Aurora Communicator Software Review

20Jul10

Talking about a handy utility that Power One provide for their Aurora inverters.  In my case one for domestic Solar PV duty (nice piece of hardware).  The version used is v2.9.6 which is produced, I believe by some nice people in Italy.  So what’s my thoughts on it so far….

Cost – Well it is free with the inverter, so VFM is very good !

Effort to setup – Very Easy
I have the ‘outdoor’ version fitted ‘indoors’ so there was no issue connecting to the USB port.  However, if you have it outside you’ll need to look at hooking up to the RS485 port.  There is no ethernet port.

Reliability for me – rather rubbish although this maybe due to the USB/Serial virtual device driver, although the software does seem to be rather greedy on computer resources. (I presume this will be overcome and others have better robustness). That said as I have a separate NET metering system I only use the software occasionally.

Features – Pretty Okay (update ! actually Comprehensive and easy to use)
Displays current input readings and those all important generation output numbers in watts and kWh.  It also has fairly neat charts.


If you manage to keep the  software running the plant display feature can show weekly/monthly/year energy charts as well

Oh and it can send out reporting emails to keep you informed of your daily generation totals.  It even attached a log of lots of parameters sampled at 10 minute intervals that can be tossed around in excel etc.

Usefulness
I think it is a useful piece of software, to use now and again, but hopeless (for me) as an email reporting tool or long-term logger. It just falls over too much.  But hey, if you want to drill down and look at inverter temperatures or individual string voltages during commissioning then it is great.

Alternatives ? There two hardware solutions (yes, involving money) for getting information out of the inverter, an interface box and little very expensive colour display.  However, I couldn’t find any interfaces to enable the inverter to be easily integrated into a custom web/hmi/scada/database.  In fact I struck out in finding any published details on the communications interface should you be inclined to develop your own driver.

Who reads the manual and clicks everywhere, well not me.  I did browse through the menu bar options and missed the very useful Inverter Control Panel.  Just click on the inverter list and up pops the Inverter Control Panel.  Here is a few screen shots to give you an idea.

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4 Responses to “Aurora Communicator Software Review”

  1. 1 Yusuf Khan

    Where can we source a RS585/RS232 interface adapter and is there a bluetooth enabled product ?

    • Many places to get an Rs232 converter, if you are not in a hurry then search ebay
      ‘9 PIN RS-232 To RS-485 Adapter Interface Converter’ at £3.26 delivered is very cheap.
      You can also get Rs232/485 ethernet for more money, but never looked for a bluetooth option.

  2. 3 Gavin

    you say you have a separate NET metering solution – can you describe it?


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