How to Use the SMA Sunny Boy Inverter

SMA solar pv inverter display

SMA solar pv inverter display

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SMA is a German company that makes some of the best solar pv inverters around. These are the bits of kit that are fed the DC electrical output from your solar panels and converts it to AC suitable for exporting to the national grid (through your standard electricity supply). They store a lot of data about what is going on, such as generation power and units produced. There is a nice display on the inverter that shows current status and cumulative output, plus a 24-hour graph.


Unfortunately the inverter is almost always put in the loft, so to make things easier the SMA inverters have a bluetooth interface that allows you to get inverter readings out without having to be stood in front of it. At least, that's the theory! In our case we can't get a bluetooth connection unless we stand with our laptop PC in front of the inverter, and even then the Sunny Explorer software (supplied free by SMA) is very slow to connect to the inverter - up to a minute. Our laptop is of a decent spec (HP Elitebook just over a yaer old) but maybe the built-in Bluetooth isn't decent enough. There are reports on web forums that a USB bluetooth dongle has succeeded where built-in bluetooth has failed, so maybe that's worth a try. Read more at Whirlpool forums.

One crucial mistake we made when trying to operate the bluetooth connection was to get the password wrong. The default password for the user is 0000, but we didn't notice that and tried 'password'. Oddly enough we were able to connect but couldn't download any data; there were no notices that the password was wrong, and all we got was a message saying that we should "wait whilst the data is being downloaded". If you find yourself waiting more than a minute or so for a data download, have a think whether you put in the correct password - it won't tell you!

If you want to try the Sunny Explorer software, you can download it from www.sma.de/en/products/software/sunny-explorer.html; download their PDF user manual if you get stuck. Note that they only have a PC version (Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or 7, 32-bit or 64-bit), and that back in March 2011 a Mac version was only in progress, with "no fix date of release yet". People talk about using Sunny Explorer on a Mac by running it through a virtual machine such as Parallels, but even then you may have to use a USB bluetooth dongle instead of the built-in one.

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SMA sunny explorer connect

SMA sunny explorer connect

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SMA sunny explorer display

SMA sunny explorer display

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SMA sunny boy solar PV inverter

SMA sunny boy solar PV inverter

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5 Comments

by Sabina on 18 July 2014 Reply
Wonderful! Had the same problem with no data, and then I used the default password 0000, and yah! now we have data. Many thanks
by Sayling Low on 27 May 2012 Reply
I'm using Sunny Explorer on a MacBook Pro (mid 2009) on Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6.8) running Parallels 6 and Windows 7 (Home Ed 32-bit) without a bluetooth dongle (i.e. using built in Bluetooth); I do have to site the laptop in the next room from the inverter, though. The inverter is in the garage, and I am in the next room through one thick external brick wall.
by Pipchin on 24 November 2011 Reply
I had waited interminably until I noticed the comment above about the password. I can now connect perfectly using my computer's built in Bluetooth even though the signal strength is only indicated to be 9%.
by John Swindells on 24 November 2011 Reply
I'm glad it helped! The inverter does seem to have a very weak signal, hence the 10-feet advice from the manufacturer.
by Penelope Fairclough on 19 November 2011 Reply
I have a SMA Sunny Boy inverter as has my neighbour who is on Windows - he gets the readings of his power useage through his solar panels and was helping me to download to get mine, but being a Macbook this has totally failed. Why is Mac so backward that they have not produced the free software to do this ordinary thing - or have they? If so please give the appropriate instructions.
by Simon osborne on 16 November 2011 Reply
We have installed the Sunnyboy 4000-TL20, also with bluetooth. I am using a Belkin f8t017 dongle and connect well, but even though this is a class 1 device only get <5m from it. As my install is in my workshop over 25M from the house, its not so useful, I do downloads once a week or so.

Anyone know of optimised settings for the inverter vai explorer?

by John Swindells on 17 November 2011 Reply
I tried another bluetooth dongle, with a claimed 100m range, and it was no better than the built-in bluetooth.

SMA said that you should "stand about 10' away from the inverter when trying to connect to it", which unfortunately implies that these inverters have real range issues.

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