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Wireless solar communications solutions with LoRa radio

Wireless solar communications solutions with LoRa radio

By Monique Merino, RFI Product Manager (IoT)

As solar installations continue to increase and we move more towards smart grid solutions which require more connectivity, having a reliable connection for your solar system is essential. Modern solar inverters require connectivity to communicate data back to an internet connected portal.  RFI has the innovative solution to for this (and many other) solar applications.

If you have ever had a solar system installed, or are an installer yourself, you will have come across the situation of having to run a hard-line RS485 cable from your inverter to your meter unit through impractical or almost impossible terrain when connecting your inverter to a meter. While this is the recommended solution from many inverter manufacturers it is often impractical, expensive or impossible to lay a hardwired cable for RS485. This calls for a more innovative approach to achieve communications between a meter and inverter.

Communications in solar installations is often seen as a mysterious and complex part of the install, but it doesn’t need to be. Using a pair of Maxon Datamax LoRa terminals a wireless RS485 link can be established within minutes. As small outstation devices, the terminals are fitted with RS485 (and RS232) serial connectivity, this allows for direct connectivity to the inverter comms interface through the RS485 serial connector commonly found on solar inverters. The terminals are then programmed to talk to each other over LoRa radio through paired device IDs, matching frequency and data rate. With supply from RFI terminals can be supplied pre-programmed with settings appropriate for your device to further simplify setup.

So, what are the advantages of using the Maxon Datamax LoRa terminal solution for inverter communications? LoRa is a LPWAN communications protocol, this means that it is low power consumption solution that can communicate over a long range. This makes it better suited to these sorts of applications when compared to other protocols that have been tested for this use case, such as WiFi, which are designed for high-power short-range solutions. LoRa’s embedded end to end encryption and redundancy for packet finality also make it a desirable and versatile solution. The ease of installation of the product and the low power, low cost of the LoRa terminals also makes them an economical solution when compared to the cost of running long cable runs.

Since a large range of solar inverters and meters can be connected by RS485 or RS232 this makes this solution compatible with a wide range of devices and brands. This illustrates the flexibility of the Maxon Datamax LoRa terminal solution for wireless solar communications.

For any additional information, please contact the sales team at enquiry@rfi.com.au.

Monique Merino, Product Manager (IoT)

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Comms Connect Melbourne 2019 Preview

Comms Connect Preview

It’s the Critical Communications industry’s event of the year in Melbourne on 26-28th November.

At Comms Connect, we’ll be presenting workshops and displaying our latest solutions at stand 66.

Come meet the RFI team as we introduce to you our new innovations in:

  • Coverage Enhancement Solutions- Launching the DSPbR Edge product and our innovative Trunking Extender technology
  • Mobility Solutions- including IoT & mobile radio innovations
  • Network Coverage Solutions- including the Cel-Fi Quatra Hybrid DAS solution
  • Leaky Feeder Solutions- Introducing Leaky Feeder Re-invented

PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP: ARCIA PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TRAINING — LIGHTNING PROTECTION AND EARTHING SYSTEMS

26th November 2019, 9:30am- 12:45pm
Presented by Kaine Mulder, RFI Product Manager

One of the serious issues facing all communications providers is the protection of sensitive equipment from power surges caused by electrical storms. This workshop will explain the causes and effects of lightning events, as well as outline the earthing requirements for communications towers and protection devices.

MINING SOLUTIONS TO DELIVER BROADBAND AND VOICE SERVICES SEAMLESSLY IN MODERN UNDERGROUND MINES
27th November 2019- 11:45 am to 12:15pm

Presented by Johan Strydom, RFI Product Manager, Mining and Networks

One of the challenges that underground mines face during operation is reliable communications. Power and data points of presence are rarely available, especially near the mine face. This presentation will talk about providing fast and reliable data communications to the mine face.

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RFI launches new Solar Comms Solutions, Value-added Services and more at All Energy

RFI launches new Solar Comms Solutions, Value-added Services and more at All Energy

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, RFI is an Australian innovator and leader in solar distribution and a manufacturer of communications solutions. At All Energy 2019, on stand NN139 RFI is excited to launch exclusive new solutions and value-added services for the solar industry.

RFI’s new solutions include:

  • RFI 4G Modems and data plans developed exclusively for the Australian solar market
  • RFI Point to Point wireless meter and inverter comms linking- removing costly cable runs
  • RFI Multi-site Solar wireless comms- solving commercial multi-site connectivity issues

All solutions have been designed in Australia by RFI’s R&D and Product development teams, focusing on solving the comms problems prevalent in the solar industry. “Our 40 years of experience in connectivity and our partnerships with Australian telcos has allowed us to unlock a really compelling offering for the industry”, stated Dale Wilson, National Sales Manager of RFI.

As a diversified technology solutions company and logistics powerhouse, RFI will also be highlighting its significant capabilities in seamless delivery, value-added services and distribution.

On the product front, solar installers will also get their first viewing of the Ground-breaking REC Alpha, the world’s highest power solar panel in a 60-cell format, producing over 20% more energy than conventional panels.

Visitors to the RFI stand will also get the opportunity to see the world’s first 2-in-1 EV Inverter/Charger from SolarEdge.

RFI will also be showcasing our Power Partners zone, an area for RFI’s Power Partners to interact and learn more about how they can earn, boost and redeem points on premium, quality brands. The Power Partners network is Australia’s largest group of quality installers. At least 1 new global-leading brand will be announcing they have joined the program, providing even more value for RFI’s network members.

Want to learn more from our technical and sales experts on any of our new releases? Want to find out how you can become a member of the Power Partners program? Book an on-stand meeting with our team NOW.

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RFI AND REC GROUP ANNOUNCE NEW PARTNERSHIP

RFI AND REC GROUP ANNOUNCE NEW PARTNERSHIP

RFI to distribute REC Group’s range of premium, high-efficiency solar panels in Australia

RFI Technology Solutions and REC Group are pleased to announce a new partnership agreement, as RFI becomes a distribution partner for REC Group in the Australian market.

RFI will introduce REC’s range of premium, high-efficiency solar panels, including the REC N-Peak and the game-changing Alpha series range, set for official launch in the Australian market mid-October.

Scott Magee, CEO of stated, “REC’s innovative technology, product quality and industry-leading warranty offers an exciting new solution to the market. The Alpha series in particular looks to be a real gamechanger in the premium solar panel space, so we are excited to bring REC on board as our partner.”

RFI has a national distribution presence across Australia, giving REC access to an extremely experienced solar installer network covering both metro and regional areas. RFI also offers fully integrated solutions by packaging REC solutions with world-leading inverter, battery storage and monitoring products.

Paul Scerri, Country Manager, Australia at REC Group said, “With more than three decades’ experience in the solar field, RFI has a long and respected heritage in on-grid, off grid and industrial solutions.

“Represented in Australia’s major capital cities, we’re looking forward to working alongside RFI teams nationwide to deliver REC products with the efficiency and ease our customers expect,” he added.

About the N-Peak Series- Arriving in Mid-September

With up to 320W in a 60-cell panel, the REC N-Peak Series uses the most efficient cell technology in the industry, capturing more sunlight thereby providing more power. The panel features the innovative REC ‘Twin’ cell layout design, where the panel is split into two twin sections, also enabling continued energy production, even when partially shaded.

 

RFI will be introducing two versions:

  • 320W High Efficiency Panel
  • All-Black 315W High Efficiency Panel

 

Once an installer goes through the REC Solar Professional process, this range is warranted for an industry-leading 25-year power output warranty.

About the Alpha Series- Arriving in Mid-October

RFI will also be introducing the 365W Alpha Solar Panel. The REC Alpha Series delivers industry-beating power, making this the world’s most powerful 60-cell solar panel. Based on proprietary panel design with revolutionary cell technology, the new product is already acknowledged by a granted design patent.

Full details on this innovative new REC panel series will be shared in line with its mid-October Australian launch.

About RFI Technology Solutions

RFI is a global technology solutions company, specialising in wireless coverage and solar power. RFI has one of the largest, most innovative and experienced wireless and solar solutions with dedicated engineers, product managers, deployment engineers, logistics, distribution and R&D staff. We are proud to be an Australian success story with manufacturing, distribution and warehousing across Australia, NZ, the USA and the UK.

About REC Group

Founded in Norway in 1996, REC Group is a leading vertically integrated solar energy company. Through integrated manufacturing from silicon to wafers, cells, high-quality panels and extending to solar solutions, REC Group provides the world with a reliable source of clean energy. REC’s renowned product quality is supported by the lowest warranty claims rate in the industry. REC Group is a Bluestar Elkem company with headquarters in Norway and operational headquarters in Singapore. REC Group employs 2,000 people worldwide, producing 1.5 GW of solar panels annually.

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RFI Partners with RedEarth Energy Storage- Introduces BlackMax All-in-one Solution

RFI is excited to partner with RedEarth Energy Storage, releasing the BlackMax range of DIY Small Off-Grid Energy Storage. The BlackMax is available now from RFI in 2 versions, providing reliable power for applications such as sheds, workshops, transportable units or small living structures.

What is the BlackMax?

Robust enough to power or charge up all the tools and bar fridge, yet lightweight enough to not impose on the backyard, RedEarth’s Shed System is perfect for use where its name suggests.

The BlackMax’s main advantages are its low cost and capabilities for DIY installation. It can be as simple as placing the system in the desired location, laying solar panels and connecting them to a power board.

What are the benefits?

The RedEarth BlackMax is an all-in-one integrated power standalone system- maximising solar power and harvesting & providing reliable power for applications such as sheds & workshops.

Each system includes:

4 or 8 kWh RedEarth Tropical lithium battery

Solar PV charger that charges the battery bank

An inverter to provide power to AC loads from the battery bank

An AC rectifier so that the battery can be charged from an AC input source and connection.

An advanced Digital Signal Processor (DSP) in the PCU controls the power flow

RFI’s Range

The BlackMax is available now from RFI in 2 versions, depending on your battery sizing requirements:

BlackMax 4kWh All-in-one Battery Storage System
(RE-BMAX-3.3-4.0)

Includes:
– 3.3 kW inverter with output of 2.5 kw max.
– 4.0 kWh nominal battery capacity

BlackMax 8kWh All-in-one Battery Storage System
(RE-BMAX-3.3-8.0)

Includes:
– 3.3 kW inverter with output of 2.5 kw max.
– 8.0 kWh nominal battery capacity

About RedEarth Energy Storage

RedEarth Energy Storage are Australian owned and operated with state-of-the-art products engineered and assembled on home soil. RedEarth are specialists in the field of energy storage, designing professional battery systems to improve sustainability, energy freedom and kerb appeal for homeowners, country and commercial clients in both on-grid and off-grid systems.

Have questions?

Contact the RFI team at the form below and we will talk you through the best solution to suit your application.

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Spurious Challenge 2019

The Spurious Challenge took sail around Sydney Harbour for its 30th year! Sponsored by RFI, Spurious Challenge is an annual sailing event for the NSW Radio Communications industry giving us a chance to rub shoulders with the industry and customers, share a few beverages and try and bring home the coveted Spurious Challenge Shield.

Congratulations to this year’s winners – Karera Communications

While we all have plenty of fun – we also gather to raise money for charity.  This year the industry dug deep and raised over $5,500 for the Salvos! Thanks to all and see you next year!

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Introducing the YBA Series

The YBA Range

RFI is excited to release the YBA series of antennas,  including 2 and 4-bay 18 element Yagi arrays, in horizontal or vertical arrangements.

These new antennas cover 803-854 MHz, suiting the new 800 MHz linking band, as well as Studio to transmitter (STL links).

The design of the YBA dual and quad array antennas provides a highly directional signal, ideally suited for point to point links, either in high and medium density regions, or for long-haul links in regional areas.

The antenna also includes internal cabling providing maximum resistance to bird attack.

Alodine finishing is used to provide excellent conductivity and ensuring good earthing, whilst the aluminium build and RG142 cabling provides excellent mitigation of intermodulation IM products.

Key Features

The new range features:

 

  • All welded construction for maximum and reliable performance

 

  • Narrow beamwidth & high front to back ratios effective in reducing interference

 

  • DC grounding on all elements for the ultimate in lightning protection and dissipation of static noise

 

  • All camps and bracing included

 

  • Complies with RALI spec for STL and TFFL applications in high and medium density areas

The Range

YBA-2H-818-8085

– 2 bay on single boom

– Horizontal polarisation

– 803-854MHz

– 19dBi gain

– 13° E plane beamwidth

– >24dB F/B (Front to Back ratio)

Learn More

 

YBA-2V-818-8085

– 2 bay on single boom

– Vertical polarisation

– 803-854MHz

– 19dBi gain

– 13° E plane beamwidth

– >24dB F/B (Front to Back ratio)

Learn More

YBA-4H-818-8085

– 4 bay

o 2 x 2 bay on single boom

– Horizontal polarisation

– 803-854MHz

– 22dBi gain

– 13° E plane Beamwidth

– >24dB F/B (Front to Back ratio)

Learn More

 

YBA-4V-818-8085

– 4 bay

o 2 x 2bay on single boom

– Vertical polarisation

– 803-854MHz

– 22dBi gain

– 13° E plane Beamwidth

– >24dB F/B (Front to Back ratio)

Learn More

Learn More

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As featured in Ecogeneration Magazine- Our Women in Renewables

As featured in Ecogeneration Magazine- Our Women in Renewables

Five women in our Solar Team were featured in the August 2018 edition of EcoGeneration Magazine. The RFI team includes Leonie DeJager, Jennifer Hilder, Alkyra Hutchison-Menzer, Lois Yutong Li and Hana Said, represent women both new to the industry, as well as involved in the industry for more than a decade. The article features having a frank discussion about women’s  experiences working in the renewables industry. The article, printed in the August edition of Ecogeneration Magazine, is part of their continued support of #womeninrenewables and the @cleanenergycouncil pledge.

A link to the article is here.

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Spurious Challenge 2018

The Spurious Challenge took sail around Sydney Harbour for its 29th year! Sponsored by RFI, the Spurious Challenge is an annual sailing event for the NSW Radio Communications industry, giving the industry the chance to go head-to-head on the high seas. RFI sailed home for the win for the 1st time since 2015 in very windy conditions!

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Introducing RFI’s 800MHz Corporate Collinear Range

Introducing RFI’s 800MHz Corporate Collinear Range

RFI is excited to introduce our leading range of 800MHz Corporate Collinears into the Asia Pacific Region, expanding our extensive base station antenna offering for our APAC customers.

The 800MHz Corporate Collinear series is being launched into Asia due to their technical characteristics being ideally suited to Public safety, utilities and transport solutions in the region. This includes applications that require wide bandwidth, higher power and more channels. The Corporate range’s PIM and PIP ratings plus greater pattern control enabling more predictable coverage from modelling through to implementation/rollout.

The 800MHz corporate series is a complete offering including 3dBd, 6dBd, 8dBd and 10.5dBd alternatives, in downtilt variants with up to 5° of downtilt.

These robust, high-powered antennas cover the frequency range of 746-870MHz, and are a great replacement for traditional exposed dipole array antennas, packaged in a low profile fibreglass radome, and field invertible mounting capability (0° downtilt variants only). This preferred form factor provides a reduction in wind loading, ice loading and tower loading when compared to exposed dipole array configurations.

Key Features

  • High power, high gain and lower loss
  • Maximised gain, 3dBd, 6dBd, 8dBd and 10.5dBd options
  • Extraordinary bandwidth characteristics
  • Superior pattern control
  • Improved manufacturability and repeatability
  • -150 dBc PIM rated
  • 25KW PIP rating
  • Available with up to 5° of downtilt
  • Field Invertible (excludes tilt variants)
  • Elements directly grounded for improved stability and reduction of static precipitation

Applications

RFI supplied the CC807 corporate collinear antennas into a wind farm project in the Baltic Sea. Typically these systems would use TETRA for voice and WiMAX for data, but this particular project has utilised LTE in place of TETRA & WiMAX.

RFI’s CC807 corporate collinear antennas have been employed on the offshore installation vessels, for their high strength, low profile construction and omnidirectional broadband coverage. Covering 746-870MHz band, RFI’s CC807 series antennas have been a great success in this LTE application.

To read the full case study, please click the link below.

RFI’s Corporate Technology

Performance

The true corporate feed design maintains full pattern stability over the broad operating bandwidth, similar performance only to that previously offered by exposed dipole configurations. RFI’s new corporate collinear arrays offer greater flexibility when considering site design and installation, combine more channels with more accurate pattern control, and no beam tilt cross the band. RFI’s corporate antenna range has been designed with an exceptional power rating of 500W across the band as well as a Peak Instantaneous Power (PIP) rating of 25kW to cater for the peak voltage levels present in large multi-carrier combining environments. RFI’s refined design processes and proven construction methods achieve a PIM rating of –150dBc, further ensuring performance is maintained for the service life of the antenna.

Corporate Structure

The unique corporate phasing system employed within this antenna ensures excellent pattern and phase control. This coupled with precision element reproduction and placement, produces exceptional bandwidth, offers lower loss, maximises gain and ensures PIM and PIP rated electrical performance throughout the lifetime of the antenna.

Corporate Design

RFI has incorporated its patented flexible PCB technology into the design of its corporate arrays to ensure repeatability and performance of the elements every time. The dipoles are grounded directly to a brass support tube, and onto the lightning spike at the top of the radome providing a robust finish with exceptional lightning protection, better stability and a reduction of static precipitation noise.

The Range

RFI’s 800 MHz range covers 746-870MHz with various gain and Downtilt options.

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