Monday, 28 January 2013

An Update to: My expierence with our SAMIL 5200TL-D Solar Inverter

As of the 26th January, I have had no response to the inquiry I sent to
on the 3rd January
In the meantime, I have been running over CAT5, with no communication difficulties whatsoever.
What I HAVE had difficulties with however, has been the reliability of the logging software in the SolarPower Browser software!
The Software has four primary views:
 Daily generation:
Daily History
Cumulative Total

 I first noticed something amiss when the Daily History view showed we had generated 59KWh in one day!
To cut the long story short, the software downloads the data from the Samil at the intervals you choose under  Settings -- Data Record


and stores them at the location specified therein under the Daily and Power folders
Every Daily folder has a file named the same as every other day using the-name-of-your-inverter.csv 
which is terribly unhelpful when troubleshooting, as I will explain.

The Power folder also contains a csv ... of the same name ... BUT with a different internal format and content (DONT get them muddled up or you've lost all your historic data)
Note: The Fault Info folder follows the same Daily structure though fortunately we seem to have almost no entries in there except when we lost power

Each of those Daily directories contains the noted csv for the named generator(s) and those csv's are essentailly a flat-file history database and they have a VERY specific format.
If you mess with that format even slightly, the Power Browser won't load or crashes when you move to a particular day's data.
Daily csv files MUST have the following:
  • all fields are comma delimited except the last field in each data row which is terminated by a CR
  • only one CR after the last entry in the last row of data (no blank rows)
  • the correct number formats in the fields i.e. 0 or 0.0 or 0.00 as the case may be
  • NOTE: even though the number formats must be exact ... THEY ARE STORED AS TEXT not numeric fields
  • there must be no leading or trailing blanks either side of a comma delimiter
  • the date time format must explicitly be yyyy-m-d(1 space)h:m:s
    e.g. 2013-1-25 1:2:8  (which represents 25th Jan 2013 at 01:02:08 am)
  • the "Total energy[KW.Hr]" value in the last data row must be the starting value for the next day
  • the same for "Total operation hours[Hr]"
  • It doesn't seem to matter if the first row of "Daily Energy[KW.Hr]" has a value or not, so long as the highest accrued value for the day in that column is then carried all the way to the last row after the generator goes offline AND so long as it doesn't try to accrue the new day's data to the previous day's total
So each day the "Total energy[KW.Hr]" and the "Total operation hours[Hr]" values are supposed to carry forward from the previous day but the "Daily Energy[KW.Hr]" is supposed to start afresh at the time the generator comes online each day.
As noted above, it does not normally seem to matter if there is a value in this field as it appears to nearly always start at the first sample value and accrue from there throughout the day.
EXCEPT on these particular days when it carried the previous day's value forward and for some reason accrued the day's values onto the total of the previous day!
At the same time, this messes with it's Total energy[KW.Hr] count as that is based on the running total of what is generated at each sample throughout each day.

So when the data gets messed up, the only option that I've found so far is to manually rebuild the damaged file(s) ... and it pays to do it when first noticed so the erroneous figures don't get propagated to too many daily data files !
 Opening these files in a text editor and attempting to fix them that way, is a right royal pain, because the field columns all stagger according to what data is in them, yet to put them into readable columns using Excel or Word or Textpad or anything which formats them in any way, breaks the format of the file and it will no longer load.
For example, opening the file as a csv in Excel changes the date format when you import it and puts space padding around  the comma delimiters when you save it ... unless you do it this way;
The trick is:
  1. Before doing anything with the file, MAKE AN UNTOUCHED and RENAMED COPY !!!!
  2. Make a further copy of the file, this is the one you will try and fix
  3. ULTRA important! ... RENAME the file copy from .csv to .txt
  4. Load Excel
  5. Choose File - Open
  6. Select Files Of Type: Text Files
  7. Browse to and open the the renamed daily .txt file copy you made at steps 2 & 3
  8. Now because it is seen as a .txt file and not a .csv file, Excel will allow yo to manipulate the fields as they are loaded, so on the first dialog just accept the defaults of Delimited, Start at row 1, MS-DOS (PC-8) then Next
  9. For delimiters, un-tick Tab and tick Comma then Next
  10. On the next dialog select the first General heading (Time column will highlight)
  11. Scroll all the way to the right-most column, press and hold the Shift key and click the heading of that right-most column (all columns should now be highlighted)
  12. In the Column data format radio button group, select the Text radio button then Next
You are good to edit the file.
... continued in next post due to formatting and publishing errors .....



Tony A said...

Gidday Col
A new version of the Solar Power Browser is now avaliable from the Samil Site

Col. Sanders said...

Thanks for the heads-up on this Tony maybe it will cure my sustained connectivity problems ... :-)