1. What is LŪCIBUS
LŪCIBUS is a software created for some inverters made by
MPP SOLAR. It was developed in VB6.
Specifically it has been tested on the PIP 4048
model, but many people use it successfully with lower amperage models.
2. The main reason for which it was created
First we need to say, that for these inverters
there are various displays and control software.
Among the many, I remember WATCHPOWER, that is the one provided in the kit, and
another, named PATROL, created (by an Italian customer) basing on the example of
basic but much more dynamic and complete.
At the moment (June 2016) both are missing of the ability to change the type of
charge dynamically and automatically basing on your personal needs.
Usually the charge of the batteries is set to "solar", that indicates the sun as
the only source of recharge. If it rains (especially in winter), the batteries
are not charged or are not sufficiently recharged.
This situation, with time, damages the batteries due to their natural self-discharge.
During the night, you should manually change the way of charging, selecting "line"
option, in order to refresh batteries, but only when and if needed.
3. What it does
LŪCIBUS, on the basis of such needs, makes this change automatically and
transparently by putting the inverter in "line charge", and then allowing it to
charge the batteries, but only in an specific time slot and only if batteries
below a predetermined
minimum threshold. When the schedule is no longer included in the one configured or the maximum
threshold has been exceeded, LŪCIBUS comes back to "solar charge".
Later, I added some other features, mainly based on data visualization.
At the beginning I programmed data to be recorded every fifteen minutes,
so to obtain and store a sufficiently large but at the same time not too heavy
Then, I tried to rationalize and insert on main page the most important data,
leaving out those not necessary.
The result is a very light and visible user interface, together with a web
visualization. In fact, I installed a mini-web server within the code, which gives the
situation in real time on any connected smartphone.
Finally I added some graphs: battery voltage, peak panels, consumption,
production and others.
4. How it works
LŪCIBUS works connected to the serial port that is available on the inverter.
This serial port is designed to connect the remote display, which - in humble my
opinion - should be a mandatory and not optional purchase .
In fact the inverter, usually, is not usually located in a convenient or
easily accessible location: attic, garage ...
necessary controls are mentally tiring if you have to perform them by going
every time in front of the inverter.
Said that, even if we don't own an external display, we can obtain updated
information connecting the inverter to
a serial port and executing watchpower.
How does it happen?
Quite simply, watchpower cyclically sends specific commands and
The command list is contained in the PDF document that you can find at the
end of this page.
The most used and important ones are:
QMOD: it answers providing status of the inverter (mains or battery-only);
QPIGS: it answers providing a number of data such as voltages, frequencies, types
of load, ampere discharge, current consumption etc.;
QPIRI: it answers providing the current configurations present in relation to
batteries, ways of charging, etc.
For example, if I send the QMOD string through the serial port, the inverter will
various ways, two of which are: L, to indicate that loads are powered by LINE or B, to indicate
that we are disconnected from line and loads are powered by BATTERY or SOLAR.
To understand this further difference, you have to send QPIGS command, that
contains a value indicating how many amps the inverter is using from the batteries.
If this value is 0 (no battery consumption), it means that "we are using sun power." If it is> 0 means that "we are using battery power".
The record layout of the inverter answer is fortunately fixed therefore at
specific column position is always present the same information.
Known this, it's not difficult to create a software suitable for our needs: it
is only a matter of time ...
Here you can see some
battery daily graph
loads monthly graph
tool used to send direct commands
timer for setting line charge
web page example on smartphone
You can find all info about
available files, releases and news
(sorry - only italian language)
This is my contact :
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