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How to install Tigo optimisers with string inverters

Why install Tigo optimisers with string inverters?

Adding Tigo optimisers to a string inverter system can improve the safety, monitoring and performance, depending on the model of optimiser selected:

 

Improved Safety – Adding Tigo optimisers with rapid shutdown capability will eliminate the risk of fire due to DC arc faults. Tigo models with rapid shutdown capability are the TS4-A-O, TS4-A-O Duo, TS4-A-F and TS4-A-2F.

 

Solar Module Monitoring – Adding Tigo optimisers will allow each solar module to be monitored to ensure they are performing as expected.   Tigo models with monitoring capability are TS4-A-O and TS4-A-O Duo.

 

Improved energy harvest – Reduce the impacts of shading and other solar module mismatch with panel level optimisation in addition to SMA Shade Fix.   Tigo models with panel level optimisation are TS4-A-O and TS4-A-O Duo.

 

Tigo optimisers that “do it all” are the TS4-A-O (single optimiser for a single solar module) and the TS4-A-O Duo (single optimiser for 2 solar modules).

 

What are the basic components of a Tigo optimiser system?

Optimisers

There is a range of Tigo optimisers that perform a variety of functions such as safety (rapid shutdown), monitoring or panel mismatch optimisation.  You can choose an optimiser to perform the particular function you require, or you can choose a model that does it all (TS4-A-O or TS4-A-O Duo).

 

Tigo Access Point (TAP)

To use the monitoring capability of the Tigo models with this function, the TAP is used to communicate with the optimisers via wireless communication mesh.

Mesh is software that allows each TS4 to act as a repeater, extending the range of the TAP.  The signal and data can hop from TS4 to TS4 along many different paths.

 

This allows much more flexibility in system design and layout.  The TAP can be placed almost anywhere in or near the array, as long as the simple TAP Placement rules are followed.  Obstructions are not a problem, since each TS4 doesn’t need to communicate with the TAP directly.

Site Conditions Affecting Range

The site conditions can affect range. For example, in a U-shaped array the range may need to be measured around the shape of the “U” since the direct distance (red arrow) is more than 10 meters. See below.

Another example is a metal stepped factory roof. A metal roof like this is considered an obstruction, so a separate TAP may be required for every roof face, even if they are less than 10 meters apart. See below.

 

 

The TAP collects this data from the optimisers and sends it to the Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA) via a Cat5/RS-485 cable.

The TAP is typically installed on the roof in the middle of the solar array

Maximum distance from TAP to closest TS4 optimiser is 10 meters

Maximum distance from TAP to farthest TS4 optimiser is 35 meters

Each TAP supports up to 300 TS4 units

If the solar array is very large or split over multiple roof faces or there are physical barriers between the solar modules, you may require additional TAPs. When you use additional TAPs, they are wired one to another using the Cat5/RS-485 cable.  Most small residential systems use only one TAP if all the solar modules are together on the roof.

 

You can determine whether you need additional TAP’s and if so where to install them by using the Tigo TAP Design Tool

 

Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA)

The CCA receives data via the TAP.   It sends this data to the internet via the customers modem (router).  The CCA can be hard wired to the modem or connected via WiFi.

Each CCA supports up to 7 TAPs with a maximum of 900 optimisers per CCA.

If you are installing more than 900 optimisers, you can simply add more CCA’s.

 

 

What is the most commonly used Tigo optimisers in Australia and New Zealand?

There are 2 models that are commonly used in Australia and New Zealand

 

Optimisation TS4-A-O and TS4-A-O Duo

This model does it all.  Panel level monitoring, optimisation and rapid shutdown (when used with CCA Kit with TAP).  The TS4-A-O is designed for one solar module and the TS4-A-O Duo does 2 solar modules.

 

 

Fire TS4-A-F and TS4-A-2F

This model only performs rapid shutdown.  It must be paired with an RSS Transmitter. The TS4-A-F is designed for one solar module and the TS4-A-2F does 2 solar modules.


The TS4-A-F cannot be mixed with other Tigo MLPE models.  The TS4-A-F must be deployed on every module in the system to provide rapid shutdown.

 

Does the Tigo monitoring connect with the string inverters monitoring?  No

Tigo operates completely separately to the string inverter and has a separate monitoring system.   You can use Tigo on any string inverter system.

 

 

Can Tigo optimisers operate separately to the inverter?  Yes

The Tigo system operates separately to the inverter.  It consists of optimisers which are installed on each solar module or one optimiser per 2 solar modules for the DUO models.  There is a Tigo Access Point (TAP) which is installed to communicate with the optimisers via wireless communication mesh.  The TAP sends the data collected to the Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA) via a Cat5/RS-485 cable.  The CCA is connect to the customers model via data cable or Wifi.

 

If the inverter has the RSS Transmitter built in that is all you need.  If the inverter does not have a RSS Transmitter built in a separate RSS Transmitter will need to be installed.  The RSS transmitter is required for Rapid Shutdown capability.

 

Do I need to install Tigo optimisers on every solar panel?  No

Essentially, you can install optimisers on only the solar modules that are affected by shading if you wish.  You do not need to install optimisers on every solar module for the system to work.  However, if want to install Tigo for the rapid shutdown functionality you will need to install an optimiser on all of the solar modules.  You can choose to install the TS4-A-O or TS4-A-O Duo on only the solar modules affected by shading and leave the remaining solar module without optimisers, or you can simply install TS4-A-O or TS4-A-O Duo on all of the solar modules and benefit from the monitoring and panel level optimisation on the entire solar system.

 

Will the Tigo optimisers work without installing the monitoring system?  Yes

There is no need to install the TAP or CCA with the optimisers when you only require optimisation.   However, without the TAP and CCA you will not have panel level monitoring.

 

Can I purchase the Tigo monitoring equipment in a kit?  Yes

You can purchase a basic kit which includes a TAP, CCA and power supply for the CCA.  There is an indoor kit and an outdoor kit which includes a weatherproof enclosure.

Does Tigo Rapid shutdown work with every string inverter? Yes 

For rapid shutdown to work a RSS Transmitter is required.  Some string inverters have the RSS Transmitter built in.  For inverters that do not have this capability you will need to install a separate RSS Transmitter.  The RSS Transmitter communicates with the TS4-A-F devices using Power Line Carrier (PLC).  It is only used for rapid shutdown purposes and does not perform module level monitoring or DC optimisation.

 

This method uses a signal transmitted over the DC wiring.  That signal comes from the RSS Transmitter, which is either separate as shown above or is built into the inverter.

The RSS Transmitter has a magnetic core.  Either the positive or negative wire from each string passes through the core. This allows the signal to be transmitted on the DC wiring.

The Tigo RSS Transmitter has a range limit.  The entire DC loop for each string, from the positive terminal on the inverter, out through the array, to the negative terminal on the inverter, should be less than 300 meters.

 

Can I test if the Tigo Optimisers are working after I have installed them? Yes

The easiest way to test if the optimisers are working is by using the Tigo RSS Signal Detector.  This is a proximity tester which you can place in close proximity with the optimiser to test whether it is working or not.

How to install Tigo optimisers

 

How do I commission Tigo Optimisers?

A great way to commission a Tigo system is by using the Tigo SMART App.  You can use the App to design, layout, configure, commission and monitor the PV system.   The App is installed on your mobile phone and can be connected directly with the Cloud Connect Advanced (CCA) via an automatic Wi-Fi Bluetooth connection.

You can fully configure the Tigo system, scan barcodes using your mobile phone, troubleshoot and system issues on-site, and much more.

To find out how to install the Tigo SMART App and how it is used click here

 

 

 

 

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