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1 minute ago, Dexitt said:

Stop being Danville...  R50 is NOTHING today! 

😂

My point is about calling something 'free upgrade' when in fact you are signing up to a R50-per-month subscription...

Which - by the way - if you assume a 10-year life of your system, amounts to total R6k over that time.

As mentioned before, I am personally not a fan of subscription-based software. But that decision everyone has to make by him/herself.

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11 minutes ago, wolfandy said:

😂

My point is about calling something 'free upgrade' when in fact you are signing up to a R50-per-month subscription...

Which - by the way - if you assume a 10-year life of your system, amounts to total R6k over that time.

As mentioned before, I am personally not a fan of subscription-based software. But that decision everyone has to make by him/herself.

That may be true, but even if you have a R300 000 system, paying R6000 to manage that over 10 years means that it's 2% of the total cost of the system, assuming you haven't spent a single cent on it since the day it was installed. 

Callouts, upgrades, fixes, etc would make that figure go down even more.  One damaged battery alone would amount to 15k or more, loose 2 of those in 10 years, and you are up to 30k already just to replace the hardware, costs that in my case will probably not happen now, as I can intelligently switch devices off in my house by looking at the total consumption, or even turning my devices off one by one automatically as the SOC drops during load shedding.  To me that single feature is worth R50 a month, and then we are not even talking about the fact that I get a telegram message whenever utility power is lost, and again once restored.  There are multiple dashboards to choose from as well, like this one, showing my real time figures, my weekly figures, and a real-time graph as well.

1581718510_ScreenShot2021-06-06at13_53_35.thumb.png.62b81d20279ed3ef836b9fd605c20cf1.png

I absolutely respect that subscriptions are not for everyone, but to me, my investment in both my systems is definitely worth protecting at R50 a month.  I pay more than 3 times that per month just for my bank account, and they don't give me ANYTHING for that besides a plastic card.

 

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A little earlier this evening, I started getting the VNC license expired message, thought "WTH!" and checked on the Centurion Solar Website to see if there was any news on this.

I was greeted with the SMH vs ICC info, and my first thought was "Cool, finally an upgrade which is hopefully less buggy than ICC." I started reading through the sneak preview document with enthusiasm until I saw it was now changing to a subscription model. Not so cool, as I've paid for my licence, and now must continue paying monthly.

I've since calmed down, and had a good think about it all.

I'd still like to know how much a non ICC user must pay for the software upfront before the subscription, because I'm not buying this "Free Upgrade". Right now it looks like you have to buy a Pi and ICC license before you can upgrade. Nothing on the site about having your own Pi, and just getting a SMH license. Comes across as dodgy AF. And if a new SMH user just needs to start paying the subscription, then there is nothing free about upgrading from ICC. How about a free 6 month SMH subscription for your existing clients. Goes a long way to showing you appreciate the business we have already given you, and, lets face it, if we're happy and hooked on the software after 6 months, you'll have us signing up for the subscription with no negative feelings, rather than the "WTH!" feelings I felt a bit earlier this evening.

On the other hand, I've really held off contacting Manie and paying (again) for his upgraded license, mainly because, IMHO, he's an asshole, and that same attitude oozes from his website, and also because I'm not convinced his later versions are that much better than the CS-ICC version I've been using.

On the other other hand, the feature list of SMH looks very impressive, and if it works as well as it claims, doesn't crash every day, or freeze up every time I VNC in, I could live with R50 a month.

In any case, I've registered for the upgrade to SMH, so let's see what Johan can do.

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37 minutes ago, viceroy said:

A little earlier this evening, I started getting the VNC license expired message, thought "WTH!" and checked on the Centurion Solar Website to see if there was any news on this.

I was greeted with the SMH vs ICC info, and my first thought was "Cool, finally an upgrade which is hopefully less buggy than ICC." I started reading through the sneak preview document with enthusiasm until I saw it was now changing to a subscription model. Not so cool, as I've paid for my licence, and now must continue paying monthly.

I've since calmed down, and had a good think about it all.

I'd still like to know how much a non ICC user must pay for the software upfront before the subscription, because I'm not buying this "Free Upgrade". Right now it looks like you have to buy a Pi and ICC license before you can upgrade. Nothing on the site about having your own Pi, and just getting a SMH license. Comes across as dodgy AF. And if a new SMH user just needs to start paying the subscription, then there is nothing free about upgrading from ICC. How about a free 6 month SMH subscription for your existing clients. Goes a long way to showing you appreciate the business we have already given you, and, lets face it, if we're happy and hooked on the software after 6 months, you'll have us signing up for the subscription with no negative feelings, rather than the "WTH!" feelings I felt a bit earlier this evening.

On the other hand, I've really held off contacting Manie and paying (again) for his upgraded license, mainly because, IMHO, he's an asshole, and that same attitude oozes from his website, and also because I'm not convinced his later versions are that much better than the CS-ICC version I've been using.

On the other other hand, the feature list of SMH looks very impressive, and if it works as well as it claims, doesn't crash every day, or freeze up every time I VNC in, I could live with R50 a month.

In any case, I've registered for the upgrade to SMH, so let's see what Johan can do.

Hi Viceroy,

I am not certain about all the things you mention, but what I can tell you is that, besides not being charged for a new license like Manie did,  I got a 14day free trial to test everything out before having to subscribe, and so far I am loving it! It's a fundamental change in thinking from what we are used to with ICC, but it absolutely makes sense. Regarding the VNC outage, I spoke to them earlier today (yes, I was able to call someone on a SUNDAY), and there is a global outage at VNC with professional teams at the moment, so nothing anyone can do about that but wait.

Also, they state that all ICC users can upgrade for free, but I am not sure about new users. PS, I actually read the T's and C's, and the subscription is mentioned there more than once, hence the tickbox to accept it, so I am not sure what everyone is complaining about on that front.  In afrikaans they say "as jy kan lees kan jy presteer", so if you have an issue with R50, don't sign up to be upgraded, but as stated at length earlier, R50 simply ensures that they will be there next year.  How else do you expect them to pay their support people, their office, their telephones, their electricity, the cost of development and updates, their internet, their IT equipment, the very VNC license you get for free when purchasing a Pi, etc every month all with a single once-off purchase?  In a sense you are not even paying them, you are simply helping them be sustainable in the long run. Doing all of that and only charging R50 a month, coupled with all the features and benefits I get for that money seems more than fair to me, don't you think?

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Going to be an interesting case in court.

I not 100% sure what ICC runs on but I assume that it is running on the Rasp Pi OS which falls under the GPL. 

My understanding is that as the ICC software is a derivative work of Open Source software, the ICC software will fall under the GPL license terms of Rasp Pi OS and is as such is open source. 

Interestingly, under the GPL the developers of derivative work are legally obliged to provide anyone who requests it the source code for their software. 

Details of the GPL are on https://www.fsf.org/ 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_General_Public_License

 

 

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On 2021/06/06 at 10:18 PM, Sc00bs said:

Going to be an interesting case in court.

I not 100% sure what ICC runs on but I assume that it is running on the Rasp Pi OS which falls under the GPL. 

My understanding is that as the ICC software is a derivative work of Open Source software, the ICC software will fall under the GPL license terms of Rasp Pi OS and is as such is open source. 

Interestingly, under the GPL the developers of derivative work are legally obliged to provide anyone who requests it the source code for their software. 

Details of the GPL are on https://www.fsf.org/ 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_General_Public_License

 

 

No, only if they used the source code of a GNU related project themselves.

Also I can almost guarantee you that both ICC and this new app SMH have used code from either looking at how Voltronics own software is written or the various Voltronic based open source projects.  Hell they may even have straight up copied the code.

I don't have proof of this but the problems people complain of in ICC are pretty trivial problems to solve which leads me to believe the software developers for those projects aren't the "best" around.  ie. likely to have copied stuff and not bothered to test, fix, iterate

Edited by Gnome
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On 2021/06/06 at 9:25 PM, viceroy said:

On the other hand, I've really held off contacting Manie and paying (again) for his upgraded license, mainly because, IMHO, he's an asshole, and that same attitude oozes from his website, and also because I'm not convinced his later versions are that much better than the CS-ICC version I've been using.

😂 +1 got the same feeling.  Plus the messages I think he sent me directly threatening me not to dare to look at his source code or steal his IP or something like that.

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On 2021/06/06 at 10:03 PM, Dexitt said:

How else do you expect them to pay [...] the very VNC license you get for free when purchasing a Pi

VNC Server comes free with the Raspberry Pi OS - so that is free when you purchase the Pi

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I have used ICC since 2018. The software was not reliable, and I would have to re-boot the PI at least once a month.

I have subsequent ly installed SMH, and I am verry happy with it. The PI CPU usage is lower and I have not needed to re-boot the PI as yet..

 

EmonDash34.thumb.png.159d51c281acd8cf895141185d451353.png

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2 hours ago, Rudie said:

I have used ICC since 2018. The software was not reliable, and I would have to re-boot the PI at least once a month.

I have subsequent ly installed SMH, and I am verry happy with it. The PI CPU usage is lower and I have not needed to re-boot the PI as yet..

I am also loving all the things I am discovering about SMH!  Did you know that the web app can run from your Pi directly to your phone, over the internet, NO PORT FORWARDING required?

It is also responsive, so the experience on my desktop looks like yours, but when I open it up on my phone, it automatically scales to the screen of my phone.

I made a small video of the app in action and dropped it on Wetransfer, for those who'd like to see:

https://we.tl/t-PQdDOHm1Cd

 

On 2021/06/06 at 11:43 AM, Dexitt said:

They even helped with a template for my home assistant, just look at this (to be configured):

I would also like to personally thank Johan at Centurion Solar.  Not only did he take the time to explain exactly how the Home Automation side of things work with SMH, but he also ended up spending more than 2 hours of his time assisting me with the configuration, after I have been installing Sonoff's all over my house.  On the big loads I have a Sonoff that turns on a contactor, and for the smaller loads I connected the Sonoff directly.  For the lights, I will use the Sonoff mini, which is small enough to fit in the existing light switch covers and also supports adding the existing manual switch, so I get the advantage of using the old manual switch or the wifi controlled switch, which is awesome!

After installing the Sonoffs, it was time to program my brand new smart home, all based on my solar system, and thanks to Johan's guidance and SMH I can now do that!

Below is a picture of all the Sonoff's I have installed thus far.

 

1132287638_SMHSonoffHomeAutomationSwitches.thumb.png.1249e1e878db027607c3b9fa522ebe36.png

 

For the purpose of helping others, I will try to explain my thinking about the automation, hopefully they make sense:

  • Firstly, I have configured the Electric Fence and the Alarm system to be on at all times, regardless of which power source supplies them. They will thus be on, even when charging the batteries.  The rest of the automations are all based on the batteries reaching 100% SOC.
  • Then, I have a normally closed contactor that allows the Aircon to be used as long as Eskom exist as a backup, with another automation that turns off the power to the aircon for as long as the status of eskom remain as "Unavailable".
  • I have also incorporated the use of my energy to heat up my geyser, which turns on if the SOC = 100% and it's between 9:00 in the morning and 15:00 in the afternoon.
  • This automation is also cancelled if the SOC goes below 98% (clouds) or if the time exceeds 15:00 or if the geyser reaches 60 deg.  Of course I can override this by clicking the icon at any time, but now I don't need to call my wife at home every day to remind her to turn the damn thing on manually at the DB!
  • I also created an automation that automatically tuns on the kettle 3 minutes before my alarm goes off, provided that the SOC of the batteries are still at 45% or higher.
  • Next I was wondering what to do if I still have power after charging the batteries and heating the geyser.  Easy, run the pool pump!  So, for this the conditions were to check if the SOC = 100% (fully charged after heating the geyser) and ((while we are in the 9:00 to 15:00 time window) or (the Geyser temp >= 60 deg)).
  • Of course the last automation was to tell the pool to turn off if the SOC dropped back to 98% or if the time went past 15:00.
  • And then finally, I decided to install a Sonoff at my fridges, and created an automation which depicts that the plug supplying the fridges and stay on until the batteries have run down to 15%.  While this will be bad, it will save me an extra 400W during load shedding, or roughly 1 and a half hours more in total. 

I hope you can see why I am as excited as a nerd that got lost in Communica 😁.  I cannot wait to see what the guys at Centurion Solar / SMH get up to next, but if they are reading this post I just want to say:  WORLD CLASS boys, stunning work, and thanks for all your help, patience and assistance, your software is changing my life (for the better)!

Anyway, before I get carried away, this is what my final Automations page ended up like:

 

 

SMH : Sonoff Automations.png

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Wow, been using ICC since 2019 with very few problems, the Pi just sits there and works, but this software appears to be very much next level.

I know I'm a one post special coming out of the wood work, just the same I've put in an enquiry with SMH to see if I can get this in the other SA (South Australia)

Here's hoping.

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13 hours ago, zs6sp said:

Emoncms software from OpenEnergyMonitor.org - which is I think embedded in ICC.

I think I forgot to click "submit reply" on my previous attempt to answer, let's try again shall we ;)

The guys at Centurion Solar uses their own custom written software as best as I can tell, as nothing in there even closely resembles Emoncms.  They still have an Emoncms server as well (see some of the earlier posts with those dashboards), but the web app allows real-time (2seconds or less) updates directly to my phone over the internet, which I think is pretty amazing.  Check this video they made of it:

 

 

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On 2021/06/15 at 7:07 AM, Dexitt said:

The guys at Centurion Solar uses their own custom written software as best as I can tell, as nothing in there even closely resembles Emoncms.  They still have an Emoncms server as well (see some of the earlier posts with those dashboards), but the web app allows real-time (2seconds or less)

Then they are legally required to release the source code per GNU: https://github.com/emoncms/emoncms/blob/master/LICENSE.txt

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