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Author Topic: Easterdown Plan B - the sunny boys solution (?)  (Read 2562 times)
V
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« on: November 29, 2016, 05:43:41 PM »

Interesting times at Easterdown. In case you weren't aware, two of my three Sunny Boys have failed in the last year and the two replacements have not been performing like the third, the original. I was advised to look at their parameters using Sunny Explorer.

I got Sunny Explorer running on my Mac Laptop - installed latest version of 'Parallels' (http://www.parallels.com/uk/) and bought a copy of Windows 7 and installed the 32 bit version - 10 pounds from Software Geeks (https://softwaregeeks.co.uk).

It works, although sometimes it is a bit reluctant and sometimes I need to put my laptop to 'sleep' to get the screen to refresh, but other than that, very successful! extrahappy

I couldn't see how to download the settings, so I ended up taking screen shots of everything...not fun BUT after comparing,  found out that Inverter 3, the only original had some parameters that were different from inverters 1 and 2.

The differing parameters are under the section called 'System and Device control'.

Config activepower reduction at overfrequency P (f)             Inverter's 1 and 2 (replacements)  | Inverter 3
    Operating mode active power red. overfreq P (f)                   Linear Gradient                       |  Off

Configuration of Linear instantaneous power gradient
    Difference between reset frequency and grid frequency           1.00Hz                                  | 0.20Hz
  
    Active power gradient after reset frequency                          10,000%                                 | 10%
  
   Difference between starting frequency and grid frequency       1.00Hz                                    | 0.20Hz

   Active Power Gradient                                                          100%                                      | 40%


So today was very sunny and around 13:00 I had 850w on Inverter 3, 506w on Inverter 2 and 500w on Inverter 1.

I changed the parameters on Inverter 2 so that they are the same as Inverter 3, and left Inverter 1 as is.

As soon as I saved the parameters to the SB, Inverter 2 INSTANTLY went to 850w. And matched Inverter 3 for the rest of the day. Just like it used to before Inverter 2 was replaced.  Inverter 1 was still 1/3 to 2/3 less.

Tomorrow it is due to be sunny and I'll see how they compare. It will be interesting to see if SB's 2 and 3 do the same, just like they used to.

Can't help but wonder how and why those parameters perform so differently.

Installer coming tomorrow to put in manual changeover switch. I'm having some issues with the SI, it is throttling down the generator unless there is a load running. This started after the second inverter was replaced. I don't know if it is related, but Huh. One thing at a time.

Interested in all opinions/enlightenment, as usual.        

PS. Just checked the SI manual and the default parameters for Grid control (232) are  - 232.41, frequency dependent active power limitation = off
232.42 - Start frequency of the active power limitation in Hz  = 0.2 Hz
232.43 End frequency of the active power limitation in Hz = 0.2 Hz
232.44 P-WGra = 40%

So it kind of implies that I've set Inverter 2 back to what the SI was expecting?
« Last Edit: November 29, 2016, 10:05:59 PM by V » Logged

9.7 kW of Solar PV, 3x 3000 SMA Sunny Boys, 1x SMA Sunny Island  8.0 and 1848 aH (C10) of FLA - 3.3kVA Honda generator converted to LPG
heatherhopper
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 12:14:45 PM »

Oh dear V - methinks this is more of SI/SB operability being compromised by installer ignorance, certainly not a new phenomena on this forum.
I am not familiar with the full parameter menu for your particular SBs but it looks like frequency shift is enabled for the new inverters and disabled (or at least corrupted) for the old. I suggest the former is correct unless you have made special provision for operating with frequency shift disabled.
The SI settings you quote are for Grid connection - this means the DNO grid not your standalone grid. If the SI is properly configured for Off-grid they are not relevant - once again I stress this is my understanding only.
The SI will only take sufficient power from the generator to supply loads and charge the batteries (within it's set charging regime). It most certainly will throttle the generator if there is insufficient demand or the demand is being met by other sources. All assuming it is connected appropriately.
If you are off-grid (and that was my impression) the whole system needs to be set-up as such and that does not appear to be the case.
Can't really help much if you selectively drip feed information. As stated on the previous thread it is important to "see" what your system is doing. Only a full SI log data set and parameter list will provide that information as far as I'm concerned.
I think under the circumstances your best bet is to get someone in who can review your whole system and who knows how to set up a SI grid.
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 01:05:24 PM »

I agree with Heatherhopper, looks like installer error here, the settings you have don't make any sense to me.

V, I am assuming here that you are fully Offgrid ?, if you are on the grid please ignore the rest of my posting.

For the Sunny Boys (in Sunny Explorer) goto Settings > Grid Monitoring > Country Standard

Is Country Standard showing as "Island Mode" ?, it might say "Special Setting" if any of the default parameters have been changed. If it does not say "Island Mode", change it to "Island Mode". Do not change it to "Island Mode 60hz"

In Sunny Explorer goto Settings > System and Device Control

These are the default settings on my Sunny Boys,

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Config activepower reduction at overfrequency P (f)
    Operating mode active power red. overfreq P (f)                   Linear Gradient

Configuration of Linear instantaneous power gradient
    Difference between reset frequency and grid frequency           0.05Hz
   
    Active power gradient after reset frequency                          I dont have this parameter on my SI, but I would set it to 40%
   
   Difference between starting frequency and grid frequency          0.20Hz

   Active Power Gradient                                                          40%
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now as you have 3 Sunny Boys, there may be some clever tweeks that could be made to allow a more phased power reduction across all three SBs (i.e. each SB could be prioritised) but thats beyond my knowledge and experience.

If ALL your original SBs were set up as your current inverter 3, then they would not be using the clever SMA freq shift throttling facility and that would make them run flat out until you get over voltage and they either trip out through overvoltage or through the SI changing the frequency to 52hz. In other words it would be operating as all or nothing and your system would operate erratically.
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Hot water storage of 15+ kWh.
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V
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2016, 04:10:08 PM »

Thank you all so much for replying. As you can imagine this situation is quite worrying for me. I don't know how to determine if frequency shifting is disabled or not. In the SI? And please understand that any questioning or appearance of disagreement below is just me trying to understand. Thanks for your patience.

I agree with Heatherhopper, looks like installer error here, the settings you have don't make any sense to me.

V, I am assuming here that you are fully Offgrid ?, if you are on the grid please ignore the rest of my posting.

Yes, fully Offgrid

For the Sunny Boys (in Sunny Explorer) goto Settings > Grid Monitoring > Country Standard

Is Country Standard showing as "Island Mode" ?, it might say "Special Setting" if any of the default parameters have been changed. If it does not say "Island Mode", change it to "Island Mode". Do not change it to "Island Mode 60hz"

Yes it is Island Mode 50Hz on all three SB's


In Sunny Explorer goto Settings > System and Device Control

These are the default settings on my Sunny Boys,

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Config activepower reduction at overfrequency P (f)
    Operating mode active power red. overfreq P (f)                   Linear Gradient

Configuration of Linear instantaneous power gradient
    Difference between reset frequency and grid frequency           0.05Hz
  
    Active power gradient after reset frequency                         I dont have this parameter on my SI, but I would set it to 40%
  
   Difference between starting frequency and grid frequency          0.20Hz

   Active Power Gradient                                                          40%
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So your SB's agree more with the parameters I have in my original than in my replacements. I have linear gradient set in the replacement, but the 'difference between reset frequency and grid frequency' was much higher in the replacements than your 0.05. It was set at 1.0 Hz in the replacements. And your other SB parameters agree with my original. I wonder if this means that the two replacement inverters came from a grid tied installation and SMA just didn't change the parameters except my installer changed the settings on the wheels for off grid (island mode)?


If ALL your original SBs were set up as your current inverter 3, then they would not be using the clever SMA freq shift throttling facility and that would make them run flat out until you get over voltage and they either trip out through overvoltage or through the SI changing the frequency to 52hz. In other words it would be operating as all or nothing and your system would operate erratically.

But this is exactly how the replacements had been acting. All or nothing. And now 3 and 2 (with changed parameters) are both running 'flat out until I get over voltage, etc'. Only inverter 1 is misbehaving. Only reacting if there is a load, but other than that, running at a minimum.

Yesterday I changed Inverter 2 to agree with Inverter 3. That means that one replacement was set up to work just like the original. The sun has just gone down and the readings on the three inverters are below. It shows clearly that Inverter 1 only provided 1/3 of the energy to my system. But the day before, when Inverters 1 and 2 were the same, they both, each, harvested 1/3 the amount of energy that the original SB took in.

I haven't had a chance to look at the parameters on the SI yet (232.41, etc) , I think I can't view them without a grid guard code which I'm waiting for. It may be that because I'm off grid that these are irrelevant.

Chris Rudge, my latest installer, is going to talk to SMA about which SB parameters are correct. I found a manual online which implies that the settings in my original, inverter 3, are correct. See screen shot below.

Inverter 1 (replacement with SMA Replacement parameters) day - 1393w



Inverter 2 (replacement with my adjusted parameters) day - 3325w



Inverter 3 (original with no changes to parameters) day 3488w



Sunnyboy SMA manual found online


« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 04:34:01 PM by V » Logged

9.7 kW of Solar PV, 3x 3000 SMA Sunny Boys, 1x SMA Sunny Island  8.0 and 1848 aH (C10) of FLA - 3.3kVA Honda generator converted to LPG
Iain
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2016, 04:36:52 PM »

Hi
It it worth emailing SMA or phoning them to see what settings they recommend for your situation/setup. They were quite helpful when I had a couple of inverter issues.
Edit. just reread the above and see your installer is doing it.
Iain
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 08:17:57 PM by Iain » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2016, 04:49:40 PM »

Chris Rudge, my latest installer, is going to talk to SMA about which SB parameters are correct. I found a manual online which implies that the settings in my original, inverter 3, are correct. See screen shot below.

That sounds the safest way to go.

Your Sunny Boys are Grid Tie inverters (not off grid) by default, therefore the default setting for them is what you are finding in that online manual which is showing OFF for power limiting.

For use in an off grid situation with a sunny Island that default setting should be changed for them to power limit using the frequency shifting of the SI. As you select "Island Mode" for country, that should change all the settings to be correct for the off grid situation. It may of been that some of your SB settings have been changed on top of setting the inverter to Island Mode.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 04:53:43 PM by nowty » Logged

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Hot water storage of 15+ kWh.
Heat storage of 15+ kWh.
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2016, 05:02:35 PM »

I don't know how to determine if frequency shifting is disabled or not In the SI?

Hi V,

1. Log in to the communication product as Installer (see the user manual of the communication product) or switch to
expert mode on the Sunny Remote Control (see the Sunny Island operating manual).
2. Select the parameter Type: other DC sources / 250.28 ChrgCtlOp and adjust as follows:


Value Explanation
Auto System with AC sources (e.g., PV inverter)
The Sunny Island Charger or charge controller can also be present in the system.
SMA System with Sunny Island Charger and without AC sources
A maximum of four Sunny Island Charger devices is installed.
NoFrq System with charge controllers and without AC sources
The charge controllers are not Sunny Island Charger devices or the number is greater than four
Sunny Island Chargers.

You shouldn't need the 'grid guard' code for any of the SI parameters that you're interested in V The manual gives tells you how to go to installer or expert mode. Simply add up each digit in the 'hours of operation' window.

Good luck, Paul
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2016, 05:52:51 PM »



You shouldn't need the 'grid guard' code for any of the SI parameters that you're interested in V The manual gives tells you how to go to installer or expert mode. Simply add up each digit in the 'hours of operation' window.

Good luck, Paul

You will need it for the sunny boys though.
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2016, 05:59:50 PM »



You shouldn't need the 'grid guard' code for any of the SI parameters that you're interested in V The manual gives tells you how to go to installer or expert mode. Simply add up each digit in the 'hours of operation' window.

Good luck, Paul

You will need it for the sunny boys though.

Not necessarily, V has already altered some of the settings without one. Some you can, some you can not.
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Hot water storage of 15+ kWh.
Heat storage of 15+ kWh.
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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2016, 06:16:34 PM »

I don't know how to determine if frequency shifting is disabled or not In the SI?

Hi V,

1. Log in to the communication product as Installer (see the user manual of the communication product) or switch to
expert mode on the Sunny Remote Control (see the Sunny Island operating manual).
2. Select the parameter Type: other DC sources / 250.28 ChrgCtlOp and adjust as follows:



Luckily I was here when the brand new SB's were originally installed. Installer 3 had no bluetooth laptop with him, so he couldn't have changed any parameters even if he wanted to. He set the off grid mode via the rotary switches when he commissioned the system, so this is within the first 10 hours of operating. This is the setup on Inverter 3. But of course, Inverter's 1 and 2 are replacements, and no parameters were changed using a bluetooth, until I did those, yesterday.

It will be interesting to see what SMA recommend. And re: grid guard code - I didn't know when I edited those parameters whether the edits would work or not. Some parameters seem to be protected, some not.

My 250.28 seems to be set to 'Auto':




And:

Oh dear V - methinks this is more of SI/SB operability being compromised by installer ignorance, certainly not a new phenomena on this forum.


Yes, Heatherhopper.  Thank goodness I don't have the time to get angry! But there are certainly a lot of installers who shouldn't be allowed to touch a pair of scissors, let alone wire strippers...
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 06:51:57 PM by V » Logged

9.7 kW of Solar PV, 3x 3000 SMA Sunny Boys, 1x SMA Sunny Island  8.0 and 1848 aH (C10) of FLA - 3.3kVA Honda generator converted to LPG
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2016, 07:33:17 PM »

I take it the 'Sunny Data Control' software is defunct now? I used that to get into a Sunnyboy by adding the numbers of the date together or something like that, for the code.
The hard wired RS485 interfaces means you can sit at the PC and watch whats going on with multiple units without wandering around a shed with a bluetooth dongle and your tea getting cold.  wackoold
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