Newbie: Just about to get 3.5kW PV :-)

 Hi Folks

Just wanted to introduce myself.  I'm in West Wilts UK - just about to install 14 x Samsung 250W panels + Sunny Boy 3800 (not a lot of choice right now).  I want to install a thermal store and dump unused energy into the store.

By profession I'm a Mechanical Engineer, but work in IT.  My programming skills are a little rusty so this forum should help me get my grey matter working on new and interesting projects.

Currently looking at a tank in a tank system from ACV for the store.  Have family and friends with expertise in this area - so thiss bit shouldn't be challenging to get right.

Hoping for a bit of advice on direction to go with interfacing with the SB3000.

I have two requirements:

1. something easy that the family can use i.e. the blue tooth interface + energy monitor thing from SMA

2. something more technical that I can use to maximise the use PV output



glyn.hudson's picture

Re: Newbie: Just about to get 3.5kW PV :-)

 Hi C.T,

Welcome to OpenEnergyMonitor! Congratualtions on getting your PV system installed. 


1. The easiest way is to monitor the AC output of the inverter using a clip in CT sensor. Our emonTx, emonBase and emonGLCD system (see diagram on home page) can do just this. We are curruntly selling the system in kit form. The emonBase can be setup to post the data online to pachue or an instalation of emocms (our own energy logging and visulisation web app). Follow the link frim the homepage for more info an each of these modules. 

If you do really want to try and interace directly with the inverter via bluetooth there is an ongoing discussoin thread here: Seems this might be too difficult with an SMA inverter and an Android device..


2. Paul Dreed has put together some great documentation for a system he built to automatically divert excess power into an immersion dump load


Hope these links are helpfull, good luck.


Captain Tuba's picture

Re: Newbie: Just about to get 3.5kW PV :-)

 Thanks for the welcome and the links Glyn

There is a lot to learn - but comfort in that others are further up the same path.

I'll see if I can set up a blog page so that I can share progress.


stuart's picture

Re: Newbie: Just about to get 3.5kW PV :-)

Hi C.T.

I'm currently building a Nanode with interface over Bluetooth to the SMA inverter, see here

I've already got that working from a Linux/Windows PC so just a case of porting the code into a microcontroller.  I'm about 30% done with this at the moment.

More info is on my website - mail me to get an account.

I wouldn't personally spend £300 on the SMA Sunny Interface unit.

Guest's picture

Re: Newbie: Just about to get 3.5kW PV :-)

In a similar situation. By profession an Electrical Engineer - Programming skills VERY rusty
We have just had a 3.5kWp scheme put in. I have solar thermal HW and a MCS Biomass boiler providing full heating and DHW via a pair of large accumulators.

My intention is to record and monitor all inputs, exports, temperature trends and add to data already being collected by our permanent weather station (accessible by VHF APRS if anyone interested)

I wish to collate and develop some real performance related data and use professionally as well as at home (we run a small farm)

Our inverter is Diehl 3800 hoping to work out a serial interface as a TCP interface is silly money

So, I need an intelligent platform to pull all together. My Son is a wiz at technology Maths and programming (doing A levels)

Was considering the Arduino Uno with a TCP shield rather than the eMonTX as we dont need the wireless platform.

It seems Captain Tuba's needs might be similar along some of the way

So question is, will this integrate with the excellent work being done with the openenergymon project ..... which really is superb.

I would like to use the same protocols and web based interface, although numerical data collection is more important than real time graphics.

Any pointers .... is there a wired version buried in the project somewhere?

Many thanks


Captain Tuba's picture

Re: Newbie: Just about to get 3.5kW PV :-)

 Bits have started to arrive for the install and the rails go on the roof next Wednesday.

Just investigating the generation meter, it is an Elster A100C:

It has an LED indicator that pulses for forward and reverse energy and an IrDA cooms port.

The tech-sheet says:

 The IrDA data can be hardwired through the auxiliary terminals, allowing AMI modules to be added that can be used to retrieve the absolute register reads and security data.

There is also some software to read the meter:

The program alphaSET is a tool for reading the data of the alpha meters (register data, load profile data, logfile etc.). The reading can be done via the optical or electrical interface of the meter (20mA, RS232, RS485).

So there is plenty of scope for investigation and integration.

I can see others here have the same meter too.


Captain Tuba's picture

Re: Newbie: Just about to get 3.5kW PV :-)

 More parts have arrived: panels, rails and SB3000ESS inverter.  Though the wrong brackets were sent 

SMA suggested that the 3000HF or TL would be a better inverter as they have built in relays that could be used.

Also had the thermal store design in from my brother-in-law.  He's calculated that 130 litres is the optimum size to cope with peak supply.

Off to get more scaffold tomorrow and set things up ready for the installers on Wednesday.


Captain Tuba's picture

Re: Newbie: Just about to get 3.5kW PV :-)

 The final AC connection was made today and the install was completed.  :-)

Sadly, at the time, there was a hail storm and not one drop of sun.  :-(

So we have to wait for a break in the weather tomorrow. 

jonandel's picture

Re: Newbie: Just about to get 3.5kW PV :-)

Hi Guys,


Same situation as you....

just about to buy a Nanode (Arduino based micrcontroller) to collect from the Sunny Beam.......


let you know how I get on....

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