How do I install the Deno hardware?

A guide to installaing the Denowatts gateway and Deno simulators on a solar array

Inspect Kit Components

The Denowatts hardware is comprised of (1+) Deno kits and (1) Gateway kit.  Some sites additionally may have an Ekor ETPort that is required for installation.  

The Gateway kit should include a power cable or optional PoE adapter, an ethernet cable, and an antenna with 10' extender/waterproof cable gland.
The Deno kit(s) should include the Deno sensor with mounting bracket, c-clamps, antenna with mounting bracket, a Back of Module (BOM) temperature sensor with heat conductive tape, and an optional Auxiliary pyranometer.   
Denowatts Kit Components

Charge the Denos

The Deno sensors are self-powered from sunlight, so they will not operate fresh out of the box.  Before set-up, let's get them charging.  There's are two options:  1) Place in direct moderate sunlight for an hour or so; or 2) Charge via USB cable from any power source. 

Tip: Some installers charge the units on their dashboard or truck USB while heading to the site.

Don't install the Deno sensors on the solar modules yet

Set up the Gateway

The Gateway will connect your Deno data to the Data Acquisition System (DAS) and will enable remote management.  The Gateway must be mounted in a watertight enclosure with the DAS equipment.  

  • Mount the Gateway to the DIN rail
  • Connect the antenna extender cable
  • Connect the ethernet cable to the network switch within the DAS enclosure
  • Connect to the 12/24Vdc power source within the DAS enclosure

Observe Gateway Lights

Check the lights to confirm the Gateway is properly installed.  You should see the following.  Pay most attention to "ST1" to confirm that there is a link to the network.

Gateway Lights

Attach Gateway Antenna

The Gateway antenna must be placed outside the DAS enclosure, as high up as possible.  For optimal results, the Gateway antenna should be in the line of sight  of the Deno sensor antennas, vertical, if possible. 

The antenna has a magnetic base so it is often attached to strut or atop metallic equipment. 
Run the antenna extender through the DAS enclosure using the waterproof cable gland.  
Connect the antenna to the extender with a finger-tight connection.  

Deno simulator check with Launch Mode

Before installing the Deno sensors on the solar modules, let's make sure everything is communicating.  

With a charged Deno sensor, place the unit into Launch Mode using the antenna magnet.  
  • Swipe the antenna underneath the lower pyranometer.  As you swipe, you'll see the S-O-L lights momentarily flash.  This resets the Deno sensor and shows you that it is powered and ready for action.
  • Place and hold the antenna magnet over the upper pyranometer until you see the S-O-L lights illuminate and stay on.  The unit is now in Launch Mode.
  • Launch Mode overrides normal operation by forcing a 15-second radio transmission under and light condition.  This pushes data traffic to the Gateway to confirm communications.
  • Check for successful radio communications from the Deno by observing the S-O-L-A-R lights:
  • Every 15-seconds the A-R light will flash Red/Green indicating a radio transmission attempt.
  • If the transmission is successful the S-O-L lights will all remain ON
  • Every time a transmission fails, you will lose an S-O-L light.  After three failed transmissions, all S-O-L lights will be OFF, but the radio will keep trying.

 

Launch Mode uses more power, so it automatically reverts to Normal mode after 10 minutes.  To conserve power, reset the Deno with a magnetic swipe under the lower pyranometer once you've confirmed the communications.   

If this step fails, please contact Denowatts at 978.496.3460 to diagnose.

Locate the Deno simulators

Its time to locate and mount the Deno sensors on the solar array.

This is the single-most important installation step for achieving an excellent benchmark.  

Deno sensors MUST be located at the top of array tables in the sunniest part of the array.  For ground mount arrays, bring a ladder!
The Deno antennas should be in the line of sight of the Gateway antenna for best results.  If not, don't worry--we'll test the communications again.
If the entire site is a flat, homogeneous plane, simply place the Deno sensors towards the center of the array.  
If the site is a rolling, multiple-orientation hodgepodge of solar planes, not to worry! Choose the Complex site button below to learn more about the art of Deno sensor placement.
You will find our Deno Installation Specifications printed in the box, or click to download.

 

Re-check Deno Simulator Communication

Attach the antenna as far from the Deno sensor as possible to eliminate risk of shading.  Once the antenna is mounted, recheck the Deno sensor lights using Launch Mode to ensure the communications are successful.  If communications are not succeeding after 2 minutes, move the unit closer to the gateway.

Mount Deno Simulators

The Deno sensor mounts to the side of a solar module frame using (2) c-clamps (included).  The sensor MUST be mounted at the top of a solar module or panel in order to properly benchmark. 

Prior to attaching, ensure the antenna, Tbom sensor, and (optional) auxiliary pyranometer are all plugged into the back of the Deno.  

Ensure the Deno sensor is mounted flat to the solar module so they share the precise orientation.  Hand-fasten the c-clamps.  
Fixed Tilt Placement
Fixed Tilt Placement

Deno Installed

Single Axis Tracker (SAT) and GHI Den0 PlacementSAT Placement

Adhere Back of Module Temperature Sensor

Locate the Back of Module Temperature Sensor (Tbom) approximately 24" adjacent to the Deno sensor. Use the following steps to adhere the sensor with the adhesive tapes (included):

  • First clean the Tbom location with a dry cloth
  • Apply a layer of Thermal tape and remove blue backing
  • Attach the Tbom sensor to the first layer of tape
  • Tightly adhere a second layer of thermal tape OVER the Tbom sensor and remove  the blue backing.  Ensure the tape is wrapped around the sensor as much as possible. This ensures a strong bond and optimal heat transfer.
  • Apply the green PET tape over the entire fixture.  This ensures protection from the elements of the Tbom.
  • Finally, dress up any remaining cable with zip ties or user-provided tape.

TBOM Placement

Position Auxiliary Pyranometer

The Auxiliary pyranometer may be oriented in the horizontal (GHI) or revere plane of array (rPOA).

Loosen the hand screw to adjust according to the site specifications.
If orienting in the GHI position, use the bubble level to ensure <1-degree error from level.  
If the array consists of Bifacial modules use rPOA by orienting the sensor directly back from the modules.  The rPOA must not be mounted at the end of a row or on the back row of an array.  Ensure the rPOA is at least 18" from any rear-side shade, including mounting perlins.
If uncertain, contact the designer/owner.
Validate Deno Data (Basic)
Your Deno sensors are installed and you've verified Gateway connection.  Its time to validate the sensor data for signal strength and accuracy.

If you have a windows PC and USB cable and prefer to utilize the Denowatts Gateway Utility application for this step, please skip this step and click here.

 
Open the Data Validation Screen and enter the last 6 digits of the Gateway MAC address into this page and select View.  You will see the raw data from each Deno sensor that is reporting.  Please verify the following:
  • The serial number of each Deno sensor is reporting at consistent intervals (1-minute daylight, 5-minutes twilight, or 15-minutes night-time)
  • The radio signal strength indicator (RSSI) is reading -40 to -60 (excellent), -61--75 (good).  If the strength is consistently lower than -76 the signal is weak and you should check the antennas or move the Deno sensor closer to the gateway.
  • The Irradiance and temperature sensors are showing accurate measurements.

Validate Deno Data Basic

If you do not see data in this screen after 5 minutes and it is reasonably sunny, please contact Denowatts at 978.496.3460.

 

Document

At this point the Deno hardware installation is complete and we ask you to please take photos of the installed units and mark their location on a site plan, noting Deno serial numbers.  These must be uploaded to the Performance Portal for Capacity Test documentation and future reference.  

Installation is now complete 

 

Next Step:  Sensor Commissioning.