Service Tip #1: Setting the System Time

This post was originally published in 2012. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

by Hans-Josef Hüttges (guest post), , 31 Comments
SMA Service

We would like to support your daily work. Therefore, we start a new series: Service Tips. Amongst others, we give you answers on frequently asked questions.

Today’s tip deals with commissioning: Remember to connect the inverter* to an SMA communication product on the same day as you commission your PV plant.

 

There are several reasons for doing this. Our inverters and communication products are synchronized when you connect them. For example, the inverter uses the time provided by Sunny Explorer, Sunny Beam, or Sunny WebBox (with Bluetooth®).

Important for Service Cases

If this synchronization is performed days or even weeks after commissioning, the inverter may operate on an unspecified system time.
It may not seem detrimental at first; however, we need to think about the future here. If the inverter actually does have a disturbance or operates ineffectively at some point, it is not possible to track back when and why the event took place. It is only possible to reconstruct the actions leading up to defective operation and resolve it easily when the system time is set properly.

Further Information

SMA inverters using a Bluetooth® connection via SMA Bluetooth® Piggy-Back offer a unique feature. These inverters terminate their connection to the communication product when they are no longer in feed-in operation. For this reason, you need to connect the inverter to a communication product at least once a day in order to have the correct system time.

Another good bit of advice: The connection between the inverter and the communication product needs to be re-established if the AC and DC power supply has been interrupted for two or more days.

 

Do you have questions or ideas for us to use as a Service Tip? We are looking forward to your contributions.

*This tip refers to all inverters with a graphic display.

31 Comments
    • Sarah Römsch says:

      Thank you. We are glad that our service tip has been useful. We will certainly continue this series and publish further tips. Of course you can always contact us personally in case of any specific questions or suggestions.
      Best regards,
      Sarah Römsch

      Reply
  1. Lance says:

    Thanks for the info. Can the plant time be set by the homeowner, or does the installer have to make the update? I had to turn my system off for half a day and now the graph doesn’t correctly measure the daily power output because the time is not correct. I think the “day” is resetting in the middle of the day so that at the end of the day the daily production is only a fraction of what it should be.

    Reply
    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Hi Lance,
      Can you tell me the name of your system and the serial number? I’m sure my colleagues can help you.
      Best regards
      Leonie

      Reply
  2. Paul Attard says:

    My Sunny Boy Explorer has recently lost time and I reset it to the system time as I have done a number of times in the last few months. This time round, rather than reverting back to normal operation after accepting the system time, it has been overwriting the previous day’s records, thereby losing the day records on the monthly graph. Also since of today, rather than recording the August record, It has added today’s generation to that of the monthly of July. On the yearly graph, the July record has been lost, and today’s generation together with that of the month of July has been shown on the month of August. Any solution to this problem?

    Reply
    • Sarah Römsch says:

      Hi,
      I’m sorry that you have problems with Sunny Explorer.

      Please make sure that your inverter has the latest firmware version installed and the latest version of Sunny Explorer is used. You find the current versions in our download area.
      Once this has been checked, please try to set the time again and rerun the software.

      Please bear in mind that Sunny Explorer should not be used as a data logger since it has been developed for parameterization purposes in first place.
      If data are to be stored long-therm, we kindly suggest the use of a data logger such as a Sunny Webbox. Here, you find an overview about our products for Monitoring & Control.

      Best regards,
      Sarah

      Reply
      • Paul Attard says:

        Dear Sarah, Referring to my previous communication. Thanks for your help.
        My system consists of a 2.1KW ten panel system which runs on a Sunny Boy inverter model SB 2100TL to which an SMA Bluetooth Piggy Back Plus BTPB-G3 had been subsequently added.
        I have been browsing through the help document of my software version 1.07.23 and I find that sunny Explorer does not support the monthly and yearly graphic display unless the software version 02.00.00.R is installed.

        Is this software suitable for my system? Where can I get a copy of it?

        Thanks for your help.

        I appreciate any further help you can give me.

        Regards

        Paul Attard

      • Sarah Römsch says:

        Dear Paul,
        Yes, indeed. You have to update the firmware on the BTPB communication interface in order to use Sunny Explorer properly.
        Here is the link:
        http://files.sma.de/dl/18457/SMA_Bluetooth_Piggy-Back_2.00.10.R.up2

        The update can be performed via Sunny Explorer.

        Nonetheless, we kindly remind you that there are better ways to back up your data by using an appropriate data logger as we mentioned previously.
        Have a nice day.
        Best regards,
        Sarah

  3. Dennis Baumber says:

    I cannot adjust a 10 minute time error on my Beam-BT-11-GR1 Serial number 0142011718 this unit is 3 years 8 months old, please can you advise what to do as it does not retain my input?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Leonie Blume
      Leonie Blume says:

      Dear Dennis,

      Unfortunately we do not quite understand, what setting you are trying to adjust exactly.
      If possible, we kindly ask you to contact your Service Line and provide a picture so they can assist you further in this regard.

      Please make also sure that the latest firmware version is already installed on your Sunny Beam device.
      To download a new firmware version, please visit us at http://www.SMA.de

      Kind regards,
      Leonie

      Reply
  4. Adrian Walmsley says:

    My Sunny Beam BEAM-BT-11 device was dropped a couple of days ago. The batteries came out in the incident.
    I replaced the batteries but I am having trouble reconnecting to my inverter.
    It shows the message Time Setting: “Due to the interruption of the energy supply the time must be newly set”

    I can set the time and the Sunny Beam will retrieve the Power and the E-Total from the inverter.
    E-Today shows as 0.

    But after the Sunny Beam display switches off it loses the time setting.

    Have I missed some stage in the setup, or is the Sunny Beam permanently damaged?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Adrian Walmsley says:

      I may have answered my own question.
      I upgraded the Sunny Beam firmware.
      Old level: 1.00.7.R
      New level: 1.02.0.R

      And now it seems to be working fine again.
      (maybe a factory reset would also have got it working again)

      Reply
    • Julia Stunz says:

      Dear Adrian,

      As a matter of fact, your Sunny Beam unit could have been permanently damaged in the incident.
      Nevertheless, we would like to recommend a reset of your Sunny Beam unit so you could perform the commissioning again.
      Please make also sure that the newest firmware version is installed on the device. You will find it at our website http://www.SMA.com in the download area.

      Please note, that all data will be deleted irreversible once the unit is set to factory settings.
      If the issue persists, it might be possible that your Sunny Beam device has suffered a defect while falling.

      Best regards,
      Julia

      Reply
  5. Edward Carter says:

    I have a Sunny Beam monitor which is 4 years old. I have been uploading my data happily to my Macbook Pro happily until recently, when it is not recognised by the computer. I am guessing that the SMA drivers have not been updated for latest Mac OS (El Capitan). Would this be right, and if so when and where can I find the driver? Thanks

    Reply
    • Julia Stunz says:

      Hello Edward,
      We have forwarded your request directly to the department in charge for further processing. Please note that this process may take some time.
      We also would like to recommend you to contact the Apple Support regarding the update. Perhaps they will be able to assist further.

      Regards,
      Julia

      Reply
      • Edward Carter says:

        Hi Julia
        Thanks for your reply. I have already contacted Apple support about El Capitan not recognising the Sunny Beam, and they said it was because the driver was not updated by SMA yet.
        I look forward to the reply from the relevant department.
        Thanks again
        Edward

      • Edward Carter says:

        Dear Julia
        Has the department responsible responded about updating the software for OSX El Capital please?
        Regards
        Edward

      • Kim Darby says:

        I am having the same problem with my Mac (El Capitan) not recognising my Sunny Beam device. I urgently need to get to the error report data. Can you help?

      • Annika Linke
        Annika Linke says:

        Hi Kim, please contact the service line because we could not help you with this less information. Usually the MAC present Sunny Beam as an external device. We cannot say in your case why it doesn’t work. Please call +49 561 9522-2499. Thanks. Annika

      • Edward Carter says:

        Annika

        I still have not resolved this problem with the Sunny Beam not being recognised by my Mac. Is there a number in the UK that I can call please?

      • Annika Linke
        Annika Linke says:

        Hi Edward, I am sorry to hear that. Please call our Service Line in UK +44 1908 304899.
        Regards, Annika

  6. Ron says:

    Hi, I have one stp 12000tl unit installed for 12 kWp system. When I logged in with sunny explorer to download the daily and monthly file, I noticed that there is a huge different between the energy value for daily file (13187kWh) and monthly file (53760kWh). The july monthly file is showing all zero without any value recorded. May I know is there any settings or parameter I need to change for this issue?

    Reply
  7. Krishna chaudhary says:

    Hi,
    we are using SMA STP 25 (String Inverter) for our 3 MW SOLAR Plant, and we have NOCC SYSTEM for monitoring the individual inverter’s performance, but problem is with inverters is that they stop getting reset at 12 am. so at the next day in our monitoring system the previous day value get’s reflect. please provide a sulution.
    Regards

    Reply
    • Jennifer Rößler
      Jennifer Rößler says:

      Hello Krishna,
      please contact our Service Line. Our colleagues will assist you in a personal dialog. By selecting your country on our website you can find the right phone number to call.
      Kind regards, Jennifer

      Reply
  8. Bahman says:

    Hi,
    We are using sma stp20000 tl30. recently its interface graph has shown only one column at the end right of graph area and nothing else. knocking on it does not work. webconnect transfer inverter data just in time without any history in sunny portal. but device work perfectly.
    Could you please help me what its problem would be and how I can solve it?
    thanks

    Reply
  9. Leon Berard says:

    I have a SMA 7000 US SN 2001543605 it is used, What tests if any can I use to find out if this unit is good before I connect the DC input? I have the 240V connected the read out and LED’,s are off.

    Reply
    • Carolyn Schlosser
      Carolyn Schlosser says:

      Hi Leon,

      Please contact your installer. He knows you system and the local conditions the best and will help you. Otherwise you can contact our Service Line for help.

      Sunny regrads,
      Carolyn

      Reply
  10. Cameron Backus says:

    Hi, I have a SB5.0-1AV-40.
    It is not connected to the internet as it is remote. I can connect to it to check it’s status using my phone and entering 192.168.12.3 into the web adress. The time is out by twelve hours so the graphs are not in the middle of the screen. How do I set the correct time?
    Thanks,
    Cameron

    Reply

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