[Linux-aus] Photovoltaic inverter monitoring or logging software

Bret Busby bret at busby.net
Sun Feb 2 18:15:04 EST 2014

On Sat, 1 Feb 2014, Adam Nielsen wrote:

> Date: Sat, 1 Feb 2014 21:43:24
> From: Adam Nielsen <a.nielsen at shikadi.net>
> To: linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
> Subject: Re: [Linux-aus] Photovoltaic inverter monitoring or logging software
>> I am seeking software that will interface with Rewatt inverters,
>> which apparently have an RS232 interface socket. The inverters come
>> with a software disk, the supplied software apparently being for only
>> MS Windows.
> A quick Google suggests at least some of these are rebranded models
> from a company called JFY.  There's a thread on Whirlpool where people
> were able to get data out of JFY inverters using Python scripts:
> http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2003872
> Either way it seems like it'd be a pretty straightforward protocol to
> reverse engineer, assuming you've tried to contact the manufacturer and
> they were unwilling to provide any info on the communication protocol.
> Cheers,
> Adam.


In the research that I had done, I found the following.

The software that was supplied with the (3000TL) inverter, is JFY 
Inverter Communicator v1.1, which apparently, from the 
screenshots in the included (PDF) manual, is for MS Windows XP. The 
manual file is dated November 2012.

is shown that either rewiring of the RS232 port, is required, or, use of 
the inverter manufacturer supplied RS232 cable is required. The manual 
indicates that an RS232 cable as supplied by the inverter manufacturer, 
should be used, but one was not supplied when the unit was installed. 
The electrical contractor that installed the PV system, had said that I 
should be able to get a standard RS232 cable from an electrical 
accessories supplier. However, it needs a special cable.

I need to chase that one up, to find whether I can obtain the required 
RS232 cables from the company that installed the PV system.

At the web site for JFY, I found
which shows that they have an RS232 to WiFi adaptor available, which, 
given that JFY Inverter Communicator software is supplied for the 
inverter, I assume, is also compatible with the inverter.

I also need to investigate the prospect of the WiFi adapter, further.

I am also not sure how it would work, polling the inverter, with the 
existing software, if a second inverter is installed, as I am looking at 
having a second PV system installed, which should lead to an interesting 
result, with two PV systems facing opposite directions.

I do not at present have access to a working computer that has WiFi and 
Windows XP installed, although one of the old desktop computers that I 
have not switched on for at least a few years, may have Windows XP, 
installed, and they would likely have usable serial ports that should be 
able to connect with the RS232 sockets, with the manufacturer supplied 
cable, if I can get them. But, I would probably have to output the data 
from them, and, collect it again, to be able to get data collection from 
tandem (?) PV inverters.

The information on the web site at
apart from not having a downloadable, installable copy of the software 
(other than, apparently, the source code), does not indicate that that 
software can deal with more than one inverter, concurrently.

I have never done anything like reverse engineering software, but that 
sounds horrifically complicated to me.

The forum thread URL in the message above, appears to refer to those 
blackberry pudding things (from the messages in the thread... "I have 
one in the meterbox", were they supplied with the photovoltaic 
systems, as part of the photovoltaic systems mentioned?), and the 
software being written for the blackberry puddings, and so appears to be 
not in Debian Linux packaging.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
  you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
   Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
   "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
   A Trilogy In Four Parts",
   written by Douglas Adams,
   published by Pan Books, 1992

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