Unfortunately this article is only available in german: https://www.tinkerforge.com/de/blog/new-functions-for-warp-charger-and-warp-energy-manager/
Bastian Nordmeyer - 3 days, 7 hours ago
Unfortunately this article is only available in german: https://www.tinkerforge.com/de/blog/new-functions-for-warp-charger-and-warp-energy-manager/
Bastian Nordmeyer - 3 weeks, 5 days ago
Today events are a bit hectic for us:
On one hand, we have released a new firmware for the WARP Charger Wallboxes. This firmware offers various new features (OCPP, charging logbook download as PDF, etc.). For this, we will publish a separate blog post that will introduce the new features in detail.
On the other hand, today we have released the WARP Energy Manager. The development took longer than planned because we had to create various internal technical prerequisites. But now it's finally here, and the WARP Energy Manager can be purchased for 299€ in our webshop. Today we have also released the WARP Energy Manager Firmware in version 1.0.0. We had various requests from you to test the WARP Energy Manager in advance. Thank you very much for that! With the release, we want to fulfill this offer. The reason is that, in our view, an important feature is still missing in the firmware: The energy analysis. We will catch up on this in the next two weeks and release it with a new firmware.
For this reason, the shop entry is marked with the shipping date of March 14th, 2023. This means that after an order is placed, we will ship the WARP Energy Manager as soon as this feature is released (new firmware). We do this so that installers receive a complete product.
If you would like to test the WARP Energy Manager with firmware version 1.0.0 in advance, please write us an email or add a corresponding order comment. Then we will send the Energy Manager with the 1.0.0 firmware immediately.
We look forward to your feedback and your suggestions for improvement!
The firmware in version 1.0.0 offers the following functions:
Static load management
This is the load management that WARP2 Charger Smart and Pro can perform directly with each other. However, the WARP Energy Manager can now also be configured as a load manager. The Energy Manager then ensures that a fixed phase current is not exceeded. Static load management, for example, makes sense when multiple wallboxes share a power line that should not be overloaded.
PV excess charging
With increasing energy prices, you want to be able to charge your electric vehicle with as much of the produced energy as possible. DIY enthusiasts among you have already been able to achieve this using the open interfaces of the WARP2 Charger (MQTT, HTTP, Modbus TCP and OCPP). Solutions such as EVCC could also be used. However, there has not yet been a plug-and-play solution for this. This is now taken over by the WARP Energy Manager. Using an external RS485 power meter of type SDM72 V2 or SDM630, it determines the consumption or excess at the grid connection and regulates the charging power of the connected WARP Chargers accordingly.
On the status page of the WARP Energy Manager, the user can choose between four different charging modes:
The type 2 charging standard defines a minimum charging current of 6A. No charging takes place below this value. In three-phase operation, the minimum charging power is thus approximately 4.1 kW. PV systems cannot always ensure this power, so energy must be drawn from the grid. A 2-pole contactor can be connected to the WARP Energy Manager, which can automatically switch from three-phase operation to single-phase operation. This reduces the minimum charging power to approximately 1.4 kW, making it possible to carry out charging processes with lower power without additional grid connection. As it is never allowed to simply switch off phases during an active charging process, the WARP Energy Manager takes over the switching and guarantees safe operation. The contactor is monitored by the Energy Manager, so malfunctions can be quickly detected.
External loads can be controlled through a built-in relay (max 30V/1A). The user can define when the relay switches. For example, it can be activated when a certain amount of power is left over.
The WARP Energy Manager has two inputs for potential-free contacts. If a phase switching (see above) is to be realized, one input is used to monitor the contactor. Otherwise, both inputs can be assigned functions by the user. For example, limiting the charging current is possible or charging processes can be blocked depending on input state.
Networking with LAN (and WIFI)
The WARP Energy Manager is equipped with an internal ESP32 Ethernet Brick and should be installed in the distribution box. It has WLAN and opens a WLAN access point that can be used for configuration. We recommend using the LAN interface for communication with the wallboxes.
HTTP and MQTT API
As is customary with us, the WARP Energy Manager has an open API. Through this API, the Energy Manager can be controlled, but it is also possible to transmit meter values via this interface, such that no RS485 power meter is required.
Software-wise, several additional features are already in progress or planned for the future. In the following we will give you an overview of the functions the WARP Energy Manager will take on in the future.
The WARP Energy Manager is equipped with 8GB of internal flash memory. It records data from power meters and charging processes internally. A cloud connection is not necessary. This makes the WARP Energy Manager independent, and the data stays with you. This data can be visualized locally on the Energy Manager. You can view the data in hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly views, allowing you to analyze and optimize your energy consumption. This feature is still being worked on and is scheduled to be released in the next two weeks.
Dynamic load management
The WARP Energy Manager will support dynamic load management, unlike the existing static load management. In dynamic load management, a fixed value for the maximum phase current is not specified (static); instead, a meter is used to determine the current per phase and calculate how much power is still available (dynamic). For example, this ensures that a power connection designed for 63A is never overloaded. The WARP Energy Manager regulates the wallboxes so that the 63A limit is not exceeded. It takes into account that other connected devices can be switched on and off arbitrarily, causing the current to change constantly. This is useful when a specific current for the wallboxes cannot be guaranteed at all times.
Central user management incl. NFC
Currently each WARP2 Smart or Pro wallbox has its own user management system. If a user wants to charge their vehicle using their NFC tag at multiple wallboxes, they have to teach the tag to each box individually. In the future, the WARP Energy Manager is intended to serve as a central management interface where wallbox users can be managed centrally.
Central charging logbook
Similar to user management charging processes are individually recorded on each wallbox. When using multiple wallboxes, this data must then be collected from each wallbox. In the future, this should also be possible centrally via a WARP Energy Manager. You will be able to download the charging logbook as .CSV or .PDF from the web interface.
Currently, the WARP Energy Manager requires a specific power meter at the grid connection for PV excess charging or dynamic load management. We know that often there are already meters at these points, as inverters, heat pumps, or other manufacturers also require power meters . Unfortunately there is no general standard that we could support, which would ensure that we can read all power meters. At least with SunSpec, there is a standard that is supported by many inverter manufacturers. Using this interface, the WARP Energy Manager can use the data of compatible power meters and no additional power meter needs to be installed.
Bastian Nordmeyer - 3 months ago
The year 2022 is slowly coming to an end. We would like to give you a small look behind-the-scenes.
Parts procurement and manufacturing
2022 was very challanging for us. The issue of the availability of parts and the associated problems during manufacturing of our products resulted in a significant increase in the amount of time needed. Previously, we always kept some parts in stock for the production of our products, and we would order the missing parts just in time for each new production run. The effort for that was kept within limits. This approach simply stopped working mid to end 2021. We started to increase our stock of parts significantly. Nevertheless we were not able to procure all of the necessary items. As an example the DAC7760 (analog to digital converter used on the Industrial Analog Out Bricklet), is not available anymore for over a year now. Because of this we go through parts that are available at ditributors every day now to buy parts that are difficult to procure, even if we don't need this specific part at the moment. One of the most annoying aspects of this whole situation is that distributors stopped to honor delivery dates. They may say that a part will be deliverd in 3 months, but 1 week before the delivery date they will push it back for another 3 months. This happens all the time now. Because of this we needed to stop an already scheduled production run several times this year.
Price increases / inflation
Additionally, some of the parts that were not available anymore are now available again, but multiple times more expensive. As an example, the INA226 (analog to digital converter used by the Voltage/Current Bricklet) was priced at ~40USD (instead of the normal ~4USD) on the market. This is more expensive then the sales prices of the whole Bricklet. Electronic parts have become more expensive across the board. We are currently not sure if this price spiral will stop in the near future of if the inflation in this category will persist for a while. For now we have just accepted big parts of the price increases. It is unfortunately very much possible that we will have to increase our prices again in the near future.
But not everything was bad in 2022, the opposite is actually true! Our WARP2 Charger wallboxes are a huge success. We were able to implement lots of new features this year. They include the charge tracker, user management, MQTT, HTTP API, Wireguard, Modbus/TCP and also our OCPP implementation is nearly ready. Most of the improvements are based on your feedback and improvement suggestion. Many thanks for that!
WARP Energy Manager
Unfortunately we were not able to fully implement the WARP Energy Manager as fast as we wanted. The Energy Manager was supposed to be available in our shop already. We also actually now have the hardware in stock already, but the software needs some more time. Very sorry for the delays!
In 2021 and 2022 the Tinkerforge team has grown! We actually have not even put Vincent, Michael, Frederic and Matze on our team webpage. We will have to make sure to catch up with that next year.
What will be new in 2023?
For 2023 we plan with lots of improvements for the WARP Charger. We will release the the WARP Energy Manager and lots of other new features will be available with a software update. If you are here for the Tinkerforge building blocks you do not need to worry, we also plan to release new Bricklets soon. However, our personal highlight for 2023 will be our new industrial real estate. Our current building is simply full by now. With the increased stock and new employees we are using up every square millimeter now. With the new modern building that we bought we will have a huge amount of space for offices and warehouse.
That's it for our little review and outlook!
We thank you for your trust and wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2023!
Bastian Nordmeyer - 8 months, 3 weeks ago
This blog entry is only available in German: https://www.tinkerforge.com/de/blog/warp-charger-news-webseite-warp-energy-manager-stand/
Bastian Nordmeyer - 10 months, 4 weeks ago
We are using the ESP32 Brick and the ESP32 Ethernet Brick for our WARP Charger for a long time now. The WARP Charger (generation 1) uses the ESP32 Brick as the central control unit, while the current generation of WARP2 Charger use the ESP32 Ethernet Brick.
Starting today these Bricks are now also officially part of the Tinkerforge building blocks, i.e. you can use the new Bricks for your own projects!
What are the ESP32 Brick and ESP32 Ethernet Brick?
The ESP32 is a powerful microcontroller platform. It integrates WIFI (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth (V4.2 BR/EDR, BLE). It has two CPU cores that each run with 240 MHz and it has 448KB ROM, 520KB SRAM as well as 16MB flash. Both new Bricks each have six connectors for Bricklets. Power can be supplied through a USB-C connector that is also used for firmware flashing. To make this possible the Brick integrates a USB to serial converter, which means that USB can also be used for debugging through the serial interface. Additionally we offer an optional power supply that can be stacked on top of the Brick. It supports an input voltage of up to 27V. As you might have guessed from the name: The ESP32 Ethernet Brick has an additional Ethernet interface compared to the ESP32 Brick.
What is the intended application for the new Bricks?
The ESP32 (Ethernet) Brick can be used in two ways: In the delivery condition the Brick is flashed with a standard firmware. This firmware creates a WIFI access point that can be used to reach be Brick through a web interface. With the ESP32 Ethernet Brick the web interface is also reachable via LAN (DHCP). The web interface can be used to configure the brick, for example to connect to your own WIFI. The standard firmware comes with the proxy mode enabled. With the proxy mode it is possible to control the connected Bricklets through our normal API Bindings. This means you can also connect to the Brick with the Brick Viewer. In this mode the Brick behaves similar to a Master Brick together with a WIFI/Ethernet Extension.
Of course you can also use the ESP32 (Ethernet) Brick as a development platform for your own software that runs stand-alone on the ESP32.
To do this you can use the standard ESP32 development tools. The ESP32 is a widespread platform that has lots of libraries and support for many development environments. To use our Bricklets we offer the C/C++ API Bindings for microcontroller. Additionally you use our standard firmware as a starting point. It is build from many different software modules that can be extended. This means you can use the web interface and all of its configuration pages together with your own sub-pages and the proxy mode at the same time!