Friday, 18 April 2014

Using the Aurora Solar Inverter

Last post I noted that we now have an Aurora® in place of our SAMIL® inverter.
I also noted that the power production seems to be higher than with the old inverter ... though this might be weather related ... maybe
Following is another view I maintain of our inverter output showing monthly and seasonal Maximums and Averages. The data is a bit limited to make conclusive statements but it certainly supports my comments in my last post.



Since the last post, I have finally done a bit of serious research on connecting this new inverter to my server(PC) and monitoring.  It seems I might be able to use a USB connection  which I discovered the Aurora has, as I only have the one unit to monitor.
It urns out there is a USB port accessible on the right-hand side of the inverter

I gather there may be some limitations to what can be monitored through this interface but I'm going to experiment with this first as its the easiest and cheapest option.
If that fails, I have discovered I can get an RS485 to TCP/IP converter from ebay for between $30 and $45 (vs the Aurora or Jaycar equivalents for $146)
RS232 RS485 to TCP/IP Ethernet Serial Device Server (search)

I also found a Whirlpool forum with quite a lot of useful discussion and links and identified at least three documents I believe I will need to follow in relation to getting this logging and possibly uploading to
PVOUTPUT.org 
I downloaded the documents and am too lazy to go rediscover te links but I'm sure if you need them you can just search for the following titles:
  • Aurora_Communicator_User_Manual_v0204.pdf
  • usermanual-1kbpks.pdf
  • AuroraSix - USB Driver Installation.zip 
  • I realise the last one was content I downloaded as an extract from some web site, so if you want that content, drop me a line.

An excerpt of it is ...


Aurora
RS-485 interface. Software for the Aurora – http://www.power-one.it/digilab/Digi.aspx?Code=15
The larger outdoor inverters have a USB port on the right hand side, labelled as 'service' in the manual. The smaller ones have a serial RS232 port. For short term connections, ie.to pull down the stats at the end of the day, this is ideal. Do not leave this port 'exposed' in wet weather or overnight as it compromises the IP65 enclosure.
Longer term connections should use the RS485 adapters and port through the bottom of the inverter. To use the USB/serial ports, download the USB driver from the link below because this creates a virtual serial port on the PC and this port will be assigned a COMx number eg. COM5. Please note that the inverter has to be connected so that software can see the port. In addition, extract the zip file first before launching the install/setup.exe file.

To setup first click on the icon which look like a "Cog wheel", open and select "Serial" and pick the "Com.... 





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