Service tip: How to replace your old data logger

by Mirko Hast (guest post), , 6 Comments
Service tip: How to replace your old data logger

Thanks to their low-wear technology, many PV systems enjoy very long lifetimes. The market is evolving all the time: Instead of feeding all their energy into the grid, system operators are increasingly shifting toward optimizing their own consumption and even, in the future, becoming prosumers and using direct selling to achieve attractive additional revenue for the solar power generated on their roofs. This is why it’s worth thinking about upgrading your old data logger.

The following step-by-step instructions explain how system operators can easily modernize their PV system with a new data logger. So here’s how to replace SMA Sunny WebBox with SMA Data Manager M.

The ability to sell your unused solar power directly is reason enough to invest in a new data logger. Direct selling gives operators of home PV systems an additional source of income and helps them to make the most of their self-generated solar power. In addition, state-of-the-art data loggers like SMA Data Manager M provide a range of online monitoring features that allow operators to keep an eye on all the most important information associated with their PV system.

 

Step-by-step instructions for upgrading your data logger

To make the most of these benefits, you should replace your old Sunny WebBox data logger with a state-of-the-art SMA Data Manager M Lite. Since 2008, system operators have used three different inverters, Sunny Sensor Box and Sunny WebBox to feed solar power into the utility grid. As part of a field test, one of the inverters (Sunny Boy 5000TLHC) was replaced with a new inverter, Sunny Tripower 6.0.

 

1. Preparations; replacing and wiring the devices
Start by installing the new data logger in the same place as the old one and connecting it up. To do so, unplug the three cables connected to Sunny WebBox – network, power and connection cables to the inverters – and remove the device from its wall mounting bracket.

Sunny Webbox data logger - Preparations, replacing and wiring the devices

Install SMA Data Manager M Lite in the same place and connect it using the three cables. Consult the quick guide, which comes with the device, to see exactly how the cables are connected. For the voltage supply, you can use either the old Sunny WebBox power supply unit or a DIN rail power supply unit. SMA Data Manager M Lite comes with two stickers containing important device information. It is recommended that you stick one of these on the device itself and use the other one to update the system documentation.

SMA Data Manager M Lite montieren und mit den drei Kabeln verbinden

 

2. Updating the network configuration
To configure the network settings for SMA Data Manager M Lite, you need to access the system network router (in this case, a Fritz!Box). To do so, change the network address of the SMA Data Manager to 192.168.188.210/24 and then permanently assign it on the basis of the MAC address. Once you have saved your changes, restart the router so that the SMA Data Manager adopts the changes.

 

3. Commissioning SMA Data Manager M Lite
To commission your new data logger, open the web browser on your PC and call up the SMA Data Manager M Lite user interface. In the web browser, simply enter the IP address that you just assigned. To ensure that a connection can be established with the user interface, you have to add the SMA certificate as an exception. You will then see the home page for the configuration wizard. The wizard guides you step by step through the process – from commissioning to device discovery.

Data Manager M Lite Dashboard

In this window, the entry “SMA Data-Geräte” [SMA data devices] is shown at the bottom. “SMA Data” is the name of the communication protocol used by the SMA devices connected via the RS-485 interface. To open the “Geräteregistrierung” [device registration] window, click the cog wheel. You can change the communication speed here. When doing so, note that you should select a speed higher than 1200 baud (1 baud corresponds to the transmission of one symbol per second) only if all the devices on the RS-485 bus support this. Since this is not the case here, keep the 1,200 baud setting as it is.

The devices “recognize” each other automatically after registration and are shown here. To activate them, click the checkbox next to the device name. You can now change the device name. The wizard takes you through the rest of the installation process. Once this is complete, you can access the dashboard and all the device details via the SMA Data Manager.

Data Manager M Lite Dashboard

 

4. Data transfer and configuration in Sunny Portal powered by ennexOS
To ensure that system operators can keep a constant eye on their system data, it is recommended that they add SMA Data Manager M Lite to Sunny Portal powered by ennexOS . This online portal provides operators and installers with an overview at all times of all the most important status information, data and yields associated with the PV system. The portal works best in combination with SMA Data Manager M Lite, which provides the data basis for future online monitoring. To add the new data logger, go to the “Konfiguration” [configuration] page in Sunny Portal powered by ennexOS and create a new system. Another wizard is activated to help you with this. To transfer the data from the old Sunny WebBox, simply click “Datenübernahme aus einer bestehenden Sunny Portal-Anlage” [data transfer from an existing Sunny Portal system].

data transfer from an existing Sunny Portal system

You now have to select the newly created system. The wizard will then take you through the rest of the process, during which you will have the opportunity to change the transferred data. SMA Data Manager M Lite is identified by its PIC and RID. Once the wizard is complete, it imports the data from Sunny Portal to Sunny Portal powered by ennexOS, which displays a detailed breakdown of the most important historical and future data. Finally, in Sunny Portal, you have to deactivate device data acceptance in the existing system so that the device data is retained but you do not receive event messages like “Kommunikationsstörung” [communication fault].

For more information about the status and performance of your PV system, you can also activate an event and info report in Sunny Portal powered by ennexOS and change the assignment of the sensor values from free satellite data to the Sunny Sensor Box in the system. For state-of-the-art system monitoring with capability for accommodating future upgrades, you can also activate the inverter comparison function and change the PV yield expectation.

 

Sunny WebBox and its successors

Sunny WebBox is a communication interface between the PV system and operator. It allows you to monitor the system and system configuration via Sunny Portal and detects malfunctions early on. Since the discontinuation of Sunny WebBox back in October 2015, latest-generation SMA inverters can be integrated in Sunny Portal via the standard Webconnect interface without any additional devices. Sunny Home Manager 2.0 is responsible for intelligent energy management to ensure optimal utilization of the solar power. SMA Data Manager M offers a range of additional monitoring functions and direct selling interfaces, especially for large-scale PV systems.

For more information and details about the SMA Data Manager and Sunny Portal powered by ennexOS, take a look at the extensive range of webinars offered by the SMA Solar Academy.

Repowering: getting even more energy from your own roof

PV repowering – replacing old hardware with new – is always recommended when inverters, modules and other equipment have gotten so old that your roof-mounted PV system no longer delivers the yields you want or is expensive to repair or spare parts are no longer available for it. A new inverter not only increases your yields but is usually also even cheaper and smaller than the original hardware. In addition, state-of-the-art inverters offer numerous features not available in older versions. For example, they can store electricity in a battery, allowing system operators to supply their home with self-generated solar power independently of the weather and rising energy prices. They can also connect their PV system to the heating system or a charging station for electric vehicles. PV repowering also increases the service life of your system, safeguards investments for the future and renews the limited factory warranty.

 

SMA Repowering App

If you already have a system and are interested in upgrading one or more components, take a look at the SMA Repowering app. This provides an overview of all the latest devices so that you can find the right one for your needs.

To the SMA Repowering app

 

6 Comments
  1. Slav
    Slav says:

    The article is surprisingly silent on the topic of Webbox-BT-20… Why SMA never offered a Bluetooth to RS-485 or Bluetooth to Ethernet gateway/converter?

    Reply
    • Christiane Keim
      Christiane Keim says:

      Hello Slav,

      Thank you very much for the request.
      If there is a new development on this topic, we will inform promptly.

      Sunny regards
      Christiane

      Reply
  2. matthew cheney
    matthew cheney says:

    I just replaced my WebBox with SMA Data Manager M.
    I am happy with the product but have one problem
    I cannot get any values or parameters from my Smart Load 6000
    I have no idea how much power is going into my radiators or if the resistor has tripped and resetting it under parameters ,With the WebBox this was just standard
    Can this be fixed?
    Regards
    Matt

    Reply
  3. matthew cheney
    matthew cheney says:

    I posted a post yesterday on my problem with the new SMA Data Logger M but it seems to have disappeared !
    I purchased a SMA Data logger M to replace my SMA WebBox that has been in commission since 2007
    I have a problem. There are no values or parameters available through the data logger for my Smart Load 600
    The WebBox allowed this and is needed so we can see power going into radiators and parameters to reset if resistor trips .If this cannot be seen we have no idea what the Smart Load is doing and is an integral part of the complete system
    Will there be a solution to this?
    As it was standard rs485 on WebBox it seem odd to being going backwards with new technology
    Also the portal has not uploaded data from the old portal to new portal any data for the Sunny Island 8.0H
    Why ? All other sunny boy and mini central inverter data was passed over old Sunny Portal to Sunny Portal EnnexOS
    Matt
    Cheneys Chapel Stand Alone

    Reply

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