An Enphase Ensemble Installation

svetz

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We got a severe storm/coastal flood warning from the NWS this morning.
Alexa couldn't wait to tell me about it (Alexa, do you know how early it is?), but surprisingly Storm Guard didn't kick in. Opened a bug report.
 

GXMnow

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My storm guard is me, setting my recharge volts up higher so I have more battery in reserve.
 

svetz

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Doing a solar/battery test today.

Immediately after flipping the mains off the roof-top microinverters all went into a 5-minute shutdown.

No impact to the IQ8s in the battery, they stayed online and the system switched to battery-backup with a hitch. The battery was at 60% when the test started, the image to the right shows it's currently charging up on sunshine.

Received a text from Enphase (probably on the 15 min data push) that it was off-grid and based on the last 24 hours of consumption it would last 6 hours & 33 min with no solar. Received an email message shortly after that (probably when the client synced). The email had a few links, one was the light-blink codes.
1638540078146.png

Another was about troubleshooting "Enpower not reporting" and saw something interesting... they say to disconnect the zigbee for 10 seconds after the envoy power is off. Previously when I'd been futzing with zigbee I hadn't tried that, I'll have to give it a whirl to see if'll give up the security key on reconnect.

Here's the logs from the switch over with dups removed:

PCU
  • "Grid Instability: Clear",
  • "AC Frequency High: Clear",
  • "AC Frequency Out Of Range: Clear"
  • "AC Frequency High: Set",
  • "Grid Instability: Set",
  • "AC Frequency Out Of Range: Set",

"Encharge Micro"
  • "Vout over-voltage",
  • "under-frequency",
  • "Multi Mode Off-Grid",
  • "AC Frequency Out Of Range"
  • "Islanding",

"Encharge Controller"
  • "EnchargeSoCMaintenance : Clear",
  • "Encharge Controller",
  • "EnchargeOffGrid",
  • "EnchargeGridModeFromEnpowerMMOffGrid",

"Enpower Device",
  • "EnpowerControllerStopRelayPulses",
  • "EnpowerVLoTrip",
  • "EnpowerControllerStartOpeningMIDRelay",
  • "EnpowerMicrogridMode",
  • "EnpowerAITrip",
  • "EnpowerControllerStartClosingNFTRelay"

I'll stay off-grid until the battery charges and report any oddities should they occur.
 

GXMnow

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I am looking forward to hearing how your system does off grid for a while.

Enphase has never contacted me about any power failure issues. Of course, on my last power failure, only 5 of the micros went offline, and that only lasted 1 minute, not even the normal 5, as the grid was still there, and had become stable again, but it was from the XW-Pro inverter. The Enphase system didn't know the grid was down.

But on my first outage, when the micros did lock out, I should have been notified, and they should have done a remote reset. The Envoy was reporting that the grid was at 119 L1, and 118 L2, 237 L-L and the frequency was 59.9 Hz. So the "Grid was good" but 15 of the 16 iQ7 micros were reporting "Grid Frequency out of range", and not producing any power, even though we had decent sunshine on the panels.

I had to call them, and get my system back on the internet with my WiFi hot spot as the local internet went down after 2 hours into the power failure. Good thing the cell towers seem to have more backup reserve. Once they did the remote reset, the other 15 iQ7's came back online and my XW started charging again. This is a case where the Enlighten data center (or even the Envoy locally) or should have seen the lack of production and triggered a reset to the micros to try and get them back online without any human even having to intervene. If that had happened in the first 90 minutes, my internet was still up and it could have happened with almost no loss of production. It would be nice if there was also an easier way to just tell a microinverter to just do a reset. The only way I know for sure to do it now is to change the grid code, or block the sun from hitting the panel with the AC breaker open. That is the only way to remove all power from the internal processor in the iQ7.
 

svetz

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Went back on grid a bit ago before the batteries were fully recharged. I only had one blip and that's when I was working away and turned on a big power consumer (forgot I was on battery, I'd been on battery with no issues for so long it took me a second to realize why the leds were flickering).

The battery backup and switch over work well for me. The issues I've run into have all been when I was on-grid and one battery starts doing its own thing (e.g., #320, #294, #231). Presumably, that's lost communication and the system getting confused, e.g., the system wants 10 kWh, but one seems to be missing so it starts charging the other two). The last tech support guy said it was normal doing a balance operation...but I don't buy that. It's why I started trying to analyze the zigbee packets (security on the system has so far proven impenetrable; -).

If that had happened in the first 90 minutes, my internet was still up and it could have happened with almost no loss of production.
I keep my router on a UPS, it doesn't take that many watts to run but it ensures any inverter resets don't leave an internet outage too.
 

GXMnow

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I keep my router on a UPS, it doesn't take that many watts to run but it ensures any inverter resets don't leave an internet outage too.
I had a UPS for my router and main office PC here, but it croaked, and I have not gotten around to replacing it. I tried a new battery, but it quickly died as it is not charging at all. I have not had a UPS live long enough to actually help me on a real power failure. That makes 3 now that bit the dust.
 

svetz

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... I have not had a UPS live long enough to actually help me on a real power failure. That makes 3 now that bit the dust.
Mine are all working now, but I seem to burn them through them too. I put a post up to see if anyone has a good one.
 

svetz

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With Ensemble you can run the batteries so low they can't activate the panels to recharge the batteries. (It's one of the reasons for foghorn (so I know when to trip the mains). Hmmm, I wonder if a few IQ8's on the roof would wake it up? Okay, just posted that question on the Enphase forums, we'll see what they say.)

Enphase has released information on how to recover them so the panels will start working again, I posted it here. I'm a little surprised with the Enpower that they require an inverter generator. Guess I'll need to trade up if the IQ8s won't start the boot cycle.

This might be because the new generator hookup document (still haven't seen an announcement saying it's released yet and still have the older software loads) specifies a set number of compatible generators and when programming the system with which one you pick a number rather than enter values via Enlighten. Looks like the "M" series microinverters are damaged by generators, they have to be discoed via the Enpower's relays.

The installer toolkit snaps from the document has the ability to put some values in directly:
1638799123435.png 1638799154746.png1638799302500.png
 
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GXMnow

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"Dark Start" can be a major issue with an AC coupled only system. In the absolute worst case, I did use my old generator to run a 600 watt charger to put some juice into the battery bank.

My XW-Pro was not happy with my old school generator. It qualified the power when there was no load, but once it started to draw current, the rpm bounced around too much and it opened the contactor again. I am hoping that getting the governor dialed in better, and widening the voltage and frequency tolerance in the XW might allow me to charge from it. Using an inverter type generator makes a lot of sense as it no longer ties the output to the crankshaft speed. My other plan was to just get an even larger adjustable charger I can run off of the generator. That way, the generator is DC coupled into my system. Even if the voltage and frequency are all over the place, it won't matter at all. But that "solution" won't help with the EnCharge battery units.

I have also thought about swapping a few of my iQ7s for iQ8s, but it won't be that simple for me. From all the data I can find, they will only act like my iQ7s unless they get the data from the Enpower switch. The switch has to tell the inverters that it has disconnected from the grid so that they can grid form. You have it, so you should be all set. Just go into the config page and update the inverters.

I really like what Enphase is doing with the Ensemble system, but they are quite pricey still. The Enpower switch alone is nearly $2,000. Then the Encharge 10 battery at almost $8,000, and I would need 2 of them. I know my mix mash setup is not as well integrated, and I may end up paying more to change parts out, but with the cost difference, and being able to engineer and install it myself made a big difference. The big unknown is how long my Bolt batteries are going to last.
 

svetz

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Doing a solar/battery test today.
Nuts... forgot to test Foghorn ... since it's not using an "approved" API they can change it any time and might have. Well, tomorrow perhaps...lots going on (see Dang PC).

"Dark Start" can be a major issue with an AC coupled only system....
Enphase responded to my IQ8 question:
Yes, the IQ8 is grid-forming, so they will recharge your Encharge batteries.​
This makes sense since they can provide power without batteries. This is probably the best/cheapest solution for me and I've been waiting for the IQ8's to put another 6 panels up (supposedly they don't impact the encharge limits like the iq7s do, see page 10).

I started a thread (Aftermarket Inverter for generator?) to see if anyone had any ideas to clean up my generator's output. I definitely don't want to buy a 7 kW charger/inverter just to filter my generator. But I didn't realize how bad the power off it could be.

I also put in a feature request to Enphase to have a higher low voltage cutoff when the panels weren't producing, and they responded with something amazing:
Yes, the encharge batteries can be maintained at a minimum SOC of 10 to 30% and stop discharging when their State of Charge (SoC) reaches 10% . Once the PV power is back the micros start producing the power.​
However, the algorithm follows an exponential timeout between restart attempts. To make this attempt successful system owners must turn off all loads in the home to ensure that a microgrid can be successfully formed and batteries can start charging.​
I followed up with a question asking where that setting is. The minimum reserve setting on enlighten is for on-grid, if you go off-grid the system will drain below that setting.
 
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svetz

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Enphase responded to my thread about how to set the low voltage cut-off, the gist is:
Currently, the Very Low SoC is set at 5% and you cannot change it. But the good news is: we are working on making it configurable....... we plan to make it live in February next year.
 

svetz

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Another day another oddity, when I turned on the monitoring system this morning got a low Battery SoC event (it polls from http://envoy.local/ivp/ensemble/inventory).

Not seeing any discharges, prior to 5:30 AM all reporting ~60%. But at 5:45 AM one Encharge reports it's at 8%.
1639567289065.png1639567491639.png

Suspect it's a bug in savings mode where the battery is slowly depleting but doesn't know it until it hits some inner threshold that triggers an outbound notification. I know I can fix it by going to full backup...but I opened another ticket...hopefully it'll help to get it resolved. Almost 9 and its charging via solar... up to 12%. Nothing in the logs about it doing anything wonky until:
Wed Dec 15, 2021 05:53 AM EST "EnchargeLowSOC : Set", "Encharge Controller".
Opened a trouble ticket on via the web (worse way to go usually, but takes the minimum of my time and this is the 4th time I've reported it), we'll see what they say this time.
 

svetz

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The battery recovered on its own and seems to be behaving again. I got a response from Enphase back, seems like they admit it's a real problem now which is good in terms of getting a fix in the next patch.
There is an ongoing issue where battery charge suddenly drops on certain batteries at times. Our Engineer team is already working on it and they are trying to fix this.
Unamusingly, a different battery hit the low SoC threshold this morning. I'm going to reset the mode to 100% to get them all recharging.
 

GXMnow

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That is certainly an odd one. But it is nice to see Enphase stepping up and admitting a problem and working on it. Unlike Schneider. Any issue I have with my battery system is all on me. Their tech support is pretty much done even talking to me now.

I just checked my battery status this morning. I have the XW powering all of my backup loads panel until the battery voltage drops to 52.5 volts. It ran all the way to 1 am. The JK-BMS monitoring only 1 half of my battery bank is reporting that it still has 277 amp hours remaining. I know that is wrong. It thinks it still has 76%. It should be more like 55 to 60% remaining. This seems to be happening because it "learned" that full charge is just 56.7 volts. So when it goes into absorb and then stops charging at 56.7 it resets the capacity to 99%. But the BMS thinks it is a 360 amp hour battery. It is, but I am only charging to 85%. I probably should set the BMS stated capacity to 360 x .85 = 306 amp hours. I did use 360 - 277 = 83 amp hours out of the old battery bank, so those numbers are still okay. 83 amp hours x 54.6 volts (average) = 4,532 watt hours. That looks just about dead on. I cycle out 10 KWH and the new battery bank is a little stronger, so the new bank is supplying 5,500 watt hours each night. The new bank does not have the smart BMS, just a pair of dumb Daly units. We did go down to just above freezing last night. My battery is reporting 10 degrees C. I know my garage is not very well insulated, and it is not heated. Since these re NMC cells, they can operate below freezing, but I don't plan to push them down there. Freezing temps here are very rare. Worst case, I could put a small space heater near the battery banks.
 

svetz

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That is certainly an odd one.
I'm 99% certain the problem is the self-consumption of the Encharge isn't be accounted for in "savings" mode. Even if it's only a few watts, over weeks it adds up. That's one of the reasons I didn't do anything this time other than report it, was pretty sure another would go a few days later.

The good news is it's charged about 10 kWh today, so that means the other two that I assumed would be low are also charging (I was somewhat worried the power in them might be stranded and need a few days of cycling).

...Worst case, I could put a small space heater near the battery banks.
Considering the expense if it happens when you're not around to manhandle it, might be well worth having one. Either that or use a thermostat to activate a relay to flip the mppt off.
 
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GXMnow

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My first battery bank is set to disable charging if the temp sensors drop below 5 degrees C. I don't think the dumb Daly BMS units in the new battery bank will do that. It is very rare to drop below freezing outside here, but then again, the climate it pretty screwy lately.

I still need to update the Schneider firmware. On mine, the battery temp is not being reported correctly. It shows on the live data screen, but when I look at the graphs, it always shows -278 degrees. Live screen shows 60.8 F right now. The outside air temp is 62 F.

If for any reason I am not here, it won't charge. I still don't have that automated yet. So charging below freezing is not going to happen easily. I'll have to see what controls the MPPT has. I may be ordering the Schneider 60 amp 150 volt unit soon. It will easily handle that array I want to put on the garage. 60 amps at 50 volts is 3,000 watts of panels. I don't have room for 3,000 watts at 20% efficiency. With cost effective panels, I am looking at either 6 x 400 watt or 8 x 300 watt. They both take up about the same space and make 2,400 watts with room to walk around them.
 

svetz

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Looks like Enphase has modified local access, requests like http://envoy.local/api/v1/production/inverters now returns a 301 (Moved) response, the new location is https://envoy.local/api/v1/production/inverters, that requires a token which sends you to https://entrez.enphaseenergy.com ... but that looks like the enlighten token... not sure yet if that requires a web lookup to resolve...I'll be annoyed if you lose access when the web is down.

Thread on it here: https://community.enphase.com/s/que...with-loss-of-local-api-connectivity-to-envoys.
 
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