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Inheriting a challenge

  • 25-04-2022 9:30pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭


    Ok, that title is probably a bit OTT, but my old parents in Galway have had an Eddi/Harvi system with a 3kW inverter and a 3.3kW (roughly) set of panels installed. It is very, very nice, and complements an old solar hot water system. It kind of all happened without all the thought that should go into it. Anyway, I have configured those two to work together with a bit of headspace allowed in temperature for the old hot water system to work. Seems ok, and the Eddi will put about 2kWh into the hot water daily. I have no idea the equivalent the old system puts in, but they are happy together and we end up with a 250l container of 60C water.

    However the install has been a disaster. The installers were great, but the company (who were well reviewed) are not interested in trying to sort out the final configuration of the system and the extensive troubleshooting we need. They are just not answering calls anymore regardless of how much of the riot act they have been read.


    I'm trying to troubleshoot a few issues myself and I can maybe solve a few of the minor ones. I'll try to keep to this thread. Here are two issues - I have others to come.

    1) Occasionally the Eddi and the Harvi do not communicate properly, with the app and the Eddi saying 0kW from the panels, 0kW usage and 0kW import. This, I'm imagining, is simply the wireless connection between the Eddi/Harvi dieing temporarily, but it only seems to happen in the afternoon of hot days. At that point, I'm imagining everything gets imported. Can the Eddi/Harvi be connected by ethernet easily, or is it just wireless?

    2) I've also occasionally seen the PV output drop to zero according to the Eddi, even when there is a blue sky. In that case, the Eddi says 0kW from the panels, say 1.4kW usage, and 1.4kW imported. Could that be a dodgy cable, or is it something more sinister?

    Also 3) Often times the MyFusion app reported values bear absolutely no resemblance to those shown on the Eddi, even when a smoothing of data, or a five minute time average is assumed. MyFusion is often out by a factor of 2 or 3. The app says 160W current usage, for instance, and the Eddi says 800W. I don't know which to believe, if either, I'd say the 800W doesn't bear reality either as I know the oven usage shows up on neither, but thats another matter.

    Any ideas? I'm sure this isn't the only question I'm going to ask.



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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,783 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin


    Can't help with 3, but for 1, no there's no wired connection available on the Harvi


    For 2, that does seem a bit strange. Does the inverter output show anything similar (even if it is miles off)? It would kind of help you narrow down if it's the Eddi or PV array at least

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Dang, thats a shame. Might have to get a bigger/better aerial for them.

    I'll check the inverter at the weekend, of course its in a difficult to access part of the loft, and the Eddi is in the back of the hot press as close as possible to the thermostat... ugh....



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,783 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin


    I've noticed my Harvi seems to randomly lose connection and it's right beside my Zappi. I guess it's just an interference thing


    You could try using a different channel for the Eddi/Harvi

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,954 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    1) If you're having trouble with the Harvi, you should just run the two CTs from the Eddi directly instead, that'll solve that issue. Up into the attic and then across and down maybe. A job but completely feasible.

    2) This will be solved by the solution to 1. Unless the voltage is very high when it happens. Assuming the inverter lists no faults.

    3) Lag, they don't update instantly. And if Eddi is getting flakey signals you can't rely on what it's saying.


    This is the solution, you might not like it, but it will solve it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Hmmm, interesting. I might try to do that. It'll be tough in terms of actually wiring the CTs through to the Eddi (its actually a floor above the Harvi and across two rooms) but if that worked it would be nice. I'll try to check the inverter at the weekend even though that involves a lot of crawling.


    For (3) I'm not convinced (yet!) that its just lag. It often misses a kettle being on, and frequently under-reports whats on the Eddi by 2 - 3x, even when power usage is stable in the evening with just freezers, TV, computers on. I'll keep an eye. But no, I don't actually trust the readings reported by Eddi and the app at all anymore. Which worries me.... if Eddi is correctly reporting the PV power generation, and underestimating the load for whatever reason, will it unknowingly pull the balance of power from the grid to heat the hot water because it thinks there is an excess available, when in reality there isn't?


    Edit: I might try changing the channels too, see if that helps. Not QUITE confident enough with the system yet, as we don't have the installers to rely on to fix things if we buggered it up, because they have gone completely non contact.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Ugh. The CT out in the meter box was pointing in the wrong direction and was only around one cable, not the two we have due to an old meter system.

    They also didn't wire the Eddi up to the thermostat correctly.

    And now again Harvi is not communicating with Eddi properly, so all that nice free PV is going to waste.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,954 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    Cowboys Ted - A lot of them out there.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,403 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger


    Hard to know, as we're sort of visualizing your wiring, but sometimes the CT clamps only deliberately go around 1x wire usually the live. Can't speak to the Harvi though. If you do both wires the flux fields can cancel each other out (as I understand it)



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,954 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    Yeah some photos would really help.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,053 ✭✭✭championc


    Firstly, everything points to your MyEnergi products being the issue, so you might just be better talking to them directly.

    Secondly, CT Clamps always connect around the LIVE cable ONLY. And that Live cable will be a AC live. It does not read any DC

    Thirdly, the MyEnergi CT clamps have an arrow on the back side printed into them. This always points towards the main fuseboard. So the grid one will point inwards and the Inverter AC will point outwards.

    Lastly, a Harvi is for transmitting the CT readings wirelessly via radio signals. This is low power but long range. But ideally, if it can be wired, it should be wired. However, is the Harvi being used for the grid or the inverter connection ? The inverter one could be monitored from down at the fuseboard end or at the inverter.

    One last thing - I had some strange readings from my Harvi when I left the CT Clamp with the 5m of cable bundled up. I chopped off all but about 0.5m and that resolved the issue.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Thanks a mil. The CT clamp is around two cables at the moment. Both are positive and the arrow points to the fuseboxes. We have an odd setup where the meter used to be split on our side of the ESB box, with two seperate meters and two seperate fuseboxes for upstairs and downstairs. Both were combined (bodged together) years ago to power the house as one unit with one new meter but power does flow through both sets of cables. Therefore, our CT clamp is around the positives coming out of both meters, so it should, in theory, read the combined power from the two of them - which would be the total power coming into the house. Fixing the meters is on the cards, someday. I'll hold back on pictures of that setup for now on the offchance the company could see this.

    We won't mention that the install put the CT in the wrong way, and on the wrong cable altogether.


    I don't know the system well enough to know what the Harvi is actually doing, but I'll check.

    Dropped signal all day long today as well. Really frustrating.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,053 ✭✭✭championc


    First of all, can the CT around the two cables just simply go to the other side of that breaker, over to the Grid side ? It removes any ambiguity.

    Secondly, does the inverter not feed into it's own MCB in that same fuseboard ?



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    We'll see if we can do that. Oddly enough I don't think its catching the oven being on as it stands.

    I'm away tomorrow but back Friday and will have a look at the inverter then. Fingers crossed theres something obvious wrong with it!!!

    In the end the signal was dropped all day but oddly enough came back at roughly the same power level that it went off at, which strikes me as a coincidence. Can the inverter get too hot and just stop working? Its in the attic but it does get hot up there.



  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 5,738 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk


    Yes, another thing that can happen is the grid voltage gets too high too and the inverter will shut off



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    So we've had an electrician look at the meter, and he has disconnected the second redundant meter completely so only one cable flows "in" to the fuseboards. He then proceeded to put the CT on the wrong way around so we have fixed that.

    Trouble is, things are now worse.

    1) There is still the problem of everything dropping to 0 on various days... seemingly sunny ones. Both the app and the Eddi show 0 0 0 for everything as below. It seems to occur roughly from 9 to 5 which tells me it is a heat related issue somewhere. The inverter has two lights on it during this time - the wifi light is off. When the system is "working" (I use that phrase lightly) the wifi light is flickering as you'd expect for wi-fi. Is it actually a connection problem between the inverter and whatever it communicates with? I don't know. I don't know what is the master system that sends data to the internet. I THINK it is the inverter, but then regardless of what eddi shows, the app will still show imported electricity usage even during this time where connection is (seemingly) lost. So something is exporting data to the internet.


    2) After the electrician came, the Eddi is now not reading anything from the CT - which means it does not know we have an excess so won't try to heat hot water. (This is aside from the fact that the app correctly reads electricity usage now). We haven't managed to connect the Eddi directly to the CT yet... I'm reluctant to go digging too much until the installers look at the system again. But of course I don't know if/when they are going to come.

    Its just been an absolute disaster start to finish. Seven weeks now. I KNOW the system is good... when it works. But it just isn't working and god knows what stress adding a battery will give us. It is now to the point of causing arguments in the house as three people - two elderly - try to understand whats going on with a company who, although very good initially, now just simply will not return any phonecalls.



    I'll keep you guys updated.


    Edit: The Energy Flow on the app/website is working correctly and displaying everything (import/useage/PV) but the Eddi shows PV/usage only - and those numbers are always the same - but no import.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    First thing is done now, there is only one cable going into the house.

    The second one - yup I'm fairly sure the inverter comes into the fuseboard. I don't know 100% as I only saw the installation after it was all done and I've really no experience with electrical stuff like this.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Not sure anyone is following this still, but we have some resolutions.


    1) The previous electrician pulled a wire by accident resulting in one of the CTs not being plugged in correctly. To be honest we should have seen this.

    2) The current electrician thinkg that the sudden drop to 0 of the PV is actually caused by the voltage and/or current being too high on the ESB end and spiking. It trips out when it thinks its too high, and then comes back on again later in the day. He's upped the threshold where it triggers but it is still happening occasionally. With us out in the country in Galway and several milking machines on the lines I can see where that might happen. On the down side, ESB really aren't interested in doing anything about it. That might have to be pursued.

    Post edited by Chris_5339762 on


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,053 ✭✭✭championc


    So your Eddi is reading the grid and solar correctly now ?



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Yes, it is. That was due to a loose connection where one of the CTs comes in, apparently.


    The remaining problem is that the PV output drops to 0 somewhat randomly, usually on nice days. It just drops to 0, no PV is generated at all, the Eddi reads 0 for generated. The electrician suspects this is surges coming from the ESB side... but there hasn't been any damage that I'm aware of to any electrical equipment over the years so I dunno.

    Its better than it was, but not QUITE there yet.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,954 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    For 2) I had the same issue. Rural location, dedicated transformer super close to my house, nominal supply voltage 245V. My inverters are on a long (60m) run from my consumer unit, so they have to push up their own voltage higher than 253V to export greater than 3kW due to the drop (despite being 16sqmm cable). I did get the ESB to come out and setup a voltage recorder for 10 days. They then reviewed the data (and gave me a copy) and sure enough, when my inverters were hitting 253V, their recorder (and the house) was only measuring 245V. Then, when I upped the limit on my inverters (under the suggestion of the ESB technician himself), they'd read 255, 256 and my house sockets via multimeter wouldn't read higher than 250V. I was told unless the ESB record a sustained voltage higher than 253V for more than 5 minutes, they won't address it.

    It sounds like you might have this problem? Can you tell me what the voltage is on the Eddi when you're exporting on a Sunny day? Or what is it during the night when the house isn't pulling any serious load? The least the ESB should do is install a recorder for you. It is dangerous if constantly above the limit and will wear down appliances quicker.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    I'll check that out, and see what can be done. Thanks.


    In the app, the AC Output of the Inverter is 251.8V at the moment. Thats all I have for now!



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,954 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    Yep, that's the smoking gun. Only 2.2V away from tripping.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,053 ✭✭✭championc


    I wonder could you therefore just change the country code in the setup, to pick a country where the upper accepted voltage is higher. Would the general EN50549 one do ?



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Very good to know, thanks. I THINK the electrician upped it a little on the Inverter end and so far it hasn't happened as much. When it does happen, will the inverter un-trip itself immediately when the voltage drops to safe levels, or does it wait a certain period before trying?


    My dad, ever resourceful in his older age, is going to attach a multimeter to a plug (he has electrical training) and get a security camera with the time visible recording it for a day or so. That way, if it does trip out, he can reverse back and see what voltage that occurs at.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Been ok for a few days but now the voltage issue is happening again. Its really annoying.


    A nice day of lovely weather and what do you know... PV power drops out at about 9am and we have to import everything.


    Does anyone know when the inverter will start working again? Does the voltage have to drop to a certain value before it does, or can we reset the inverter to make it try again?


    Our "stable" voltage during the day is about 252V at the ESB end, which is outrageous.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,954 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    The inverter will restart once the voltage goes below 253V for a sustained period. It takes time for it to reset.

    Have you got the ESB on the hook for a call out yet? You ought to.

    If you want to stop it tripping out you can limit the inverter's export to as low as you want, should drastically reduce the amount of times it trips.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    sigh

    Three of the last four days now we have had overvoltage tripping that takes the PV offline for hours at a time. Sat/Sun aren't so bad as people are home and are loading the system, thereby reducing the voltage.

    ESB were rung, and said our voltages are between about 240 and 253V. They don't need to monitor it, as they are happy with our own monitoring. They said they can't do anything unless the installers call them, and it turns out the installers had never sent in the forms to ESB saying that solar was put in. So it was news to them!

    The installers said they won't call ESB under GDPR. Nonsense of the highest order. They promised a callback first thing this morning, nothing. Looks like this is going to drag to Tuesday after the bank holiday. Its just going on and on. Has anyone had any luck getting these voltage issues sorted?

    If the company won't budge I'm tempted to just go up to the inverter and raise the cutoff voltage myself.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,954 ✭✭✭mp3guy


    In fairness it isn't your installer's responsibility, but the ESB are bullshitting you saying they can't do anything. Our local ESB office were happy to send out an engineer to monitor it.

    You can either set the export limit to something lower like 1kW or 0kW, or increase the cutoff voltage yourself.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,053 ✭✭✭championc


    GDPR is only an issue when you don't give the consent. So send them an email, in sort of legal wording, absolutely providing consent to them to allow for your details to be used in connection with the discussions with ESB Networks.

    But you'll also have to address the missing NC6 Form, since that will be the trigger for Feed In Tariff payments (especially if you have a Day / Night meter.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,844 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    Update: ESB on the case now, they are coming in 10 working days (FFS) to install something to do precisely the same monitoring that we've been doing ourselves. Its been very unsatisfactory in the last week, with most days the solar voltage tripping at about 9am and not coming on until 5pm. Incredibly frustrating during the summer!

    Voltage (according to just the app) is 252V this morning, and anecdotally that is about 1 - 2V less than that recorded by a meter.



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