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

From on 06/30/2014 in Category Technology with 46 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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46 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.

  • avatar

    Wayne

    11/06/2017 at 10:57 pm

    I have a sunny island 6048 us and one sunny boy 5000us. I havnt installed my system yet. Will these units work with just basic wiring for standard use or is a piggyback card install a requirement for a standard install?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Mike

      11/21/2017 at 1:34 pm

      The Sunny Island US outputs 120 VAC, so if you want the PV power available during an outage/offgrid, you will need an autoformer from MidNite Solar (p/n SMA MNX-240). Please consult the following document for compatibility of PV inverters with the Sunny Island: http://files.sma.de/dl/7910/SB-OffGrid-TI-US-en-19.pdf
      For Frequency shift power control when working offgrid, the Sunny Island and Sunny Boy require the RS485 piggyback card and the Backup Mode parameter needs to be enabled in the Sunny Boy. This will require a Service Cable or Webbox. Also, the two inverters need to be connected with RS485 cable, one short one will be included in the Accessories box of the Sunny Island.

      Reply »
      • avatar

        Dejan

        07/10/2019 at 6:55 pm

        Can i avoid having auto-former by installing 2x Sunny Islands to get 240V 1ph? How do we sync the frequency?
        This is a grid-tie, back up installation, with currently 1x SunnyBoy 7.0
        Thanks,
        D

      • avatar

        Mike

        07/15/2019 at 8:49 am

        Dejan, correct, you do not need an autoformer when using two SI units to create a 120/240VAC split phase grid. When you commission the SI units, you program them for their role. With two you will set one as master (controlling timing) and the other as slave for a 120/240VAC split phase system. The slave will know to create its VAC waveform 180 degree out of phase from the master waveform.

      • avatar

        Michael Bullard

        09/08/2019 at 8:05 am

        Hi SMA,

        I have a few questions regarding RS485 communication between Sunny Island 6048 and two types of Sunny Boy inverters.

        For communication between a SI 6048 and a SB 4000 US-10, the same type RS485-N card is installed in each? What is the difference between parts RS485-N, RS485-NR, and 485USPB-NR? (This configuration would use an autotransformer between the SI and SB).

        For communication between a SI 6048 and a SB 4000TL-US-22, the RS485-N (or NR or USPB-NR?) card is installed in the SI and the DM-485CB-US-10 is installed in the SB TL ? (This configuration would use an autotransformer between the SI and SB). The SB4000TL-US-22 was produced in 10/2013.

        I am also trying to understand the role of the RS485 communication between the SI and the SB in the two different cases, a) battery-backup and b) off-grid. I do see that RS 485 is needed in battery-backup so the SI can tell the SB(s) to switch between UL1741 and FSPC for when grid is present or absent on AC2. What I am not clear on is what the RS485 is doing in a purely off-grid system. Is it supplementing or overriding FSPC during normal operation? Is it controlling SB operation while the SI matches frequency with a generator on AC2?

        Thanks for your assistance. I currently have two SI 5048 in split phase which have been running well for the past 12 years. I did the original installation, and over the years have come to understand some of the features available in the Sis, but certainly not everything, hence my questions. Very adaptable hardware.

        Thanks,

        Mike

      • avatar

        Mike

        09/09/2019 at 2:47 pm

        Michael – Glad you are enjoying the Sunny Island! The appropriate RS485 card is the 485USPB-NR. Yes, with the SB 4000 US-10, one card in both inverters. For the TL-22, the card in SI and the DM-485CB-US-10 in SB as you stated. The RS485 bus allows the SI to signal the SB to dynamically switch from grid-tied parameters to off-grid. Obviously this in not needed for off-grid. But the RS485 bus is also a data bus, for collecting system data to SMA Com Gateway for viewing with Sunny Explorer or also with SMA Data Manager M for sending of data to Sunny Portal.

  • avatar

    Christopher

    12/01/2017 at 8:56 am

    Hello, what components I will need to install an off grid pv system with lithium batteries.

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Mike

      12/11/2017 at 10:28 am

      Please consult a qualified installer to discuss the components your system will need for correct and safe functioning. The Sunny Island is a very intelligent off-grid manager, but it needs to be installed and configured correctly to utilize all of its features.

      Reply »
  • avatar

    John Kago

    03/25/2018 at 3:26 am

    Hi, I decommissioned a cluster of sunny islands back in 2016,and I would like to use them as single systems. However, I keep getting the F743 Cancom error from all three inverters on starting the system. I have updated the inverters. I am not using the syscan module since it’s not a multicluster system. How do I clear the error?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Mike

      03/26/2018 at 10:38 am

      John, are the terminating resistor plugs installed at each end of the ComSync chain between the islands? The ones that look like just an Ethernet jack with black rubber on the other end. They need to be installed as shown on the bottom of page 57 of Version 2.1 of the Operating Manual. If they are installed, then I would suggest calling our Service Line at 1-877-697-6283 for further troubleshooting support.

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Afolabi Ajiboro

    04/25/2018 at 1:23 am

    Hi, myself and team leader are installing three Sunny Islands and one Sunny boy for an off-grid system. so far we have installed and configured the three S.I inverters. I was asked to figure out how to connect the Sunny Boy to the Sunny Island inverters. while I understand the electrical conections, I’m confused about the communication link. is there anything I’ll need that is not in the scope of delivery? Thank you

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Mike

      04/25/2018 at 10:42 am

      Hi Afolabi! Are you utilizing the SI xx48-US models or the SI 6.0/8.0-H models?

      Reply »
      • avatar

        Michael

        07/10/2019 at 3:50 pm

        Hello Mike,
        I have a similar installation with Afolabi. My Installation is an SI 6.0/8.0 and I am actually installing a Sunny MiniCentral 11000TL (discontinued model). I have installed the entire electrical connections but i do not understand how to instal the communications link. Also, there is not much information out there on how to link the SI and Minicentral.

      • avatar

        Mike

        07/15/2019 at 8:53 am

        Please contact our Service Department: https://www.sma.de/en/service-support/overview.html
        This is not a U.S. product therefore they are the best resource to address your inquiry.

  • avatar

    Rohan

    04/30/2018 at 7:08 am

    Hi,
    I am planning an installation with 24xSB-240-US-10 micro inverters, 2xMULTIGATE-US-10 multigates, 8x200AH 12V batteries (2P4S) and A Sunny Island 4548-US-10 Inverter.

    Will I be able to set up an AC-Coupled Micro-Grid System with these components?

    I see a lot of information about using other SMA inverters in AC-Coupled, micro-grid configurations, but I’d like to confirm that using micro-inverters with the Sunny Island is a viable option.

    Thank you

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Mike

      05/01/2018 at 9:02 am

      Hi Rohan! Yes the system will work, but be aware the SB 240s have no Offgrid mode or Backup mode parameters. That means, they are always enforcing UL1741 limits for voltage and frequency. Thus, if the Sunny Island uses Frequency Shift Power Control, the SB240s will simply go to zero output once the frequency goes above 60.5Hz, and not resume production until 5 minutes after the frequency comes back into the approved range.

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Daren Brown

    06/30/2018 at 10:30 am

    I have a cluster of 4 sunnyboy 6000US-10 a WebBox-BT.20.GR1,a Bluetooth module and couple RS485 piggy back card. How can I connect all four sunnyboys in the cluster and have it connect to the WebBox with a single Bluetooth module. Any suggestions please?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Mike

      07/02/2018 at 10:07 am

      Daren, the Bluetooth WebBox can only connect to Bluetooth enabled inverters. So, to monitor all four inverters, each inverter requires a Bluetooth piggyback card. The RS485 cards will not be useful in this setup.

      Reply »
  • avatar

    KH Lee

    10/14/2018 at 8:15 pm

    Hi

    What module is required if I were to use a 3rd party RS485 ready data logging system?

    Thanks.

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Mike

      10/18/2018 at 9:47 am

      Hi! RS 485 is used to convey the SMA Data I protocol. The Webbox is needed to view this data. If you need further assistance I encourage you to call our service line: +1 877-MY-SMATech (+1 877-697-6283)

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Roland

    05/27/2019 at 12:58 am

    Hi, currently I’ve got a Sunny Boy 5000 with 12 panels.
    I want to have power during an outage, and keep using my current panels. I’m very confused whether I can just add a Sunny Island + Batteries to achieve this? Or do I need to connect more solar panels directly to the Sunny Island?
    I’ve spoken to an installer here in NZ and he says I need to buy a new inverter to be able to use my solar panels during an outage.

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Mike

      05/30/2019 at 10:16 am

      The best option for on-grid battery storage and backup during a grid failure is to install the Sunny Boy Storage 3.7/5.0/6.0 with a compatible battery. You can add this on to any existing PV system to increase your self-consumption of solar energy. If you would like automatic and full-home backup of your home, you will additionally need the Automatic Backup Unit (ABU). The ABU will also allow your existing PV system (if it is no more than 7.7 kW) to charge the batteries during a blackout. For more information of different types of backup available with the Sunny Boy Storage, see https://www.sma-sunny.com/en/backup-options-with-sunny-boy-storage/

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Jakob

    08/14/2019 at 11:38 pm

    Hi!

    Is it possible to use SB-240-US-10 micro inverters in combination with a Sunny Island SI6048-US-10 inverter in an off-grid scenario to provide extra power and reverse battery charging through the Sunny Island?

    Thanks!

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Mike

      08/15/2019 at 2:00 pm

      Jackob, while the SB240/Multigate system could be used off grid with Sunny Island, there is no Offgrid setting for the SB240s – they will only produce power when the SI microgrid frequency is within UL 1741 limits. So they will not respond linearly to the FSPC signal of the Sunny Islands, only stop producing power at 60.5Hz. SMA advises PV power of less than twice the SI capacity for ensuring stable offgrid operation.

      Reply »
  • avatar

    Asim Aslam

    09/01/2019 at 10:42 pm

    I have installed sunny island three phase single cluster consisting of 3 sunny island and 4 sunny boy inverters. I want to upload data to sunny portal. how many SIcomsma card will be required?

    Reply »
    • avatar

      Mike

      09/03/2019 at 10:12 am

      Asim – it will depend on what style Sunny Boys and Sunny Islands you have (US or MOW devices). Can you reply to Training@SMA-America.com with the model numbers of the devices?

      Reply »

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