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Control4 Compatibility with Powerwalls?

Control4 Compatibility with Powerwalls?

I'd like to hear from anyone with Control4 Lighting or other Control4 Products with a PowerWall backup system. Are you seeing seamless operation in backup mode? I'm having issues with lighting turning off and on at seemingly random timing. I'm assuming they power from the PowerWall is the cause, but everything else seems to work fine. So this is a poll of sorts. How does your work?

gregbrew | 2 oktober 2019

I don't have a Control4, but the following may be of some use to you:

During grid outages, your Powerwall (PW) takes over, and the Tesla Energy Gateway (TEG) disconnects from the grid, while carefully monitoring it to see if it's come back and is stable. While the grid is out, it's up to the *very intelligent* TEG to manage power flows.

During an outage, the TEG polls the PWs to see if they are full. If they are not, it allows the PV to function normally to power the house, and if there's excess from that, the TEG directs that excess power to recharge the PWs.

Let me digress for a moment. Normal grid frequency is stable at 60Hz, and is tightly regulated plus or minus about .5Hz. Many electrical devices depend on that tight regulation to function properly, like clocks and motors, and importantly, *your solar inverter*. Your solar inverter is designed to shut down if the frequency it sees varies much from that 60Hz value. IIRC, it will shut off at anything below 58Hz or above 62Hz., to protect utility workers from the power your system produces during an outage. It's called "Islanding". Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

When the PWs are full, and the sun is still providing power to the PV. The TEG learns (through the previously mentioned polling) that the PWs are full, and sees that the PV is providing more power than the house needs. That excess power (and maybe a *lot* of it) needs to go somewhere, but there's nowhere for it to go, because the grid is disconnected. The TEG handles this by simply shutting down the PV via the inverter. When the TEG wants to shut off the inverter, it signals the PWs to *change their output frequency* from the nominal 60Hz to 62.5Hz. The inverter sees this 62.5Hz on the house wiring as a "grid out-of-frequency" problem and *shuts itself off*. This stops excess PV power from being dumped into the house circuits, in fact, it stops *any* PV power from being dumped into the house, and the PWs continue to power the house at 62.5Hz. Once the PWs are below a certain "fullness", the TEG directs the PWs to change their frequency back to 60Hz, and the inverter is happy again, so it lets PV power back in, and the TEG directs it to the PWs to charge them back up. Once the PWs are full, the cycle repeats until the sun goes down, or until the grid comes back up.

Phew!

Now, I think your problem is that during a grid outage, as the TEG cycles power frquency to and fro, and turns the inverter on and off, the house power is acting a little wonky. It's not uncommon for Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS) to be driven nuts by this switching, and I suspect that your Control4 device is too. The reason that the timing seems random is because, well...it *is* pretty random. The time it takes the house to deplete the PWs below some threshold (I don't know what it its) is dependent on often varying house loads, and the time it takes the PV to recharge the PWs is going to depend on the sun and current weather etc..

Some customers had good luck contacting Tesla to have the PW output frquency tightened up a bit on older PWs, yet still is enough out of the 60Hz nominal spec to shut off the PWs in a grid outage...BUT, if I'm not mistaken, that frequency tightening was already incorporated into one of the more recent PW firmware updates. Unfortunately, all of these house power shenanigans may be too much for your Control4 to handle. You might contact Control4 to explain what your home power system is doing to see if they have a solution. I think Tesla has already done what they can.

BTW, there are a couple other threads that talk about the frequency issues. That's where I got most of my information.

I love thus forum!

gregbrew | 2 oktober 2019

Oops! I wish there was an "edit" function.

In the third to last paragraph, that starts with "Some customers...", later in that sentence it should read "...yet still is enough out of the 60Hz nominal spec to shut off the INVERTER in a grid outage..." instead of "PWs". Sorry.

alexis.kittleson77 | 8 oktober 2019

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johnsound2009 | 27 november 2019

I am a Control4 Dealer and have a client experiencing major issues with all of his Control4 lights running at half to three quarters brightness since the powerwall was installed. The GUI shows the lights at 50% yet the actual light output is realistically about 25% or less. When lights are shown on GUI at 100% they are outputting about 60%, any help would be appreciated!