navitron
 
Renewable Energy and Sustainability Forum
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Anyone wishing to register as a new member on the forum is strongly recommended to use a "proper" email address - following recent spam/hack attempts on the forum, all security is set to "high", and "disposable" email addresses like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail tend to be viewed with suspicion, and the application rejected if there is any doubt whatsoever
 
Recent Articles: Navitron Partners With Solax to Help Create A More Sustainable Future | Navitron Calls for Increased Carbon Footprint Reduction In Light of Earth Overshoot Day | A plea from The David School - Issue 18
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: solar pv monitor - reccomendations please  (Read 9292 times)
MisterB
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 72


« on: August 03, 2012, 11:13:22 AM »

hi, i have a geo solo monitor and i am pleased with it, but a friend has asked me re are there any other similar products out there? he doesnt want to spend the 130 quid or so for the geo.

he has a power one inverter, the desk top monitor for that is even more expensive so he is at a loss. basically he wants to be bale to recognise when his system is producing sufficient power to utilise appliances etc. or potentially to switch on/off appliances when production is high

thanks in anticipation

in addition, i have been looking at switches for the immersion heater, anyone recommend one please, happy to change the immersion (well, one of them) to 1kw if necessary - is it just the thermostat that needs changing or is it the complete immersion heater?
Logged
M
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4979



« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2012, 11:57:11 AM »

I use an Optismart monitor, this sits over the LED flasher on the TGM and reports the actual generation being recorded. It's incredibly accurate (as long as your TGM is!). However, major problem, you need to check if the TGM displays a solid red when not generating, mine doesn't, but my second TGM (just installed) does, the optismart will get confused by a solid red and need resetting each time. Their web-site (Current Cost) says that the device is not suitable for PV - but that's the reason. Then link it up to a cheap ENViR (or similar) of FleaBay, or buy it all together as a package. Crucially though, need to check if solid red displayed when sleeping.

Mart.
Logged

Just call me Mart.     Cardiff: 5.58kWp PV - (3.58kWp SE3500 + 2kWp SE2200 WNW)
James44
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 21


« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2012, 11:59:02 AM »

hi, i have a geo solo monitor and i am pleased with it, but a friend has asked me re are there any other similar products out there? he doesnt want to spend the 130 quid or so for the geo.

he has a power one inverter, the desk top monitor for that is even more expensive so he is at a loss. basically he wants to be bale to recognise when his system is producing sufficient power to utilise appliances etc. or potentially to switch on/off appliances when production is high

thanks in anticipation

in addition, i have been looking at switches for the immersion heater, anyone recommend one please, happy to change the immersion (well, one of them) to 1kw if necessary - is it just the thermostat that needs changing or is it the complete immersion heater?

I went down the Current Cost product route linked to PVOutput.org. You can pick up E.On branded units on ebay for a fraction of the new cost. Do a search, there's plenty of info here.

Don't know anything about immersion heater switches, sorry

J
Logged
Iain
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1657


« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2012, 12:05:08 PM »

Hi
Eric posted this a while back
http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,16064.0.html

Iain
Logged

1.98kWp PV (11 x Sharp 180 and SB 2.5)
20 x 65mm Thermal and 180ltr unvented
Powervault 4Kw - G200 Lithium-Ion (LiFePO4)
9000ltr rainwater storage   Plymouth
scobo
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 58



« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2012, 05:24:10 PM »

I also use an Optismart and Envir display but don't have the solid red LED issue mentioned above.
Works fine and just reads 0 watts when the LED is solid.
Have ours connected to a small PC which uploads the data to pvoutput.org.
As for the immersion, we have one of these installed ... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/190684272459?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649
It reduces the power of the immersion to around 1.4kw so no need to replace the immersion.
I just fitted one of these switches a couple of weeks ago ... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/280907823560?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649#ht_500wt_922
It uses an adjustable light sensor to judge when there's enough solar being generated to power the immersion the idea being that you place the sensor outdoors facing the same way as your solar panels but I found an easier and more effective way to use it.
I got the idea from a guy on another forum, you basically just place the light sensor over the LED of your import meter and calibrate it to activate the switch when the LED is solid.
This means the switch will turn on your immersion when ever there is surplus power (LED is solid) and turn it off if your generation dips (LED starts flashing) and you start importing power again.
I have the power supply for the switch plugged into a cheap plug-in timer set to come on at 10.30am when our generation reaches about 1.6kw (enough to cover base load plus immersion) and off at 4.30pm when it goes below that.
I paid 25 for the immersion switch, the power reducer was 55 and the timer about 5.

« Last Edit: August 03, 2012, 06:54:59 PM by scobo » Logged

System size : 2.88kw
Panels : 12xREC 240W
Inverter : Fronius IG30
Roof : SSW facing
Shading : none
Location : Fife, Scotland
Live output : http://pvoutput.org/intraday.jsp?id=8689&sid=7055
Other-Power
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1283


« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2012, 08:07:13 PM »

The Eco eye is a cool bit of kit that will tell you what the production from the PV is, the consumption of the house and the net result be it import or export.

The Current Cost unit is more accurate and the web device that uploads online without a computer is a great bit of kit.

I would pick the eco eye as it logs onto a memory card and tells you more information.

Cheers

Jon
Logged

My advice is based on me spending my money doing this and my job spending others money doing this.
pengbo
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 7


« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2012, 10:46:46 PM »

I went for the Eco-eye unit as well untill something better comes along.  None of the current products are imo accurate enough or developed enough to do what the market really wants.  Maybe in another year or so the products will be there.

Still looking to answer the immersion heater conundrum. Slowly seeing products coming to market which are capable of using existing immersion heater with variable power so you are maximising the power you are generating from PV but they are still too expensive and are not user friendly enough yet.
Logged
M
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4979



« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2012, 07:39:25 AM »

I also use an Optismart and Envir display but don't have the solid red LED issue mentioned above.
Works fine and just reads 0 watts when the LED is solid.

That's good news scobo, I may transfer the optical reader bit over to the new TGM and try it out then for a few days, to see if it'll work. When I got the first PV last August, Wifey was a bit dismayed at having an ENViR sitting on the mantlepiece next to the weather station, but now she's really gotten into it, and asked when we're getting another monitor for the second system. I thought she was joking, but she wasn't. Cool!

Mart.
Logged

Just call me Mart.     Cardiff: 5.58kWp PV - (3.58kWp SE3500 + 2kWp SE2200 WNW)
MisterB
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 72


« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2012, 09:27:42 AM »

The Eco eye is a cool bit of kit that will tell you what the production from the PV is, the consumption of the house and the net result be it import or export.

The Current Cost unit is more accurate and the web device that uploads online without a computer is a great bit of kit.

I would pick the eco eye as it logs onto a memory card and tells you more information.

Cheers

Jon

thanks jon and everyone else for their comments and helpful suggestions.

i do like the eco eye - i hadnt heard of it, but it seems to be able to much more than my geo solo !!! does anyone know if the geo solo is due to be updated (software wise?) - i do like the option of measuring difference between generation and usage !!!
Logged
MisterB
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 72


« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2012, 09:46:42 AM »

I also use an Optismart and Envir display but don't have the solid red LED issue mentioned above.
Works fine and just reads 0 watts when the LED is solid.
Have ours connected to a small PC which uploads the data to pvoutput.org.
As for the immersion, we have one of these installed ... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/190684272459?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649
It reduces the power of the immersion to around 1.4kw so no need to replace the immersion.
I just fitted one of these switches a couple of weeks ago ... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/280907823560?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649#ht_500wt_922
It uses an adjustable light sensor to judge when there's enough solar being generated to power the immersion the idea being that you place the sensor outdoors facing the same way as your solar panels but I found an easier and more effective way to use it.
I got the idea from a guy on another forum, you basically just place the light sensor over the LED of your import meter and calibrate it to activate the switch when the LED is solid.
This means the switch will turn on your immersion when ever there is surplus power (LED is solid) and turn it off if your generation dips (LED starts flashing) and you start importing power again.
I have the power supply for the switch plugged into a cheap plug-in timer set to come on at 10.30am when our generation reaches about 1.6kw (enough to cover base load plus immersion) and off at 4.30pm when it goes below that.
I paid 25 for the immersion switch, the power reducer was 55 and the timer about 5.



sorry to be dumb, but 'import meter' - do you mean the normal electric meter? also, is the timer actually required, if the switch recognises when it whould operate the immersion, why the need for the timer?

thanks for the help so far !
Logged
series530
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 131



« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2012, 02:16:46 PM »

Amongst many others I have the EnviR unit. It's pretty good for PV measurement and will link via a smart bridge to the web. The current cost web hosting service is pretty slow but it's possible via Pachube (now called something like Cosm?) and this is pretty fast. The big issue is that the smart bridge has a nasty habit of freezing and no data is up loaded. You can use the EnviR display without a web service and this bpasses the bridge. The problem with it is that display which comes with the unit doesn't offer much resolution so any gains in accuracy are lost in the display.

There are various ways of controlling the immersion heater. Some are pretty crude, some are pretty expensive and some are quite elegant. A few people are working upon a micro controller based approach but this needs some skill in electronics and programming and may not be for everyone. With the right skills it is possible to hone the system so that almost everything is dumped into the immersion heater. With the right kit it isn't necessary to change the immersion heater element.
Logged

Ian

Sanyo HIT H250E01 === Hilti Rail System === Enecys Micro Inversion === Internet and EnviR/Optismart Monitoring
Gambot
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 389


It's been very windy round here recently


« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2012, 03:20:18 PM »

As for the immersion, we have one of these installed ... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/190684272459?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649
It reduces the power of the immersion to around 1.4kw so no need to replace the immersion.
I paid 25 for the immersion switch, the power reducer was 55 and the timer about 5.
Sadly, I think the power reducer is nothing more than a power diode encapsulated in a box. This is supported by the fact that there is no real technical specification given and there is only one fixed reduction of half power.
A proper circuit using a solid state switch should have provision to vary the power reduction (a knob) and even the ability to switch it on or off like a Solid State Relay.
Unfortunately, as discussed on other threads here, half cycle running does not save you money on the meter.
Logged

4 kWp - 10+6 Sanyo HIT H250E01 PV - Aurora PVI 3.6 OUTD Inverter - 40 Slope - SSW 193 - Lat 51N - South Hampshire
12kW Woodburner (not installed yet)
scobo
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 58



« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2012, 04:37:20 PM »

I also use an Optismart and Envir display but don't have the solid red LED issue mentioned above.
Works fine and just reads 0 watts when the LED is solid.
Have ours connected to a small PC which uploads the data to pvoutput.org.
As for the immersion, we have one of these installed ... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/190684272459?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649
It reduces the power of the immersion to around 1.4kw so no need to replace the immersion.
I just fitted one of these switches a couple of weeks ago ... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/280907823560?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649#ht_500wt_922
It uses an adjustable light sensor to judge when there's enough solar being generated to power the immersion the idea being that you place the sensor outdoors facing the same way as your solar panels but I found an easier and more effective way to use it.
I got the idea from a guy on another forum, you basically just place the light sensor over the LED of your import meter and calibrate it to activate the switch when the LED is solid.
This means the switch will turn on your immersion when ever there is surplus power (LED is solid) and turn it off if your generation dips (LED starts flashing) and you start importing power again.
I have the power supply for the switch plugged into a cheap plug-in timer set to come on at 10.30am when our generation reaches about 1.6kw (enough to cover base load plus immersion) and off at 4.30pm when it goes below that.
I paid 25 for the immersion switch, the power reducer was 55 and the timer about 5.



sorry to be dumb, but 'import meter' - do you mean the normal electric meter? also, is the timer actually required, if the switch recognises when it whould operate the immersion, why the need for the timer?

thanks for the help so far !

Yes, your meter that you take a reading from for your electricity bill, not the generation meter.
The timer isn't strictly speaking necessary, I just use one so that the immersion controller only operates during peak generation times when there should be enough power for the immersion and all the other stuff in the house.
We've been using the controller for about 3 weeks now and I've monitored our consumption with and without it and it's saving us about 2kwh per day on average.
Logged

System size : 2.88kw
Panels : 12xREC 240W
Inverter : Fronius IG30
Roof : SSW facing
Shading : none
Location : Fife, Scotland
Live output : http://pvoutput.org/intraday.jsp?id=8689&sid=7055
Other-Power
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1283


« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2012, 10:05:58 PM »

Amongst many others I have the EnviR unit. It's pretty good for PV measurement and will link via a smart bridge to the web. The current cost web hosting service is pretty slow but it's possible via Pachube (now called something like Cosm?) and this is pretty fast.

Is there a thread with a how to do it for liniking this all up please?

Cheers

Jon
Logged

My advice is based on me spending my money doing this and my job spending others money doing this.
geoffus
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 74


« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2012, 10:15:28 PM »

hi, i have a geo solo monitor and i am pleased with it, but a friend has asked me re are there any other similar products out there? he doesnt want to spend the 130 quid or so for the geo.

he has a power one inverter, the desk top monitor for that is even more expensive so he is at a loss. basically he wants to be bale to recognise when his system is producing sufficient power to utilise appliances etc. or potentially to switch on/off appliances when production is high

thanks in anticipation

in addition, i have been looking at switches for the immersion heater, anyone recommend one please, happy to change the immersion (well, one of them) to 1kw if necessary - is it just the thermostat that needs changing or is it the complete immersion heater?

Hi, why not use the Power One supplied software, Aurora communicator, run a length of rs232 cable
 (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10m-Serial-EXTENSION-Cable-Lead-9pin-DB9-M-F-RS232-/350219991890?pt=UK_Computing_CablesConnectors_RL&hash=item518abcfb52)
 from the inverter to a point near your laptop or PC, then connect a rs232/db9 to usb adaptor cable
(http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/USB-to-Serial-RS232-DB9-Adapter-Converter-Cable-Lead-PC-/230593067985?pt=UK_Computing_Parallel_Serial_PS_2&hash=item35b06afbd1#ht_2833wt_1087 ) plug it in and away you go!



Mine runs from the loft through the garage and into the living room using an adapted blanking plate
(http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MK-WHITE-SINGLE-PLUG-SOCKET-LIGHT-SWITCH-BLANKING-PLATE-FRONT-COVER-BLANK-NEW-/300720094816?pt=UK_DIY_Material_Electrical_Fittings_MJ&hash=item4604507e60#ht_500wt_924)
so all you see is a rs232 socket mounted flush in the wall.

The software works very well and is free so total cost for a very informative display is around 10.

I also changed the immersion heater to a 1kw version and run it through a timer set to come on at 12.00 till 4.30, in theory you can then turn your gas boiler off in the summer, but this recent weather has put paid to that, but have left it that way for now.




* pic 1.jpg (119.47 KB, 1024x576 - viewed 873 times.)
Logged
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
Simple Audio Video Embedder
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!