Wednesday 30 November 2011

VW Golf Central Locking Fault - Key Only Unlocks Drivers Door, Can Open via Car Switch

Our VW Golf has recently had a problem with the central locking where the key remote fob only unlocks the drivers door not the other doors or boot. You can open the rest of the doors using the switch on the drivers door so it is clear there is no actual fault with the central locking wiring.

Normally with a VW Golf (and indeed other VW cars such as the Passat) a single press of the key fob will remotely open the drivers door and a second press will open the rest of the doors and the boot. It appears that when the car battery is getting low a fault can develop where only the drivers door unlocks and the rest of the doors remain locked even when you press the key fob twice.

The suggested cure to fix the problem is to disconnect the battery for 10 seconds and then reconnect it. This should resolve the problem and get all doors unlocking together again. In our case the battery was nearing the end of its life and occasionally proving difficult to start the car so we also took the opportunity to replace the battery at the same time.

New battery fitted and the doors on the VW Golf are all now opening as expected with one or two presses of the key fob.

More info about the VW Golf TDi 130 available here

Sunday 20 November 2011

How to View Solar Panel Generation Data via Bluetooth from SMA Sunny Boy 3000HF Inverter

How to View Solar Panel Generation Data via Bluetooth from SMA Sunny Boy 3000HF Inverter 

Having just had our Sungrid PV solar panels installed by Solar Advanced Systems we were keen to be able to monitor the production of electricity by the PV panels without needing to visit the Sunny Boy inverter each time to view the display.
14 Solar panel array - Sungrid PV installation with Sunny Boy 3000HF inverter

SMA Sunny Boy 3000HF (as well as the 2500HF and 4000HF) inverters have the capability to display data using Bluetooth. SMA Sunny Boy supply a device called the Sunny Beam that will show the production from your solar panel system. However this costs around £175 in the UK and there are much cheaper alternatives to the Sunny Beam to show this data on your PC or laptop.

Step 1)

Firstly you need a laptop or PC that has Bluetooth capability. If your PC doesn't have this built in then you can buy an external USB Bluetooth dongle for approx £10. This is one such device from Ebuyer  A class 1 Bluetooth adapter would probably be a better bet than a Class 2 adapter as it will give a much longer range than class 2. The difference between a Bluetooth class 1 range of 100m and class 2 range of 10m is very significant and would mean the difference between being to view the data from any room in your house to only being able to view from the room next to the inverter.

Step 2)

Once the Bluetooth dongle is installed you need to download the free Sunny Explorer software. This is available as a free download from the SMA website.

Step 3)

Install the Sunny Explorer software, let it detect your system. You will need to enter its password which is set as default to 0000.

Step 4)

View your data and download the log files to your PC. By default these are stored in a folder called SMA under the My Documents folder.

Step 5)

Additional tools are also available to analyse and store the data from the SMA Sunny Boy 3000HF./2500HF/4000HF inverter range and I will cover those in another blog post.

Solar Panel Fitting Video - Time Lapse Video of UK Solar Panel Installation

This is a time lapse video taken of our solar panel installation being fitted by Solar Advanced Systems of Edenbridge Kent. The solar panel array is 14 solar panels of 215W capacity giving a total potential output of 3kWp.

The solar panels are now generating electricity and on 20 November generated a total of 6.46kWh of electricity, somewhat above the quoted average for November of 4.87kWh so it will be interesting to see how they perform over a longer period.

Review of Solar Advanced Systems panel installation.