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Alistair Warburton avatar image

Set generator as running when AC1 is active.

Hi folks,

I have AC1 set as generator input and it works as expected, bar for a limit addressed on another post.

I would like to track generator run hours but I do not have auto start set up yet as this involves a modification of the generator.

I currently start and stop the gen manually, which works for me right now, and would like AC1 to set the generator start and stop flag which would then log run hours for me.

I apriciate that its litterally the reverse of what would typically be required.

Is this possible? If not is there any way to build and run a script to make it possible? Could I build a custom helper of example. or is there perhaps a helper that runs script?

Multypluss 48/5000/70 & CCGX.

Cheers,

Al

Generatorsmart solar set-up help
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I tried adding a helper to set the internal flag when it sees AC1.

ThenI added the generator start helper to run the generator when the internal flag is set, with minimal delay times and no other constreignts...

That seemed logical but It didnt work and now I have both AC and generator showing up in VRM...

If anyone wants to tell me how silly I am being, and why, I would very much apriciate the learning opertunity...!

4 Answers
Kevin Windrem avatar image
Kevin Windrem answered ·

There's a potential solution IF you have digital inputs and you can connect something from the generator to a digital input that indicated the generator is running:

https://github.com/kwindrem/GeneratorConnector

This patch monitors the digital input and brings the Venus generator MANUAL run state into agreement with the digital input.

The problem with monitoring AC input to detect generator run state: there's only one voltage detection circuit and it monitors the selected AC input. So if the Multi/Quatro is on AC In 2, the state of AC In 1 can't be determined.


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alan avatar image
alan answered ·

You can simply run a hybrid genset report for the period you would like the data from. In the reports section on VRM

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Alistair Warburton avatar image
Alistair Warburton answered ·

I have been doing some reading and I think assistants, I was calling them helpers, should have checked, should do the job... However I cant get it to work.

I am trying to set the generator start assistant to run the generator all the time in the hope that that I can then modify that relay assignment with a programmable relay assistant, sensing AC1.
I have simply set very low AC load limits, assuming that will always start the generator.

I have to have the CCGX relay assigned to 'generator' in order to get the generator status screen to show up so I am assuming that this sets the relay assignment.

I cant get it to run let alone stop. I have tried just a single generator assistant to exclude the possibility that I am messing up the logic, thus far nothing I have done has worked!

I am obviously missing the point somewhere... Specific questions...

With the CCGX relay set to 'generator' how do I get it to start? (Close the relay)
Is it the Generator assistant I need or something else?
If it is the assistant, which relay is it?
Assuming I can get it to start in the first place, can I modify it back to stop with the programmable relay assistant and if so will that mark it as stopped of just open the relay?

Sorry if I am being stupid, this looked easy but I have failed miserably so clearly don't understand something important.

Any and all suggestions welcome and I would like to take the opportunity to better understand assistants rather than just addressing this one issue.

Cheers,
Al


8 comments
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Well I found the settings to run the generator in the CCGX, and yes I was being silly.

That alters my questions a little...

Can I modify/override this with a relay assistant?

If not, and the CCGX setting is preventing the generator assistant from working, is there a way to display run hours in the console/VRM when it is being controlled by some other relay and the CCGX generator control is disabled?

Al

Assistants run in the Multi/Quatro and control it's relay. There's no way to have the assistant control the CCGX.

The generator logic in the CCGX is fairly sophisticated and may do what you want, however sensing AC input is not factored in. The main reason is there is only one AC input sensor in Multi/Quatro and it is on the active input. The state of the inactive AC input can't be determined. And there are no digital inputs on the CCGX.

OK that all makes sense... It hadnt occured to me that the assistants were only acting on the Multi...

It probably should have because it explains a great deal but I missed it none the less.

I dont have a grid so my active input is always the generator if that helps any.

Based on your responce I now see that the run hours I was looking at are counted by the CCGX.

I thought what I wanted was simple, in fact I origionally expected the CCGX 'Detect generator...' to do it.

I hoped, even expected, the genertor run ours to increment whenever the generator input was active, because the unit is, for now, manual start.

If I set the auto start so it expects the generator to be on it counts runtime weather the input is active or not.

The generator not detected alarm works so the CCGX knows when it is running, or not, but only sems to count hours when it should be running as oppose o when it actually is.

I wasnt expecting that at all. It seems odd to me there must be loads of folk with manual start generators.

I will have to pull my finger out and automate the genset itsslf.

BTW, I agree the generator control options in the CCGX look great but for the issue above.

Thanks for the info, its a big help even if it only confirms that I am barking uo the wrong tree entirly... adgain!

It's been a while since I looked into the generator stuff. I made some changes to allow a digital input to set/clear the manual run and to modify the run time accumulation based on that input. Unfortunately, the CCGX doesn't have any digital inputs. They do exist on the Venus GX and on the Cerbo GX.

My work so far is at:

https://github.com/kwindrem/GeneratorConnector

I gave up on integrating AC detection to provide the same interaction when I discovered there's no detector on both AC inputs. It does seem possible to customize the logic to do so if there's only a generator input.

I am not sure I am willing to mess with the OS, it isnt that I have an issue with the aproach, far from it, but given that my system is mission critical and I dont know what I am doing...

I would be deluding myself if I sugested learning and then modifying code running on an OS that is new to me was going to be easy or mistake free. I will go there at some point, probably.

For now, I am going to control the generator with a PLC anyway so I may as well have that talk to the CCGX using modbus and impliment literally whatever I want.

If run hours are not writable, the manual run switch is, according to the modbus register sheet, so I expect to be able to operte that remotely.

I have been meddling with NodeRed, which looks very useful. The UI builder is a little clunky, without getting into an aditional web server and HTML, but other than that I like it. and

I intend to use it for home automation, with a load of IOT stuff, so adding an energy control/monitoring screen, VRM esque, makes sense.

The PLC can handle anything critical with NodeRed acting as a non system critical controller and HMI.

I could even plan generator operation based on the weather forcast!... Baby steps first though.

The help is much apriciated... Great info, thanks.

I had a look at the work I did previously and it brought back a number of issues that tend to make run time accumulation not all that reliable. This hinges primarily on a need for an accurate indicator of "generator is running or not running".

Unless you plan to have Venus control the generator, I don't see any real advantage to using it to display run hours.

I think, having learned from you, that I am likely to agree. It seems like a large number of hoops to be jumping through to do wat is essentally a basic task.

I want to track both kWh and run time, irrespective of load so the origional plan, using a PLC, is looking like a better, or at least better defined, plan right now.

It remains to be seen how accurate the data available over modbus is but I dont see why that would be incorrect.

I have a spare Carlo Gavazzi EM2696, modbus enabled, somwhere, that may come in handy and it will be interesting to see what it has to say about THD.

PLC it is then, thanks for all the help.

I do suggest you look into generator control FROM Venus (CCGX). The conditions you can set for to start and stop the generator are vast and you'd need to do a lot of programming to collect the data Venus has at hand to make the decisions. You may find it unnecessary to manually control the generator with the correct rules set up on the CCGX. If so, then there's reason to reconsider mods to Venus to handle sensing generator running condition via power line monitoring.

Make sure you avoid the "two bosses" situation though as the feedback INTO Venus from the generator is limited.

There are also generator controllers available for a few hundred dollars that can manage the generator: restarts, cool down, over temp/low oil pressure, etc. These are things Venus can't do currently.

Alistair Warburton avatar image
Alistair Warburton answered ·

Thats interesting, but more than a little scairy...

Mucking about, blindly, with random bits of tech is one thing but I am not sure I am ready to get in amoungst the Venus OS, with root access, on my mission critical CCGX...

I just checked the modbus registers that are exposed and writable and manual gen start is one of them. I hadnt apriciated untill you pointed mr to that article that there was more than 1 control point.

I was planning on automating the generator anyway, although that will need physical mods, and will be managed by a small PLC.

Modbus TCP is easy to impliment directly on the PLC and will be how I get system info so making sure the run timer is active should be relativly easy.
I may even be able to use the soft button, on the CCGX, to manual start if needs be.

I apriciate the help, thanks.

Do you know why the helper aproach didnt work, it seemed logical to me?
Just curious...

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