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Sonnen Macht Solar Inverter Faults and Repairs

Sonnen Macht are rebadged solar inverters that were manufactured by a Chinese company called Macsolar. These solar inverters were in circulation and appear to have been quite widely installed in the UK between 2011 and 2013. Unfortunately Macsolar are no longer trading and should they be needed, we are not able to source parts to fix these solar inverters.

Popular models were the yellow SMMCSL-TL2K and the green SMMCSL-TL3K and we have seen a fair number of these in the field. Other models are the red SMMCSL-TL1.5K and the blue/grey SMMCSL-TL3.6K.

The problem we often find with these solar inverters are damaged relays, the tell tale sign of a relay failure is an Error 19: Relay or Error 19: Relay Fault warning displayed on the solar inverter's display, with the date and time that the fault was last found underneath. This error presents itself just before you would typically expect the solar inverter to connect to the grid and start generating, when it fails to do so it will start a countdown and try to connect, again failing to do so. This failure, although DC power from the solar panels is available, prevents any usable power from being generated or being counted by the Solar PV generation Feed in Tariff (FIT) meter.

Other faults that you may find with Sonnen Macht solar inverters and what action to take to resolve them are listed below:

All Solar Inverter Fault Codes, Warnings and Troubleshooting

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Sonnen Macht Solar Inverter Faults and Warnings:

Some of the advice we give related to identifying, confirming and or resolving some of the faults detailed below, starts with safely shutting down and restarting the solar inverter and the solar PV system. This is something that nearly all solar PV systems installed in the UK would have been designed to be carried out safely by the solar PV system owner. However, paperwork, schematics and manuals are not always clear or available, so if you have any concerns about how to do this, Contact us and we will be pleased to talk you through the process over the telephone at no charge.

How to Restart Sonnen Macht Solar Inverters:

Leave everything near the supply meters turned on. At the solar inverter there will be an AC isolator, this is used to isolate the mains/grid supply from the solar inverter and to prevent the solar inverter from feeding solar power into the electrical system. Switch the AC isolator 'off', if the solar inverter is running correctly you will hear a clunk inside the machine and after a while a 'no-grid', 'missing grid' warning or similar on the LCD display.

Solar PV System RestartRepair Sonnen Macht Inverter

Near to and or built into the solar inverter will be a method of isolating the solar (DC) supply from the solar inverter. Often these are black and grey and will be labelled 'DC isolator' or similar. There might be two or more of these if the system is fed by multiple strings. If there isn't a seperate DC isolation device, there will be a way to isolate the DC supply built-in to the solar inverter itself (often a rotary style switch underneath), turn this 'off'.

When all of the lights on the solar inverter have gone out, reintroduce the AC/mains power supply by turning the AC isolator 'on'. Introduce the DC supply by turning all DC isolators 'on'.

This will restart the solar inverter, on the display it might show you progress during it's startup procedure. During startup is when the solar inverter carries out all of the tests needed before being able to connect the solar supply to the electrical system. If errors are found during testing they will be displayed on the screen or an indication light might come on. Make a note of any warning messages, warning lights and fault codes.

If the restart is succesful a green light will come on, sometimes flashing at first but once connected to the mains/AC supply remaining permenantly on. The LCD display will show how much power the solar PV system is generating. The solar PV system can be verified as working at the solar generation / Feed in Tariff (FIT) meter which will count on the display, the red light will pulse as it counts.

Sonnen Macht Solar Inverter: No lights, No Display

Sonnen Macht solar inverters are powered by the solar panels (the DC supply) and will startup at sunrise each day and shutdown at night. If you find the solar inverter with no lights or display working during the day, there is either a problem with the solar panels or with the solar inverter. Follow the shutdown and restart procedure outlined above and if the problem persists Contact us to discuss the next steps.

If you have the correct tools and are comfortable in doing so, isolate the AC and DC power supplies from the solar inverter and confirm that the incoming DC voltages are as expected by measuring between the positive and negative incoming terminals in DC isolators (if avalable) and or at the DC solar inverter inputs. Light conditions and the type of solar panel will affect voltages but as a rule of thumb anywhere from 30V-60V per panel x the number of panels connected in series in the string would be a reasonable voltage estimate.

No or very low DC voltage would suggest a problem with the solar panels, measuring the expected voltage at the isolator terminals and or the DC inputs, although additional testing should be carried out, would suggest a problem with the solar inverter. Contact us to discuss the next steps.

Sonnen Macht Solar Inverter Fault Codes and Explanations:

* Error 0 - Grid Vtg. Fault - The solar inverter is measuring a grid (mains) voltage or a grid impedence that is either too high or too low in relation to the parameters that the solar inverter has been set to safely operate within. If this fault persists and mains power is available to other local circuits then check that all isolators, MCBs and RCDs on the AC side of the solar PV system are 'On' and carry out the procedures outlined for * Error 3 - Utility Loss below. If everything on the grid/mains power supply side including the solar generation meter is switched 'on', this would be an indication that there is either an internal fault within the solar inverter or there's a problem with the grid/mains power supply. Contact us to arrange for a solar engineer to visit to establish whether the fault lies with the solar inverter or with the grid/mains power supply.

* Error 1 - Grid Vtg.10minFault - The solar inverter has measured a grid (mains) voltage or a grid impedence that is either too high or too low in relation to the parameters that the solar inverter has been set to safely operate within that has lasted in excess of 10 minutes. If this fault persists and mains power is available to other local circuits then check that all isolators, MCBs and RCDs on the AC side of the solar PV system are 'On' and carry out the procedures outlined for * Error 3 - Utility Loss below. If everything on the grid/mains power supply side including the solar generation meter is switched 'on', this would be an indication that there is either an internal fault within the solar inverter or there's a problem with the grid/mains power supply. Contact us to arrange for a solar engineer to visit to establish whether the fault lies with the solar inverter or with the grid/mains power supply.

* Error 2 - Fac Fault - The solar inverter is measuring a grid (mains) frequency that is either too high or too low in relation to the parameters that the solar inverter has been set to safely operate within. If this fault persists and mains power is available to other local circuits then check that all isolators, MCBs and RCDs on the AC side of the solar PV system are 'On' and carry out the procedures outlined for * Error 3 - Utility Loss below. If everything on the grid/mains power supply side including the solar generation meter is switched 'on', this would be an indication that there is either an internal fault within the solar inverter or there's a problem with the grid/mains power supply. Contact us to arrange for a solar engineer to visit to establish whether the fault lies with the solar inverter or with the grid/mains power supply.

* Error 3 - Utility Loss - The solar inverter understands that there has been a mains failure (a power cut). If this fault persists and mains power is available to other local circuits then check that all isolators, MCBs and RCDs on the AC side of the solar PV system are 'On'.

Check fuses, isolators, Miniture Circuit Breakers (MCBs) and Residual Current Devices (RCDs) in and around consumer units, around the solar generation and mains/grid supply meters and see if anything marked 'solar PV' or you can see is related to the solar PV system is switched 'off'. The solar generation meter draws it's power from the mains so if this isn't on, this would be a strong indication that something heading toward the incoming grid/mains power supply has tripped off.

RCD

RCD

 

MCB

MCB

An RCD has a test button and is twice the width or a circuit breaker. An RCD that's switched itself 'off' is an indication that it has picked up an earth fault somewhere on the circuit that it protects, this fault could be anywhere on the circuit and might have been temporary.

- If an RCD has switched itself 'off' it's ok to try to turn it back 'on' again. If you meet with instant and strong resistance to closing the switch, leave it 'off'. If it stays on for a short while and switches off when the solar PV system has warmed up and begun to feed in power, there's most likely a problem with the solar PV system somewhere, leave the RCD turned 'off' and contact us to discuss the next steps.

If the RCD remains on for a few hours, weeks or days and then switches itself off, faults like these are often weather related. Damp cables and wet or windy conditions will often expose faults both physical and in design, with AC and DC cabling, connectors, solar panels and RCDs. Contact us to discuss the next steps.

If the RCD stays on, the solar inverter starts up and everything works fine in all conditions - all good.

- If a circuit breaker has switched 'off' this is an indication of either a short circuit, most likely a serious failure either within the solar inverter or with the solar inverter supply cable. Or for some other reason the circuit breaker has picked up a fault and isolated the circuit to prevent the solar inverter supply cable from becoming overloaded.

Turn on circuit breakers at your own risk, there is the potential to cause damage and only do so when you are able to access and inspect the solar inverter and all isolation equipment whilst it's in operation. If you meet instant and strong resistance, leave the circuit breaker 'off' and turn everything to do with the solar PV system 'off' remembering to also safely isolate the DC circuits.

If the circuit breakers stays on and then switches itself off after a few minutes, this is reasonably strong indication that the solar inverter has a serious internal fault. Turn off everything to do with the solar PV system including the DC isolators and contact us to discuss the next steps.

If the circuit breaker stays on, the solar PV inverter starts up and feeds power into the electrical system through the circuit breaker; although the circuit breaker will continue to protect the circuit, ideally a physical inspection and electrical test of the supply circuit including all isolators, circuit breakers, RCDs and electrical connections would also be carried out.

- Everything's 'on' but the error remains and the solar inverter won't start. If everything on the grid/mains power supply side including the solar generation meter is switched 'on', this would be an indication that there is either an internal fault within the solar inverter or there's a problem with the grid/mains power supply. Contact us to discuss the next steps.

* Error 4 - High DC Bus - The solar inverter is measuring too much total voltage from the solar panels. Assuming that this is an existing installation that has been specified correctly, hasn't recently been changed or added to and has operated before without problems. This could mean either a problem with the solar panels or with the solar inverter. We would advise that the DC side of the system is disconnected using either the built in DC isolator at the side of the solar inverter or the DC Isolator installed between the solar panels and the solar inverter (if available) and contact us to test the DC side of the system including and excluding the solar inverter.

* Error 5 - GFCI Fault - This error is generated when during normal operation of the solar inverter, a leakage current to ground/earth is detected on the DC side of the system. Although it is also possible that the solar inverter generates this alarm message due to AC leakage currents connected to the capacitive nature of the solar panels compared to ground/earth or there could be a problem with the solar inverter itself.

Solar PV System Testing

For as long as the situation persits then the solar inverter will not startup. Earth / Ground Faults (also called Insulation or Isolation Faults) often present themselves when it is raining or at times of high humidity when moisture can enter the solar PV system through damaged solar panels, connectors or cabling. These faults often clear when weather conditions improve but they will not get better by themselves, most often degrading and becoming more dangerous over time.

We would advise that you book a solar repair engineer's visit in order to carry out a full solar system test, identify the source and rectify the fault. We've written more about how to identify and repair ground faults here: Ground Faults, Isolation (ISO) Faults, RISO Low Faults and Insulation Resistance Faults with Solar PV Systems

* Error 6 - Over-temperature - The solar inverter has measuring a temperature that is too hot and has reduced power output to protect itself. This could be due to a number of factors, for example 1) If the solar inverter is exposed to direct sunlight 2) If the solar inverter has been installed without adequate ventilation around the chassis which would allow excess heat to dissipate 3) The solar inverter's components are getting too hot due to an internal component fault. If the unit isn't running hot and if after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists then contact us.

* Error 7 - Varistor Fault - If after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists the inverter has a fatal error and should be replaced. There are a few ways that we can help with this: Solar Inverter Replacement

* Error 8 - PV-Overvoltage - The solar inverter is measuring too much voltage from the solar panels. Assuming that this is an existing installation that has been specified correctly, hasn't recently been changed or added to and has operated before without problems. This could mean either a problem with the solar panels or with the solar inverter. We would advise that the DC side of the system is disconnected using either the built in DC isolator at the side of the solar inverter or the DC Isolator installed between the solar panels and the solar inverter (if available) and contact us to test the DC side of the system including and excluding the solar inverter.

* Error 9 - Consistence Fault - If after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists the inverter has a fatal error and should be replaced. There are a few ways that we can help with this: Solar Inverter Replacement

* Error 10 - Isolation Fault - This error is generated when during normal operation of the solar inverter, a leakage current to ground/earth is detected on the DC side of the system. Although it is also possible that the solar inverter generates this alarm message due to AC leakage currents connected to the capacitive nature of the solar panels compared to ground/earth or there could be a problem with the solar inverter itself.

Cable

For as long as the situation persits then the solar inverter will not startup. Earth / Ground Faults (also called Insulation or Isolation Faults) often present themselves when it is raining or at times of high humidity when moisture can enter the solar PV system through damaged solar panels, connectors or cabling. These faults often clear when weather conditions improve but they will not get better by themselves, most often degrading and becoming more dangerous over time.

We would advise that you book a solar repair engineer's visit in order to carry out a full solar system test, identify the source and rectify the fault. We've written more about how to identify and repair ground faults here: Ground Faults, Isolation (ISO) Faults, RISO Low Faults and Insulation Resistance Faults with Solar PV Systems

* Error 11 - Device Fault - If after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists the inverter has a fatal error and should be replaced. There are a few ways that we can help with this: Solar Inverter Replacement

* Error 12 - DC INJ Fault - If after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists the inverter has a fatal error and should be replaced. There are a few ways that we can help with this: Solar Inverter Replacement

* Error 13 - GFCI DeviceFault - If after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists the inverter has a fatal error and should be replaced. There are a few ways that we can help with this: Solar Inverter Replacement

* Error 14 - Comm. Disturbed - If after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists the inverter has a fatal error and should be replaced. There are a few ways that we can help with this: Solar Inverter Replacement

* Error 15 - Current Sensor Fault - If after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists the inverter has a fatal error and should be replaced. There are a few ways that we can help with this: Solar Inverter Replacement

* Error 16 - CPU Ref 2.5V Fault - If after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists the inverter has a fatal error and should be replaced. There are a few ways that we can help with this: Solar Inverter Replacement

* Error 17 - EEPROM R/W Fail - If after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists the inverter has a fatal error and should be replaced. There are a few ways that we can help with this: Solar Inverter Replacement

* Error 18 - DC INJ Device Fault - If after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists the inverter has a fatal error and should be replaced. There are a few ways that we can help with this: Solar Inverter Replacement

* Error 19 - Relay Fault - If after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists the inverter has a fatal error and should be replaced. There are a few ways that we can help with this: Solar Inverter Replacement NB: See further information in the introduction at the top of the page about this fault.

* Error 20 - AC-Overcurrent - This is either an internal error within the solar inverter or less likely a problem with the AC side of the system such as a short circuit in the supply circuit. If after the system has been safely shutdown and restarted this condition persists then contact us to test the AC side of the system including and excluding the solar inverter.

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Solar Inverter Recycling: - Recycling Sonnen Macht Inverters

Sonen Macht solar inverters contain valuable materials such as copper and aluminium, these materials are in high demand and recycling them is significantly less energy intensive than extracting them from ore.

If you find yourself with a damaged or faulty Sonnen Macht solar inverter, we will be pleased to help you recycle it.

Solar PV System Repairs

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Solar Power System Testing, Servicing & Maintenance

Regular solar PV system testing, servicing and maintenance will extend the life of a solar PV system and ensure that solar panels are always operating safely and at their best, whilst maximising yields.

We offer complete safety and performance testing for solar PV power systems of any size. Includes solar panels, cables, solar inverters, isolators and mains connections.

We provide solar power system testing and maintenance services for residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural clients across Southern, South West England and the West Midlands, with specialist experience working with farmers, developers and commercial and industrial buildings owners.

Solar Power System Testing, Servicing & Maintenance

 

Solar PV Inverter Replacement

If you have a faulty solar inverter, we offer an efficient, value for money, hassle free solar inverter replacement service. We offer good advice and install quality equipment with comprehensive warranty and support options. We will test the rest of the system as part of the service, take care of all hardware deliveries, record the new unit's serial number and confirm the warranty details with the manufacturer.

Our solar electricians work cleanly and will dispose of any unwanted boxes, faulty equipment and packaging.

Many modern solar inverters can now use wireless home networks to transmit solar generation data to PCs, tablets and smartphones, so if you would like something like this, let us know and we will be happy to set it up as part of the installation.

Solar PV Inverter Replacement

 

Mains/Grid Isolation and Surge Protection

Mains/AC Surge Protection Solar PV Systems

A whole house surge protector is installed to provide protection from transient overvoltages originating from the mains/grid. A whole house surge protector is installed directly inline and as close as possible to the incoming mains/grid supply meter, this allows for surge protection for all circuits and equipment including solar inverters, routers, stereos and other sensitive electrical equipment within the network. The addition of a 100Amp lockable isolator also allows for safe and convenient isolation of all electrical equipment within the network including consumer units, solar inverters, battery storage units and EV chargers from the mains/grid in one place.

Surge protectors are in compliance with the recently updated 18th edition amendment 2 of BS7671.

Mains/Grid Isolation and Surge Protection

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Articles: Further Information, Calculators & Solar Inverter Fault Codes

Lots of articles, calculators and technical information including links for further reading. Covering a range of topics related to the installation and maintenance of solar photovoltaic and electrical systems in the UK.

/Solar PV Information Articles

How to provide power to a house using a portable generator

We look at changeover switches, the importance of earthing, generator loadings, isolating non essential loads. Where to locate the generator and how best to safely isolate the grid/mains power supply and switch to a generator supply.

Solar PV, Safety & The Building Regulations

Residential PV systems notifiable under Part P. Special consideration needed for Part A. A combination of serious risks for solar PV installers.

Ground Faults, Isolation (ISO) Faults, RISO Low Faults and Insulation Resistance Faults with Solar PV Systems

After a number of years exposed to wind, rain, snow, ice and sometimes animals; solar panel systems can start to develop faults. The most common faults we find related to exposure are ground faults, isolation (ISO) faults, RISO low faults and insulation resistance faults. In this article we take a look at what these faults are, the possible causes and what steps are taken to identify and resolve them.

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What Our Customers Say:

"Inverter broke down, contacted Glen, on his advice new inverter delivered within days. Glen then came and fitted new inverter within 90 mins, works perfectly. Glen is very friendly very efficient, really knows his work. Can highly recommend Glen, any other problems with solar system and Glen will be the one I call." - Carl Tyler, Salisbury

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Case Studies

We've carried out Solar PV System design, installation, testing, repair and maintenance work on solar PV systems of all shapes and sizes all across the UK.

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Areas Served:

We are located in Wanborough, very close to Swindon in Wiltshire, Southern England, UK. From here we service clients within a 90 minute driving radius including the towns, cities and regions below:

Swindon: Abingdon, Aldbourne, Amesbury, Andover, Banbury, Basingstoke, Bath, Berkshire, Bicester, Blunsdon, Box, Bracknell, Bradford on Avon, Bridgwater, Bristol, Buckingham, Burford, Burnham on Sea, Calne, Camberley, Cardiff, Carterton, Cheltenham, Chippenham, Chipping Norton, Chipping Sodbury, Cirencester, Corsham, Cricklade, Devizes, Didcot, Evesham, Eynsham, Faringdon, Frome, Fleet, Glastonbury, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Henley-on-Thames, Highclere, Highworth, Hook, Hungerford, Keynsham, Kingsclere, Lambourn, Lechlade, Ledbury, Ludgershall, Lyneham, Maidenhead, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Marshfield, Melksham, Minety, Newbury, Newport, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Pewsey, Purton, Ramsbury, Reading, Ross on Wye, Royal Wootton Bassett, Salisbury, Shaftesbury, Shalbourne, Slough, Southampton, Stow, Stratford upon Avon, Stroud, Swindon, Tewkesbury, Thatcham, Tidworth, Trowbridge, Wanborough, Wantage, Warminster, Weston Super Mare, Wiltshire, Winchester, Windsor, Witney, Wokingham, Worcester, Wroughton and Yate.

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