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Hi,

I'd like to introduce myself, and my small setup. 

I'm Bianco, a Dutch male, and my wife and I moved to Spain 2 years ago, where we live on a small piece of rural land, in Aragon. We are completely off-grid. 
Therefore I Hired a friend two years ago to install a solar system. he and a friend installed a Voltronic Expert 24V 3Kw, with 6 320 Wp Solarpanels, and 2 Ultracell 316 Ah Gel Batteries, and I paid good money for it.  After 1 year and a bit, every thing shut down at 2 in the morning, whilst the day before was a clear and sunny day. In the months after that, it started happening more and more. Well long story short, The Batteries were fried. After contacting the "friend" He basically told me he could do nothing: A bit like: Shit happens. 

After studying I chose to do it myself. The panels were fine, so they are still there. I bought a new Inverter, another Voltronic Axpert, 5Kw, on 48 Volts And two Pylontechs US3000C

All connected, everything works fine. in the (hopefully near) future we'd like to add another Pylontech to the bank. Its enough for us. We have a TV, and we mostly watch during the day (if we do), and no dishwasher, washing machine or other heavy stuff, besides a Nespresso, but that is also only used during the day. The only thing that is a big consumer is the waterpump, but on a timer, controlled by Domoticz. During non-solar hours, it is off. 

So I have a raspberry in the bedroom, wich is equipped with Domoticz, wich controls most of the lights, and a few other stuff. In the Batteryroom, there is another raspberry, wing contains Solarassistant, and monitors the Pylontechs via the Inverter.

I'm still looking for a way to connect the Pylontechs Directly to the raspberry, I read something about the console port, but can seem to find if you can connect it at the same time as the port to the Inverter.

So, Newbie in Solar, but I like learning about it, and helping. 

If anybody knows something about connecting it to a raspberry, (or maybe my way of thinking is wrong) much obliged.

Greetings from a cold (+2), but Sunny Spain.

 

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1 hour ago, Onze Finca said:

Hi,

I'd like to introduce myself, and my small setup. 

I'm Bianco, a Dutch male, and my wife and I moved to Spain 2 years ago, where we live on a small piece of rural land, in Aragon. We are completely off-grid. 
Therefore I Hired a friend two years ago to install a solar system. he and a friend installed a Voltronic Expert 24V 3Kw, with 6 320 Wp Solarpanels, and 2 Ultracell 316 Ah Gel Batteries, and I paid good money for it.  After 1 year and a bit, every thing shut down at 2 in the morning, whilst the day before was a clear and sunny day. In the months after that, it started happening more and more. Well long story short, The Batteries were fried. After contacting the "friend" He basically told me he could do nothing: A bit like: Shit happens.

After studying I chose to do it myself. The panels were fine, so they are still there. I bought a new Inverter, another Voltronic Axpert, 5Kw, on 48 Volts And two Pylontechs US3000C

Exactly the right move.

Most of us on this forum live in South Africa. Here power outages are so common that there's an app you install on your phone to tell you when the next outage is scheduled.

And what we see here is that lead/acid batteries (which includes gel) don't last. They are very good as backup in situations where there are occasional outages, but when you're cycling them every day then you do well to get two years out of them.

Lithiums such as you now have are much better suited to regular discharge and charge cycles, and are far more tolerant of being deeply discharged. Pylontech is a quality product. 

1 hour ago, Onze Finca said:

All connected, everything works fine. in the (hopefully near) future we'd like to add another Pylontech to the bank. Its enough for us. We have a TV, and we mostly watch during the day (if we do), and no dishwasher, washing machine or other heavy stuff, besides a Nespresso, but that is also only used during the day. The only thing that is a big consumer is the waterpump, but on a timer, controlled by Domoticz. During non-solar hours, it is off.
 

FYI, new appliances are very energy efficient. I bought a new dishwasher about a year ago. It will do a whole load (14 settings) on 9l of water and about .87 kWh of electricity. That's with loading it over two or three days. No need to pre-rinse the dishes, just scrape the big pieces off. I'm retiring, and don't want to go into retirement with old appliances, so a couple of months later we got a new washing machine. That too is really light to use if you stick to cold water cycles (it cleans just fine). So you can save yourself some time and water with good new appliances and make your life easier. Our rating system here derives from the EU system, and relies on the same test results. And we're a smaller market. So you can buy stuff that will perform at least as well. We run ours during the day when we are getting power from the sun. 

 

1 hour ago, Onze Finca said:

I'm still looking for a way to connect the Pylontechs Directly to the raspberry, I read something about the console port, but can seem to find if you can connect it at the same time as the port to the Inverter.


What I think you need to do, if you haven't already, is get a comms cable between the master BMS and the inverter. Then the inverter is not inferring the condition of the batteries, it has the BMS telling it what condition the batteries are actually in. This may require changing some settings on the inverter so that it knows exactly what type of battery it is dealing with and will know the characteristics of that battery. But if you get that right, whatever your inverter reports to the Pi will be what the BMS is reporting to the inverter.

Edited by Bobster.
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Thanks @Bobster.. Yeah I saw that most of you are located in Africa and even Australia. The thing is, In the Netherlands, all is grid connected, and thats a different kind of sport. Also I see that North from here, Pylontechs aren't used much, and the Dutch go for comfortable these days. There are not that many that fiddle away with electricity. But hey, it is our only way of having light and internet, and what not. I like being off grid. We also have had poweoutages here, but those I could solve myself.


The Pylontech is connected to the Inverter as you said. But I see all kinds of graphs passing by, measurements from the different cells, so I thought, maybe there's a way to do both at the same time. Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Onze Finca said:

Thanks @Bobster.. Yeah I saw that most of you are located in Africa and even Australia. The thing is, In the Netherlands, all is grid connected, and thats a different kind of sport.

Well that's the theory in South Africa. Just that sometimes the grid isn't connected to all of the grid. So we are very used to outages here. Right now we are on a 3 day streak of no scheduled outages, which is a rare thing the last two years.

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Having  a app just for power outages, that says it all basically. We moved to Spain to quit working. I'm turning 60 next year, and have had hard labor jobs since I was 15, o the body is telling me more and more that it is enough. The Time it takes to heal from something is a good indicator as well. 

So I had two choices: Keep on working the Heavy Jobs that I had, (The is no chance in hell I'll be promoted off the floor, at my age) or, quit both our jobs, sell the house and go to Spain. We could advance our pension 10 years, it is not much, but, it is enough. The house in Spain is bought and payed for, we are not in debt to anyone, and, most important, I have financed my own not working. (Well, not working, keeping a piece of land with 60 Olivetrees is, in December harvest, not a light job. pfft. But hey
We love it here. I'm from a little farm in The Netherlands, my wife was a city girl, but she loves it here.

Piece and quiet, and no Ratrace. In the Netherlands everybody was chasing their own tail, and working working working. It was not fun anymore. So thats how we came here.

Edited by Onze Finca
typo
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Hi Bianco,

This might be of interest to you.

It uses a 'Wemos D1 mini' (or cheap clone) and a MAX3232 module and half an old network cable (so should cost < 10 Euros), and enables the logging of data via MQTT, or in my case, influxdb.

Other than that, I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to just get a cheap USB->RS232 adaptor cable straight from the console port on the (master) pylontech to the RaspberryPi running 'Solar-Assitant'... They suggest exactly that (look for 'USB to Pylontech console' in the dropdown under 'battery' on the 'Solar-Assitant' config page). 

I don't know exactly which/how much data 'Solar-Assistant' will get from the Pylontechs, but once you've got the USB cable, you can also use it with the Pylontech 'batteryview' software to get at all the details.  I don't use SA myself, but there are others here who do.

And yes, you absolutely can use the RS232 (console) port on the Pylontech at the same time as the inverter (on the A/CAN).  Pretty sure it's the same for he RS485, but as I don't use it, I can't say 100%.

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On 2023/12/17 at 9:16 AM, Onze Finca said:

Hi,

I'd like to introduce myself, and my small setup. 

I'm Bianco, a Dutch male, and my wife and I moved to Spain 2 years ago, where we live on a small piece of rural land, in Aragon. We are completely off-grid. 
Therefore I Hired a friend two years ago to install a solar system. he and a friend installed a Voltronic Expert 24V 3Kw, with 6 320 Wp Solarpanels, and 2 Ultracell 316 Ah Gel Batteries, and I paid good money for it.  After 1 year and a bit, every thing shut down at 2 in the morning, whilst the day before was a clear and sunny day. In the months after that, it started happening more and more. Well long story short, The Batteries were fried. After contacting the "friend" He basically told me he could do nothing: A bit like: Shit happens. 

After studying I chose to do it myself. The panels were fine, so they are still there. I bought a new Inverter, another Voltronic Axpert, 5Kw, on 48 Volts And two Pylontechs US3000C

All connected, everything works fine. in the (hopefully near) future we'd like to add another Pylontech to the bank. Its enough for us. We have a TV, and we mostly watch during the day (if we do), and no dishwasher, washing machine or other heavy stuff, besides a Nespresso, but that is also only used during the day. The only thing that is a big consumer is the waterpump, but on a timer, controlled by Domoticz. During non-solar hours, it is off. 

So I have a raspberry in the bedroom, wich is equipped with Domoticz, wich controls most of the lights, and a few other stuff. In the Batteryroom, there is another raspberry, wing contains Solarassistant, and monitors the Pylontechs via the Inverter.

I'm still looking for a way to connect the Pylontechs Directly to the raspberry, I read something about the console port, but can seem to find if you can connect it at the same time as the port to the Inverter.

So, Newbie in Solar, but I like learning about it, and helping. 

If anybody knows something about connecting it to a raspberry, (or maybe my way of thinking is wrong) much obliged.

Greetings from a cold (+2), but Sunny Spain.

 

Hi Onze Finca,

I have not tried with raspberry, but I can tell you that I have a micro-PC with both inverter and pylontechs connected at the same time.

The usb port of the inverter (Axpert King 5kw) is connected to the PC and also the console interface from master pylontech is connected to another usb in the PC.

I bought this cable from Aliexpress cause I had good references from members from another forum and it works perfectly:

Cable de comunicación para consola de batería de litio US2000C US3000C US5000, Cable de depuración Serie USB prolífico RS232 a RJ45 8P8C - AliExpress

You can monitor and debug pylontechs using batteryview software.

 

Batteryview.jpg

WP 18-12-23.jpg

Edited by Mauritius B
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2 hours ago, Mauritius B said:

..I have a micro-PC with both inverter and pylontechs connected at the same time.

The usb port of the inverter (Axpert King 5kw) is connected to the PC and also the console interface from master pylontech is connected to another usb in the PC.

@Mauritius B - Out of interest, could you confirm please: Does the Axpert connect to the Pylontechs via the Pylontech 'CAN' port or via the 'RS485' port?

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@Mauritius B: Thanks for the heads up. I have ordered the cable. Unlikely I'm not a WIndowsminded guy, we only have Apple gear here. (Graphical work was my profession), 
thats why we have raspberrys. And they are neat and consume just a bit of Electricity. But, if I understand correctly: You have a cable from the MasterBattery to the computer, and a cable from the micro-USB at the Inverter, also to the computer. How are the settings on the inverter then, or are they controlled by the inverter like this?

 

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2 hours ago, Onze Finca said:

@Mauritius B: Thanks for the heads up. I have ordered the cable. Unlikely I'm not a WIndowsminded guy, we only have Apple gear here. (Graphical work was my profession), 
thats why we have raspberrys. And they are neat and consume just a bit of Electricity. But, if I understand correctly: You have a cable from the MasterBattery to the computer, and a cable from the micro-USB at the Inverter, also to the computer. How are the settings on the inverter then, or are they controlled by the inverter like this?

 

There is also a rs485 direct connection between master battery and inverter. This is actually the communication between inverter and battery. The inverter is set as pylontech battery control mode, so it can “talk” directly to the battery and receive BMS information.

I only use the pc as remote management system. 

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As I understand it:

Currently, you have an RS485 cable between the master battery and the Axpert, plus a USB cable between the Axpert and the Pi runnung Solar-Assistant...

The RS485 cable allows the battery to tell the Axpert whether it wants charge, or is OK to supply power ('pylontech battery control mode' means that the battery is in control, telling the inverter/charger what it wants), plus a few other details (SOC, highest and lowest voltages and temps of the individual cells in the packs).  The Axpert then makes this battery data available to Solar-Assistant.

Solar-Assistant (I assume) displays the data something like this (which shows 7 batteries):

spacer.pngspacer.png

https://solar-assistant.io/shop/products/pylontech_usc#screenshots

Which is pretty much the same as the data available to other inverters, such as Victron, and (I assume - everything else is greyed out in the RS485 protocols I've seen) is all that is available over the battery's CAN and RS485 ports.

The adjustment of inverter settings can be done via the inverter itself or through the Solar-Assistant interface.

 

So now...

The additional RS232->USB cable (that would go between the 'Console' port on the battery and a USB on the RasPi, forming a triangle) should not change any of the above.

The only thing it will additionally give you is access to far more detailed data from the batteries - so, instead of just the 'highest' and 'lowest', you get the actual data for each individual cell (the below shows just 1 battery of 15 cells):

spacer.png

 

I have no idea whether (I suspect not) Solar-Assistant will be able to access and use this new data, or even whether it's of use to you...  I don't personally log data at this level as I think the 'highest/lowest' is enough to alert me to problems - but it's useful to be able to get the finer details if there are any, plus historical data stored within the battery.

If you're finding that Solar-Assistant is not already displaying the data as shown in the first two images, from what I've read, it might possibly be something that can be fixed with a firmware update on the batteries.  Either way, you'll need the new cable for that...  In fact, looking at that S-A screenshot, you'll need it to even find out what firmware version you are currently on. 

I found it massively frustrating that the Pylontech 'BatteryView' software would only run on a (native and fully updated) Windows 11 installation... I messed about with virtual machines etc for days before I worked that one out, but got there in the end. 

 

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3 hours ago, Onze Finca said:

@Mauritius B: Thanks for the heads up. I have ordered the cable. Unlikely I'm not a WIndowsminded guy, we only have Apple gear here. (Graphical work was my profession), 
thats why we have raspberrys. And they are neat and consume just a bit of Electricity. But, if I understand correctly: You have a cable from the MasterBattery to the computer, and a cable from the micro-USB at the Inverter, also to the computer. How are the settings on the inverter then, or are they controlled by the inverter like this?

 

@Onze Finca Wow, that's great to hear about your background on Graphical work as well as using Apple gear. Same here. Will definitely appreciate your insights once I've upgraded my system as I only have a Mac and most users here seem to be Windows minded. Look forward to it. Hopefully your journey in Pv will be a great one.

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@HedgeSlammer: I have a connection with an cable (crimped myself, 2 threads,) from the rs485 Bus on the masterto the LiOn port on the inverter. It communicates, the battery symbol is blinking, but I see only the totals in Solarassistant. Not Bank1 and Bank2 (As I have 2 3000C's), nor temps. I see a USB-port in Solarassistant, but it cant be selected, as there is an error: cant connect, or no such device.
Maybe a fault in the cable, but its connected, as the battery icon blinks. Its 3-5 to 8-7 on the RJ-45's, as shown in a video, from the Spanish dealer.

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1 hour ago, Moffat said:

@Onze Finca Wow, that's great to hear about your background on Graphical work as well as using Apple gear. Same here. Will definitely appreciate your insights once I've upgraded my system as I only have a Mac and most users here seem to be Windows minded. Look forward to it. Hopefully your journey in Pv will be a great one.

@MoffatThats why I have the Raspberry's. I used to have windows, even build my own computers, but Suddenly was done with that. My first Apple was a 2si, with a paper white screen and a tiny color screen. I had a 14.4 modem, and my neighbor a state of the art (At the time) fancy PC with a 28.8 Modem (Basically twice as fast) but my computer was faster on the just released internet. Those where the days. After that, never went back. This is being typed on my old (2015) Macbook Air. It still suits me just fine, and where do you get so much bang for your buck?

But, sometimes, its difficult. only sometimes.....

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1 hour ago, Onze Finca said:

@HedgeSlammer: I see only the totals in Solarassistant. Not Bank1 and Bank2 (As I have 2 3000C's), nor temps. 

Can you post a screenshot of what Solar-Assistant is showing you?

Now I'm wondering if the battery is communicating with the inverter at all, and whether S-A is merely showing what the inverter *thinks* the SOC is, based on the battery voltage. 🤔  The blinking battery icon - is that on the inverter display or in S-A?  Does anything change (the SOC, the blinking icon) if you unplug the RS485 cable?

Also, what is the exact model number/name of the inverter?

Sorry for all the questions! 🙂

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...Or maybe not, as according to this thread, the flashing battery icon is a good sign - it means the battery is communicating.  But still curious that there's no temp data displayed.

Which sockets on the batteries is the data link cable using?  (The battery with the empty link port 0 is the 'master battery' so should also have the RS485 cable attached to it, with 'link 1' connected to 'link 0' on the second battery).

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It is. Model is Axpert VMIII-5000
I have the Solarassistant settings set to Inverter, as the info comes from the Battery.
5 is set to PYL
The LEDS on the Batteries correspond with the percentage on the Inverter. 
The Battery icon is blinking. 

The inverter is charging and Stopping at SOC 100%
The cable between the inverter and the battery is with two threads, connected to 3-5 and 7-8

 

IMG_9641.thumb.png.a26fe8cbecab52f162fd2060a8ec13f4.png

IMG_9642.png

IMG_9638.png

IMG_9639.png

Edited by Onze Finca
double image, textedit
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In the drop-down menu under 'Battery', can you change from 'USB Voltronic LIB RS485' to 'Use inverter values'?

It looks like S-A is trying to find the battery via a USB->RS485 adaptor directly plugged into the battery, hence not finding 'matching devices'.

From the S-A website:

Quote

If your inverter is connected to your battery via a BMS communication cable SolarAssistant will show metrics the inverter reads from your battery BMS. In this case you don't need a USB to battery cable unless you want more in depth metrics.

https://solar-assistant.io/help/battery/configuration

Also worth checking that the dip switch (labelled 'ADD') on the master battery has '1' switched 'ON' (and the others 'OFF'), this sets the baud rate to 9600.  Be aware that the switches are upside down on most US3000Cs, so  the far right hand one is '1', and 'ON' is 'down'.

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16 hours ago, Onze Finca said:

@MoffatThats why I have the Raspberry's. I used to have windows, even build my own computers, but Suddenly was done with that. My first Apple was a 2si, with a paper white screen and a tiny color screen. I had a 14.4 modem, and my neighbor a state of the art (At the time) fancy PC with a 28.8 Modem (Basically twice as fast) but my computer was faster on the just released internet. Those where the days. After that, never went back. This is being typed on my old (2015) Macbook Air. It still suits me just fine, and where do you get so much bang for your buck?

But, sometimes, its difficult. only sometimes.....

Mid 2014 MacBook Pro Retina... still going strong😃

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