Solar Charge Controller monitoring?

Is it possible to somehow integrate solar power charge controllers in a vera setup? Say, do not light certain lights based on charge? I see people with power meters in their setups, but nothing at all about windmills or solar farms and device loads. What am I missing?

What do you mean by charge? Do you mean CURRENT amount of Watts generated ? The total generated power during the day ? Or charge as in you have a battery system?

Depending on your solar inverter, you can interface via IP to vera. You can also attach a power meter to your solar main wires where it feeds your main breaker and monitor that via Zwave or IP depending on the system.

If you have a Smart Meter with a HAN gateway or you put a power meter on your main feeds coming in to your home, you can compare the solar vs. utility power using power arithmetic plugin to trigger functions based on values.

I would also like to measure the output of my solar panels in Vera to use it in scenes.

I have a Eastron Pulse counter (SDM220D) that measures the output of my solar panels.
The pulse counter is connected to a benext Eastron modbus to zwave converter (ZW485), in order to send the data to my Vera Edge. However, this doesn’t work. The counter in Vera always remains at 0.000kWh.

Does anyone have a similar setup working?

It’s called a “Solar charge controller.” It is aptly named. (Although it can handle any kind of power input, it’s mostly used for solar panels) I know some have IP connectivity, but I can’t seem to find out exactly what good that connectivity is.

Do you have some suggestions for good energy meters to monitor power consumption? Is there a way to get the power consumption out of these “SMART” switches?

Curious about this as well. We’re having solar installed this week and trying to figure out the best way to automate our power usage to get the most out of our system.

Interesting. It seems a charge controller is related to battery systems. At least from a cursory Google search. Regardless, if you are looking to track your production and consumption, there are several ways of getting the data.

  1. From an API or some software that interfaces with your inverters via IP, BT, or Serial
  2. Using some sort of power monitoring system that clamps over the outputs from the solar system going towards your main power box. .
    I use an older Ted5000 to log monitor the power being produced by my solar.

From the main utility, I have a smart meter and use an Rainforest Eagle Gateway to talk Zigbee to the meter, and provides a web interface for me to monitor.

You can also use another TED MTU input if you do not have access to your smart meter data. You would install clamps around your main feeds entering your home. HIRE AN ELECTRICIAN SINCE THIS IS BEFORE YOUR BREAKER AND LIKELY FATAL IF YOU SCREW UP WHILE INSTALLING IT.

Both are polled by Vera and processed via Power Arithmetic plugin to provide Vera with almost real time power generation and consumption. That metric can be used for PLEG rules or other logic.

I also feed both in to which provides a terrific cloud based service to track and report all sort of interesting metrics on your solar and consumption.

As for your other question, yes the Smart outlets that have the metering capability absolutely report power usage in to Vera. This provides a good way of getting per -device usage. I avoid the ERGY plugin as historically it caused way more problems . However, Datamine , AultUI, and others can all graphically provide info logged locally from these outlets.

I heard that a few people use this, Aeon Labs AEDSB09104ZWUS Aeotec Z-Wave Smart Energy Monitor Meter to monitor power. Thought it might help.

For most solar installations the device that converts the DC from the solar panels to the household ac systems is called an inverter. I guess this is what the charge controller could be.
I agree with the previous post that a charge controller refers to a battery charging system (which is still a possibility but unlikely).
Whatever you have, I suggest that an ideal place to add control based on power production is in electric water heating. Turn it on when solar energy is high and turn it off when it is not. Water heating uses a lot of power so only controlling just this one device is easily worth it.
I did not have home automation in my last house which did have solar panels but I still used timers and light sensors to control the water heater and it saved me a fortune.

Ok… a charge controller is a device that sits between the power generation, power storage, and power conversion devices in an A/DC to DC to AC system.

It controls the dis/charging of the batteries to a load (inverter) from various sources (solar panels are most common.)

I want to base my ENTIRE Vera setup on an OFFGRID system (including powering the Vera!!.) I envision load shed of devices based on battery charge, time of day, available sun, house (boat? RV??) occupancy… the list goes on. Monitoring the charge controller is pretty key to this setup, I think.

Does anyone know of a way (charge controller or not) to monitor a system like this? Can you be specific on device models and whatnot. I plan to investigate all ideas pretty thoroughly!!

I’ve been working on something along these lines for a year now. For now I’m doing something along the lines of a smart dump load, so to speak. I monitor my grid energy consumption and then integrate some heuristics based on time of day and weather conditions and forecast to decide when to dump excess power from my charge controller/battery system over to a offset grid power in the house. I’m now working on setting up a Z-Wave interface to one or both of my charge controllers based on MySensors to get a better integration of the charge controller state into the system. I’m also doing some load shifting with Z-Wave. For example if the weather forecast is good for a given day, I shut off my freezer a few hours before dawn then turn it back on when the sun will be on the panels. That way the freezer runs continuous for about 4 hours during the peak sun hours. This little trick works surprisingly well and it went from idea to implementation in a day.

Yes, this is exactly what I am looking for. I just can’t seem to find a good way to monitor everything. I know that Vera can estimate the wattage devices consume, but that doesn’t help me monitor my battery bank and charge controller.

Does any one know of a deice or way to monitor a battery bank voltage? From there I guess I can LUA my way through everything else.

It would not be too hard to make a MySensors device to do that out of an Arduino and a few discrete components, having that device talking to a serial or ethernet gateway connected to the Vera.

My first project is going to be trying to to connect an Arduino to the RS485 port on my newest charge controller and it has all that information available:
EPSolar 4215BN Solar Charge Controller Monitoring Software - YouTube
I’ve found some code on-line to handle the communication and need to integrate that into a MySensors watt meter sketch on an Arduino:
Power Meter Pulse Sensor | MySensors - Create your own Connected Home Experience
The next projects will look into doing that same to communicate with the RS232 port on my first charge controller and then with my Trimetric battery monitor.

Although the geek in me says YEESSS!!! Let’s reinvent the wheel for learning purposes, the old man in me says someone else has already solved this problem… I see pleanty of sites on the internet providing realtime monitoring of Charge Controllers… so here’s the next question:

Can Vera be made to import values from a website, or csv maybe?

Keen to see the accurate way of doing this.

At the moment, I’m using wunderground plugin and the UV index from that.
Next step for me was to put a Fibaro motion sensor on the roof and use the luminosity value.

Crude, but it works for the water heaters.

I am reading up on this entire thread… it may be what I’ve been looking for:,35953.0.html