Range extension via a USB Extender

Introduction

The Enpower and Encharge devices communicate with the Envoy (standalone or inside Combiner) and with each other via 2.4GHz band wireless communication. Wireless communication range is affected by site layout and obstacles.

Range extension via a USB Extender

An extender would be needed between Enpower, Encharge and Envoy in the below cases:

  • 1. For distances (X, Y, Z in the image above) greater than 75 feet with line of sight* (i.e. no obstacles between the devices)
  • 2. For distances (X, Y, Z in the image above) greater than 30ft with no line of sight (i.e. there are obstacles present between devices)
  • 3. Presence of more than 2 walls (with wooden studs and drywall) between devices
  • 4. Presence of metallic obstacles i.e. studs or wire mesh inside walls between devices

If the above requirements are not satisfied, devices will need to be moved closer to meet the requirements or an extender to extend the range of communication will need to be used. Enphase wireless range extender which will help in bridging this communication gap will be launched soon.

* Line of sight range implies general levels of interference or noise in the environment. Significant noise in the 2.4GHz band could affect this range.

Preparations to be done before installation

In cases where the devices are not able to communicate with each other due to range issues, you must install an extender along with the Ensemble Communications Kit to enable communication.

  • a) Purchase an off-the-shelf fiber or cat5 based USB extender that contains a transmitter, receiver, USB cable, and power adaptor. Ensure that the extender is complaint for use in your region.
  • Note: The USB port on the Envoy where the extender must be plugged in is of Type-A. Therefore, ensure that the cable that comes along with the extender kit is also of Type-A

  • b) Purchase an off-the-shelf, half-duplex or full duplex fiber /ethernet cable, and choose the needed length based on the distance required.
  • c) Make sure there is a 120 V L-N power socket near the Enpower and the Encharge unit(s) powered by the backup loads panel for Ensemble.
  • d) Complete the installation of the extender before commissioning the Ensemble technology system using the Installer Toolkit mobile app.
  • e) If you plan to remove the IQ Combiner deadfront, make sure that the IQ Combiner is de-energized.
Installation procedure

To relocate the Communications kit by installing an USB extender, follow the below steps:

  • A ) If installing in an IQ Combiner, open the enclosure door
  • B ) Plug the free end of the Type-A USB cable into the USB port on the Envoy
  • C ) Plug the other end of the USB cable into the USB port on the receiver unit
  • D ) Plug one end of the fiber/ethernet cable into the port for the cable on the receiver, plug the other end into the port for the cable on the transmitter
  • Note: The transmitter is usually powered through a DC adapter which requires a 120 V L-N power socket that must be powered by the backup loads panel for Ensemble.

  • E ) Plug the Enphase Communications kit (COMMS-KIT-01) into the USB port on the transmitter. If the sub-GHz dongle is present inside the Communications kit, you must remove it.
  • F ) Install the transmitter and the Communications kit inside an NRTL-certified, NEMA type 3R (or better) enclosure when installing outdoors.

Note: Ensure that the Communications kit is relocated such that it is close to both Enpower and Encharge

Commissioning the system post installation

The steps for commissioning a system with an extender are the same as the steps for commissioning a system without an extender. Refer to the Communications kit Quick Install Guide for details.

Recommended off-the-shelf USB extenders that can be purchased

USB Extender over Cat5e/6. Available here
Fiber Extender. Available here

Please click here to download our new Enphase Installer Toolkit for faster and efficient installations.

Related Categories: Envoy Software Installer Toolkit Storage