What information does the SolarMax customer hotline need for dealing with a fault?
Please have the name of your devices (device types) and the device number ready and the serial number of the "MaxWeb" data logger or the name of your MaxControl system when you call the SolarMax hotline. The hotline staff will discuss the type of fault with you. In the event of a device fault, we will endeavour to help you as soon as possible.
How do I determine a suitable solar generator and SolarMax inverter configuration?
An inverter is usually over-dimensioned so that it operates less frequently in the unfavourable partial load range. The strength of solar radiation is, after all, not always optimal, and the solar generator therefore rarely delivers its rated output. In order to achieve optimum utilisation of the SolarMax inverter, the solar generator capacity should therefore be slightly higher than the inverter capacity. We recommend (in line with the study by Fraunhofer ISE) an over-dimensioning factor of max. 15%. This value may vary depending on the location and orientation of the plant. More precise information can be obtained using our MaxDesign software, which is available free of charge from the Download section on our website.
I have no experience with transformerless inverters. In the past I used to install inverters with galvanic isolation. Could you tell me how a transformerless inverter is earthed?
With transformerless inverters the electrical connections on the module side must never be earthed , the solar module should be earthed instead. For this reason the modules have to be connected to the equipotential bonding of the inverter. If possible, the earthing should take the form of a star configuration so that the inverter and the modules are connected to the same potential. The device is earthed with an additional earth conductor via a flange connector attached to the outside of the inverter housing.
I use Sputnik’s new internet-based data logger MaxWeb to monitor the data of my photovoltaic plant. The predecessor, MaxComm Basic, had to be connected to a clock timer for the nightly reset. Is this also necessary for MaxWeb?
The data logger MaxWeb performs the nightly reset automatically. So you do not need a clock timer to switch MaxWeb off and on again. In contrast – the data logger only works reliably when it is continuously connected to the electricity grid. Therefore, only switch MaxWeb off via the switch on the front side of the device. Press the switch until the status LED has gone out, and only then unplug the mains plug.
In the documentation to the SolarMax string inverter, I read that one has to connect a second protective earthing conductor before initial operation. Could you please tell me why this is necessary? A protective earthing conductor has already been integrated in the mains plug.
The European Standard EN 50178 stipulates that a second protective earthing conductor, attached to the inverter, has to be provided because the string inverter is not earthed anymore when the mains plug has been removed. Without an additional protective conductor and without an AC connection, the total DC voltage would rest on the housing of the inverter during an earth leakage. The additional, permanently installed protective conductor averts this danger. You can find detailed instructions on the installation of the protective conductor in the installation manual of your SolarMax inverter.
I would like to connect my SolarMax S inverter to a PC. Which settings do I have to carry out so that the inverter and PC can communicate with each other via Ethernet?
For the connection to the PC, use a patch cable if the inverter is connected to a LAN network, a DSL router or a hub/ switch. If, however, you want to connect the PC directly via the Ethernet interface of the inverter, you need a crossover cable. Please pay attention to the fact that the first three number blocks of the IP address of the PC and the inverter have to be identical. The last number block has to be different, however. An example: if the PC has the IP address 220.127.116.11, the numbers of the inverter could be 18.104.22.168. As a rule, one takes the IP address of the PC and correspondingly adjusts the IP address of the inverter in the computer menu “Settings”. Please remember that each number block of an IP address has to be between 1 and 249. Now install the communication software “MaxTalk” on your PC. You can download this programme free-of-charge from the download area of our internet page, www.solarmax.com. Make sure that in the general settings of the software, the box at “MaxComm Basic” is not ticked. Now under the tab “IP Address: Port”, enter the IP address of your inverter, a colon and then the TCP port number (normally the standard is 12345).
What issues do I have to consider when installing several string inverters?
If you wish to install several string inverters the devices should be distributed over the different mains phases. For a system with three SolarMax inverters, for example, the devices should be connected to mains phases L1, L2 and L3 respectively.
Should I install an earth leakage circuit breaker on the AC side?
SolarMax string inverters feature integrated AC/DC sensitive fault current monitoring. From our point of view, an external earth leakage circuit breaker is therefore not required. However, if your utility company stipulates that an additional earth leakage circuit breaker should be installed on the AC side you should of course comply with this requirement.
To monitor my photovoltaic plant, I use the data logger MaxWeb. How can I be sure that the data logger always operates with the current software?
As soon as a new software version is available, MaxWeb downloads it automatically from the SolarMax server and installs it. This happens on Sundays. After the data logger MaxWeb is re-started, the changes become effective. The new start occurs automatically at night. You can, however, also conduct it manually. If your data logger runs with MaxWeb 1.8 or a newer software version, you can also update the programme yourself. In the menu “Basic Settings” of your data logger, click on the tab “General” to find out which software version is installed. Remain in this menu and confirm the option “Update to the Newest Version” in “Settings” by clicking on “OK”. Now your software is up-to-date.
During initial operation of my solar generator, my grid operator asked me for certificates. Can you tell me which certificates are required and where I can obtain them?
You will find certificates, documents of compliance and declarations of conformity in the download area of our internet page, www.solarmax.com. Click on the corresponding country language, and the internet site will list the relevant valid documents.
I would like to install a solar power system with a capacity of 20 kilowatts. The solar modules are aligned uniformly. Should I use a string inverter or a central inverter?
String inverters are generally more economical for systems of this size. However, in order to benefit from the comprehensive MaxControl service package you should choose a SolarMax central inverter, since this package is not available for string inverters. The MaxControl option enables precise remote yield monitoring and ensures optimum availability of your solar installation for up to 20 years. System data analysis reports are sent conveniently via e-mail. In addition, we can ensure the faultless operation of your system based on daily data retrieval. In case of a malfunction we will repair your device free of charge.
I would like to set up an 18-kW solar power system with three SolarMax 6000S inverters. Does it make more sense to install the devices in the attic or in the basement?
The devices of the SolarMax S series feature a sophisticated cooling system. It is therefore possible to install the inverters in the attic. At very high ambient temperatures the inverter will reduce its output for short periods without shutting down. For an optimal yield we therefore recommend that you either install the device in the basement or ensure adequate ventilation in the attic during the summer. As an alternative, you can install two SolarMax 3000S devices (instead of one SolarMax 6000S). In this case, the system can tolerate ambient temperatures of up to 50°C without any reduction in output.
What steps should I take if there is a malfunction in my PV plant?
1. Check the connection to the solar generator and the grid: Has the work been done correctly and completely? Check the relevant connections (cables) and check the installation against the individual steps listed in chapter 2 (Installation) of the manual 2. The integrated graphic display allows you to read out a malfunction diagnosis. 3. If you cannot fix the malfunction with the steps suggested notify our SolarMax hotline.
Who do I contact if I have questions about plant construction and module dimensioning or design?
Visit our website and click on "Contact". The direct-dial hotline numbers are listed on the Contact page for individual countries.
Malfunction messages appear repeatedly on the display of my inverter: "Uac too high", "Frequency too high" and "Frequency too low". What does that mean?
The malfunction messages refer to problems related to the power grid connection. The protective earth or the phase may have a loose contact. Check all your inverter connections through to the feed-in meter. Be sure you check the connections to the protective earth. In rare instances a diesel generator supplying the grid subsection with power during service work may trigger these malfunction messages.
When wiring up the central inverter what must I pay particular attention to?
First, you must measure the appropriate depth for the insulated cable in the connection terminal of the inverter. If you use a 150-mm2 terminal, for example, you should remove 40 mm of insulation. Then crimp the cable end sleeve and connect the cable. Always use a socket end wrench first to attach the terminal before you tighten with a correctly-set torque spanner – for a 150-mm2 terminal, for example, to at least 25 Nm.
I have installed the internet-enabled data logger MaxWeb with Ethernet function. The data logger correctly recognises all the connected devices and saves all measured values. In the SolarMax web portal, however, the data is not displayed. What can the problem be?
Please check if the correct ports are open on your router. For faultless communication between the data logger MaxWeb Ethernet and the SolarMax Webportal, the following ports have to be open: From inside to outside:
Port Protocol Description 7 tcp/udp echo 25 tcp/udp traffic 53 tcp/udp dns 80 tcp hhtp 123 tcp/udp ntp - time sync 9300 tcp/udp vpn
I am operating a photovoltaic system with a string inverter from the new SolarMax S-series. It is important to me to be informed about the current operating status of the system at all times. For this reason I would like to connect a signal lamp on the inverter. Is this possible?
The new S-series string inverters have a potential-free status message contact that you can easily configure via the operating element of your inverter. To connect a signal lamp, you will need a corresponding plug. You can order one free-of-charge from the SolarMax customer hotline.
To design a photovoltaic unit, I have downloaded the software MaxDesign from your internet site. The module model I use is not in the MaxDesign module database. Is it possible to add the solar module oneself?
The module data base of our MaxDesign layout design program is continually updated. If a module type still fails to appear in the database you can easily remedy its absence if you have the corresponding data sheet. Simply go to Settings, select "Administer my modules" and enter the appropriate values. Please remember that the table must be filled in completely. Click OK to save your entry. The module is now available when you design your layout with MaxDesign.