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Youda

Youda's off-grid LAB

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The next part is the circuit with an SSR relay, that will direct "solar energy" into the geyser whenever one of these conditions will be met:

- the battery is full
- the charging current is higher than X amps

image.png.ca45ee1cc07e687db89ef5b22f73b2df.png

The great is, that you can tell the SSR how much power you want to use and it will take care of it using a standard 230V AC phase control. Basically, it's similar to a variable speed capability of an electric drill, for example. The circuit is made of SSR with 0-10V control, EMI filter and 0-10V module (Qubino) that can be wirellesly controlled from my home automation gateway (Fibaro). In the home automation gateway, I have a short script that monitors operating values of the battery and inverters and if there's some spare solar power, it basically adjusts the AC power flowing through the SSR:

image.png.850427e81837b8326b5732b4a573f7a7.png

There are couple of additional conditions. For example when the AC current draw from both Inverters is too high, I lower the power that's going into the geyser and prioritize the other appliances. Therefore, the full power of invertors is available to any appliance in my LAB, while geyser uses only the "spare power".

The system is fully automatic, but you can monitor it's operation in the dashboard:

image.png.1d972ed67de867cbe820694c1d6a3d8b.png

 

This is how the script is searching for how much "spare solar power" is available:
image.png.870c2506c8d5c8a95c38ed847e40b652.png

 

Hot water temperature chart:
image.png.4e3e7d7a4eb93d13d484732081bd4f95.png

So far, it works good ;)

Youda

 

Edited by Youda

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@Youda it’s a very impressive setup - you are obviously very skilled and having lots of fun.

i have an Openenergymonitor system in the house, together with HomeAssistant and using NodeRed scripts and some home brew for integration and automation.

but I’m very interested in the products that you are using sine HomeAssistant is not very enjoyable to work with.

thanks!

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Hi Elbow,

skilled - not at all.
Having a lots of fun - yes :D

My automation is Fibaro HC2 which is a home automation gateway. It's running a wireless communication (zwave) with switches, relays, dimmers, electricity meters, etc. The wireless part is really cool. You just drop a tiny module in a lightswitch wallbox and now you have a remotely controlled lights. And it even measures the acutal power and the total consumption over time. There's a lot of modules from various vendors which are compatible: Fibaro, Qubino, Aeotec, MCO, HeatIt...

Initially, I purchased this because I needed a central management of my electric floor heating and for irrigation too. Then, I gradually added tons of other modules, smartplugs and meters. When I built my solar, it was a logic step to include it too.

3 positive bullets on Fibaro:

  • wirelles
  • very easy to work with
  • smartphone APP working without any VPN, nor firewall opening, nor subscription service

But there are some negatives too:

  • It's pricey.
  • It's a home automation, but not a telemetry.
  • It's not an industrial-grade product. For home automation it's okay, but I would definitely not use this for life-supporting systems, for example.
  • There are nice charts in the GUI, but the depth of history is limited.

Because of the last bullet, I'm storing some of values in the EmonCMS (a part of openenergy monitor that you already know).
I wanted my system to be simple and contain as few layers as possible. Therefore, I'm using the native zwave modules for everything where they are a good fit. For example, I have a plenty of 1-phase and 3-phase electricity meters in the house. All of them talking natively to Fibaro via zwave. Same with floor heating Thermostats. A simple addition was integration of Washing machine - once the laundry is done, it send's me a notification to my smartphone....so I can go and put another batch of dirty laundry in ;)

Another example - just by using a simple smart plug, you can monitor daily consumption of your fridge:
image.png.0bdf7280cc96eaf3e22526d38d3fc2af.png

The only thing where wireless protocol was not performing well was the solar integration. So after some failures, I went for industrial PLC which talks to Inverter via RS232 and to Fibaro via JSON over ethernet. I'm trying to stay away from Arduino, Raspberry etc. (There are 3 or 4 Arduinos that I use for some specific tasks, but I'm not planning to add more of them.)

Looking at the HomeAssistant, I would say that it's capabilites would be the more or less the same, but with a more freedom for customization. On the other hand, I can imagine that HomeAssistant is struggling a bit when you are trying to read values from electricity meters for example. I would bet that it needs modbus and some coding, or using the EmonPI and the current transformers. Am I right?

Here is a sample of the stuff that I use as the wireless endpoints:

Qubino, DIN rail 3-phase meter with LCD, 1-phase meter:

image.png.57f753dbfc593424e145dc864e2d8258.pngimage.png.0a9549dd3a24fcbdeb9c4d9b1cc1ebb3.png

HeatIt, Floor heating thermostat:

image.png.a34582abfdf28129e03556cc122fe448.png

Fibaro, Smart Plugs:

image.png.e5b8e14692b8a863d8f2ef4b8e6b0e07.png

Fibaro, Tiny wirelles module for mounting into a wallbox, under existing switch:

image.png.68b21ca43dd3bb893605c353e71ad0d2.png

Sensative, Wireless door/window sensor:

image.png.e1613e86c5e4a0cd4e18432114b2c500.png

MCO, CO2 monitor:

image.png.29b53f1cb0668c1c8e1796433b4cee50.png

 

If you have some specific questions, feel free to ask....

Regs,
Youda

 

Edited by Youda

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Forgot to post a pic of new parts, that went into the geyser.

Original parts:
image.png.5fda9ba3303266611c157ba0646284d5.png

New parts:
image.png.45241fde002d7cc6aeae85e0fb5b11ff.png

Yes, I could clean the old flange cover and reuse it... But since I was going to install a bigger heating element, I needed this new cover, with a bigger casing.

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It is very impressive to see what you have achieved. I also have some fibaro switches in the house (10 light switches and three plugs), but running it on the Vera Plus controller. It is impressive to see what can be done with HC2, and the interface looks so good.

Thanks for the posts and updates. It is very interesting to read and see the pictures as well.

Thanks!

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Very impressive, Youda. 

I'm still busy with the design of my off-grid system, but your posts really shows one what is possible and what extras/wish list items to allow for!

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So after living with Winston LFP cells for some time, I decided to move to Pylontech solution.

Don't get me wrong, Winstons were great, but the physical format was not a space-friendly, so the batteries took a lot of floorspace and the future upgrades would be a challenge. Also, when taken into account the price of the Inox storage boxes, cost of the BMS, terminals, etc. then the Pylons had a better cost per kWh too. I'm not really sure whether quality and endurance of the cells would be the same, but the time will tell...

Before - 20kWh in Winston cells and BMS:image.png.2a27c91f7ae645e1fc6536d915067cd4.png

I've installed a standard 19" 42U datacenter rack. Opted for the smallest footprint available: 600x600mm. This format is often used for network equipment, as modern servers are very deep and they normally require 800x1200mm racks. But for US3000 batteries, the 600 x 600 is a perfect fit.

Since the only reasonable space for the rack was on the other side of the room, I had to crush the floor with jackhammer, lay down a conduit and fill the trench with a fresh concrete. It was a really messy job...

Designing phase, note the paper:
image.png.151053567dcf6e208a5c28f016dd51f0.png

Actual execution:
image.png.4089dd4513c01f40b435e40a35dae488.png

Conduit:
image.png.8852d03bd9cf70621a20c3b05a0c9b48.png

Edited by Youda

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Given the increased distance, I've decided to upgrade battery cables too. Before, I used 50mm2 cables. Since I like to over-engineer things a bit, I went for CYA H07-VK 150mm2 cable and the appropriate cable lugs.

50mm2 and 150mm2 cable lugs mounted side-by-side:
image.png.70a8e062d08f889dbd3f1c702f1995d6.png

 

After - rack with 7x US3000 installed:
image.png.c38e40903d83f145c15a7366a52acaa1.png

There's one thing on the Pylontech products, that I don't like: The Amphenol SurLock terminals and cabling that's designed to stack up to 8 batteries together. Terminals are cool, but the cables are 4 AWG only. That could be okay for a couple of US2000 bricks, but I can't imagine to have 7-8 stacked US3000 bricks sharing a 4 AWG (20mm2) cable. Therefore, I ordered a spare set of SurLock cables, and wired first 4 bricks via 1st set of cables, while other 3 bricks are wired using 2nd set of cables. If I will do some upgrade in the future, my plan is to continue like that - use a single cable set per each 4 bricks, not per 8.

 

 

Edited by Youda

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6 minutes ago, Youda said:

Terminals are cool, but the cables are 4 AWG only

Pylontech suggest you pick up + and - at both ends of your stack ala a ring main.  Doesn’t that get the same kind of effect?

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Yes, this practice would increase the effective size of the cable, but I bet that it would cause that the batteries located in the center of the ring will receive a smaller charge/discharge currents then the batteries located at the end of the rings.

Electrically, the cable resistance SHOULD be the same in any place in the ring, but my logic tells me that with more SurLock terminals in series, there's a risk that batteries in the center are not going to be served equally.

So, I rather went for the classic "cross-diagonal wiring" scheme, or how it's called properly...
 

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15 minutes ago, Youda said:

Yes, this practice would increase the effective size of the cable, but I bet that it would cause that the batteries located in the center of the ring will receive a smaller charge/discharge currents then the batteries located at the end of the rings.

Electrically, the cable resistance SHOULD be the same in any place in the ring, but my logic tells me that with more SurLock terminals in series, there's a risk that batteries in the center are not going to be served equally.

So, I rather went for the classic "cross-diagonal wiring" scheme, or how it's called properly...
 

My impression from my Pylons is that the controlling BMS takes care of things - mine stay in lock-step (though I only have 2).

 

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17 hours ago, Elbow said:

mine stay in lock-step (though I only have 2).

Two batteries do parallel "perfectly", but more than 2 leaves the middle ones underserved, as @Youda points out.

I think that 4 batteries is a good limit for the provided cables.

Edit: the BMS can't control current sharing between modules. The bypass resistors can help but only by a few percent, and only near the end of charge.

Edited by Coulomb

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Hi guys,

so, if you want to check the status of your Pylontech Phantom-S, US2000 or US3000, there's a great diagnostic tool for this called BatteryView.

*DISCLAIMER:
*Please note that with the information written below, you can effectively destroy your batteries, or invalidate your warranty.
*Do what you like, but I take no responsibility for your actions and results.

 

First, you have to create a Serial Console cable, as no such cable comes in the box with the batteries. Here's the wiring:image.png.250cb8b9b4d0e24377397057b97caa50.png

  1. Plug the RJ-11 connector of the cable into the CONSOLE PORT of the TOP BRICK of you battery stack. Just to be sure, the top brick is the one that have LinkPort0 EMPTY.
  2. Next, plug the cable into your laptop's serial port, or USB2Serial adapter.
  3. Launch the app and choose the serial port name according to your's laptop configuration. IE COM1, COM2, COM6...
  4. Baudrate is 115200.
  5. If you have more Pylon bricks stacked, then check the "Parallel" box and select the number of bricks that you have in a single stack.image.png.eb1ba127c9ac83b9507ad63bbd55acc7.png
  6. Click OK to connect to the BMS.
  7. If you did everything correctly, the app will scan all the bricks and will show you the operational parameters, like cell voltages, current, temperature, SoC...
  8. There's a couple more charts available under the "Windows" menu, like Voltage/Amps curve, etc.
    mainscreen.thumb.png.a070962fef7477935ce2b7cb805a86a2.png
  9. Be carefull, as this tool is used also for updating firmware. So, don't screw up your battery...

 

For the experts, there's even a possibility to open a CLI, where you can query much more detailed info.
You can SET the values, test the circuits, perform shutdown, etc.
This CLI is so powerfull, that it's actually scary.
cli.thumb.png.b8650f3cbcbba44597b227bda8bf3741.png

Well, if you're not a certified Pylontech expert, don't touch it, please!

 

ATTACHMENT:

BatteryView.zip

 

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Hi guys,

couple of months ago, MPP Solar announced the capability of it's inverters (PIP-5048MK, PIP-5048GK and MPI Hybrid) to actively communicate with the Pylontech Low-Voltage batteries US2000 and US3000.
The main thread about the topic on the PowerForum is here: https://powerforum.co.za/topic/2519-mpp-solar-inverters-support-pylontech-some-models/?tab=comments#comment-40801
Since then, couple of people have asked on the forum about the correct pinout of the required RJ-45 BMS cable. So, I purchased a respective kit for MPI Hybrid from the MPP Solar and now we can take a look at it :)

RS485 BMS Card + cable for MPI-Hybrid:
image.thumb.png.91ed5117a5b73162d6a52e6c6b10eef0.png

I received a confirmation from MPP Solar, that the provided cable is compatible not only with MPI Hybrid, but with PIP-5048MK and 5048GK too. The IO card itself is only for MPI Hybrid, as PIP inverters have the BMS RS485 RJ-45 port already embedded.

image.png.88d944f892667429ff00eba5f8d6b751.png

 

Cable wiring is pretty simple:

image.png.22308ffb1f33b366e326dd600240360c.png

Here's the PDF manual for the card:

RS485-Card-Box-for BMS-manual-20180927.pdf

Speaking of PIP, the compatible firmware has a "05 - Pyl" option available in the menu:

image.png.963ebe30abf53e595818d4572a50d4c0.png

 

Here are the respective PIP user guides, which cover how to configure your PIP for use with the Pylontech battery:

http://www.mppsolar.com/manual/PIP-GK/PIP-GK manual-20190201.pdf
http://www.mppsolar.com/manual/PIP-MK (PF1.0)/PIP-MK manual-20190429.pdf

So, if you do believe that your PIP or MPI Hybrid is a newer 2019 unit and already has a firmware with Pylontech support, but you just miss the cable, then you can create a cable yourself and give it a try.

Edited by Youda

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Thanks, @Youda. Since most readers of this forum will be more familiar with the Axpert model names, I'll note here that the PIP-5048MK is the same as the Axpert King 5K-48, and the PIP-5048GK is the same as the Axpert VM III 5K-48.

Note that only the 5 kVA models have this Pylontech support.

I believe that Pylontech are the only battery brand supported this way; if you have another brand of battery, you'll need to use a BMV to get an accurate SOC reading that ICC or other monitoring software can read.

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Hi guys,

just an update to Pylontech BMS + Axpert/InfiniSolar data connection:
The original information that I've received from MPP Solar, that BMS RJ45 cables are the same for MPI Hybrid and PIP, was found to be wrong. Actually, the wiring of the cable is a bit different, so here's the update:
image.png.c42dc147addf0c5bec061b7fd4abdc3a.png

Just for the reference, the live pins on the Pylontechs' side are still the same 1&2, protocol RS485. But the RS485 pins on the Axpert and on the InfiniSolar differ from each other. That's the reason, why you need a different cable for each type of the inverter.

Hope this info will be help someone...

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Hi again Youda,

 

Finally received my infinisolar inverter, and struggling to get my head around all the setting values in SOLARPOWER? Is there anyway you could post screenshots of the settings you are running? This would be of great help, as a comparison tool?

 

Thanks.

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On 2019/07/20 at 8:21 AM, Youda said:

Good morning @Blinkwater9

here's my settings:

image.thumb.png.8ce97e06314a3aa0c27239bb30b6befd.png

image.thumb.png.f8ab75945e22294e0f02012bf22f211a.png

image.thumb.png.e4cba277399ce6977960007eee025680.png

The second inverter is configured exactly the same.

  • single phase
  • off-grid system
  • not connected to the power grid
  • 2x InfiniSolar 5K Plus
  • 7x Pylontech US3000

Regs,
Youda

Awesome, thanks Youda.

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Hi guys,

since there's was not much to do about my solar system these days, I was boring a bit. So I've decided to order a Wallbox for electric vehicles charging. Based on a short research, I've ordered OpenEVSE DYI kit, because it allows to be remote controlled via API. And my plan is to divert the excess solar production into this EVSE, therefore I need a good API to work with ;)

DYI kit just arrived:
kit.thumb.JPG.5ea4d002aa2d82e2aebf54515c287911.JPG

Assembling the guts:
assembly.thumb.JPG.70842e60224ac8756ac339f15dee1c03.JPG

Wallbox mounded:
EVSE.thumb.JPG.13d57c3f55f8b37132ce5ca9d703f8e8.JPG

 

Well, since the Wallbox can draw up to 32Amps at 230V single phase (=cca 7.2 kW), I think that I'll need to upgrade my inverter setup. As of today my two paralleled InfiniSolars have a peak power of 10kW, so upgrade to 15kW sounds like a good move.... stay tuned.

 

 

Edited by Youda

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Correct.

There are 2 microcontrollers in this box and a lot of periferals😮

  • ESP8266 does Wifi to serial for API and remote controll WebGUI
  • ATmega328 does EVSE pilot signal, relay operation and voltage/current measurement
  • I2C LCD display with RTC board
  • Proximity sensor, instead of a mechanical push-button

So far, I've been struggling with just one thing: after a day or two, the ESP stops answering to HTTP requests and ping. But as soon as you touch the button on the wallbox, the ESP awakes and everything is okay again.

Maybe that's because I have the unit installed too far from the wifi AP? I have to investigate that more...

 

WebGUI on the cellphone:
image.thumb.png.09571e64c863c565d25480be91014bd5.png

 

 

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On 2019/07/31 at 6:07 PM, Youda said:

Well, since the Wallbox can draw up to 32Amps at 230V single phase (=cca 7.2 kW), I think that I'll need to upgrade my inverter setup. As of today my two paralleled InfiniSolars have a peak power of 10kW, so upgrade to 15kW sounds like a good move.... stay tuned.

Finally - the 3rd Inverter arrived a couple of days ago, together with the two more US3000 bricks:

201908_1krabice.thumb.jpg.1b995c483829758d1b7bbd2eccec4c5c.jpg

201908_3baterka.thumb.jpg.bf9d4ddb9315252c159566ec7b5364df.jpg

When adding the batteries into my rack, I tested whether its possible to have more than 8 US3000 bricks in a single BMS group. In the US3000 user guide, there's a limit of 8 bricks per group noted, but I saw that some eshops were listing US3000 as capable of grouping up to 12 bricks. Long story short - I verified that max number in a single BMS group is really 8. When all nine bricks were daisy-chained, the ninth brick was skipped during the startup self-test. So I divided the batteries in two groups, which works fine, of course.


Note: the left rack is empty. These babies are quite heavy and sice the rack is more than 2m tall, it's not a pleasure to raise the brick over the one's head while trying to fit it between the narrow vertical rails.

201908_5misto.thumb.jpg.47310482bfdf5aa7de205ec016ef69cd.jpg

 

New inverter was "bolted" on the wall and all the communication and current sharing cables rewired. It's a parallel setup with 15kVA combined in a single phase. It's really interesting that despite of the fact that I have AC, DC and data stuffed in a single trunking, it still works! I would say that all the noise and powerspikes would hinder the communication or even kill some sensitive equipment. But, so far so good and I've seen couple of storms here too. Let's see for how long will this setup survive 🤨


201908_4draty.thumb.jpg.a76a57d84548e7c244aa7a2345ad3299.jpg

 

Edited by Youda

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Very very nice setup Youda! Impressive! I have a few questions if you don't mind:

How did you parallel the inverters, 1 phase or 3?

I see you have this nice cover around the AC connections on the inverters, where they provided with the inverters? (I have 1 Infini 5kW but not these covers)

Where did you buy the Pylontechs?

Regards, Rik

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