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Tools for Connecting Tracer BN Solar Charger to Raspberry Pi with Python via rs485

This is how I setup a Raspberry Pi with a RS485 adapter to track statistics from a Tracer 4215BN Solar Charger. This should work with any of the tracer BN series charge controllers.

The first generation controller used RS-232 and a different protocol. see This could be adapted to work with that.

Linux driver for Exar USB UART

Heres how to install the driver for a usb to rs-485 similar to the one found here The xr_usb_serial_common directory contains the makefile and instructions that will compile properly on Rasbian OS on a raspberry pi 3. Before compiling be sure to install the linux headers with sudo apt-get install raspberrypi-kernel-headers

After installing the headers be sure to sudo bundle then sudo make. The resulting xr_usb_serial_common.ko file will need to be moved to /lib/modules/YOUR_LINUX_VERSION/extra/. After building and moving the module, remove the cdc-acm driver that automatically installs for the usb-485 adapter.

rmmod cdc-acm modprobe -r usbserial modprobe usbserial

You will also need to add the cdc-acm to the system blacklist:

echo blacklist cdc-acm > /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-cdc-acm.conf Note: If echo doesnt work you will need to add blacklist cdc-acm manually to the blacklist with vim vi /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-cdc-acm.conf

Finally add xr_usb_serial_common to '/etc/modules' to autoload the module on startup.

After all of this is done make sure that the new driver loads correctly by reloading the linux dependency list depmod -ae Then load the module with modprobe xr_usb_serial_common

If all goes well you should see ttyXRUSB when listing ls /dev/tty*

Reboot and enjoy!



Python module

A simple script found in dashing/jobs will read a specific register from the solar charger. You can use this to test that your driver is working. Before running be sure to install the Minimal Modbus python library. Run the script like so: python 0x3100 The script will return 0 if there is any kind of error.

The file will query the solar controller for relevant data and log it to a mysql database. You will need to update the file to point to your mysql db. Uses Minimal Modbus and mysqldb libraries

Setting up a cron job to run this script regularly is advisable if you intend to setup a dashboard. To set up a cron job: First make and executable file: sudo chmod +x

Now add the cron job: crontab -e */5 * * * * /PATHTOREPO/ Dashboard

Img The Dashing folder contains everything needed to setup a dashboard to monitor realtime and historical solar charging data. Install dashing and created a new project, then copy the files from the dashing folder into your new dashing project. The path to the phython script in /jobs/ will need to be changed.

Starting Raspberry Pi as a Local Network + Web Service

Do the first part of this tutorial. Dont worry about network bridging unless you are doing this for your house and want the raspberry to be connected to the net.

Comment out any "NETWORK={" entries in /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf Be sure to hard reboot after running. A soft reboot does not start up the lotal network. From a tip here

Next we need to setup port forwarding to forward port 80 to the port Dashing runs on. Usually 3030 Add these lines at the end o f /etc/rc.local

# Forward port 80 to 3030 (where our web server is) so the
# web server can run at normal permissions
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p tcp --dport 80 -j REDIRECT --to-port 3030

Follow this to start Dashing on Boot. This works with ruby 2.3+

If you want to change your hostname, or the address you will put into a web browser, follow this.

Now you should be able to connect to your raspberry pi, open a web browser and enter hostname.local to open your dashboard!