ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

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Drphil
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ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by Drphil »

Hi all

Is the user @zeva still active here?

I have a minor problem with my system but Ian's email is no longer active, and the contact form on the ZEVA website doesn't seem to be working.

There's a notice there saying to contact him here by PM but I don't think I can do that as a new user.

Ian if you're out there, give me a shout!

And for anyone else in the know, my problem is that my BMS screen has started shutting down every few days. The bms is still running (I presume anyway, the green light is on), but the screen turns off and I have to unplug and re-plug each time to start it.

This has only started since I changed from a 5kW Solis inverter to the newer 5g model 6kW one. Interestingly another guy near me who is also using the Solis 6kW and he is having the same issue. His son has a 5kW and has no problem.

So it seems to be a disagreement with that inverter, although they otherwise both work fine. The battery setting on the inverter is AoBo rather than LG.

Any thoughts?
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jonescg
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by jonescg »

Hi Phil,
Ian might see this and chime in, we cross paths from time to time.
I know the Prelude I converted has started to have screen time-outs which is sort of frustrating, but it's easy enough to set up a button input which re-activates the screen.
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zeva
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by zeva »

Hi Dr Phil,

Yes, I'm still around :) (The support form on the ZEVA website should still be working, but does now require an invoice number that matches the name/email provided, because the form was receiving too much spam.)

I'm not specifically aware of any incompatibility with those inverters, and can't imagine why it would affect the monitor that way, unless maybe the inverter is flooding the CAN bus with packets that the monitor is having trouble processing (but it seems unlikely). A suspicious coincidence if you know of two systems with that particular inverter seeing the same issue though..

One thing you could try is to reduce the screen brightness (set Night Brightness setting to say 50%, then swipe a finger down the screen). There could be a problem with the polyfuses or power supply causing the 12V output to dip and the monitor to brown out, and reducing the screen brightness may ameliorate this. Not necessarily a great permanent solution though. Nothing aside from the monitor connected to the 12V output from the BMS?

The BMS is designed to operate fine without a monitor so problems with it shouldn't interrupt the inverter operation at least - though the CAN bus will need at least one (at most two) CAN termination resistors on the bus to function correctly, one of which is built in to the monitor. Just a warning in case you find the system no longer operates after you remove the monitor.
Ian Hooper
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"Never doubt that the work of a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world." - Margaret Mead
http://www.zeva.com.au
Drphil
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by Drphil »

Thanks Ian, much appreciated.

I'll try adjusting the brightness and see if it makes a difference. As you know I just have it in the darkness with a WiFi camera pointed at it so I can check in.
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by Drphil »

Bad news @zeva

Dropped the brightness to 40% and it still turned off a day later.

PS nothing else connected to the bms other than the monitor.
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by Drphil »

Is there such a thing as an independently powered junction that could be connected there and power cycled either on timer or remotely?

Unplug and re plug turns the monitor back on.
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by zeva »

One option would be a switch on the 12V wire between the BMS and monitor, which could be extended a fair distance away so you can remotely turn monitor power on and off. Though if going to the trouble of running switch wires, it might be better to run a CAN cable and just have the whole monitor remote. CAN bus can go a fair distance, if the correct shielded twisted pair cable is used.

It's arguably better to have the monitor off whenever you don't actually need to look at it - saves a bit of power, and the LCD panel should last longer (i.e it's a bit like leaving your computer monitor on permanently).

If there's a time you don't need the inverter running for a while (e.g if going away for a weekend), it would be interesting to unplug it's CAN connection from the BMS and see if the monitor stays on then, to confirm whether the problem is some incompatibility with the inverter on the CAN bus, or some independent problem with the monitor.
Ian Hooper
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Drphil
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by Drphil »

That's a point actually. I could easily run a long cable down to the spare room where my WiFi router and Unifi gear is located.

Not ideal, but easier than going to the attic all the time.

The inverter is never off for long periods I'm afraid!
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by Drphil »

But a switch that's remotely controllable via app would be ideal. So I can turn it on to check the status as and when required and as you say, leave it off most of the time.
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by Drphil »

zeva wrote: Sat, 16 Jul 2022, 10:16
Though if going to the trouble of running switch wires, it might be better to run a CAN cable and just have the whole monitor remote. CAN bus can go a fair distance, if the correct shielded twisted pair cable is used.
I took your advice @zeva, moved the monitor down from the attic to a spare room with a good quality solid core ethernet cable.

The monitor is working, but I keep getting a beep and an error saying "no comms to BMS".

It's about a 6m cable run, that shouldn't be too much surely?
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by zeva »

6m certainly shouldn't trouble CAN bus, even with unshielded cable. (CAT5 is twisted pair but not shielded IIRC.) I guess double check that the cores are making good contact inside the screw terminals (could also jiggle the wiring and see if it triggers the error), and/or add a second 120ohm termination resistor near the opposite end of the bus to the monitor if there isn't one already (e.g at/near the inverter, if the BMS is in the middle.. or even at the BMS if that's easier, assuming the BMS to inverter run is short.)
Ian Hooper
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by Drphil »

zeva wrote: Sat, 23 Jul 2022, 12:54 6m certainly shouldn't trouble CAN bus, even with unshielded cable. (CAT5 is twisted pair but not shielded IIRC.) I guess double check that the cores are making good contact inside the screw terminals (could also jiggle the wiring and see if it triggers the error), and/or add a second 120ohm termination resistor near the opposite end of the bus to the monitor if there isn't one already (e.g at/near the inverter, if the BMS is in the middle.. or even at the BMS if that's easier, assuming the BMS to inverter run is short.)
Presumably the error is only a communication issue from the monitor to the bms, not the bms to the inverter, so it doesn't make a big difference anyway other than the annoyance of the alarm.
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by Drphil »

@zeva a little update.

I managed to grab a shot of the error, it only flashes up for a split second but its not "no comms to BMS", it's"No Comms to EVMS".
Screenshot_20220731-230242_Gallery.jpg
Screenshot_20220731-230242_Gallery.jpg (73.17 KiB) Viewed 834 times
Does that change anything?

Also this is the cable, it is shielded, cat 5e.
20220731_231042.jpg
20220731_231042.jpg (688.79 KiB) Viewed 834 times
zeva
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by zeva »

Hi Phil, that error is expected - it's the same monitor firmware that works with both EVMSs and BMS16s but only one shared error code.

Your friend with the same inverter, and son with 5kW one - perhaps they could try swapping monitors to confirm if the problem is an incompatibility with that particular inverter on the CAN bus (problem stays on the 6kW system), or a monitor fault (problem moves with the monitor). If it is a problem caused by the inverter, probably not much can be done about it, except turning off the monitor's buzzer in settings so the error is less annoying (in fact probably best to have a switch to turn off the monitor when nobody is actually looking at it).

Aside from that I'm not sure what would be causing it, except either some continuity problem on the CAN bus wiring, or some fault with one or more CAN transceivers (rare but possible). If you wanted to take a stab at replacing the CAN transceiver(s), part number is usually SN65HVD1040D - but they are hard to find due to the global chip shortage, so SN65HVD1050D can be used instead (almost identical).
Ian Hooper
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Drphil
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by Drphil »

Thanks @zeva

I'll turn the buzzer off for sure as it's annoying!

I'm looking for a smart relay that I can put the 12v power line through to enable me to remotely turn the monitor off and on so I can still check it via the webcam.

I'll also pass your suggestion on re switching the monitors.
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ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by david.wagner »

@Zeva:

I would like to speak with Ian Hooper, please ask him to drop me an email at: davidwagner at tpg dot com dot au

David Wagner
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by bevanp »

Hi, its taken 6 months of waiting, but I finally have the Zeva pcbs made and now populated with the BMS and ATMega chips. Thanks very much to Ian Hooper for making this design available! I couldn't yet get ATMega16m chips, so I've used ATMega32m chips, and have not managed to get them to work with the .hex files supplied with the open source design. However, I've just managed to get the BMS24 boards working by compiling the .c file in Microchip Studio - but have not had any luck with the EVMS3 boards. When trying to compile, I get a couple of errors - "Common.h: no such file or directory" and "recipe for target 'main.o' failed"

Is anyone able to provide some help? I'm not a software engineer, I only dabble when I have to! Any advice appreciated. Ian, not sure if you are still watching and able to give some quick advice?
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by rhills »

bevanp wrote: Sun, 27 Nov 2022, 15:24 Hi, its taken 6 months of waiting, but I finally have the Zeva pcbs made and now populated with the BMS and ATMega chips. Thanks very much to Ian Hooper for making this design available! I couldn't yet get ATMega16m chips, so I've used ATMega32m chips, and have not managed to get them to work with the .hex files supplied with the open source design. However, I've just managed to get the BMS24 boards working by compiling the .c file in Microchip Studio - but have not had any luck with the EVMS3 boards. When trying to compile, I get a couple of errors - "Common.h: no such file or directory" and "recipe for target 'main.o' failed"

Is anyone able to provide some help? I'm not a software engineer, I only dabble when I have to! Any advice appreciated. Ian, not sure if you are still watching and able to give some quick advice?
Near the top of the .c source code file you're trying to compile you'll see a number of "include" statements. One of those will be something like:

Code: Select all

#include "Common.h"
This means it is trying to include the contents of a file named "Common.h".

You might need to be a bit more specific about which EVMS3 board firmware you're trying to compile. The .c source files I looked at for the Current Sensor and Shunt Interface contained no references to the Common.h header file.

However, in working through the downloads available, I found the Common.h headers file in the download available on the EVMS Monitor V3 web page. If you download that archive and extract it and make sure that the contents of the Firmware folder in the archive are in the search path for your compiler that should resolve this problem at least.

HTH,
Rob Hills
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by zeva »

Hi Bevan, it may be as simple as adding Common.h to the project in Microchip Studio - hopefully it will then include it its build process. (Or you can build via command line and tell the compiler which header files it needs to include, but I forget the exact syntax..)

As Rob mentions, not all of the devices need Common.h, but those that do (EVMS itself, the monitor, etc) will have the file included in the Firmware folder of the design files download.

If you get really stuck, send me your email address via private message, and I can email you EVMS firmware compiled for ATmega32m1.
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by bevanp »

Thanks Ian. Yes, I figured that out and got it to work (I think!) with the EVMS and BMS24 - the LED seems to be doing what it should at least, on the BMS24. Its a steep learning curve for me - last lot of programming I did was writing Visual Basic for Excel back in the 90's!

So now all I need to sort out is the Monitor. I have moved all the header and other .c files into a support directory in Microchip Studio, but it still throwing a heap of errors (400-something) when I try to compile it. Examples:

initialization from pointer to non-enclosed address space
initialization from incompatible pointer type [-Wincompatible-pointer-types]
initializer element is not computable at load time
unknown type name 'prog_char'
variable 's0' must be const in order to be put into read-only section by means of '__attribute__((progmem))'
wide character array initialized from non-wide string


A friend who is an electronics/software engineer has had a look, and is wondering what you used to compile it? He thinks the reason may be the code is using a modern syntax for a few things which is not supported by the default tool chain (compiler) in Microchip (Amtel) Studio?

But then reviewing you reply (much appreciated, by the way!), maybe I should just figure out how to compile it via command line?
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by zeva »

In fact it's probably the other way around - my compiler is a much older version, and prog_char got deprecated, if I remember correctly. And perhaps some other things have changed. (prog_char was needed because the monitor had too many string variables to fit in RAM, so it has to keep them in flash. There may be some new method for doing this, though converting over could be troublesome.) FYI the compiler I used was avr-gcc from WinAVR-20100110, and a very old AVR Studio 4 for the IDE.

If you are using AT90CAN64 chips, you might be able to just use the provided HEX file? I will also add precompiled AT90CAN128 firmware to the design file archive when I get a chance (and perhaps versions for 500kbps CAN bus too), as the ongoing global chip shortage might be forcing people to use substitute parts, and compiling the monitor firmware in particular may be difficult with a different toolchain.
Ian Hooper
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Re: ZEVA BMS with Solis 6kW solar inverter

Post by bevanp »

Ok, thanks very much Ian. I tried the hex file first, but the display didn't seem to do anything except backlight on, and the buzzer was going (3 times then pause, repeat). But maybe I need to check my soldering again... Also, does it need to be connected to the EVMS to display anything?

And while I have your attention and before I forget, do you have any enclosures left you would like to sell, for BMS12, BMS24, EVMS, current sensor, monitor, EVSE?
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