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Sunsynk Inverter configuration questions


HeinieV

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Hi All,

I have taken the plunge and installed solar:

1 x 8kw Sunsynk inverter

2x 5kwh Sunsynk batteries

12 x 545w JAS PV panels

The work mode I would like to configure is for the system to provide solar power to the essentials first then if there is spare capacity charge the batteries, then send left over power to the non-essentials.

I have ticked "Zero Export" and "Prioritise load"  on the inverter and in the sunsynk app the " Limit to Home" option is selected. See attached pictures.

But according to the Power Flow diagram some power is from solar (3Watt) , (43Watt) is produced from the batteries , 790Watt is send to the Grid and nothing is supplied to the Load.

This does not make sense? The installer confirmed that the CT coil is installed in the correct place and the correct way around.

Any Advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

WhatsAppImage2023-05-22at08_06_26.thumb.jpeg.2fdc76204aa2ac7ef1b66e07ed7eede3.jpeg

WhatsAppImage2023-05-22at08_06.26(1).thumb.jpeg.6ab02e3a5eafae96d64f6e4dca83bdae.jpegWhatsAppImage2023-05-22at08_28_50.thumb.jpeg.1cbad4cbfb3b5fe3ff253bacd4a1350c.jpegWhatsAppImage2023-05-22at08_28_38.thumb.jpeg.5aa0fdc8469174d6ffa41f2d23340c54.jpegWhatsAppImage2023-05-22at08_28_26.thumb.jpeg.ecbed1c85864f57c6934c194c9a7db20.jpeg

Edited by HeinieV
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44 minutes ago, HeinieV said:

The installer confirmed that the CT coil is installed in the correct place and the correct way around.

Change around your CT coil wires in the inverter or install the CT coil the other way around as its not the right way.

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Hi @Nexuss

That worked!! 

Now the essentials and non-essentials is supplied from the SOLAR and Batteries.

This is not ideal. 

What must the configuration be if I would like to use the SOLAR for LOAD (essentials) , then batteries and then non-critical loads?

 

Thanks

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1 minute ago, HeinieV said:

Now the essentials and non-essentials is supplied from the SOLAR and Batteries.

This is not ideal. 

What must the configuration be if I would like to use the SOLAR for LOAD (essentials) , then batteries and then non-critical loads?

Its a bit tricky as you cant split it up like that , if you dont want the battery to help supply loads during the day set the SOC in the system work mode to say 70%(or whatever % you want) during that timeframe/timeslot and then it wont use the battery below 70% when there is grid available. I stagger my timeslots so the minimum SOC goes up throughout the day to always ensure there is some capacity available if there is no sun as an example.

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Like @Nexuss said, not really possible to do that. 

Make sure you have priority load enabled on the work mode screen. The inverter will always send PV to the load, and the remainder (if any), will go to the batteries. With a PV setup like what you have, you'll have more than enough surplus after your load to still charge your batteries quickly. 

From the inverter's perspective, the "UPS" output (essentials), and the non-essentials output are electrically the same circuit. So the inverter cannot "blend" between the loads. If you have Priority Load enabled, then the inverter will send power to all loads, regardless of essential/non-essential. Only thing the non-essential thing does is it gets switched off when there is loadshedding.

I think what you are looking for is the Aux output. With that output, you can control it to only come on when the batteries are fully charged and you have some minimum amount of solar available. Some folks connect their geyser to it. I have also done this, but since reverted that and rather make use of a Geyserwise timer to control and manage my geyser. Problem with putting your geyser on the Aux port is it will not come on during inclement weather. So if it's rainy, you run the risk of a getting a cold shower. The geyser is actually an essential load. 

What appliances/devices do you have connected to the non-essential side?

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Hi @suds7162,

Your explanation does make sense.

I am just trying to maximize the power from SOLAR and use as little of the GRID as possible.

I assume that the time of use configuration would be able to assist me in this regards. What config will you recommend?

 

40 minutes ago, suds7162 said:

What appliances/devices do you have connected to the non-essential side?

Currently Geyser and Pool pump.

Both devices is on a timer and the idea is to have the geyser on from 9am to 4pm in the day during solar generation hours,  the shower is warm enough in the evenings .. my only concern would be the morning showers during the winter. It might be to cold 😞 

 

The pool pump is only running during the day and for 1 hour in the evening.

Thanks

 

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1 hour ago, HeinieV said:

I am just trying to maximize the power from SOLAR and use as little of the GRID as possible.

Don't we all 😂

I would strongly advise you move your pool pump to the Aux output, unless you are already using it as a generator input. You can configure the Aux output to come on when the batteries are full, and when there is sufficient solar (i.e. don't dip into battery capacity). Your pool will survive a day or two without the pump running. If you can't do this, at the least set your timer to only run the pool at noon for a couple of hours. A pool pump can eat a lot of power, and running it in the evening will eat your batteries.

Remember, anything that runs when the sun is not shining must get power either from your batteries, or from the grid. You don't want a situation where your pool pump running means you can't use your airfryer for dinner because the batteries are flat, and it's loadshedding.

I will post later this afternoon a detailed description of how my setup is configured, with pictures for you. I don't have the time right now. We have very similar setups, sans the pool. 

The reality is that you will have to manage your big loads, and when the weather is really bad, you'll have to manually intervene here and there.

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1 hour ago, suds7162 said:

I will post later this afternoon a detailed description of how my setup is configured, with pictures for you. I don't have the time right now. We have very similar setups, sans the pool.

Thanks @suds7162, looking forward to your response 🙂

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Ok, so first a summary of my setup:

  • 8 kW Sunsynk inverter
  • 2 x 5kWh Greenrich WM5000 wall mount batteries
  • 10 x 555W Longi panels, for a peak of 5.5kW nameplate capacity.
  • All my circuits are connected on the essentials (UPS) side, except for the geyser, which is connected to the Aux output. Although I am considering moving it over to the main UPS output as well.

Battery Mode:

No screenshot, but the only interesting thing there is I have "Grid Charge" enabled. So that I can authorize my inverter to charge the batteries from the grid under extreme conditions (see below).

Work Mode: System 1:

image.png.e403ddea323a74a12adb48b7b6e9d718.png

Some general notes:

  • "Use Timer" is enabled, otherwise all the settings on this screen is ignored.
  •  The SOC column determines the lowest allowable SOC before the inverter will switch over to grid mode.
  • If there is no grid, the inverter will continue using battery, even if it goes below the setting for that time slot
  • If you have either the "Grid" or "GEN" columns ticked, then the inverter will charge the battery from the grid/generator up to the SOC value.
    • This will only happen if your battery SOC is less than the setting for that time slot.

My reasoning for these settings

  • I never want my battery SOC to dip below 50%. This is because we often have loadshedding in the mornings before the sun comes up, and that's when I want to use my coffee machine. With my house's load it's easy to completely drain my batteries in a single night, which results in me being without power in the early morning before my PV starts producing. 
    • The side effect of this is that my inverter regularly switches over to grid from midnight-ish till about 07h when the PV starts generating. I buy about 1-3 kWh eskom power every day. 
    • A 3rd battery will take away this problem, because then I'll have more than enough capacity to last me through the night, but at R30k, just to save R10/day it's not worth it.
  • From 10h-16h I require my batteries to be at least 75%. My assumption is that with good sun, my batteries should be at 100% before noon every day, regardless of how much they have drained the night before.
  • Between 16h-20h I also require the 75% limit, BUT, I authorize my inverter to use grid during this slot if the batteries are not up to spec. This only happens under serious inclement weather, which happens about 10 days out of the year in Pretoria. The timeslot for this grid charge event is 4 hours long, so that if I were to be loadshat during this slot, I'll have some power either side of the loadshedding event to charge batteries. Our area rarely start loadsedding at 16h. it's either 15h, or 18h.
    • I don't want to be caught off guard with a flat battery during loadshedding and rainy weather.
    • If my batteries are at 75% by 20h, I have enough remaining energy to last me through the night till dawn (usually).
  • During 20h-01h I lower the SOC limit to 50%, because that's typically where the battery will be anyway. 
    • Grid charge is also on here, in case I dipped lower than that and I need to make sure I have enough juice left for the aforementioned coffee machine the next morning.

Work Mode: System 2

image.png.af2ab84cd7cfdb62b5520082912f762a.png

I honestly can't figure out how the "Zero Export" series of checkboxes work. This is how my installer set it up, and it works, so I leave it like this. I don't export to the grid, and I don't have non-essentials connected. So no need to fiddle with it.

What is important to note, is I have "Priority Load" set to OFF. This means "Priority Battery" is ON. What this means is that when my battery SOC is less than whatever SOC if have set in the timer table under "System 1", then the inverter will send ALL the PV power to the battery. When this happens, the inverter uses grid to power the load. If there is no grid, then this setting is ignored and the load is powered, and remaining PV is sent to the batteries.

Remember, the "Load" output on the inverter is a UPS output. So the inverter will do everything in its power to ensure it remains on at all times. 

Aux Load

image.png.373f1515b82b2e84085898ce5f28728b.png

I'm not really using my Aux load as an aux load anymore, but my geyser is connected to it. I did not want to redo my wiring so I set everything to 0 to essentially force the Aux output to function identically to the UPS output (i.e. always on).

Do you want me to explain how this screen and its settings work, so that you can use it for your pool pump, or are you familiar with how it works already?

Geyser

I recently installed a Geyserwise TSE timer, and I have it setup as follows, to help me better manage things:

  • The four temperature blocks I have set as
    • 00h00 - 06h00: 45C
    • 06h00 - 12h00: 50C
    • 12h00 - 18h00: 75C
    • 18h00 - 24h00: 45C
  • For the Timer, I have 2 blocks enabled:
    • 10h30 - 17h00: This is the main heating period. I assume my batteries are full by this time (they normally are), so I have more than enough excess solar to then "charge" my geyser. You'll notice this "on" period goes up to 75C. So I make my geyser as hot as it'll go from the sun, as I see the geyser as another battery. During the days of inclement weather, I need to basically monitor things, and then maybe when I hit 50C or whatever I switch the geyserwise off with the keypad. With inclement weather it's likely I'll heat the geyser from the grid, so no need to then make it hot as hell. 
    • 04h30 - 05h00: This is a short period of boost, before my morning ablutions. Just to make sure there is some hot water. This is especially important if someone took a bath the night before, or if the geyser did not get up to max temperature. Often, because of my battery SOC settings, this boost will draw from the batteries or from the grid, depending on where my SOC is at that time. 30 minutes on my geyser is 1kWh, 10% of my battery capacity, or about R2, so not that bad. This boost does not happen every day, if we took showers the night before, then it's still well above 45C the next morning a lekker hot shower.

Note: I installed a 2kW element. Originally I had a 4kW element installed. 2kW is small enough that it will not overwhelm my PV production. So I will almost always heat my geyser from PV, unless it's the early morning boost, or when there is inclement weather during the day.

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So in summary, on a normal day like today, with lots of sunshine:

image.thumb.png.fa9c8f89dc2b08913f0b9c60a28bcf98.png

Some things to note:

  • Not sure what that 01h00 spike is. Need to figure that one out. 
  • The 04h30 geyser boost took place, and pulled from the batteries because the grid was off.
    • This is not ideal, a cooler shower is preferable imo, but there is no way for me to avoid this, unless I wake up at 04h30 to switch off the geyser.
  • Batteries were fully charged by 10h30.
  • The coffee machine morning spike came from the grid, because the batteries were <50% SOC at this time, so the inverter did not allow it to go lower. 
  • The spikes you see above the geyser's 2kW draw include the dishwasher, washing machine and other things like kettles. 
  • 15h50 spike was the airfryer, lunch.

On a less than nice day, where it's either raining the whole day or cloudy, things might look like this:

image.thumb.png.0813dfa4a639bb568f387a5286da65bb.png

Notes:

  • Geyser still comes on in it's given time slot (hot showers are important!), but now the inverter uses a blend of solar and grid to do that, because there is not enough PV do it alone.
  • The inverter brings the battery up to 75% as per my settings, and uses grid in this time to power other loads. Once it's at 75% it stays there, and uses grid to power my loads, as I had a massive rain storm at this time and PV was uncerperforming.
  • In the late afternoon, the sun came out, and topped my batteries up to 100%.
  • We decide to cook something in the oven at 1730, and the batteries crashed back down to 75%, and the inverter held it there till 20h, using grid during this time.
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19 hours ago, suds7162 said:

Ok, so first a summary of my setup:

  • 8 kW Sunsynk inverter
  • 2 x 5kWh Greenrich WM5000 wall mount batteries
  • 10 x 555W Longi panels, for a peak of 5.5kW nameplate capacity.
  • All my circuits are connected on the essentials (UPS) side, except for the geyser, which is connected to the Aux output. Although I am considering moving it over to the main UPS output as well.

Battery Mode:

No screenshot, but the only interesting thing there is I have "Grid Charge" enabled. So that I can authorize my inverter to charge the batteries from the grid under extreme conditions (see below).

Work Mode: System 1:

image.png.e403ddea323a74a12adb48b7b6e9d718.png

Some general notes:

  • "Use Timer" is enabled, otherwise all the settings on this screen is ignored.
  •  The SOC column determines the lowest allowable SOC before the inverter will switch over to grid mode.
  • If there is no grid, the inverter will continue using battery, even if it goes below the setting for that time slot
  • If you have either the "Grid" or "GEN" columns ticked, then the inverter will charge the battery from the grid/generator up to the SOC value.
    • This will only happen if your battery SOC is less than the setting for that time slot.

My reasoning for these settings

  • I never want my battery SOC to dip below 50%. This is because we often have loadshedding in the mornings before the sun comes up, and that's when I want to use my coffee machine. With my house's load it's easy to completely drain my batteries in a single night, which results in me being without power in the early morning before my PV starts producing. 
    • The side effect of this is that my inverter regularly switches over to grid from midnight-ish till about 07h when the PV starts generating. I buy about 1-3 kWh eskom power every day. 
    • A 3rd battery will take away this problem, because then I'll have more than enough capacity to last me through the night, but at R30k, just to save R10/day it's not worth it.
  • From 10h-16h I require my batteries to be at least 75%. My assumption is that with good sun, my batteries should be at 100% before noon every day, regardless of how much they have drained the night before.
  • Between 16h-20h I also require the 75% limit, BUT, I authorize my inverter to use grid during this slot if the batteries are not up to spec. This only happens under serious inclement weather, which happens about 10 days out of the year in Pretoria. The timeslot for this grid charge event is 4 hours long, so that if I were to be loadshat during this slot, I'll have some power either side of the loadshedding event to charge batteries. Our area rarely start loadsedding at 16h. it's either 15h, or 18h.
    • I don't want to be caught off guard with a flat battery during loadshedding and rainy weather.
    • If my batteries are at 75% by 20h, I have enough remaining energy to last me through the night till dawn (usually).
  • During 20h-01h I lower the SOC limit to 50%, because that's typically where the battery will be anyway. 
    • Grid charge is also on here, in case I dipped lower than that and I need to make sure I have enough juice left for the aforementioned coffee machine the next morning.

Work Mode: System 2

image.png.af2ab84cd7cfdb62b5520082912f762a.png

I honestly can't figure out how the "Zero Export" series of checkboxes work. This is how my installer set it up, and it works, so I leave it like this. I don't export to the grid, and I don't have non-essentials connected. So no need to fiddle with it.

What is important to note, is I have "Priority Load" set to OFF. This means "Priority Battery" is ON. What this means is that when my battery SOC is less than whatever SOC if have set in the timer table under "System 1", then the inverter will send ALL the PV power to the battery. When this happens, the inverter uses grid to power the load. If there is no grid, then this setting is ignored and the load is powered, and remaining PV is sent to the batteries.

Remember, the "Load" output on the inverter is a UPS output. So the inverter will do everything in its power to ensure it remains on at all times. 

Aux Load

image.png.373f1515b82b2e84085898ce5f28728b.png

I'm not really using my Aux load as an aux load anymore, but my geyser is connected to it. I did not want to redo my wiring so I set everything to 0 to essentially force the Aux output to function identically to the UPS output (i.e. always on).

Do you want me to explain how this screen and its settings work, so that you can use it for your pool pump, or are you familiar with how it works already?

Geyser

I recently installed a Geyserwise TSE timer, and I have it setup as follows, to help me better manage things:

  • The four temperature blocks I have set as
    • 00h00 - 06h00: 45C
    • 06h00 - 12h00: 50C
    • 12h00 - 18h00: 75C
    • 18h00 - 24h00: 45C
  • For the Timer, I have 2 blocks enabled:
    • 10h30 - 17h00: This is the main heating period. I assume my batteries are full by this time (they normally are), so I have more than enough excess solar to then "charge" my geyser. You'll notice this "on" period goes up to 75C. So I make my geyser as hot as it'll go from the sun, as I see the geyser as another battery. During the days of inclement weather, I need to basically monitor things, and then maybe when I hit 50C or whatever I switch the geyserwise off with the keypad. With inclement weather it's likely I'll heat the geyser from the grid, so no need to then make it hot as hell. 
    • 04h30 - 05h00: This is a short period of boost, before my morning ablutions. Just to make sure there is some hot water. This is especially important if someone took a bath the night before, or if the geyser did not get up to max temperature. Often, because of my battery SOC settings, this boost will draw from the batteries or from the grid, depending on where my SOC is at that time. 30 minutes on my geyser is 1kWh, 10% of my battery capacity, or about R2, so not that bad. This boost does not happen every day, if we took showers the night before, then it's still well above 45C the next morning a lekker hot shower.

Note: I installed a 2kW element. Originally I had a 4kW element installed. 2kW is small enough that it will not overwhelm my PV production. So I will almost always heat my geyser from PV, unless it's the early morning boost, or when there is inclement weather during the day.

that was a good solid read and answered so many of my questions on setting up of my inverter....kudos to you. 

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Hi @suds7162,

 

Thank you for your very detailed reply 🙂 

 

Your explanation does make sense and it seems like you had some time to maximise your system based on your usage patterns,  the next step  would be to integrate the inverter to an external system like SolarAssistant and then based on your usage patterns and the loadshedding schedule create a feedback loop to adjust your settings accordingly 

 

My 4kW geyser element is a bit overpowering and does not leave much headroom for me to run other appliances from solar while the geyser is on and I think a 2kW element will be much more manageable.

 

23 hours ago, suds7162 said:

I honestly can't figure out how the "Zero Export" series of checkboxes work.

image.png.296dcd01095aaf6be9ded58027a7ec08.png

Do you have any idea what the Fast_Zero_Export_Mode is used for? I see you dont have this option available on your inverter and I assume you are not running on the latest firmware version. You can request an upgrade from here https://www.sunsynk.org/up-grade

 

I have made some tweaks to my time of use settings based on your recommendations .. lets give it a go and see how big is the improvement.

Thanks

 

 

Edited by HeinieV
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15 hours ago, HeinieV said:

Do you have any idea what the Fast_Zero_Export_Mode is used for?

No idea!

I'm not doing a firmware upgrade. I have no reason to - nothing is wrong with my inverter. I've heard too many stories of inverters bricking after an update, so the juice is not worth the squeeze for me. I am a couple of versions behind, and I'm happy to leave it like that.

Sunsynk makes a fantastic product, but they leave a lot to be desired when it comes to their software, and software update comms.

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On 2023/05/22 at 1:54 PM, HeinieV said:

Hi @suds7162,

Your explanation does make sense.

I am just trying to maximize the power from SOLAR and use as little of the GRID as possible.

I assume that the time of use configuration would be able to assist me in this regards. What config will you recommend?

 

Currently Geyser and Pool pump.

Both devices is on a timer and the idea is to have the geyser on from 9am to 4pm in the day during solar generation hours,  the shower is warm enough in the evenings .. my only concern would be the morning showers during the winter. It might be to cold 😞 

 

The pool pump is only running during the day and for 1 hour in the evening.

Thanks

 

I have a similar setup and connected everything in essentials with CBI smart switches. I have a gas geyser for the cold mornings if my electric giezer water is not hot enough. 

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Hi @HeinieV

Unfortunately what you are asking is really beyond the energy management abilities of the inverter. 

You can however do it using Home Assistant together with an integration so that it can speak to your inverter. 

This will then allow home assistant to make decisions on loads etc. 

I have done some video's on how to set it up and it is not too complicated to do, best thing is that you can tailor it to your own setup. 

Have a look at this video for some ideas of the automations you can do with Home Assistant, the software is free, you just need to load it onto something 🙂  

 

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Hi

I have had solar since February: 14 * 400w panels with 5KWh battery and 5KW inverter- both Sunsynk.  Everything SEEMS to be working OK from all the graphs and shape etc but on the i-phone app front page I see Power (generation now), E-Today (day's generation) and E-Total and Efficiency.  It is the latter I am asking about as it shows 0% all the time except when generation is high when it moves temporarily to 0.1%.  Is this a problem, and if so, how do I fix it please?

Thanks

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On 2023/05/22 at 6:30 PM, suds7162 said:

I honestly can't figure out how the "Zero Export" series of checkboxes work.

- Zero Export - never feed power into the grid (using the grid-CT coil)

- Limit to load only - never feed power to non-essential circuits (between grid-CT coil and the inverter)

In the HASS addon I call them {0: "Allow Export", 1: "Essentials", 2: "Zero Export"} (register 244)

Never tried "Solar export only", but this is probably "Allow Export, but not using batteries". 

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Your geyser on AUX load, in the evenings, if the grid is up and batteries are below the OFF SOC%, will it run the geyser directly from grid?

And does this contribute to the inverters capacity for inverting?

Example, 5kw inverter, geyser with 3kw element on timer to run at 4AM, connected to AUX port. "On grid always on" ticked, battery ON 100%, battery OFF 60%, but at 4AM the battery is at 50%. What happens if grid available? My hope is run directly from AC grid power without inverting. What happens when grid not available? My guess I load will not run.

 

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I have my geyser on the AUX output, but for my purposes, it would make as much sense to have it directly on the essential load. I have the AUX settings such that the AUX port is always on, and manage the geyser using a smart thermostat of my own devising (geyserwise thermostat + Sonoff THR320 + converter from analog to digital). I also changed the element from a 3kW to a 2kW, so it would not put too much load on the inverter.

I use Home Assistant to change the thermostat programming depending on available PV (if battery charging at > 2500W and SoC > 80%, set to 65C). That left me draining the battery to heat the geyser at times overnight, which I was not happy about. Last night I figured out that I can control the "Use Timer" checkbox, and the battery charging rate, and now when the geyser turns on between 16:00 and 08:00, I turn off "Use Timer", and set the battery charge rate to 0A. When the geyser turns off, I set "Use Timer" on, and reset the battery charge rate to 50A. This allows the geyser to stay warm overnight without draining my batteries, but also stops the batteries from charging whenever the geyser is on! I also have Home Assistant set to turn the geyser to standby/off whenever load shedding is active overnight, so it doesn't try to heat using the batteries.

Edited by RoganDawes
add note re 2kW element
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I have ordered my Rasberry Pi from Amazon and while I am waiting I would like to gather some information with regards to what information do you think I require in order to make informed decisions? 

 

1. Home assistant application (Automation Platform)  

2. Node Red (Advance automation)

3. Integration to Synsynk platform for information and also to change/update inverter settings ( Which Plugin or application would you recommend) 

4. Loadshedding Schedule  (Which Plugin or application would you recommend) 

5. Solar prediction Application (Which Plugin or application would you recommend) 

6. CBI Astute Controller integration to switch on/off devices

7. Weather information?

8. What else?

 

What would I need to include in the dashboard view to get a overall integrated view on my energy consumption.

What is all the decision logic that I should implement?

I know there is probably already a few people that has done the integration already and I would love to see your solution or have your input?

Thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, HeinieV said:

I have ordered my Rasberry Pi from Amazon and while I am waiting I would like to gather some information with regards to what information do you think I require in order to make informed decisions? 

 

1. Home assistant application (Automation Platform)  

2. Node Red (Advance automation)

3. Integration to Synsynk platform for information and also to change/update inverter settings ( Which Plugin or application would you recommend) 

4. Loadshedding Schedule  (Which Plugin or application would you recommend) 

5. Solar prediction Application (Which Plugin or application would you recommend) 

6. CBI Astute Controller integration to switch on/off devices

7. Weather information?

8. What else?

 

What would I need to include in the dashboard view to get a overall integrated view on my energy consumption.

What is all the decision logic that I should implement?

I know there is probably already a few people that has done the integration already and I would love to see your solution or have your input?

Thanks

1. Home assistant application (Automation Platform)  - running this on a Pi is OK but if you have a spare machine that is always on it will be better - the SD cards suffer after a few months / years of use.

2. Node Red (Advance automation) - HA has improved its automation engine immensely so you may not need nodered

3. Integration to Synsynk platform for information and also to change/update inverter settings ( Which Plugin or application would you recommend) 

4. Loadshedding Schedule  (Which Plugin or application would you recommend) - the ESP one is very good and Werner has a grea repo of automations and cards that you can reuse - https://github.com/wernerhp/ha.integration.load_shedding

5. Solar prediction Application (Which Plugin or application would you recommend) 

6. CBI Astute Controller integration to switch on/off devices - these use Tuya (cloud or local) so you can use either and control them. You would need to setup a free account on iot.tuya.com to enable the integration

7. Weather information?

8. What else? - its a rabbit hole - so bid farewell to your wife and kids lol... have fun 🙂

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