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Relays in ICC software


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After realizing now that I need to go Off grid with my system due to the regulations in COJ.

Looking at the ICC software I see there is a tab "HOME AUTOMATION" now I maybe totally on the wrong track, but can one use these relay controls to disconnect and connect the grip power in case of say a DOD below 30% on the batteries or would this be totally different application.

What I am trying to get is to have the system switch to grid automatically when the batteries gets to ?? level and then back to solar after the batteries recovered to ?? level.

I am trying to get the system to run stand alone with out manual intervention due to whatever condition, cloudy days or....

Thanks

Leon

 

 

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59 minutes ago, Leonc said:

Looking at the ICC software I see there is a tab "HOME AUTOMATION" now I maybe totally on the wrong track, but can one use these relay controls to disconnect and connect the grip power in case of say a DOD below 30% on the batteries or would this be totally different application.

Hi Loen, What you want to do can be done, but ICC Home automation is to work with a certain DB board, obtainable from Diversified Solutions. ICC site also has a GPIO app that uses MQTT to switch relays on a separate PI from your phone or windows device. 

Do you have a BMV 702 ? It will be easier to build a changeover switch using 2 Contactors and a few safety interlocks.You can control that from the Relay in the BMV. 

If you are interested to know more about the DB, I can PM you some info. 

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Thanks Jaco fore coming back to me. 

I do not have a BMV702

My system is 2 strings of 330w JA panels, 2 Pylontech batteries and a 5kv Axpert invereter and using the IDD software to monitor.

Currently all my solar stuff runs on a separate DB but it is grid tied and not allowed according to COJ.

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7 minutes ago, Antony said:

But why?, you are not feeding back to grid.

See my previous post on this question, COJ wants to make it not worth while to have a grid tied system

Joburg regulations for solar

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17 minutes ago, Antony said:

But why?, you are not feeding back to grid.

Ekurhuleni does not have regs yet, but they CAN follow CoJ regs if the get their ducks in a row - or CoCT.

As per CoCT you have to register your panels as being OFF-GRID or GRID-TIED.

Solis is grid tied, CoJ does not want you to do that, so if Ekurhuleni follows them and not CoCT, where I must have a Prepiad meter to connect grid tied and not feeding back, it will cost you a lot more per month.

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2 hours ago, Leonc said:

What I am trying to get is to have the system switch to grid automatically when the batteries gets to ?? level and then back to solar after the batteries recovered to ?? level.

Hi Leon.

Do I understand correct that you would like the inverter to change to "GRID" when the batteries reach a SOC of let's say 30% and once the batteries are back up to a SOC of let's say 90% the Inverter should supply your loads again from batteries until down to the 30% SOC and so on?

(30% and 90% are just figures to try and explain)

If so, then ICC has functionality built in to control switching with SOC levels, but as usual it is dependent on true SOC like from a BMV or Li-xxx battery BMS.

 

Regards

Riaan

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Thanks, yes that's correct but I believe the ICC software will give accurate SOC from the Pylontech batteries, but how do I do it. What hardware or whatever I need to get this done?

Not very savvy with electronics or electics but like to DIY and learn.

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Just now, Leonc said:

ICC software will give accurate SOC from the Pylontech batteries

Ag no man, you are actually quite sorted with inverter, ICC and Pylons. On the settings tab under battery sub-tab, you can select Use Pylontech Battery Values, set the SOC values for YOUR requirements as example in my previous post, (I just used 30 and 90) and BOB's your uncle, provided you have a Pylon Comms cable between ICC and your battery to report Pylontech BMS SOC and not inverter guessed SOC :rolleyes:

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Yes that one I have got but I need to go from grid tied to off grid due to COJ's regulations, so I want to see if i can get the  HOME AUTOMATION option to put the system to grid and back via the relays if possible or I need to put in a change over switch, manually or if there is an auto switch. 

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Maybe I am missing something here, from your last comment, Do you want to use the inverter "Not connected to grid" and switch the load "AKA Full DB as supplied by inverter" over to grid in mentioned conditions? Meaning that your inverter will only have Battery and PV input, NO GRID?

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8 minutes ago, Riaanh said:

Meaning that your inverter will only have Battery and PV input, NO GRID?

Jip ...

24 minutes ago, Leonc said:

I need to go from grid tied to off grid due to COJ's regulations

CoJ is not friendly with grid tied at all.

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Thanks for your reply

Currently I have a separate 2nd DB for my solar stuff and running it from the inverter as grid tied. But due to the COJ's regulations this is not legal because I have a prepaid meter. If I want to keep the setup grid tied then I have to apply for a new meter and will pay a much higher connection fee. 

So in short the grid power must not in anyway be connected to the inverter, but I want to be able to connect to the grid in case needed, so I need to be able to switch between solar and grid on the 2nd DB and thought it could be done via the ICC software.

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2 minutes ago, Leonc said:

I need to be able to switch between solar and grid on the 2nd DB

I did that, off-grid and then switch to grid (EDIT: Based on BMV SOC). There is a min break of 40ms, or like in my case, 1 second.

And it is seen as legally off-grid.

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22 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

I did that, off-grid and then switch to grid (EDIT: Based on BMV SOC). There is a min break of 40ms, or like in my case, 1 second.

And it is seen as legally off-grid.

Can you perhaps share how you did this, I know you have all blue stuff but can it work on my side? 

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2 minutes ago, Leonc said:

Can you perhaps share how you did this, I know you have all blue stuff but can it work on my side? 

Here you go - did not want to rely on any external software or Pi's or tablets, only a BMV.
1) is Solar 
2) is Eskom

Using the BMV's built in relay, which is switching based on SOC, triggers the switching of the relays. Never ever can Eskom or Solar meet.

This particular design, 2012 model, takes 1 sec to switch for we where worried about caps being strained. Today you get relays, DB mounted, that can switch as easy. 

My suggestion: Speak to sparkies that install UPS'es / Generators and ask them about relays that are DB mounted that can be switched by a external relay, like a BMV's relay.

image.png.a8d6ad85b541dfe35bd6973073a1336d.png

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1 minute ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Here you go - did not want to rely on any external software or Pi's or tablets, only a BMV.
1) is Solar 
2) is Eskom

Using the BMV's built in relay, which is switching based on SOC, triggers the switching of the relays. Never ever can Eskom or Solar meet.

This particular design, 2012 model, takes 1 sec to switch for we where worried about caps being strained. Today you get relays, DB mounted, that can switch as easy. 

My suggestion: Speak to sparkies that install UPS'es / Generators and ask them about relays that are DB mounted that can be switched by a external relay, like a BMV's relay.

image.png.a8d6ad85b541dfe35bd6973073a1336d.png

Thanks, a neat setup, will speak to a sparky and take it from there

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42 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

CoJ is not friendly with grid tied at all.

There are literally thousands of PV  grid tied systems in Gauteng, JHB, Ekurhuleni and PTA. It's going to be a nightmare.

I see major kickback from citizens, like with the E-toll.

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OK, let's try and get to @Leonc's original question.

I have also been wondering about the H/A feature. This is my understanding, so open to different opinions....

You need some kind relay that connects to the Pi via USB. Here is an example of a nice high power 8 x relay board, from https://www.robotics.org.za/USB-RES8-30AUSB-RES8-30A-000-500x500.jpg.17e1a5ec7e1d91ef4901fc501c6f75ea.jpgOnce you connect, you need the select to which USB port you connect to e.g. /dev/tty/usb5

You can then (in theory, at least), configure how the relay behaves. By Time, SOC or by Grid availability. or any combination thereof.

 

Very nice.....

I do foresee a wee little problem. This setup can then be used to control the ever present geyser. The idea would be to use surplus PV generated power during the day to heat your geyser.

That's great, but i believe most of our geyser don't live near our Pi's, which needs to be near our batteries & inverters. 

I think a Wifi controlled relay (also available from Communica) would work/make implementing H/A remote controller what ever truly wireless, with the only restriction being Wifi coverage, which can easily be supplemented. Pulling a 90m Ethernet cable is not my idea of fun on a weekend. Maybe someone has an better idea to simulate a USB extension via Wifi.

Please share your thoughts, maybe I'm totally of the track, but on the topic:)

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55 minutes ago, Sidewinder said:

Maybe someone has an better idea to simulate a USB extension

What you could look at is a Power Line adapter that send network over the power lines. You actually get one that as a AP on the other end for WIFI. Works quite well I had one connection that ran almost a Km with no problems.

Have a look at the SonOff Switches - If you flash them with Tamota you will be able to control them with MQTT as It is just a ESP8266 chip. If you are inclined to do a bit of soldering then you can also get a Wemos D1 Mini. It has 8 GPOI ports and you can flash it with Tasmota as well. Then you can have up to 8 relays or even a temp sensor. Since you have a Pi you might as well use Node Red to create some rules to control the relays over MQTT. Also use the normal "Arduino" relays that is a fraction of the price (last time I checked you could get a 8 relay for about R 140 or so) Then have a contactor  of a solid state relay to control the geyser. 

I have been controlling my geyser that way for more than a year now and cant complain. 

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@Leonc check with www.em.co.za. It seems they have remote controllable  change-over switches made by Socomec. @pilotfish this may be of interest to you too. Looks like I am going to have to spend about R5000 for a CO switch and then charge batteries only from solar. I am contemplating the same configuration as you if our municipality won't approve of the Axpert being grid connected.

There seems to be a general misconception about grid-tied and grid-connected. I have been subscribing to the US magazine Homepower for many years and they refer to grid-connected as an inverter of which the mains input is connected to the grid and which cannot feed energy into the grid. Grid-tie ( note the spelling although on this forum it is spelled as grid-tied) on the other had refers to an inverter that is capable of feeding energy into the grid.

 

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23 minutes ago, ebrsa said:

grid-tied and grid-connected

I am one of the culprits. Grid connected is sensible term to differentiate, as all UPS'es are grid connected vs Grid-tied having the potential to feed into the grid, whether it is activated, or not, by design or not ... or accidental. I.e. the problem child.

And therein boys and girls, therein the confusion, when a UPS (grid connected) is ok yet with solar panels the manufacturer then says that UPS is now a off-grid inverter. :D

Same with a Multi. It is a UPS yet the moment you attach that MPPT it becomes a grid-tied inverter needing more parts i.e. like a Zhiel.

 

23 minutes ago, ebrsa said:

R5000 for a CO switch

That is a lot of money? How so?

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