4 January 2014

Aurora inverter USB connection

We had solar electric installed (yay!). We are using the Aurora PVI 4.2kW inverter, which appears to be a very well recommended unit, but there were a couple of challenges with trying to plug into the USB connection to download live data. Just thought I'd note them down here to hopefully save someone else a bit of time.

There are two pieces of software you need:
1. USB driver - makes the Aurora appear under Windows as a COM port. (Texas Instruments 3410 USB driver). We used this one instead of the Aurora one. "TI WDF USBUART Single Driver" from the software section of this page.
2. Aurora communicator software - Communicates with the Inverter to download and chart data.
(Unfortunately the inverter doesn't actually collect historical data, you need to essentially leave the program running and poll for it). Communicator can be downloaded from here. (select 'UK' as the country, then select Software - because not all countries have any 'software' listed against them).

Issue 1: My laptop is running Windows 7 (x64). For better or worse, the 64 bit version of Windows doesn't run unsigned device drivers. The driver may look like it has installed - but it won't run. The work-around for now is to boot Windows in the special mode to allow unsigned drivers. (Press F8 while the computer is booting, and select "Disable Driver Signature Enforcement."). Or see here for other options.

Issue 2: The Inverter itself needed to be assigned an "address" before it would talk to anything. Go to the inverter itself and use the menu options to go into the settings and set an address. Any number will do. We used "2". Seems to be necessary and in our case wasn't already preconfigured.

Next task: ditch the 70W laptop and start using a Rasberry Pi instead.