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Sorry about the title - seems to be a forum rib of sorts ?

Anyway here is my install - was quite challenging doing it all myself with little solar experience. Silly things like just getting inverter on the wall (thing ways a ton) , thank goodness for climbing gear and pulleys, made it a steep learning curve. Hopefully the forum wolves will be kind though ;)  .  

System :Victron Inverter  - Quattro 10000va /  Victron 250/100 SmartSolar MPPT /  20 x 330 Watt Canadian Solar  / Victron BMV702  / Revov 10 kWh / Venus GX running ESS  / ET112 Grid Meter / Home Assistant Integration. In case you wondering system is limited that it can’t feed more than 4.6kW into grid.

Things I would have done differently: 

- Bigger fuse boxes & bit more spacing - 35mm2 wire is difficult to bend

- Wider trucking - same reason as above

My average use is 30-35 kWh per day - system is producing 18kWh on average (mid winter) per day - looking forward to summer. The Battery is on paper too small as most use is in evening, however in Port Elizabeth we can Grid tie one to one and we are on Eskom time of use tariffs, so battery only needs to get me through the 2 peak periods, then use the grid as a cheap battery for balance of time.

With the home automation (Home Assistant) tie-in, I manipulate a few things on system via Modibus to optimise the return:

  • System makes sure batteries are charged for morning and evening peak using grid if needed  - (buys cheaper power or uses credit generated during day). I do this by changing the Grid set point higher for this period.
  • If there is loadshedding (it reads the loadshedding status form Eskom website) - it changes min SOC from 20% to 50% - that way there is enough capacity in batteries to get through any loadshedding episodes regardless of time of day. 
  • Also notifies me of grid failure over google home and on phone 

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Pic 1 - Christmas - trying to figure everything out

 

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Pic 2 - figuring out cable routes - old inverter/ups in green looking sad

 

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Pic 3 - Old Main Db Board (nice excuse to tidy up)

 

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Pic 4 - Honey will we have lights tonight ? - no pressure - all stripped out

 

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Pic 5 - Main Db Looking bit more tidy - split into 2 - Db1 non critical AC loads - Oven and Geyser on Left ELU -  Db3 - Critical Loads -  balance of house - plugs and lights

(Note Inverter feeds back up to DB1 if grid present so DB1 is on Inverter / solar /battery until there is a grid failure)

 

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Pic 6 - Revov Batteries 10 KWh- server rack box adapted with some additional home made welded brackets (its a 50kg load) - but nicely off the floor

 

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Pic 7 - DC Buss-bar -  cramped DC shunt and fuse box :( - will know for next time - give yourself more room

 

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Pic 8 - AC DB 2 - feeds to and from Db 1/D b3 with 3 way change over switch (can bypass inverter if its faulty)  - MPPT on left - Solar DC DB &  fuses on right

 

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Pic 9 - Solar DB - only partly my work that''s why is so neat   - 4 strings of 5 panels  - bottom 2 cables have subsequently been increased to 10mm2 from 6mm2 shown here - MPPT was kicking errors - seems happier now

 

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Pic 10 - Overview of installation - Inverter quite noisy (I am noise sensitive) - so nice to be in the garage vs in house

 

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Pic 11 - Colour GX and BMV installed round corner (more accessible)

 

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Pic 12  - Panels  - 20 x 330W - 4 strings of 55 deg - facing NE - raised back 5 because of shading

 

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Pic 13 - Home Assistant Home Automation Tie in - Note loadshedding sensor (still working on overall layout but its 100% customisable)

 

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Pic 14 - Municipal Grid-tie meter with ET112 Grid Meter on right

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12 hours ago, Tim said:

1703986240_Annotation2020-06-24204236.png.e6b635b08ad0b4ef8b78ff4f50476192.png

Pic 14 - Municipal Grid-tie meter with ET112 Grid Meter on right

Here is a perfect example of a TN-C-S setup where the main breaker is only on the Live side. If your backup supply is connected right here... you are allowed to tie the neutrals together and use the existing TN bond. Off-topic on this thread, I know, but that's re the oft discussed issue of inverters that don't bond T and N during an outage (the Victrons do).

Edited by plonkster
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16 hours ago, Tim said:

Pic 13 - Home Assistant Home Automation Tie in - Note loadshedding sensor (still working on overall layout but its 100% customisable)

Nice! Do you mind giving me a few pointers on how to set this up? Do you need a Pi4 dedicated to it, or would it be able to run on a Pi3 already running only a very low demand application?

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Very nice setup.

 

16 hours ago, Tim said:

1478876400_Inked20200328_115335(Medium)_LI(Medium)(Small).jpg.3cedce2f294a489580256cf29015acca.jpg

Pic 5 - Main Db Looking bit more tidy - split into 2 - Db1 non critical AC loads - Oven and Geyser on Left ELU -  Db3 - Critical Loads -  balance of house - plugs and lights

Is it allowed to split your DB inside the same physical box like this? I only ask because I have to do the same and was planning to add a separate DB board but this will be much easier to do.
 

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4 hours ago, Louisvdw said:

Very nice setup.

 

Is it allowed to split your DB inside the same physical box like this? I only ask because I have to do the same and was planning to add a separate DB board but this will be much easier to do.
 

It is allowed, there just has to be clear separation between backup and non-backup circuits.

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5 hours ago, jykenmynie said:

Nice! Do you mind giving me a few pointers on how to set this up? Do you need a Pi4 dedicated to it, or would it be able to run on a Pi3 already running only a very low demand application?

Are you referring to Home Assistant - if so no don't think a  separate instance of Home Assistance is needed - I just connected using Modibus in my main home assistance installation and the overhead is not noticeable. To be honest I have subsequently moved my HA install onto docker and an old laptop running Linux - but original my  opinion stands - does that answer your question ? Sorry maybe misunderstand ?

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18 minutes ago, Tim said:

Are you referring to Home Assistant - if so no don't think a  separate instance of Home Assistance is needed - I just connected using Modibus in my main home assistance installation and the overhead is not noticeable. To be honest I have subsequently moved my HA install onto docker and an old laptop running Linux - but original my  opinion stands - does that answer your question ? Sorry maybe misunderstand ?

Thanks! Yeah, I was referring to Home Assistant. I’ll try it on my RPi 3.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 2020/06/24 at 8:59 PM, Tim said:

 

 

 1886512152_Annotation2020-05-28210305.png.8f4fc046b0f4b75bad8388fa9216dd63.png

Pic 13 - Home Assistant Home Automation Tie in - Note loadshedding sensor (still working on overall layout but its 100% customisable)

 

1703986240_Annotation2020-06-24204236.png.e6b635b08ad0b4ef8b78ff4f50476192.png

Pic 14 - Municipal Grid-tie meter with ET112 Grid Meter on right

Awesome Setup!! had a couple questions about your GridTie & ET112. The Sonoff in your meter box has me intrigued, i would almost say its attached to the GridTie meter, but the cable might just be similar? what are you using the sonoff for and what is running on it? Tasmota? :D 

Regarding the ET112, im wanting to do some monitoring of my consumption for a few months to get an idea of what my needs will be when i do a solar setup. The HA addict in me wants to capture this in HA rather than take meter readings every day for the next few months. Do you think it would be viable to get one of these and the Color GX  setup and start capturing the modbus data without the rest of the inverter & Solar setup? ive pretty much already got my heart set on Victron so it would get me one step towards the full setup and satisfy my HA urges! lol I also saw that you can install VenusOS on a Raspberry pi, would you think this would be a viable option too? than spending 10k just to get energy readings in HA :o 

 

Lastly how are you measuring your Geyser consumption separately from the rest of the house? pretty stuck on this Power usage monitoring gravy train right now and would live to get this into my HA setup!

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15 minutes ago, Timbo said:

Regarding the ET112, im wanting to do some monitoring of my consumption for a few months to get an idea of what my needs will be when i do a solar setup. The HA addict in me wants to capture this in HA rather than take meter readings every day for the next few months. Do you think it would be viable to get one of these and the Color GX  setup and start capturing the modbus data without the rest of the inverter & Solar setup? ive pretty much already got my heart set on Victron so it would get me one step towards the full setup and satisfy my HA urges! lol I also saw that you can install VenusOS on a Raspberry pi, would you think this would be a viable option too? than spending 10k just to get energy readings in HA :o 

I did this. I got an ET112, installed the VenusOS on the rPi3 laying around and watch for a few months.

You can use any RS485->USB converter (or if you have one already) to connect the pi and the et112, but those will not be galvanically isolated as the Victron cable that you buy for ~R500 (safer option for your equipment in the long run)

After getting all the data, I got my MP II and installed all this alongside the pi and meter. If you want to Color GX option in future, you can just go ahead and rather do that then the Pi from the start. Then everything is Blue and you have all the ports you will need already. I like to give myself some work and fiddle, so the Pi route with hats and RS485 converter was my preferred route.

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25 minutes ago, Timbo said:

Do you think it would be viable to get one of these and the Color GX  setup and start capturing the modbus data without the rest of the inverter & Solar setup?

Why get the Color GX? The Venus GX or Cerbo GX is cheaper and better.

I've got the Venus GX and one of those Carlo Gavazzi energy meters. I think you need to run the GX on DC, so mine is plugged into my Multiplus II, but maybe you can get an external DC PSU?

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4 minutes ago, jykenmynie said:

maybe you can get an external DC PSU?

There are people who run it that way. Of course they then power the GX from the output of the inverter, but the trouble with that is if you reset the Multi (do a firmware update, etc), the GX goes with it. So ideally, you should power the GX from your battery. It has a built-in SMPS with a very wide range for precisely this purpose.

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11 minutes ago, Louisvdw said:

I did this. I got an ET112, installed the VenusOS on the rPi3 laying around and watch for a few months.

You can use any RS485->USB converter (or if you have one already) to connect the pi and the et112, but those will not be galvanically isolated as the Victron cable that you buy for ~R500 (safer option for your equipment in the long run)

After getting all the data, I got my MP II and installed all this alongside the pi and meter. If you want to Color GX option in future, you can just go ahead and rather do that then the Pi from the start. Then everything is Blue and you have all the ports you will need already. I like to give myself some work and fiddle, so the Pi route with hats and RS485 converter was my preferred route.

Wow! thanks for the detailed response, im a tinkerer too and have a Raspberry Pi3 already sitting gathering dust! I think im going to try this out, and then when im ready to start buying kit i can look at the Venus GX / Color GX.

Out of interest, what HAT did you need for the Pi and how much fiddling did you have to do to get it to work with the Raspberry Pi VenusOS image?

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1 minute ago, Timbo said:

what HAT did you need for the Pi and how much fiddling did you have to do to get it to work with the Raspberry Pi VenusOS image?

The VenusOS setup is super simple and it just work. For this setup the only thing you need other than the Pi and the VenusOS image, is to get a 485 converter. If you use a USB-485 (link the link in my post that you quoted) you don't need to do anything extra. You can get a RS485 hat as well, but it has to be setup in the config.txt. This one has a CAN interface as well as 485, but need a bit of setup. You do save a USB port though.

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7 minutes ago, Louisvdw said:

The VenusOS setup is super simple and it just work. For this setup the only thing you need other than the Pi and the VenusOS image, is to get a 485 converter. If you use a USB-485 (link the link in my post that you quoted) you don't need to do anything extra. You can get a RS485 hat as well, but it has to be setup in the config.txt. This one has a CAN interface as well as 485, but need a bit of setup. You do save a USB port though.

Thanks this is what i was hoping for, plan to buy the Victron cable so that it can be used with future Solar setup so should be all good.

Ive been researching ways of monitoring my consumption and pulling the data into HA for weeks now and this is by far the cleanest (and safest) way ive seen sofar! price tag too is pretty reasonable because its available locally! really appreciate your input! 

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1 hour ago, Timbo said:

what HAT did you need for the Pi

No hat needed. Only need a hat if you want to do canbus communication. And then you want any hat that uses the MCP2515 CAN controller chip. Usually this is paired with a MCP2551 CAN transceiver.

Installation is as easy as burning the image to an sd-card, and booting it. You can use either a serial connection to the serial pins on the Pi, plug in a keyboard and monitor to get access to it (It's a linux system, you can type "ip addr ls" to see assigned IP address), and then after that you access it headlessly like you'd access a Venus-GX.

Also see here: https://github.com/victronenergy/venus/wiki/raspberrypi-install-venus-image

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I just looked at which IP the DHCP server on my router assigned to the Pi (and then reserved that IP for the Pi so that it will never change). It is a bit easier if you don't have a extra monitor and keyboard.

The VictronConnect app will also help with that if it is on the same network.

Edited by Louisvdw
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