Getting Data from the Tigo Maximizer

The title of this blog post is almost an oxymoron.  After almost four months I still don’t have any data flowing just a few metres from the solar array to the router in my house.  The Tigo Maximizer is supposed to be sending this information – after all, that was a major selling feature of the device.

Before I get too huffy about it, I should point out that the “Tigo Energy Maximizer” has a number of functions.  The most important is to connect the solar panels in parallel (rather than in serial) to the power inverter.  Basically, that means each one hooks up directly, rather than going through each other, for a much more efficient (profitable) generation system.

But I was also sold on the amazing data that the Maximizer would spew out at me, so that I could watch in real time what is working and what is not.

As followers of this blog are already aware, much is going well – but not everything.

  • Power generation is below projections in February and before February.
  • I have visually observed a late start-up on numerous mornings.
  • And I have more recently made visual observations of misorientation (swivel, or horizontal orientation), based on shadows (see image below, how the post is not centered between the shadows?).

I have no way to easily measure the pivot (vertical incline), but more often than not these past couple weeks, I have observed the swivel to be off by 2 – 5 degrees – another sign that the Deger sun tracker might not be responding properly.  For instance, when a 5000 KWh array is generating only 4700 KWh at 2:00 pm on a hot and cloudless day, something is amiss.

But what?

Ah, that’s what the data is supposed to tell me.  The data that is not being sent from the MMU (the Maximizer Management Unit) to my router.

I spoke a few times with my installer; after all, it is their responsibility to install the Maximizer so that it functions.  And given that one of the selling points was that I could access the data wirelessly on my computer and also with a USB key at the post (but there is no USB port).

Our installers have pretty much washed their hands of it on the grounds that not everyone wants the data, some would run an Ethernet cable (above ground?!?), and some would download on a Rogers thunderstick (either of which would plug into the Ethernet post on the MMU).

In other words, despite access to the data being a selling feature, I am left to hotwire it myself – keeping in mind that this is outdoors and I would have to somehow add a “bridge” (still learning what that is) and hermetically seal it against ice, rain and snow, find a way to attach it to the post and figure out how to plug it in for power.

I put in a support call to Tigo. I wanted to know about the upgrade in their online brochure that would allow wireless access.  It turns out it is still in beta (even though it is advertised in their brochure).  I suspect that I was sold on the wireless access based on this, but Tigo says all I can do is add a bridge. They sent me some information, but I am on my own from there.

So we are back to hot wiring the MMU.

Do I feel abandoned by a dual set of false promises or misleading advertising or something like that?

I will update readers on how it all works out.

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One Response to Getting Data from the Tigo Maximizer
  1. Bart Nagel
    April 4, 2012 | 10:08 am

    Would love to get in touch. I’m experiencing the same thing with my degers. Please send me you email so we can talk directly sometime soon.

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