I can solve it?
    thanks

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Tobias

      September 27, 2017 at 14:31

      Hello Bahman,

      For this plarticular request I would like to forward you to our support.

      Kind regards,
      Tobi

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Krishna chaudhary

    July 19, 2017 at 07:37

    Hi,
    we are using SMA STP 25 (String Inverter) for our 3 MW SOLAR Plant, and we have NOCC SYSTEM for monitoring the individual inverter’s performance, but problem is with inverters is that they stop getting reset at 12 am. so at the next day in our monitoring system the previous day value get’s reflect. please provide a sulution.
    Regards

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Jennifer Rößler

      July 19, 2017 at 07:48

      Hello Krishna,
      please contact our Service Line. Our colleagues will assist you in a personal dialog. By selecting your country on our website you can find the right phone number to call.
      Kind regards, Jennifer

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Ron

    August 25, 2016 at 04:06

    Hi, I have one stp 12000tl unit installed for 12 kWp system. When I logged in with sunny explorer to download the daily and monthly file, I noticed that there is a huge different between the energy value for daily file (13187kWh) and monthly file (53760kWh). The july monthly file is showing all zero without any value recorded. May I know is there any settings or parameter I need to change for this issue?

    Reply »
  • avatar

    Edward Carter

    January 19, 2016 at 16:42

    I have a Sunny Beam monitor which is 4 years old. I have been uploading my data happily to my Macbook Pro happily until recently, when it is not recognised by the computer. I am guessing that the SMA drivers have not been updated for latest Mac OS (El Capitan). Would this be right, and if so when and where can I find the driver? Thanks

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Julia Stunz

      January 20, 2016 at 09:26

      Hello Edward,
      We have forwarded your request directly to the department in charge for further processing. Please note that this process may take some time.
      We also would like to recommend you to contact the Apple Support regarding the update. Perhaps they will be able to assist further.

      Regards,
      Julia

      Reply »
      • avatar

        Edward Carter

        February 5, 2016 at 10:34

        Hi Julia
        Thanks for your reply. I have already contacted Apple support about El Capitan not recognising the Sunny Beam, and they said it was because the driver was not updated by SMA yet.
        I look forward to the reply from the relevant department.
        Thanks again
        Edward

      • avatar

        Edward Carter

        April 23, 2016 at 09:19

        Dear Julia
        Has the department responsible responded about updating the software for OSX El Capital please?
        Regards
        Edward

      • avatar

        Kim Darby

        June 9, 2016 at 07:20

        I am having the same problem with my Mac (El Capitan) not recognising my Sunny Beam device. I urgently need to get to the error report data. Can you help?

      • avatar

        Annika Linke

        June 16, 2016 at 13:04

        Hi Kim, please contact the service line because we could not help you with this less information. Usually the MAC present Sunny Beam as an external device. We cannot say in your case why it doesn’t work. Please call +49 561 9522-2499. Thanks. Annika

      • avatar

        Edward Carter

        June 17, 2016 at 11:40

        Annika

        I still have not resolved this problem with the Sunny Beam not being recognised by my Mac. Is there a number in the UK that I can call please?

      • avatar

        Annika Linke

        June 20, 2016 at 07:40

        Hi Edward, I am sorry to hear that. Please call our Service Line in UK +44 1908 304899.
        Regards, Annika

  • avatar

    Adrian Walmsley

    November 9, 2015 at 15:18

    My Sunny Beam BEAM-BT-11 device was dropped a couple of days ago. The batteries came out in the incident.
    I replaced the batteries but I am having trouble reconnecting to my inverter.
    It shows the message Time Setting: “Due to the interruption of the energy supply the time must be newly set”

    I can set the time and the Sunny Beam will retrieve the Power and the E-Total from the inverter.
    E-Today shows as 0.

    But after the Sunny Beam display switches off it loses the time setting.

    Have I missed some stage in the setup, or is the Sunny Beam permanently damaged?

    Thank you.

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Adrian Walmsley

      November 9, 2015 at 19:00

      I may have answered my own question.
      I upgraded the Sunny Beam firmware.
      Old level: 1.00.7.R
      New level: 1.02.0.R

      And now it seems to be working fine again.
      (maybe a factory reset would also have got it working again)

      Reply »
    • avatar

      Julia Stunz

      November 10, 2015 at 09:55

      Dear Adrian,

      As a matter of fact, your Sunny Beam unit could have been permanently damaged in the incident.
      Nevertheless, we would like to recommend a reset of your Sunny Beam unit so you could perform the commissioning again.
      Please make also sure that the newest firmware version is installed on the device. You will find it at our website http://www.SMA.com in the download area.

      Please note, that all data will be deleted irreversible once the unit is set to factory settings.
      If the issue persists, it might be possible that your Sunny Beam device has suffered a defect while falling.

      Best regards,
      Julia

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Dennis Baumber

    September 2, 2015 at 10:22

    I cannot adjust a 10 minute time error on my Beam-BT-11-GR1 Serial number 0142011718 this unit is 3 years 8 months old, please can you advise what to do as it does not retain my input?
    Thanks

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Leonie Blume

      September 3, 2015 at 08:29

      Dear Dennis,

      Unfortunately we do not quite understand, what setting you are trying to adjust exactly.
      If possible, we kindly ask you to contact your Service Line and provide a picture so they can assist you further in this regard.

      Please make also sure that the latest firmware version is already installed on your Sunny Beam device.
      To download a new firmware version, please visit us at http://www.SMA.de

      Kind regards,
      Leonie

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Paul Attard

    August 1, 2015 at 16:33

    My Sunny Boy Explorer has recently lost time and I reset it to the system time as I have done a number of times in the last few months. This time round, rather than reverting back to normal operation after accepting the system time, it has been overwriting the previous day’s records, thereby losing the day records on the monthly graph. Also since of today, rather than recording the August record, It has added today’s generation to that of the monthly of July. On the yearly graph, the July record has been lost, and today’s generation together with that of the month of July has been shown on the month of August. Any solution to this problem?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Sarah Römsch

      August 3, 2015 at 09:13

      Hi,
      I’m sorry that you have problems with Sunny Explorer.

      Please make sure that your inverter has the latest firmware version installed and the latest version of Sunny Explorer is used. You find the current versions in our download area.
      Once this has been checked, please try to set the time again and rerun the software.

      Please bear in mind that Sunny Explorer should not be used as a data logger since it has been developed for parameterization purposes in first place.
      If data are to be stored long-therm, we kindly suggest the use of a data logger such as a Sunny Webbox. Here, you find an overview about our products for Monitoring & Control.

      Best regards,
      Sarah

      Reply »
      • avatar

        Paul Attard

        August 4, 2015 at 16:16

        Dear Sarah, Referring to my previous communication. Thanks for your help.
        My system consists of a 2.1KW ten panel system which runs on a Sunny Boy inverter model SB 2100TL to which an SMA Bluetooth Piggy Back Plus BTPB-G3 had been subsequently added.
        I have been browsing through the help document of my software version 1.07.23 and I find that sunny Explorer does not support the monthly and yearly graphic display unless the software version 02.00.00.R is installed.

        Is this software suitable for my system? Where can I get a copy of it?

        Thanks for your help.

        I appreciate any further help you can give me.

        Regards

        Paul Attard

      • avatar

        Sarah Römsch

        August 5, 2015 at 12:24

        Dear Paul,
        Yes, indeed. You have to update the firmware on the BTPB communication interface in order to use Sunny Explorer properly.
        Here is the link:
        http://files.sma.de/dl/18457/SMA_Bluetooth_Piggy-Back_2.00.10.R.up2

        The update can be performed via Sunny Explorer.

        Nonetheless, we kindly remind you that there are better ways to back up your data by using an appropriate data logger as we mentioned previously.
        Have a nice day.
        Best regards,
        Sarah

  • avatar

    Lance

    March 7, 2015 at 17:13

    Thanks for the info. Can the plant time be set by the homeowner, or does the installer have to make the update? I had to turn my system off for half a day and now the graph doesn’t correctly measure the daily power output because the time is not correct. I think the “day” is resetting in the middle of the day so that at the end of the day the daily production is only a fraction of what it should be.

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Leonie Blume

      March 9, 2015 at 10:28

      Hi Lance,
      Can you tell me the name of your system and the serial number? I’m sure my colleagues can help you.
      Best regards
      Leonie

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Jason O'Connor

    April 11, 2012 at 09:49

    Great blog Hans, using it at the UK Solar Academy seminars. Any more service tips?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Sarah Römsch

      April 12, 2012 at 15:20

      Thank you. We are glad that our service tip has been useful. We will certainly continue this series and publish further tips. Of course you can always contact us personally in case of any specific questions or suggestions.
      Best regards,
      Sarah Römsch

      Reply »

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