question

Kevin Windrem avatar image
Kevin Windrem asked

Generator overview enhancements

I am working on an alternate generator overview page. The biggest change is the addition of control over the auto start enable/disable. Turning on the automatic start/stop logic is fairly deep in the menu system: Settings / Generator start/stop / Auto start functionality. If the generator is running due to an automatic condition such as low SOC, you can't stop the generator from the overview page. So the addition of auto start enable/disable on the overview menu makes it easier to get to the state you want without digging into the menus.

I also added voltage, and frequency to the generator AC power tile since these are essential in evaluating the health of the generator power.

There are other formatting changes as well.

Previously, some enhancements to the generator overview were included in my GeneratorConnector package. But these recent additions are part of GuiMods since they interact with other GUI modifications.

screen-shot-2022-07-08-at-104116-pm.png


I'm looking for some feedback to the changes I've made. Currently, the changes are in a beta test phase.

You can download and install from GitHub:

https://github.com/kwindrem/GuiMods/tree/beta

Or you can set PackageManager to download and install from the beta branch:

Go into Active Packages, then select GuiMods, then change the tag/branch to "beta".

Note that this beta also includes a rework to the Grid Parallel overview enhancements to support new DC devices like alternators, wind generators, etc. So don't be surprised if some of the other overviews look different than you are used to.

Thanks for your feedback and comments.

Generatorgui mods
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9 Answers
cleaver avatar image
cleaver answered ·

Is it possible to change the runtime meters. day/hrs to straight hrs. Or change the daily runtime to resettable service meter?

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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem commented ·
What is the actual need/want here? Are you looking for something that would give you an indication of time to service the generator?

I'm not sure which of the three reported times have value. Can you please comment?

Accumulated time does not have a reset but one could be added. I could look into adding a second accumulated time that is resettable, leaving the existing one to not allow reset.

Again, what information are you looking for?

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cleaver avatar image cleaver Kevin Windrem commented ·
Sorry Kevin I should have been more clear.

Total generator time changed to straight hrs. Not in days/hrs. This might be the easiest change.

If possible completely change the total runtime to a adjustable count down timer for service intervals. Most generators have hour meters built in.

The daily meter is a waist of space as far as I’m concerned. The only time I can see it being useful is when you can’t hear it running. But if the RV screen is set to display. Then it would be nice to display a service timer.

I hope this makes sense for a lot of people that have RV setups

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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem cleaver commented ·

It isn't clear to me what Victron intended for the various timers. And without that understanding, I hesitate to make any changes to the existing behavior.


Venus accumulates time when it THINKS the generator is running. But the generator might not be running even if the Venus relay is closed. Or visa-versa. My guess is these were a left-over from the Fisher-Panda generator interface which most likely gets actual run data from the generator.

Proposal:

Add a "service interval" setting to generator settings.

Add a "service interval reset" to the generator settings menu.

If the service interval is zero, display the accumulated time in the generator overview.

If it is other than zero, replace "Accumulated" time with "Service in" followed by the time in hours, counting down from the service interval then after it reaches zero.

At zero change the cable to "Service Overdue" then an hour number counting up.

I would also add a mechanism in the generator settings menu to set the accumulated time to an arbitrary value so it can match the generator's hour meter.

Rather than replacing the accumulated time with the Service time, the Current Time with the Service time, or maybe alternate between them if the generator is running.

Comments please.

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cleaver avatar image cleaver commented ·

Kevin.

I have been using the guimods 6.0 and when I set the service interval in generator settings. Is it supposed to count down. Or do I put in in the next service hours?

I put in 60hrs and (gender has 632hrs). Do I set service to 692hrs? To have a 60hr runtime?

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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem cleaver commented ·
The service interval is independent of the generator run time. If you set a 60 hour interval, the service time will count down from 60 until it reaches zero then begin counting up to indicate service is past due by the indicated amount. A separate "service reset" exists in the menus so when you perform service you can reset the counter to again count down from the preset value.


Setting the service interval is independent of the reset. So if you have it set for 40 hours and have 10 hours remaining, resetting the service interval to 60 hours would then show 30 hours until next service. If you set it for 20 hours, the service timer will indicate service is past due by 10 hours.

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cleaver avatar image cleaver Kevin Windrem commented ·
My generator page displays correct accumulated hrs. But when I set the service in hrs. It never changes.

Ie: set at 60. Display shows 60, however it never counts down.

I searched in menus for service reset. I can not find it in generator start/stop menu. Only reset there is daily runtime counter.

Not sure what I could possibly have done to mess this up. GuiMods 6.4 is installed. I did have generator connector installed but found it was no longer needed so I removed it and it’s inactive.

Thank you for everything that you have done with your project. It really has been a serious improvement.

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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem cleaver commented ·
Found the bug. Thanks for reporting. Fixed in v6.6

GeneratorConnector should be automatically removed when installing GuiMods as GuiMods contains all the functionality of GeneratorConnector.

The controls for the service interval can be found at the bottom of the following menu:

Device List / Settings / Generator start/stop / Settings.

Note that I may not catch postings here regarding bugs. I will be notified if you open an issue in the GitHub repo issues section.

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cleaver avatar image cleaver Kevin Windrem commented ·
Thanks Kevin. I will post there regarding anything I find. But the rest is working flawless
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Paul B avatar image
Paul B answered ·

Kevin had a install today using the Victron ve.BMS MODULE with this installed in the network you can no longer turn autostart on/off or even just start or stop the generator from the main page selection. I am using the standard release software. You can still turn relay 2 on and off

In the below picture Auto is enabled , but you cant disable it here nor does manual start work

turn it on and off under the gen autostart menu works fine.

1657541378516.png


1657541378516.png (17.0 KiB)
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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem commented ·
What Venus OS version? What GuiMods version?

Victron made a change recently in the paths to the generator dbus parameters. This was addressed in GuiMods v5.30-32. The grayed out buttons suggest the dbus parameters the menu is looking for aren't valid.

I tested this on v2.90~14 and v2.73 with GuiMods beta v6.0~5 and v5.35 and it works fine. But running GuiMods prior to v5.30 on Venus OS 2.90 could be a problem. It would install but exhibit the behavior you are seeing.

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Paul B avatar image
Paul B answered ·

PV screen layout needs some adjustment

1657608253185.png

1657608149404.png


1657608149404.png (50.6 KiB)
1657608253185.png (23.5 KiB)
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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem commented ·

Which Venus OS version?

Things look OK on my systems.

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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem commented ·
What is the status of this issue? I can't reproduce here.
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jwfrary avatar image
jwfrary answered ·

hi kevin,

i really like your latest mods to the generator page. just installed the beta, we will see how it goes!


I wondered if we could squeeze one extra detail into the overview it would be great if alternator data could be shown, or even DC charge sources excluding mppt as a separate box?

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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem commented ·
Support for alternators is in the beta. You need an alternator that connects to the GX device or you an use a shunt as a DC meter configured for 'alternator' and it should appear.

Alternator won't appear on the "GuiMods Simple" or AC Coupled overviews but will on the DC Coupled overview.

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jwfrary avatar image jwfrary Kevin Windrem commented ·
Hi Kevin, thanks for the reply, OK! But how do I go about displaying the dc coupled overview?

I have three shunts in the system, alternator, Service loads and then the main shunt as mvader laid out the wiring when the feature came out.

The mods been running great in the short time since I installed it, thanks for all your effort on this one!

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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem jwfrary commented ·
All GuiMods customizations are in the Settings / Display & Language / GuiMods menu. The ReadMe has details.
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jwfrary avatar image jwfrary Kevin Windrem commented ·
Sorry yes I should have looked there.


I did find it, but the boxes are grey for the dc things? And alternotor is shown in grey as well, the shunt is configured right, so I'm not sure if that's working as intended?

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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem jwfrary commented ·

There's an option for inactive tiles to hide/dim/show full opacity, but don't think they'e ever turn gray. I recommend "hide" unless you don't like the empty space.

Check the devices list and see if the shunt is appearing as an alternator. If it's not there, I can't display it.

The shunt must be plugged into the GX device via a VE.Direct cable. There is no bluetooth interface between the shunt and GX device.

Try rebooting the GX device.

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Kevin Windrem avatar image
Kevin Windrem answered ·

A new beta of GuiMods is available (v6.0~7).

This beta incorporates functionality from GeneratorConnector making that package obsolete.

An enhanced Generator overview is available. Part of this includes a "service interval" for the generator. Also, times have been reformatted as hours to sync better with generator run meters and maintenance activities.

I have also fixed the bugs reported by Paul B.

This will hopefully be the last beta before release so give it a good look over and provide comments ASAP. Thanks.

Note, these changes are NOT incorporated in the GeneratorConnector package.

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gr0mit avatar image
gr0mit answered ·

Hi Kevin

Thanks so much for your Guimods additions. I'm wondering about additional tweaks as per my setup.

I have a single Multiplus II 5 KVA which takes its input from the grid for ESS. The Victron CT is on the grid input. I have a secondary fuse board for 'creitial loads' fed from the Vitctron's AC-out-1 terminals. On the Input to the Victron, I have a generator transfer switch which enables me to charge the batteries from the generator, and supply the critical loads. To change the mode of operation from 'Grid' to 'Generator' is a right faff from the GUI - have to go to settings -> System Setup -> AC Input 1.

What would be really handy is to have a quick 'generator' button that does the following:

1) Sets AC1 input to 'generator' instead of 'grid'

2) Operates one of the relays which I will use to switch from the CT on the grid input to a CT on the generator input.

3) Optionally set a max current limit when on generator.

Am I barking up the right tree with this? Or is there a different way of doing it that I've missed?

or maybe when the generator is set to 'running' via your Generator Control addon, these things could be optionally toggled?

Cheers

Tim Robinson

Basingstoke, UK

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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem commented ·
I see this request a lot and have put requested an enhancement from Victron but so far no indication they are working on it.

The right way to do this is to take a signal from the external transfer switch via a digital input that would trigger the logic used in Quattro to switch between AC 1 and 2 inputs.

Others have suggested that I could use the "generator running" digital input however this could confuse things if the generator was running but the grid was the active AC source.

The best I can come up with is:

  • Add a digital input to read the state of an external transfer switch
  • Add two additional input current limits: one for grid and one for generator
  • Switch the input current limit between the two additional settings based on the external transfer switch state
  • Switch the AC Input source between grid and generator based on the external transfer switch state.

I believe switching the input source between grid and generator is enough to disable grid feed-in but if not additional settings would need to be stored and switched between to prevent feed-in to the generator.

In your system, switching the CT between sources could be done with the same closure from the transfer switch used to notify the GX device that it's selected the generator.

Your suggestion to do this all manually with a "generator active" button would use the same logic. Such a button might also manually control the transfer switch.

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gr0mit avatar image gr0mit Kevin Windrem commented ·

Hi Kevin

Thanks for your detailed reply. I see there is a thread that is basically asking exactly the same, via Modbus, without success.

https://community.victronenergy.com/questions/134855/change-ac-input-1-from-grid-to-generator-using-nod.html

Is it not possible to get guimods to change the setting from 'grid' to 'generator' ? Surely if it can be done buried deep in the normal menus, it could be tweaked in guimods? In my simple mind it should just be a matter of setting some global variable to the right value? Or is it more difficult than that?!

BR

Tim

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fguiot avatar image fguiot gr0mit commented ·

If I read correctly the request, this is exactly what I achieved with a simple mod: https://community.victronenergy.com/questions/166788/solution-displaying-correctly-the-ac-source-genera.html

With this, the AC source (either Grid or Generator) is correctly displayed on the GUI, using an ATS and a GX Digital input to drive the correct display on the GUI.

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Kevin Windrem avatar image
Kevin Windrem answered ·

I created a new package called ExtTransferSwitch which does what I describe above.

https://github.com/kwindrem/ExtTransferSwitch

I created a new digital input type to read the state of an external transfer switch. This input switches between two sets of input current limits and changes the input source (type) from grid (or shore) to generator. Current limits are set via the normal mechanisms. So while the transfer switch is "on grid", the input current limit adjustments in the GUI change the grid current limit. While the transfer switch is "on generator" those same adjustments change the generator current limit.

You can add this to PackageManager for download and automatic updates with the kwindrem:latest for user and branch.

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derrick thomas avatar image derrick thomas commented ·
Can this be installed through setup helper? I have auto download and install set on but I don't find this package under the inactive list of packages. How do I do this?
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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem derrick thomas commented ·

Yes. Go to PackageManager / Inactive Packages and select new

Enter the package name: ExtTransferSwitch

Enter GitHub user: kwindrem

Enter GitHub branch or tag: latest

Tap Proceed

The package should then appear under Active packages and should auto download and install.


BTW, this is the way to install any new package. I generally update the default active list only when other SetupHelper changes occur. (Actually, this is the first new package since I implemented PackagerManager.)

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Kevin Windrem avatar image
Kevin Windrem answered ·

I realized there was something missing from the implementation I did yesterday: If grid was present, the generator might still run.

I added Do not run generator when AC1 is in use to the changes made when switching to generator and restored when switching back to grid. If you set this flag while on grid, it will be turned off when switching to generator so the generator's conditions can be evaluated allowing the generator to start if needed (e.g., due to low SOC).

When switching back to grid, the user's selection is restored. To prevent the generator from running due to one of the programmed conditions while on grid, set this parameter to on.

This change is in ExtTransferSwitch v2.0 available now.

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derrick thomas avatar image
derrick thomas answered ·

Awesome addition. Works like a charm. Way to go.

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