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[Solved] Issues with 6.5kWh Growatt battery – Shinephone app says system is offline

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Morrisandcharlie
(@morrisandcharlie)
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Hello!  Another newbie here…I came online a few hours ago trying to find a solution to our current problem (Growatt/Shinephone app saying our system is offline) and have found a wealth of info on these pages, thank you.

A quick intro: we had solar panels fitted at our cottage in South East England, UK, in Nov 2022 and have a 6.5kWh Growatt battery. After much reading, many hours spent going down internet rabbit holes and numerous time consuming visits from heating consultants, we booked our ASHP fitting for April this year.  This will replace our oil-fired central heating; the boiler is 54 years old and will be ceremoniously removed along with the oil tank in the garden!

The problem we have at the moment is probably minor, and I’m not even sure if this is the right place to post it. In anticipation of the ASHP arriving, we switched yesterday to Cosy Octopus.  At about the time we switched, the Shinephone app advised that our ‘plant’ is offline. The timing may be coincidental but, either way, this is not something that has happened before for any length of time (it’s now been offline for about 30 hours, on previous occasions it’s been an hour or less). We don’t know what to do about it in spite of much googling!  So, with apologies for asking for help on our first visit, could anyone advise us please?

In Berkshire, England, UK
Solar panels since November 2022, PV capacity 4kWp
Growatt GBLI6532 6.5kWh battery
Switching from oil to ASHP in April; installation booked with Octopus. Feeling cautiously optimistic but have a lot to learn!


   
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Transparent
(@transparent)
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Yes, you're in the right place @morrisandcharlie
This Forum has grown and extended itself well beyond the subject of heat pumps.

Please start a new topic in the section on Energy Storage and we can pick it there.

Please keep the initial description light enough for others to read later.
An overview which gives us the model numbers of the Growatt Inverter and Battery would be useful....
... and then explain what you're doing with the Shine App as if we know nothing.

That will enable the discussion to be helpful to others contemplating a similar approach.

If you can manage a photo, then it would be super useful too. 🙂 

This post was modified 5 months ago 2 times by Transparent

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Mars
 Mars
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@morrisandcharlie welcome to the forums – I've started a new topic dedicated for you.

@transparent, over to you sir.

 

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Morrisandcharlie
(@morrisandcharlie)
Eminent Member Member
74 kWhs
Joined: 5 months ago
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Topic starter  

@editor thank you 🙂

In Berkshire, England, UK
Solar panels since November 2022, PV capacity 4kWp
Growatt GBLI6532 6.5kWh battery
Switching from oil to ASHP in April; installation booked with Octopus. Feeling cautiously optimistic but have a lot to learn!


   
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Morrisandcharlie
(@morrisandcharlie)
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Joined: 5 months ago
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Topic starter  

@transparent thank you 🙂

We have a Growatt GBLI6532 6.5kWh battery

Usually, i log onto the Shinephone app to see the status of the battery.  From time to time, the app says that the system is offline but this usually resolves itself within the hour without any intervention.  However, it went offline yesterday and has not come back. This happened at the time that we were switching to Cosy Octopus; I don’t know why these 2 things might be connected but it was within the same 2 hour period.

Can anyone help me to understand how to reconnect, please? The Shinephone app is very clunky and there doesn’t seem to be anything in ‘settings’ or any other area of the app that might help. 

Thank you in advance for any advice…I cannot believe what an obsessive I have become about checking the app and ensuring we’re getting the most out of the solar panels and the cheaper timings!  I have withdrawal symptoms!

IMG 3469

 

In Berkshire, England, UK
Solar panels since November 2022, PV capacity 4kWp
Growatt GBLI6532 6.5kWh battery
Switching from oil to ASHP in April; installation booked with Octopus. Feeling cautiously optimistic but have a lot to learn!


   
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(@allyfish)
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Posted by: @morrisandcharlie

(Growatt/Shinephone app saying our system is offline)

Hi there and welcome. 🙂 Growatt app is very clunky and sometimes misbehaves. OEM service support in the UK is non-existent from Growatt, but YouTube has plenty of helpful videos from installers. Try logging out of your Growatt app and logging back in. Then try pressing the + option on the plant screen and check if a datalogger is showing online, and status in the plant management option.

Failing that, check the Growatt Wifi antenna under the inverter - it should have a slow flashing blue LED. My battery has shown as not charging/discharging all day, but the charge level is showing correctly. I suspect Growatt has updated something at their server end and screwed something up. All data from your Growatt Wifi antenna is routed to servers in China before being handed off to the Growatt app, and there are frequent issues with the app timing out due to latency in the response time.

If you are fitting an ASHP, and already have 4kW solar PV + 6.5kW battery, I would highly recommend getting a second 6.5kW battery if space permits. I think there's VAT relief now as well (or maybe from April) for add on solar PV batteries, making already attractive Growatt batteries even better value. I've found even 13kW storage charged twice daily sometimes comes up a little short on capacity to run a ASHP. Realistically speaking you've about 11kW of useable capacity from 13kW battery storage. That'll run an ASHP drawing 2kWh for only 5.5hrs. We're on Cosy Octopus and schedule charging the Growatt batteries 4-7am and 1-4pm in the heating season saves us around £500 a year, lowering our average kWh cost to under £0.20 incl. VAT and standing charge. The batteries soon pay for themselves with that annual saving and of course they come into their own in summer storing self-generated power.

LR Renewables supply and fit Growatt additional batteries at quite competitive rates. You need to make sure they fit a DC MCB over-current circuit breaker/isolator on it however, per MCS requirements. They missed that on my second battery and I had to get them back to do it. It was a Friday afternoon job and the lad who rocked up was clearly rushing the job as he had a 6hr drive back down south!

https://lr-renewables.co.uk/product/growatt-6-5kw-lithium-battery-installation-included/

This post was modified 5 months ago by AllyFish

   
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Transparent
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Thanks @morrisandcharlie  and those are useful insights from @allyfish 

You've told us the model number of the Growatt 6.6kWh battery, but not that of the solar string-inverter you have.
The inverter contains all the clever stuff, whilst the battery is basically a slave unit.
The data wire between the battery's PCS port and the inverter transfers data, and the inverter adds its own data before sending it onward to Growatt.

A few seconds later you can see that system information on the Shine App.

You don't have open access to your own data.
Growatt have created a product which ties you into them.

The GBLI6532 battery unit does have RS485 connections, which should allow a competent technician to make their own communication.
However, that RS485-connection is offered via pins 1 & 2 of the same PCS port.
If the battery doesn't receive a proprietary software 'handshake' from a connected inverter every 25-mins, then it shuts down. 😮 

image

 

I agree with Allyfish that the battery size doesn't provide enough storage to operate a heat-pump when using the Time-of-Use tariffs which are currently available.

But I'm also concerned about the overall power available from your inverter.
We don't yet know if that can deliver enough current (Amps) to start a heat-pump and keep it running.

This post was modified 5 months ago 2 times by Transparent

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Morrisandcharlie
(@morrisandcharlie)
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Topic starter  

@Allyfish   @transparent , thank you so much for your detailed reply, this is a great help.   We had been looking at our set-up and seriously wondering if the combination of Cosy Octopus and one battery could possibly provide enough power for the ASHP…we had thought we might wait until how things looked after installation but that was not very satisfactory as it will be almost May by the time the ASHP is up and running and any experience in the intervening months before Winter would not be very informative. So, thank you again, you have confirmed to us that we need to go for the second battery (a much more exciting purchase than a family holiday somewhere fabulous 😄)

As for Growatt and Shinephone, yes, clunky is definitely the word and misbehaviour is the order of the day!  I was very hopeful that logging out and back in might bring it back to life but sadly it was not that simple (that is our approximate level of competence).  We’ll now look carefully at what you have said about the inverter and see what we can work out. Luckily, the battery was set to charge at night  between 4 and 7 anyway so at least we’re not suffering too much on the Cosy tariff while we try to get ourselves sorted!  

Thanks again!

This post was modified 5 months ago by Morrisandcharlie

In Berkshire, England, UK
Solar panels since November 2022, PV capacity 4kWp
Growatt GBLI6532 6.5kWh battery
Switching from oil to ASHP in April; installation booked with Octopus. Feeling cautiously optimistic but have a lot to learn!


   
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Morrisandcharlie
(@morrisandcharlie)
Eminent Member Member
74 kWhs
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 7
Topic starter  
IMG 3478

@transparent  I ‘think’ (but am prepared to look foolish!) that this is what you were asking about. We have a growatt sph5000 hybrid inverter…is that the solar string inverter you mentioned? 

 Am feeling quite bamboozled this evening, apologies if this isn’t the solar string inverter at all! It’s a big learning curve and we are very grateful for your help 🙂

In Berkshire, England, UK
Solar panels since November 2022, PV capacity 4kWp
Growatt GBLI6532 6.5kWh battery
Switching from oil to ASHP in April; installation booked with Octopus. Feeling cautiously optimistic but have a lot to learn!


   
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(@allyfish)
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Posts: 383
 

The Growatt SPH5000 inverter will support 2x Growatt 6.5kW batteries. Max inverter output is 3kW at 240V AC 1 phase, which will cover most of your steady-state load, including most domestic heat pumps. It will draw any additional power over 3kW + whatever solar PV you are generating from the mains. It’s a very responsive hybrid inverter.

Both my batteries were an afterthought, I purchased one, realised how beneficial it was and then added a second. The recommendation is not to leave it too long to add the second battery, so both have similar life, charging cycles, and charge capacity expectancy. With two batteries providing power the maximum current from each is half, so  the orange and black cables don’t get warm when power demand is high.

IMG 4795

 


   
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Morrisandcharlie
(@morrisandcharlie)
Eminent Member Member
74 kWhs
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 7
Topic starter  

Thank you @allyfish , that is very reassuring:-)

In Berkshire, England, UK
Solar panels since November 2022, PV capacity 4kWp
Growatt GBLI6532 6.5kWh battery
Switching from oil to ASHP in April; installation booked with Octopus. Feeling cautiously optimistic but have a lot to learn!


   
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Transparent
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Posted by: @allyfish

Max inverter output is 3kW at 240V AC 1 phase, which will cover most of your steady-state load, including most domestic heat pumps.

Hmmm.
This comment assumes that

  • Your heat-pump is (correctly) configured to operate continuously, without any start/stop cycling
  • You have a 9kW ASHP, which is 'below average', but it depends on your house' insulation efficiency
  • You are achieving a COP of 3.0

Personally I think 3kW is way too low to be using for a heat-pump.
But the whole point of this forum is to evaluate differing opinions and evaluate the options.
So here goes:

A. Adding a second battery pack will extend the time during which the inverter can deliver stored energy, but it doesn't alter the 3kW max output available from the SPH5000 inverter.

B. A typical ASHP will draw around 30A when starting. This decreases as the compressor attains the pressures and flow characteristics of operational-mode.
You can check this figure by downloading some installation manuals and looking for the circuit-breaker rating which is specified for the consumer unit.
A good source of such manuals is the wholesaler Midsummer Wholesale.

C. Look at the figures being quoted by members on your other topic Battery System for Cheaper Heat Pump Running.

 

D. Let me put another option forward for consideration.

Leave the existing Growatt SPH5000 inverter and GBLI6532 battery as they are.

Add a separate inverter/battery combination to run the forthcoming heat-pump in 'off-grid' mode.
Because it won't be capable of exporting to the grid, you won't require consent from NGED for this possible solution.

HeatPump4b Battery

That's a deliberately simplified diagram, just to demonstrate the principle.
I have more specific graphics if we want to pursue this.

Cost depends on how much you'd be happy to do on a DIY basis.
For example there are several topics here on the Forum which discuss the Seplos Mason box.
You buy the box and then load it with lithium-cells yourself.
You don't need an electrician to install bits which run below 75v.

Save energy... recycle electrons!


   
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