123Solar 123Solar Web Solar logger

How-to build a solar logger for ABB Power-One Inverters

odroidThis guide describe the way to hack a plug computer into a websolar logger. Before starting here is the frightening mandatory warning :
Do not open inverter enclosure when under load. High-voltage can cause death or serious injuries !
Both AC and DC power must always be disconnected. Even though, this will not be still 100% safe as internal capacitors may remain charged after disconnecting all sources of power.

Material :

Use a ARM devices like a PogoPlug, a Raspberry Pi or an Odroid. These devices are quite cheap (less than 50euro), without fans and are really low on consumption. If you choose a Pogoplug, beware : The Pogoplug v3 isn't supported and the mobile version, have only one USB port !
You must also have a dedicated drive of at least 2GB but you'll be at ease with more.

For ABB inverters, you'll need a converter USB/RS485 (Prolific 2303 chipset or FTDI FT232) you can find one for less than 10eur on ebay .

Make a RS485 cable: Use a RJ12 or more conveniently, the terminal block. See your manual for the correct connexion. On RJ12: it is Pin 2 as TR+, Pin 4 as TR- and Pin 6 as Grnd.
The 120ohm resistor (S2) should be set to 'on' on the last inverters of the bus.

Setting up :

The whole installation may takes more than an hour. So, let's start by listening to DI and then, log on your router and assign a static IP to your box. You may also configure your router and forward the port 80 if you wish to access your box from the outside and use a Dynamic DNS service like FreeDNS. You can install a systemd timer to update the DNS.
(Edit the example and put the files in /etc/systemd/system/ then "systemctl start freedns.timer" and "systemctl enable freedns.timer".)

So, let's start by installing the excellent Arch Linux ARM Linux distro for plugcomputers.

Installation and configuration of the Plug :

Once you finish with Arch Linux, log in ssh and change the root password

Configure your system


To list available zones use: timedatectl list-timezones
set-keymap

Add you hosts name in hosts list,it should match the one you previously set


eg: 127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost Plugbox

Update the whole things and install converter drivers (may takes a while)

Your system will reboot. Login in using your new password.

Installation and configuration of the webserver :

Installing nginx and PHP


Put this nginx config file, this fastcgi_params and this fastcgi.conf file in /etc/nginx/

Configuring php :


uncomment (remove the ;) extension=calendar.so and curl.so

Enable nginx and php-fpm service on boot and start it :

At this stage you should be able to see your empty webserver running

Installation of the communication application :

Download the Aurora inverter communication application from here and compilators

Put aurora in your /home folder

then extract

Make sure the communication with the inverter(s) work and is reliable ! (eg: aurora -a2 -T -d0 -e /dev/ttyUSB0)

Allow the 'www' user to run aurora and use the com ports :

Installation and configuration of SMTP :

If you wish to received email notification from 123Solar, install msmtp (Easy and simple SMTP client)

edit the configuration file /etc/msmtprc

eg :
# Accounts will inherit settings from this section
defaults
auth on
tls on

tls_trust_file /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt

# Gmail address
account gmail
host smtp.gmail.com
port 587
from youraccount@gmail.com
user youraccount@gmail.com
password password

# Set a default account
account default : gmail

The permission and ownership of /etc/msmtprc should be set -precisely- to -rw------- 1 http root

Look for sendmail_path option in /etc/php.ini and edit it like this : sendmail_path = "/usr/bin/msmtp -C /etc/msmtprc -t"

Restart nginx

Installation and configuration of 123Solar :

Put the archive on your web server's folder then extract.

Go then in your browser for configuration (eg: http://yourIP/123solar/).

Once the http authentication files have been setup, you need to uncomment the lines "Uncomment those lines" in the /etc/nginx/nginx.conf example.


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