How to trace solar PV cables using the Z200 probe and tone generator
The Z200 PV Analyzer may be used much like a conventional cable tester for PV modules. The Z200 can generate frequencies that can be picked up and heard, with a handheld pickup across all cables and modules in solar PV systems.
The Z200 tone generator and pickup solution is highly practical. It allows the user to distinguish, and sort out the right string within a bundle in a matter of seconds. As such, this is a straight forward application that does not require deep insights into the technical concepts of solar PV systems – just connect the Z200 PV Analyzer and start searching for cables and modules.
Tone tracer for photovoltaics – a practical tool
Often a large number of solar PV module strings terminate at a common point, e.g. at the PV inverter or PV combiner box, and hence it can be tedious and time-consuming to sort out and map all connections between cables, connector and PV modules. The Z200 tone generator and pickup offers a solution to this problem. Simply connect the instrument to the solar PV system terminals, turn on the tone generator, and start to move the pickup along the solar PV powerline cables – this procedure will confirm what solar PV string the instrument is connected to.
To the right, we see a schematic illustration of a typical situation solar PV testing situation: it is known that some performance issue exist, but due low granularity monitoring, it is not known where in the system the fault can be found. The Z200 PV Analyzer is designed to trace down such problems, and hence speed up the PV O&M work on the Direct Current side of solar PV systems.
See the Wire Tracer & Circuit Tester in action
Tone tracer for solar PV cable, MC4 connectors and more
The Z200 tone generator may also be used to trace disconnection faults found either on the cable side, or within individual PV modules in a string. The tone generator can emit different frequencies on PV +, PV- and PV GND respectively.
This means that some frequencies can be picked up on one side of the disconnect, and other frequencies can be picked up (heard) on the other side. If there are 2 disconnections, there will be a “silent section” in the PV string under test. The end parts of the silent section will thus mark the 2 break points.