SMA Sunny Island Inverter question for Hedges (or anyone who has relevant Sunny Island experience)

MrDan

New Member
Joined
May 17, 2021
Messages
7
Hello Hedges (and everyone), I have been considering the purchase of 4 Sunny Island inverters through eBay. I currently own two Victron inverters and I am pretty comfortable with them and they seem to be working well. The reason I'm considering the purchase of the Sunny Island inverters is because I need more power than the two 3kva inverters I currently have. I could go with a much bigger Victron, but eventually this inverter setup will be in shop building, which is currently off grid but might in the future have a grid connection (I'd like the option either way). Victron does not currently have much to offer in the US from a code compliance perspective. My current inverters probably do not have all of the associated US certifications, and so therefore they are setup in a mobile fashion, similar to using a generator to power a building. I'd like to permanently install the future inverters and pass code compliance certifications (I didn't find anything that seems to indicated that the Sunny Island couldn't pass code compliance in the USA).

I've read posts about AC coupling with Sunny Island and having some issues with inverter models from SMA, but it appears you were able to work through these problems.

Hedges (or anyone with experience) based on experience, would you do it all again and repurchase your Sunny Island inverters, or would you look elsewhere?

I'm really spoiled by the Victron central control, the Cerbo GX device, etc. The Sunny Island website isn't as user friendly as the Victron site in my opinion, and I'm having some difficulty figuring out if I can bridge an older inverter model like the Sunny Island into the SMA tech stack that connects to the internet. Do you know if it is possible to make the Sunny Island connect to the SMA Data Manager M by using an SMA Communication Gateway? https://www.sma.de/en/products/monitoring-control/sma-com-gateway.html

Thanks for your time.

Dan
 

etatdiysolar

New Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
7
I have 4 SIs and 4, 7kw sunny boys, they seem to work together great with frequency shifting. But still new system learning curve. I'm adding a data manager very soon, it should give nice GUI to the SIs. I use a victron GX device (homebrew Pi3) planning to monitor the SIs with special CAN bus code madsci1016 wrote minus the lithium interface. I'm using Lithium but running as lead acid.
 

daklein

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
May 8, 2020
Messages
50
I use a victron GX device (homebrew Pi3) planning to monitor the SIs with special CAN bus code madsci1016 wrote minus the lithium interface. I'm using Lithium but running as lead acid.
The SI puts out a different set of CAN messages for lithium mode vs. lead acid. The lead acid CAN messages don't have all the various signals you'll want, which are available in lithium mode. I have FLA batteries with the SI, so I'm using the SI in lead acid mode. I found some relatively obvious signals in the lead acid mode CAN messages, like AC voltage, Hz, target voltage. But others that I'd really like, say battery voltage, current, I haven't figured out those out.

If you're running lithium batteries, why not use lithium mode on the SI? Just need to get a smart shunt like madsci.
 

etatdiysolar

New Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
7
When you set mode to lithium the SI no longer charges the battery! madsci1016 uses a PV DC charger. I have the smartshunt only for monitoring the system, you don't need one if the SI does the charging. Hopefully in VRLA mode it still puts out power in/out on the can bus..
 

toms

Solar Addict
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
737
The Sunny Island will charge your battery in lithium mode if you are using a compatible BMS. (i use the REC BMS with mine)
 

daklein

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
May 8, 2020
Messages
50
If they won't work with AC coupled solar in lithium mode, that will kill my future plans. Are you sure? It would need to have a target charging voltage / current / SOC message given to it, along with the battery SOC estimate and some status flags? The REC bms manual lists what the SMA SI expects to receive to work in lithium mode. Page 10: http://www.rec-bms.com/datasheet/UserManual9R_SMA.pdf MurphyGuy is another one using REC bms with SI in lithium mode.

Anyway, I don't know about that for sure, other than I'm positive that the CAN messages available in leadacid mode are not same as in lithium mode. Once you have a CAN interface hooked up with the RPi, see what you can find.

I used the python-can github project to look at the can messages. It has a viewer script that can be given a scaling and labeling file. Here are the signals that I was able to label. The ones that are not labeled look to me like they could be a signal variable, but may or may not be correctly grouped or be the right variable type. Sometime they'll look like they may be a signal of interest, but they don't always make sense, especially when they'll jump to a different offset level. I modified the viewer script to put out mqtt messages for any signals defined by the labeling file. I don't send any messages on the CAN bus, I don't know what there is to send that the SI would expect to see.

I suspect the 060 message was put in so the Midnite / SMA communication box would be able to set Midnite classic target voltages.

Code:
001:>h:10.0
002:>h:10.0
010:<BBhhh:1:1:1:1:1:b1:b2:b34:b56:b78
020:<hhhh
031:<hhhh:1:1:1:1:b12:b34:b56:b78
041:<hhhH:1:1:1:1:b12:b34:b56:b78
051:<hhhh
060:>h:10.0:BatTgtV
070:<hhhh
181:<LL:1000.0:1000.0:InvV:GrdV
191:<HhHh:1:1:1:1:b12:b34:b56:b78
1B1:<LL:b14:b58
1C1:<HHHH:1000.0:1:4.0:1:InvHz:b34:InvAbsW:b78
1E1:<ll:1:1:b14:b58
1F1:<HHHH:1:1:1:1:b12:b34:b56:b78
201:<hhhh:1:1:1:1:b12:b34:b56:b78
221:<HHBBBB:1:1:1:1:1:1:b12:b34:b5:b6:b7:b8
581:<LL:100000.0:100000.0:b14:b58
601:<LL:100000.0:100000.0:b14:b58
 

etatdiysolar

New Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
7
Ok, so maybe it does charge in lithium mode, not sure why I thought otherwise... madsci1016 does charge via PV in DC side and not use the SI.

Toms, if you have any SI settings suggestions or info on SI setup it would be appreciated...

I will try to get the RPi working with can bus, but I'm not familiar with RPi linux/ python code... so it may take a while..
 

toms

Solar Addict
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
737
I see my SI8.0H to lithium mode, then all the battery parameters are set in the BMS.

The Sunny Island is controlled by the BMS.
 

MurphyGuy

Solar Addict
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
643
Hello Hedges (and everyone), I have been considering the purchase of 4 Sunny Island inverters through eBay. I currently own two Victron inverters and I am pretty comfortable with them and they seem to be working well. The reason I'm considering the purchase of the Sunny Island inverters is because I need more power than the two 3kva inverters I currently have. I could go with a much bigger Victron, but eventually this inverter setup will be in shop building, which is currently off grid but might in the future have a grid connection (I'd like the option either way). Victron does not currently have much to offer in the US from a code compliance perspective. My current inverters probably do not have all of the associated US certifications, and so therefore they are setup in a mobile fashion, similar to using a generator to power a building. I'd like to permanently install the future inverters and pass code compliance certifications (I didn't find anything that seems to indicated that the Sunny Island couldn't pass code compliance in the USA).

I've read posts about AC coupling with Sunny Island and having some issues with inverter models from SMA, but it appears you were able to work through these problems.

Hedges (or anyone with experience) based on experience, would you do it all again and repurchase your Sunny Island inverters, or would you look elsewhere?

I'm really spoiled by the Victron central control, the Cerbo GX device, etc. The Sunny Island website isn't as user friendly as the Victron site in my opinion, and I'm having some difficulty figuring out if I can bridge an older inverter model like the Sunny Island into the SMA tech stack that connects to the internet. Do you know if it is possible to make the Sunny Island connect to the SMA Data Manager M by using an SMA Communication Gateway? https://www.sma.de/en/products/monitoring-control/sma-com-gateway.html

Thanks for your time.

Dan

I would absolutely do it again.. wouldn't do it any other way.. In fact, if I could find the same ebay deal again for the inverters, ($1100 each), I'd buy two more just as spares.
 
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