Xantrex / Schneider GT Sizing Tool Found

From long ago Xantrex had a great tool for calculating how many panels and strings could be used with the solar charge controller. Then it disappeared, apparently never to return.

But I have found the new and improved version called the Conext Designer Sizing Tool. I downloaded it from: http://solar.schneider-electric.com/product/conext-designer/ At first I thought people were supposed to buy it, because it has a "Where to Buy" link, but it is free.The strange thing is, you have to go down the page and it is then listed as "firmware" to click on, then you can choose for Windows or Mac. It has a large database of solar panels, and you can put in the specs for a panel if it isn't listed, so that is pretty good.

It then tells you based on your string/panel choices if you're doing excellent, good, or if there is a warning. It won't let you pick an unacceptable combination though, so apparently even with a warning it is still worth calculating if it will really work or finding out the times when your choices won't work.

I actually liked the old version better though, as it listed the string/panel numbers in a little chart, with green being good and red being questionable. It is tougher to figure out now, as you've got to enter each possible choice instead of seeing it in a chart.

I thought this might help some people, as for some reason Schneider has made it very difficult to find, and has also left the link to the old tool with a non-working website, which almost made me give up.

Comments

  • sdKevsdKev Registered Users Posts: 11
    I couldn't get it to run on Win7 Pro..
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Downloaded and installed Win 8.1, had Ver 1.0 and it asked to remove that, install went smooth. New install found all of my previous saved setups. It now has selection for MPPT chargers besides expanded list of there GT inverters. Large selection of panels.
    The chart with the green and red selection chart is there it's just a little farther in. Gives nice print out of system after its planned.
    Nice to have capabilities for the Chargers back again. That sizing tool has been missing for some time.
    GT3.8 w/4600W Trina 230W, TX5000 w/5000W ET-250W, XW4024 w/1500W ET-250W, 4 L16, 5500W Gen. (never had to use) Yet!!
  • new2PVnew2PV Solar Expert Posts: 303 ✭✭
    Downloaded version 2 and no issues, except getting a warning that I have too many panels on one mppt 60-150, I would like to put 18 panels on it @260 watts. Bad idea?
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,811 ✭✭✭✭
    new2PV wrote: »
    Downloaded version 2 and no issues, except getting a warning that I have too many panels on one mppt 60-150, I would like to put 18 panels on it @260 watts. Bad idea?

    new2,

    Do not know your exact situation, but, 18ea 260 STC watt PVs are 4680 W nominal. At customary de-rating, this could represent about 3600 W nominal output.

    At 48 V battery voltage, this represents about 75 A output from a CC that that had that capability, about 68 A at Vbatt of 53 V, and about 62 A at a reasonable Vabs for Flooded batteries (at least those that are vented).

    Not horribly over-PVed, but do not know Schneider's stance on over-PVing their CCs. That 60 A SCC is an OLD design ... But, agree, that it is often best to use integrated components of a power system that are from the same vendor.

    All FWIW. Good Luck, Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH X2@48V, 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • new2PVnew2PV Solar Expert Posts: 303 ✭✭
    AS far as I read from the manual, the CC will only put out 3500 w even with an input of 6700 Watts, so total output is limited to 3500 watts. Will this harm the controller or put it into melt down I don;t know. Maybe I should use 2 charge controllers, less worry about over driving this china based CC. Attachment not found.
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,811 ✭✭✭✭
    new2PV wrote: »
    AS far as I read from the manual, the CC will only put out 3500 w even with an input of 6700 Watts, so total output is limited to 3500 watts. Will this harm the controller or put it into melt down I don;t know. Maybe I should use 2 charge controllers, less worry about over driving this china based CC. Attachment not found.

    You are planning on running this CC very close to its maximum rating. It is convection-cooled, so the temperature of the air surrounding the CC, along with Vin and Vout, will ultimately dictate just how much output current/power it chooses to produce from the available PV input.

    You appear to be under the Max speced total Isc available from the PVs, for the several 260 W PVs that just looked at. You know best about the environmental conditions at the target site for this installation. And the temp coefficient of Isc is not large, but, when you identify the PV modules that you will actually use, you will probably want to look at Isc totals for the PV strings, and the Max total string Isc at your max temps ... this becomes a bit difficult to do in an absolute manner, but probably will want to look at this with some reasonable estimate of cell temps with assumed irradiance.

    Do not know if the Scc monitors Max input current (there is probably no input current sensor, or at least not a very accurate one), but who knows. And if the historic maxinput current is stored in the Warranty Void Data area of the SCC's memory ...

    Looks like you plan to run six strings of three PVs, so, at least this is divisible by two, if you choose to go with two CCs, in the beginning, or later, after some testing.

    We cannot know how your system will evolve over time, and upgrades that you might make to batteries, PVs, etc. But, seems that with your existing 420 A Flooded batteries, the typical Max charge rate of about 13% of 20-hour Capacity is less than the absolute Max of the CC's capability, FWIW.

    This SCC has a relatively low output current. One wonders if Schneider will be modernizing the SCC, and if so, what might its output current be.
    One might try a single SCC to start with, while leaving the ability to easily add a second one, or perhaps sub in a more capable CC, later, if one should appear.

    And so on ... It is often a good idea to NOT run power production hardware at full output for extended time periods, and charging batteries can be an extended time period of time. It is difficult to advise what one should do, especially in these large grey areas of how hard to push CCs, future upgrade paths, etc. But only you have the ability to make that decision, as you know.

    Good Luck, Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH X2@48V, 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    For about $500 controller cost it really gets down to the fact that you are not offgrid or running life support equipment so do what you want. I have used both methods often. There are cases where someone has so much solar for bad solar days that they are concerned with over-currenting their battery bank. Having all the solar on one controller current limits the output on good days and gives you more solar on bad days. I have a client with 10kw of solar in Alaska that uses one mppt-80-600V like this. His second unit is the spare. A little less concern on electronic life where you folks live than down here. It is all about strategy, the good one and the bad ones.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • new2PVnew2PV Solar Expert Posts: 303 ✭✭
    Thanks for the info, but I have decided to go smaller 12 volt panels, but now the grid sizing tool states the voltage is too low at certain conditions. I only have room for 4 12 volt panels landscape mode. The panels are 160 or 165 watts 18 volts mpp, 9 amps....so many choices to make.. 6 strings at 9 amps =54 amps, but if you look carefully at the specs it says up to 60 amps MAX...48A is recommended. I can size the cables for 80 amps thats not a problem. Also that breaker is a 100% rated breaker at 60 amps, am I playing with danger?
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    What brand & model of charge controller?

    What type, voltage&ah rated battery bank?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Graham ParkinsonGraham Parkinson Registered Users Posts: 18 ✭✭
    Quick side bar question ........ is this sizing software any use for those without a grid tie connection? For systems like the XW with MMPT 60 SCC and just batteries, no grid connection. Thanks!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,768 admin
    The sizing software is about the size/voltage configuration of the array, specific MPPT charge controller, and voltage of the battery bank (along with ambient panel temperature and such).

    The software (in general, I have not looked at this specific software) does not "care" about the down stream loads (of which, GT connection through a hybrid inverter is "just another load").

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • new2PVnew2PV Solar Expert Posts: 303 ✭✭
    BB. wrote: »
    What brand & model of charge controller?

    What type, voltage&ah rated battery bank?

    -Bill

    All that info is in my signature. Schneider mppt 60-150...48 volt system, 420AH.
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭✭
    The 60 amp breaker on the solar protects the wiring. As we have said the mppt-60 current limits the input and output. This is in the manual. All those strings you have... much better with the hi voltage -80-600V. You do get that the output will be limited at 3,500 watts no matter how much solar you have on the input?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • new2PVnew2PV Solar Expert Posts: 303 ✭✭
    The 60 amp breaker on the solar protects the wiring. As we have said the mppt-60 current limits the input and output. This is in the manual. All those strings you have... much better with the hi voltage -80-600V. You do get that the output will be limited at 3,500 watts no matter how much solar you have on the input?

    Yes I understand 3500 watts, which is fine for now. I think if the array is about 4000 watts in size on less than optimal conditions it would help keep the output up as mentioned in previous posts. I will size the wires a bit bigger to the CC. #4 AWG
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Quick side bar question ........ is this sizing software any use for those without a grid tie connection? For systems like the XW with MMPT 60 SCC and just batteries, no grid connection. Thanks!
    Yes it will give you output power potential, depends on actual loads/battery SOC etc on what you actually use. After you put in all requested parameters shows your calculated losses and gains of MPPT of your system. I have a 1500w of nameplate panels 2 st of 3 series but it shows max output of 1915W to loads. On a partial cloudy day yesterday produced 8.1 kW of output from controller. Full bat charge, panel loads and 3+ kW to grid. My peak DC out was 1222W.
    Conext Designer will produce a very nice summary print out of system and it can save the system for later recall or modification.
    GT3.8 w/4600W Trina 230W, TX5000 w/5000W ET-250W, XW4024 w/1500W ET-250W, 4 L16, 5500W Gen. (never had to use) Yet!!
  • 96 Degrees in the shade96 Degrees in the shade Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    Good Morning to you guys, this might be considered as a hi jack but its sort of related.I am in the process of purchasing a complete system with 24X250W panels and my choices are the Schneider 6848 with the 2 mppt 60 or the outback radian gs8048 with flexmax 80,I am aware that the 8048 is more than my needed power,that however is not a problem the issue is I want full monitoring capabilities so I would rather go with the schneider system however the chagre controller is 60amps that is sort of close to the cc limit which is 3500w,
    Therfore since you gentleman are the authorities on these system I ask is their any advantages of using the schneider vs the outback,apart from the obvious cc being 60a and 80a and inverter being 6000w and 8000w.
    money is always a factor however I only plan on doing it right the first time.

  • new2PVnew2PV Solar Expert Posts: 303 ✭✭
    I am going with the schneider mppt 80. -600. The higher the dc voltage less current losses. It is very expensive though..
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • 96 Degrees in the shade96 Degrees in the shade Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    The mppt 80 is not in the equation as I would have to purchase two units to get the 160a total charging and as you said they are expensive,if they were to manufacture a mppt-80.150 we would have a perfect world.Is there anyone that is running a schneider 6048 with a flexmax cc?any issues or regrets


  • new2PVnew2PV Solar Expert Posts: 303 ✭✭
    In case your not aware of this, if you don;t use a Schneider based product you will not be able to run enhanced grid support mode , because it will not communicate over the Xanbus network. 24 x 50 is 6000 watt at STC in real life this maybe 4500-4800 watts. The mppt 80-600 will support 4500 watts. The higher the string voltage the less current losses also.
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • 96 Degrees in the shade96 Degrees in the shade Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    Thanks for the reply,but to calculate a loss of 1500W is a lot,as for the Xanbus network there is a concern,I was thinking to run the flexmax temporarily until schneider releases a Mppt 80-150 (wishfull thinking but a possibilty).just trying to get reviews of anyone who have used them togather
  • new2PVnew2PV Solar Expert Posts: 303 ✭✭
    Solar panels are rated at STC or standard test conditions, but if you look at the spec there is NTC which is normal test conditions, this will be closer to what your panels would produce. It all depends on many factors, but for sizing purposes everything is sized for STC which is about 20-25% more than you might ever see. I dont see nothing wrong in running 2 mppt 60s in your case.
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • 96 Degrees in the shade96 Degrees in the shade Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭
    Yes that seems to be the best alternative.thank you
  • new2PVnew2PV Solar Expert Posts: 303 ✭✭
    Word of note when using the mppt 60 you should size your panels properly, 2 x 250w panels 60 cell wont be enough for good working string, you will need 3. Even 2 300 watt panels are no good, but 3 are too much voltage. The tool will tell you what amount of panels and strings work best.
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • RossmanRossman Solar Expert Posts: 178 ✭✭
    From long ago Xantrex had a great tool for calculating how many panels and strings could be used with the solar charge controller. Then it disappeared, apparently never to return.

    But I have found the new and improved version called the Conext Designer Sizing Tool. I downloaded it from: http://solar.schneider-electric.com/product/conext-designer/ At first I thought people were supposed to buy it, because it has a "Where to Buy" link, but it is free.The strange thing is, you have to go down the page and it is then listed as "firmware" to click on, then you can choose for Windows or Mac. It has a large database of solar panels, and you can put in the specs for a panel if it isn't listed, so that is pretty good.

    It then tells you based on your string/panel choices if you're doing excellent, good, or if there is a warning. It won't let you pick an unacceptable combination though, so apparently even with a warning it is still worth calculating if it will really work or finding out the times when your choices won't work.

    I actually liked the old version better though, as it listed the string/panel numbers in a little chart, with green being good and red being questionable. It is tougher to figure out now, as you've got to enter each possible choice instead of seeing it in a chart.

    I thought this might help some people, as for some reason Schneider has made it very difficult to find, and has also left the link to the old tool with a non-working website, which almost made me give up.

    Thanks for the link to the tool. It has been quite helpful. One thing I noticed, and maybe it was just me, is that it doesn't seem to calculate the wire lengths correctly? For example I put in cable length of 2 metres from the MPPT charger to the battery and the tool shows it is calculating for 22metres. Seems strange, and it gives me a large power loss due to wire size because of this. Anyone else seeing this?
  • lancelotlancelot Registered Users Posts: 1
    Rossman wrote: »

    Thanks for the link to the tool. It has been quite helpful. One thing I noticed, and maybe it was just me, is that it doesn't seem to calculate the wire lengths correctly? For example I put in cable length of 2 metres from the MPPT charger to the battery and the tool shows it is calculating for 22metres. Seems strange, and it gives me a large power loss due to wire size because of this. Anyone else seeing this?


    I am experiencing the same thing, looks like a bug in the tool?
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