Tech Tip: Proper Communication for Sunny Island and Sunny Boy Systems

From on 06/30/2014 in Category Technology with 20 Comments

Sunny Island systems, especially in grid-tied battery-backup configurations, can do amazing things as standalone micro-grids. But they all depend on communication. Today, we’re discussing the proper communication configuration between the Sunny Island and Sunny Boy for optimal use.

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20 Comments

  • avatar

    Bj

    03/01/2016 at 7:20 pm

    Hi,
    I currently have a grid-tied SunnyBoy 3000TL-US-22. I am adding a Summy Island 6048 -US. In my SB I have a web connect module. What additionally will I need for the SB an SI to communicate with each other and for me to monitor each through sunny portal and sunny Explorer? Please advise. Thanks!

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      03/03/2016 at 8:44 am

      Hi BJ,

      That’s great to hear! You’ll need to have your installer and/or distributor include an RS485 piggy-back card for inside the Sunny Island and an RS485 data logger for inside the Sunny Boy. A standard Ethernet cable will be run between the two of them to facilitate the communication between the devices. From there, you will need a Sunny WebBox to get the system online and connected to Sunny Explorer and Portal. Please be aware that the WebBox has since been discontinued and quantities are limited but there should be stock available for a while.

      Best,
      Justin

      Reply »
      • avatar

        Bj

        03/03/2016 at 9:41 am

        Justin,
        What will replace the Sunny WebBox in the future? Is SMA going to do the communications differently for the future?

      • avatar

        Justin Dyke

        03/03/2016 at 9:49 am

        BJ – I’m not aware of the future communication protocol for the Sunny Island and other systems looking to use a WebBox. Other systems have moved to Speedwire though I am not sure of any estimated timelines. For your system, you’ll need a WebBox to communicate with Explorer and/or Portal so future options will not be of concern.

      • avatar

        Bj

        03/03/2016 at 9:43 am

        Justin,
        Can I run a ethernet wire out of the SB to my router instead of using a Sunny WebBox?

      • avatar

        Justin Dyke

        03/03/2016 at 9:51 am

        Hi BJ,

        No, the Sunny Island will need the WebBox to communicate externally. The only communication line coming out of the Sunny Boy will be going into the Sunny Island, which will manage the system and communicate externally via the WebBox.

      • avatar

        Bj

        03/05/2016 at 6:13 pm

        Justin,
        I was watching the video above and the guy stated to use the same piggy back card on the SB as the SI. You mentioned to using the “RS485 data logger for inside the Sunny Boy.” Is there a difference between the piggy back card used for the SI and what you mention for the SB? Please advise. Thanks!

      • avatar

        Justin Dyke

        03/07/2016 at 12:17 pm

        BJ – The video above shows how to perform the communication install on a different PV inverter than what you have. The RS485 data logger is performs the same function but is the proper unit for the TL-US inverter series. The piggy-back card shown in the video won’t work in your inverter. That’s the only difference. Thankfully, the RS485 data logger is much easier to install in the inverter, see it here.

      • avatar

        Bj

        03/07/2016 at 5:18 pm

        Hi Justin,
        Any reason why I can’t use a SMA Speedwire SWDM-US-10 module for TL Inverters instead of a combination RS485 data logger for inside the Sunny Boy and WebBox? I am trying to understand.

        Thanks

      • avatar

        Justin Dyke

        03/08/2016 at 9:07 am

        Hi BJ –

        The SWDM is the Webconnect module for the TL-US inverter. Webconnect is not able to communicate with the Sunny WebBox because it’s a speedwire device while the WebBox needs 485 communication. Additionally, the Webconnect does not have the full data-logging capabilities that are needed (advanced and in-depth system monitoring) for systems with a Sunny Island. Currently, the only available communication set up for TL-US inverters and the Sunny Island is the RS485 card for the inverter and the Piggy-Back card for the Sunny Island so those two devices and communicate. Then a Sunny WebBox to connect the Sunny Island to your local router so you can review plant-wide data.

        I hope this helps!
        Justin

  • avatar

    Joshua Brumsted

    08/30/2016 at 12:34 pm

    I am installing the sunny boy 6.0 pv inverters along with 4 Sunny Island 6048. How do I go about getting all of the inverters to communicate? The 6.0 inverters do not use the rs-485 and as far as I know the only protocol for the islands is rs-485.

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Justin Dyke

      09/02/2016 at 5:24 pm

      Hi Josh,

      That’s a great question. I have shared it with our Service Line department and a team member should be in contact soon.

      Best,
      Justin

      Reply »
      • avatar

        Oliver Lange

        08/30/2017 at 10:28 pm

        I basically have the same question. Could you share the answer of your service line department here ?
        Thanks.

      • avatar

        Mike

        09/22/2017 at 11:53 am

        Hello Oliver, the Com Gateway would be the solution for translating RS485 to speedwire but would not achieve Frequency Shift Power Control. Until that is available, there is no direct communication between TL-40 Sunny Boys and Sunny Islands. Programming the Sunny Boys for Island Mode 60 will enable them to respond to FSPC from the Sunny Island – no communication necessary.

  • avatar

    jesus gallardo

    09/05/2017 at 3:51 pm

    Hey I got two sunny boy inverters(7700helpl-us)and two sunny island 6048-48, trying to interface for emergency backup off grid situation. Understand and have data modules for both 7700 and piggy back cards installed but don’t know where to land second 7700 cat5 cable

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Carlo

      09/22/2017 at 11:18 am

      Hello Jesus, I’ve shared this with our service team who recommends you contact them so that they can better understand your setup and provide assistance accordingly. You can reach them by phone at 1-877-697-6283.

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Ken

    10/01/2017 at 8:32 am

    Hi SMA Tech,

    We’re designing some systems for installation in 50 Hz, 230V, single phase locations. Two S.I. 8.0H and two SB3.6-1AV-40 will be used and obviously they need to communicate with each other. We also want to be able to look at the system remotely via the web. From what I can see the SI have 3 different communications cards available and then externally there is Home Manager, Webbox?, maybe others. I would love to see a chart describing these options. We have purchased a Speedwire card for our Master S.I. but now I think that won’t help us get on the web. Can you help?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Alejandro

      10/03/2017 at 9:05 am

      Depending on the application of the system there are different options, but if you are looking only for monitoring of speedwire based devices we recommend using the Cluster Controller. With this device you can associate multiple devices to one plant for remote monitoring through Sunny Portal. Having speedwire cards on both Sunny Islands would allow you to connect with the Cluster Controller. If you would like to get more details on the different options we recommend visiting the product page on our international site: https://www.sma.de/en/products/battery-inverters/sunny-island-60h-80h.html

      Reply »
      • avatar

        Ken

        10/03/2017 at 7:09 pm

        Thanks Alejandro, We’re looking for the lowest cost simplest method for monitoring these 4 inverters. I have looked at the linked document as well as other documents but our team is still uncertain how to proceed. We are NOT committed to Speedwire, just that we thought this would achieve our objective.

        Suggestions?

      • avatar

        Alejandro

        10/19/2017 at 3:31 pm

        In this case the simplest method would be to add the Speedwire piggy back card to each of the Sunny Islands, get a switch or hub, and connect the two Sunny Islands and the two Sunny Boy inverters in a star topology. Then connect that switch to the router so that you can register all of them in Sunny Portal and associate them to one plant. Although, note that Sunny Portal has a limit of 4 inverters per plant unless the Cluster Controller is used. With the Cluster Controller, you can associate up to 75 devices to one plant.

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