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Everything posted by Dexitt

  1. Hats off to you sir! Well said!
  2. You are welcome, I absolutely LOVE my home assistant now that I got the hang of it
  3. My subscription is only R50 a month, and taken into account all the things I get with it, it's really not a lot. I am not sure what all the other guys are on about ICC. I have been a user for a few years before I upgraded. The service I got from Manie and co was very nice, UNTIL I started asking questions, etc. I was either met with a disgusting one liner mail, or simply ignored. On top of that, ask yourself why the licenses sold through them are "free forever".. That's because they have NO expense. You can't call them (only for sales, no technical support), you can't drive there to talk with them (apparently this manie guy lives in Phalaborwa and works on a mine last I heard), so they don't have any offices to pay, they don't give you a cloud portal where your data is logged indefinitely (they force you to figure out how to use emoncms yourself, register for an account at emoncms.org, and then end up paying over 1 British Pound PER FEED per year. Hell, ICC has over a hundred feeds in total... At today's exchange rate that's over R2000 a year just to be able to see my data in the cloud, then I am not even accounting for the initial purchase price of the software. SMH costs me R570excl a year, so you decide for yourself. ICC does not have a web-app, and are still using the same platform since 2015. Centurion Solar's SMH has a BEAUTIFUL interface, see https://centurionsolar.co.za/solar-management-hub/. Contrary to what @isetech heard, SMH does NOT use ANY code WHATSOEVER from ICC (I confirmed this with both Johan and the original coder for ICC (Jaco, who is also the lead programmer for SMH), so whoever says that it's using version 1.3 of ICC is either misinformed or purposely lying. Lastly, if anyone of you every called Johan at Centurion Solar (something you cannot do with the guys at ICC, you can ONLY email them), you will probably agree that he is the most helpful, very knowledgeable and friendly person I have met in a while, and has absolute passion for what he does. Yes, they have a subscription, yes, it's R50 a month, yes, they give you cloud portals, web apps, home automation (another thing ICC charges money for as well), support, someone you can actually call, an office you can walk in to for free advice or help, software that doesn't need 5 million updates to "fix" this or "fix" that, etc etc. Check the link above to see everything I get for a fricking measly R50 a month. Compared to my solar system that cost me over 300k, I honestly think that anyone complaining should get over themselves. To top everything, my system was bought from Manie initially, and Johan at Centurion Solar even did the SMH upgrade for me WITHOUT charging me "a conversion fee" (as ICC does) or anything. He simply said that I paid for the initial license, so it will be upgraded for free, and I can still keep using SMH even without all the bells and whistles mentioned above, should I decide not to subscribe, so I wasn't forced into anything. So, coming back to the question that was asked to begin this thread, the user simply asked for an alternative and not delve into politics, which seems to be the main thing that happens when anyone mentions anything else apart from ICC. Alternatives I have looked at include: SMH (duh) Axpi (still in dev, also don't provide emoncms as part of the deal, last I checked) Riot (more enterprise based, but I didn't like the interface) Solarmon (I am not sure if they sill support the axpert range) A bunch of open source ones found on Github, some with, some without GUI interfaces.
  4. Hi Johan, Simply open the IP of your pi in your browser on port 1800 (or http://localhost:1800 directly on the pi). This will open up Node-Red. Once done, check top right, you can import a flow. Copy and paste this: [{"id":"170007fc.3c6cc8","type":"tab","label":"Home Assistant Configuration","disabled":false,"info":""},{"id":"239e97ec.204da","type":"mqtt in","z":"170007fc.3c6cc8","name":"SMH Raw Data","topic":"OpenData/InverterValues","qos":"2","datatype":"auto","broker":"abfc8f86.48ee18","x":240,"y":120,"wires":[["bd7b01ef.66cbf8"]]},{"id":"ea1eb994.6f6cf8","type":"mqtt out","z":"170007fc.3c6cc8","name":"Output to Home Assistant","topic":"","qos":"","retain":"","broker":"8a6e45db.4c4e6","x":1270,"y":120,"wires":[]},{"id":"bd7b01ef.66cbf8","type":"json","z":"170007fc.3c6cc8","name":"Convert to Json Object","property":"payload","action":"","pretty":false,"x":470,"y":120,"wires":[["f4015c3.12fa12"]]},{"id":"f4015c3.12fa12","type":"split","z":"170007fc.3c6cc8","name":"Split the MQTT Topic","splt":"\\n","spltType":"str","arraySplt":1,"arraySpltType":"len","stream":false,"addname":"key","x":740,"y":120,"wires":[["5aab81c9.40946"]]},{"id":"5aab81c9.40946","type":"change","z":"170007fc.3c6cc8","name":"Set the topic of each value","rules":[{"t":"set","p":"topic","pt":"msg","to":"\"inverter/\" & key","tot":"jsonata"}],"action":"","property":"","from":"","to":"","reg":false,"x":1000,"y":120,"wires":[["ea1eb994.6f6cf8"]]},{"id":"6d2307ec.ae9ed8","type":"comment","z":"170007fc.3c6cc8","name":"How to Configure Output to Home Assistant","info":"# How to configiure:\n\n1. Doubleclick the Output to Home Assistant Icon (Node).\n2. Edit the properties of the MQTT server (click the pen icon).\n3. Enter the IP address for your home assistant server.\n4. Click on the security tab and enter your username and password for Home Assistant\n5. Click Update once done, and then Done.\n6. Click the Deploy Icon (top right of the screen) to enable SMH to start posting to Home Assistnat\n7. DONE!","x":1270,"y":80,"wires":[]},{"id":"abfc8f86.48ee18","type":"mqtt-broker","z":"","name":"SMH","broker":"localhost","port":"1883","clientid":"","usetls":false,"compatmode":true,"keepalive":"60","cleansession":true,"birthTopic":"","birthQos":"0","birthPayload":"","closeTopic":"","closeQos":"0","closePayload":"","willTopic":"","willQos":"0","willPayload":""},{"id":"8a6e45db.4c4e6","type":"mqtt-broker","z":"","name":"Home Assistant","broker":"","port":"1883","clientid":"","usetls":false,"compatmode":true,"keepalive":"60","cleansession":true,"birthTopic":"","birthQos":"0","birthPayload":"","closeTopic":"","closeQos":"0","closePayload":"","willTopic":"","willQos":"0","willPayload":""}] Load it up, and you will see a Home Assistant config. Once there you will see a comment about how to connect it to HA, which is really just to specify the IP of your home assistant, and it's MQTT username and password. Please revert back if you struggle. It works GREAT. When you are done with everything, simply click deploy, and you can close the browser. That's how easy it is. And this is the result (taken from www.centurionsolar.co.za website). Johan there helped me to make mine look just about the same:
  5. I think I forgot to click "submit reply" on my previous attempt to answer, let's try again shall we The guys at Centurion Solar uses their own custom written software as best as I can tell, as nothing in there even closely resembles Emoncms. They still have an Emoncms server as well (see some of the earlier posts with those dashboards), but the web app allows real-time (2seconds or less) updates directly to my phone over the internet, which I think is pretty amazing. Check this video they made of it:
  6. I am also loving all the things I am discovering about SMH! Did you know that the web app can run from your Pi directly to your phone, over the internet, NO PORT FORWARDING required? It is also responsive, so the experience on my desktop looks like yours, but when I open it up on my phone, it automatically scales to the screen of my phone. I made a small video of the app in action and dropped it on Wetransfer, for those who'd like to see: https://we.tl/t-PQdDOHm1Cd I would also like to personally thank Johan at Centurion Solar. Not only did he take the time to explain exactly how the Home Automation side of things work with SMH, but he also ended up spending more than 2 hours of his time assisting me with the configuration, after I have been installing Sonoff's all over my house. On the big loads I have a Sonoff that turns on a contactor, and for the smaller loads I connected the Sonoff directly. For the lights, I will use the Sonoff mini, which is small enough to fit in the existing light switch covers and also supports adding the existing manual switch, so I get the advantage of using the old manual switch or the wifi controlled switch, which is awesome! After installing the Sonoffs, it was time to program my brand new smart home, all based on my solar system, and thanks to Johan's guidance and SMH I can now do that! Below is a picture of all the Sonoff's I have installed thus far. For the purpose of helping others, I will try to explain my thinking about the automation, hopefully they make sense: Firstly, I have configured the Electric Fence and the Alarm system to be on at all times, regardless of which power source supplies them. They will thus be on, even when charging the batteries. The rest of the automations are all based on the batteries reaching 100% SOC. Then, I have a normally closed contactor that allows the Aircon to be used as long as Eskom exist as a backup, with another automation that turns off the power to the aircon for as long as the status of eskom remain as "Unavailable". I have also incorporated the use of my energy to heat up my geyser, which turns on if the SOC = 100% and it's between 9:00 in the morning and 15:00 in the afternoon. This automation is also cancelled if the SOC goes below 98% (clouds) or if the time exceeds 15:00 or if the geyser reaches 60 deg. Of course I can override this by clicking the icon at any time, but now I don't need to call my wife at home every day to remind her to turn the damn thing on manually at the DB! I also created an automation that automatically tuns on the kettle 3 minutes before my alarm goes off, provided that the SOC of the batteries are still at 45% or higher. Next I was wondering what to do if I still have power after charging the batteries and heating the geyser. Easy, run the pool pump! So, for this the conditions were to check if the SOC = 100% (fully charged after heating the geyser) and ((while we are in the 9:00 to 15:00 time window) or (the Geyser temp >= 60 deg)). Of course the last automation was to tell the pool to turn off if the SOC dropped back to 98% or if the time went past 15:00. And then finally, I decided to install a Sonoff at my fridges, and created an automation which depicts that the plug supplying the fridges and stay on until the batteries have run down to 15%. While this will be bad, it will save me an extra 400W during load shedding, or roughly 1 and a half hours more in total. I hope you can see why I am as excited as a nerd that got lost in Communica . I cannot wait to see what the guys at Centurion Solar / SMH get up to next, but if they are reading this post I just want to say: WORLD CLASS boys, stunning work, and thanks for all your help, patience and assistance, your software is changing my life (for the better)! Anyway, before I get carried away, this is what my final Automations page ended up like:
  7. Hi Viceroy, I am not certain about all the things you mention, but what I can tell you is that, besides not being charged for a new license like Manie did, I got a 14day free trial to test everything out before having to subscribe, and so far I am loving it! It's a fundamental change in thinking from what we are used to with ICC, but it absolutely makes sense. Regarding the VNC outage, I spoke to them earlier today (yes, I was able to call someone on a SUNDAY), and there is a global outage at VNC with professional teams at the moment, so nothing anyone can do about that but wait. Also, they state that all ICC users can upgrade for free, but I am not sure about new users. PS, I actually read the T's and C's, and the subscription is mentioned there more than once, hence the tickbox to accept it, so I am not sure what everyone is complaining about on that front. In afrikaans they say "as jy kan lees kan jy presteer", so if you have an issue with R50, don't sign up to be upgraded, but as stated at length earlier, R50 simply ensures that they will be there next year. How else do you expect them to pay their support people, their office, their telephones, their electricity, the cost of development and updates, their internet, their IT equipment, the very VNC license you get for free when purchasing a Pi, etc every month all with a single once-off purchase? In a sense you are not even paying them, you are simply helping them be sustainable in the long run. Doing all of that and only charging R50 a month, coupled with all the features and benefits I get for that money seems more than fair to me, don't you think?
  8. That may be true, but even if you have a R300 000 system, paying R6000 to manage that over 10 years means that it's 2% of the total cost of the system, assuming you haven't spent a single cent on it since the day it was installed. Callouts, upgrades, fixes, etc would make that figure go down even more. One damaged battery alone would amount to 15k or more, loose 2 of those in 10 years, and you are up to 30k already just to replace the hardware, costs that in my case will probably not happen now, as I can intelligently switch devices off in my house by looking at the total consumption, or even turning my devices off one by one automatically as the SOC drops during load shedding. To me that single feature is worth R50 a month, and then we are not even talking about the fact that I get a telegram message whenever utility power is lost, and again once restored. There are multiple dashboards to choose from as well, like this one, showing my real time figures, my weekly figures, and a real-time graph as well. I absolutely respect that subscriptions are not for everyone, but to me, my investment in both my systems is definitely worth protecting at R50 a month. I pay more than 3 times that per month just for my bank account, and they don't give me ANYTHING for that besides a plastic card.
  9. As pointed out earlier. If someone has 300k for a solar system, they should have R50 to manage it. Hell, you can't even buy TEA at that price: https://www.woolworths.co.za/prod/Food/Food-Cupboard/Coffee-Tea-Hot-Drinks/Tea/Five-Roses-Smooth-Ceylon-Blend-Tagless-Tea-Bags-102-pk/_/A-6001156230253 Stop being Danville... R50 is NOTHING today!
  10. I didn't even have to do that, I simply had my existing pi3 (bought from Centurion) upgraded with the new software. I have another Pi4 at my mom's house (bought from Manie) which has has been upgraded too (all done online), so no need for fancy re-flashing the SD card (I don't even know how to do that), or even being forced to purchase a new license for either of them. As they explained, I already paid for the software, regardless of who it was bought from, hence the upgrade is free. Furthermore, they (Centurion) is willing to support me, even though my other Pi wasn't even bought from them, which in my mind speaks volumes about their integrity and commitment to their clients, regardless of the personal battles in the background.
  11. Spoke to them this morning, there is a global problem with professional teams showing expired, so nothing to do with them, but to each his own. I have upgraded and can finally see the true performance of my system. Until VNC is resolved I am failing over to Anydesk. They even helped with a template for my home assistant, just look at this (to be configured): PS, I was dealing with Manie's version of ICC, and have heard that it was never even his software to begin with. Word on the street has it that he blackmailed the original coder into stealing the source code, something for which there is an ongoing court case at the moment. Anyway, not my circus, not my monkeys. At least I can actually CALL someone with technical knowledge at Centurion, and is not forced to email a query and wait until someone decides to send a one line answer. But let's keep the "them and they" discussions for other topics. I posted this topic to ask if anyone has seen the new software and what they think of it, regardless of who made it and what the politics are behind it, let's not have a mud fight on behalf of someone else. I can only imagine that part of the reason the new software was written was to get away from all of this crap in the first place. Time will tell..
  12. Absolutely correct yes, plus you also get a free 14 dae trial period to test the software before committing to anything. I must say, I am truly impressed by what I have experienced thus far, so I will definitely be signing up!
  13. Well i suppose thats why a free trial is offered as well. You can decide if what you are seeing is worth paying for before making any commitment. For your 10 year system, do you expect software updates, new features, support people to call, unlimited cloud storage (and all the other amazing things mentioned in the document for that matter) for free during that period? I get that you are using a different system now, but place yourself in the shoes of an axpert user. As much as I like free stuff, i also understand that all of the above costs money to make and that everyone has to eat, something that will definitely not happen for 10 years with a once off purchase.. If it was R500 a month I would question the value, but come on, a solar system costs hundreds of thousands of rands and you can't afford R50 a month? One callout from a reputable installer is close to (if not more than) the subscription for a year. My 0.02c
  14. Another important thing is that SMH don't charge ANYTHING for the upgrade, so my initial purchase is not lost. When I went over to "the other branch" I was told to buy a new license and re-image my pi, etc, so I lost double. At least now I get the latest version for free and just pay the R49.99 subscription. Sounds like a win to me.
  15. True, but if you look at everything on offer, all the cloud services used, the fact that they offer dedicated support, etc etc, I can't think how they can keep paying for development, all those monthly expenses and more with a single purchase. I would also like them to be there to support me in a few years, so to me R49.99 is nothing to pay for what I get. Besides, one mcDonalds burger is more than R50 already, so to me they are charging far less than what I would have charged if it was my product.
  16. Aah ok, thanks for that. What do you think of the features offered by SMH though? I have been using ICC for a while, but compared to everything SMH has to offer it makes ICC look old and outdated.
  17. I just got a message about the latest version of ICC. It seems so much has changed that they even changed the name to SMH. I must say, the new features look FANTASTIC, well done guys! I attach a copy of the message, has anyone else seen it? ICC IS NOW OFFICIALY SMH.pdf
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