question

Alistair Warburton avatar image

Generator running indication? (manual start... for now)

Hi folks,

New to all this, stem less than 24 hrs online.

Easysolar 5000, BYD 13.8

Seems to be working well but not showing generator running when charging.

I am assuming that is because I am not starting the gen from the system, yet, but I wanted to know if I can get it to recognise when the gen is running base on the AC state.

I am off grid so there is no AC unless the gen is on.

If there is no setting for this, is ther an aux input I can configure to do it?

MultiPlus Quattro Inverter ChargerGeneratoroffgrid
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5 Answers
Alistair Warburton avatar image

OK... Well I did a bit more digging and essentilly tested your suggestion before I read it.

Hooked up a Modbus client, just using my android tablet for now, and found I could read various bits, as advertised, more or less.

I am used to industrial Modbus TCP so the organisation seems a little strange but not entirly alian.

The Modbus registers doc isnt clear, register 3500, Manual Start, is listed as part of com.victronenergy.generator, which dosnt have a device ID mapping but respond just fine when addressed as part of ....system.

The upshot is if you set ....system.3500 to 1 the generator starts in manual and the counter runs.

.....system.806 is the CCGX relay state, which I currently have configured as the generator start, and this is toggling as it should in response to the run signal.

The upshot is that I agree, that an external box is probably a good call, with a PLC being my prefrence right now but only because they are a solid option.

I understand roughly how MQTT works and was in fact planning on installing a broker to handle some ESP8266 automation. However I am not familer with the setup yet... Is there a topic list somwhere or are the topics the same as dbus... whatever that is?

If not what is dbus, should I be looking at it too?

I am going to have questions RE BYD data over whatever but I think that is another thread.

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Nice. As you discovered, you can write that value and it’s equivalent to toggling it in the UI.

I haven’t actually used Modbus, because I was new to both and MQTT seemed a lot more modern and easy. I believe you will find the MQTT “topic hierarchy” easier to navigate instead of having to look up random values in a register table. It mirrors the dbus hierarchy, which you can view by logging into your Venus and running dbus-spy.

Hop over to modifications and review the existing mqtt material there and on the wiki first. Then, you can post any follow-up questions you have there, since you’re officially off the supported space for this community area, then.

Alistair Warburton avatar image

Daniel, thanks, yes I have it configured like that.

The generator is not set up to start automatically but when I start it manually the charging works as it should and I get appropriate AC data.

I do not get an indication that the generator is running.

If I tell the generator to start on the CCGX, obviously it dosnt, but runtime then clocks up.

With the AC sense on, the generator called and the generator stopped I get an alarm as I should however having just told me the generator has failed to run th system continues to clock up generator runtime !

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Hi @Alistair Warburton

I think I didn't fully understand your question, things seem to get lost in translation..

I was talking about recording generator energy production in the VRM logs, but you were talking about generator 'runtime' I gather now?

I don't know if that can be counted if you use a manual start.

Alistair Warburton avatar image Alistair Warburton Daniël Boekel (Victron Energy Staff) ♦♦ ·

OK Thanks... I guessed as much.

I think there are going to be a few bits I want to do, nice to have as opposed to fundamentals, ans as I dont want to go messing about with the OS and risking breaking something I think MQTT or modbus will be the way to go.

SO...

can I start the generator via MQTT or modbus?

I dont mean can I switch the relay, unless that also marks the generator as running, I want to perform the same action that either a button press or the start stop assistent would, so that runtime is counted.

I am comfortable doing the external MQTT/Modbus stuff, what I havent found yet is the command/registers.

I have got a copy of the modbus register sheet but havent got any of it to work yet.

Not knowing what to look for isnt helping but to be fair I havent spent much time on it yet and when I have I will likely be able to search more effictivly as I get famillear with the terms.

Thanks for the help so far.

Daniël Boekel (Victron Energy Staff) avatar image

Hi @Alistair Warburton

Did you try configuring the AC input you use for the generator as 'generator'?





generator will also be seen on VRM.


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Alistair Warburton avatar image

Oh... Odd but I guess it is what i is.

Thanks Ben.

How is runtime calculated then, from the generator call?

How dose that work... If it didnt start when called would runtime be clocked up?

I have the detect setting on so I should get an alarm if a call is made but no input is detected it will be interesting to see what happens.

Is ther a way to build a custom assistent? I am comfortable coding but I would need some pointers RE IDE/langusge and an idea about resources/objects/API, whatever.

OK well thats just strange... Tested... WHY? who thought that was clever!

Runtime dose clock up whenever a start signal is on, manual or otherwise.

The detect works, in that I got an alarm 5 mins after setting the generator to run and not physically starting it.

Code it is then...

This is just silly, literally all the bits but nothing in the way of even basic inteligence... go figure.


I / we must be missing something...

Go on somone make me look silly, and happy not to have to start messing with code.


Al

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Yes, the counter is fairly basic and pretty much just triggered by the start-stop management options you have played with.

If the generator gets "out of sync" with the start-stop module, for example if you start or stop it manually, the module will just proceed on with its counting time. If you have a single-pulse start and stop command for your generator that is identical, like mine, it will then be in the wrong state forever, stopping the generator when it should be starting it, and vice versa.

The logic is pretty complex with all of its triggers and options, but the state management is fairly simple and you might even say "crude."

You could write some software to watch the power coming in and, above some threshold, go in and set the generator status to running. You can do that off-device entirely through MQTT or on-device via dbus.

ben avatar image

I don't believe there is a built-in, easy way to do this, no.

It's technically possible, but you'd have to write code on the device to do it yourself.

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