New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox

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Dave Angelini
Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,802 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
New solutions for off-grid solar and backup power Conext SW inverter/charger–The Conext SW inverter/charger delivers new value and a new price point to the off-grid solar and backup power marketplace in 2013. The Conext SW inverter/charger is available in 2.5 and 4 kW power ratings, and is a pure sine wave, inverter/charger system with switchable 50/60 Hz functionality available for both 120/240 VAC or 230 VAC models.

The Conext SW will be available in April 2013. Conext ComBox communication device – Operators of Conext XW & SW systems can now remotely monitor yield performance using devices of their choice, such as personal computers, tablet devices, or building management systems using the new Conext ComBox.
Installers can change the settings of Conext devices during commissioning and react 24/7 to system alerts remotely. A Modbus interface links Conext devices with sophisticated third party software packages and building management systems. Conext ComBox is compatible with Xanbus protocol devices. The Conext ComBox will be available in June 2013.

Conext XW inverter/charger – Adaptable and scaleable, the Conext XW inverter/charger is the one solution for global grid-interactive and off-grid, residential and commercial, solar and backup power applications. Already a market leader for off-grid solar and backup power in the United States, Schneider Electric is now launching the Conext XW in Europe and Asia.
The Conext XW inverter/charger has been available to order since the beginning of the year in 4, 4.5 and 6 kW power ratings. The expertise of a trusted supplier Schneider Electric provides bankable photovoltaic solutions for any size installation. Together with local support from a global organization with presence in over 100 countries, 175 years of experience, and best-in-class manufacturing, we can provide real bankability to our customers worldwide.


Read more: http://www.pv-magazine.com/services/press-releases/details/beitrag/schneider-electric-launches-complete-range-of-best-in-class-products-for-the-residential--commercial-and-off-grid-solar-and-battery-backup-market_100010566/#ixzz2O7hzdIEg
"we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
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Comments

  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox

    Thanks for the advertisement, Dave. :roll:
  • boB
    boB Solar Expert Posts: 1,030 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox

    I definitely like the modbus part of it !

    I hope they decide not to void the warranty when someone controls the system over that comm. link.
    It wouldn't matter what comm protocol they use if that were the case.

    I saw a conext inverter at SPI in October. It was a neat looking system.

    boB
  • Joe_B
    Joe_B Solar Expert Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    The expertise of a trusted supplier Schneider Electric
    :roll: Mmmkay...
  • ChrisOlson
    ChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox

    The Conext ComBox sounds pretty cool. Evidently it plugs into your Xanbus network.
    --
    Chris
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,802 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    The Conext ComBox sounds pretty cool. Evidently it plugs into your Xanbus network.
    --
    Chris

    If it works reliably, If it will allow control of the AUX, a Gen, duplicate the SCP on a large screen, and If it has nothing in common with the Gateway. Really all they needed to do was interface the Config tool out to the internet and allow control of parameters but this may be better. Hopeful.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
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  • ChrisOlson
    ChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox

    Being able to start and stop the gen, or check in on my system from my cell phone while I'm out on the lake fishing would be the coolest thing. We'll have to wait and see what sort of desktop or PC application it uses.
    --
    Chris
  • Joe_B
    Joe_B Solar Expert Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    If it works reliably, If it will allow control of the AUX, a Gen, duplicate the SCP on a large screen, and If it has nothing in common with the Gateway. Really all they needed to do was interface the Config tool out to the internet and allow control of parameters but this may be better. Hopeful.

    About a year and a half ago, the guy at tech support told me that they had a complete and functional windows control program using the gateway. He told me that it could control every parameter that the SCP could. About a month later I had occasion to talk to him again and he told me that although they had tested the application, they decided not to release it because of "security concerns" Which he explained that the company did not want to have any liability if a hacker somehow blew up the works. He sounded frustrated and I told him that if they were going to come up with an excuse, it could have been a better one.

    Over a year later, I am still waiting for the fix to the charger block bug.....
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,802 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox

    I have sympathy for your charging and grid-tie problems Joe. They just are not like Outback who I use for some customers. All I can say is that I have one of the oldest XW 6048's (8 years) and it has it's original firmware and has been loaned out and never had any offgrid problems. It is only used with an inverter genny and just keeps humming. Xantrex had a software program called XDT that was used when I was doing development testing that allowed the Engineers to control and monitor my system. It could not control the AUX because I would be doing that now. It was amazing as it could calibrate the DAC's and had very nice acquisition of analog signals. When I say I hope it is reliable I mean that it can not screw up a working offgrid system. That was my input to Xantrex on their forum because of problems I had seen that Hewlett Packard went thru in the Test and Measurement business. I still feel very strongly about letting a novice play around with firmware for Offgrid.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
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  • Joe_B
    Joe_B Solar Expert Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    I have sympathy for your charging and grid-tie problems Joe. They just are not like Outback who I use for some customers. All I can say is that I have one of the oldest XW 6048's (8 years) and it has it's original firmware and has been loaned out and never had any offgrid problems. It is only used with an inverter genny and just keeps humming. Xantrex had a software program called XDT that was used when I was doing development testing that allowed the Engineers to control and monitor my system. It could not control the AUX because I would be doing that now. It was amazing as it could calibrate the DAC's and had very nice acquisition of analog signals. When I say I hope it is reliable I mean that it can not screw up a working offgrid system. That was my input to Xantrex on their forum because of problems I had seen that Hewlett Packard went thru in the Test and Measurement business. I still feel very strongly about letting a novice play around with firmware for Offgrid.

    I really have no issue with the XW when it's off grid. In fact, I have a contactor to take it off grid. The issues I have are with the grid tie performance. One of the most frustrating things is when it's in grid support, I can be cranking down excess energy but the damn thing still draws grid power and throttles back the solar. So when this condition occurs, I just take it off grid and my solar harvest goes back up to where it should be.

    The other issue I have is with the charger block not working properly. If I have the charger enabled, when the grid glitches, it goes into a charge cycle and shuts off the solar. Normally I would just use charger block to disable charging on AC1 and still allow the generator on AC2 to charge when the AGS tells it to start. Since charger block does not work for AC2 properly, when the AGS starts the gen, it just picks up the local loads and will not charge the battery. Kinda makes a big part of the specified functionality non existent IMO. If S would just address the issues, I would not be so down on it but lets face it, folks who bought the XW for a grid tie application got hosed. It's obvious to me that XW development is over and schneider is moving on to the next generation of products. I can tell you the when it comes time for me to replace my hardware, I will not even consider schneider even if the had the best system on the market at the time.
  • NorthGuy
    NorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    Joe_B wrote: »
    I really have no issue with the XW when it's off grid. In fact, I have a contactor to take it off grid. The issues I have are with the grid tie performance. One of the most frustrating things is when it's in grid support, I can be cranking down excess energy but the damn thing still draws grid power and throttles back the solar. So when this condition occurs, I just take it off grid and my solar harvest goes back up to where it should be.

    I agree. When I bought it, I had a transfer switch between grid and generator and I thought I would connect the output of the switch to AC1 and will use grid for testing puposes while I still have it. Then I disconnect the grid, switch to the generator and everything is already tested and working. But that was impossible because it draws from the grid unless I physically disconnect it. I'm switching off the grid, so in the end it is not such a big deal for me, but I had to re-think and re-wire everything and it certainly took a lot of time and delayed the commissioning.

    The hardware seem to be excellent, but the software is non well-thought out, cryptic and somewhat buggy. I don't know why wouldn't they re-write it from scratch - seems like such an easy thing to do.
  • ChrisOlson
    ChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    but the software is non well-thought out, cryptic and somewhat buggy.

    The XW's menus and software work fine here. If you think they're bad, then you've never seen Outback's fiascos.
    --
    Chris
  • NorthGuy
    NorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    The XW's menus and software work fine here. If you think they're bad, then you've never seen Outback's fiascos.

    No, I haven't seen Outback's. They may be bad, but that doesn't mean Xantrex's is good.

    Grid tie support is absolutely horrible. Settings change several entities at a time, so you get unintended consequences. You cannot get what you want. Mostly because the only grid-tie application they see is UPS.

    Off grid stuff doesn't require much, but there are still some bad things. For example, if you start a generator and it makes to absorption, but there's some solar still present, it draws full power from the generator and dials down solar charging. Why? Should be reverse.

    To set terminating amps, you need to multiply them by 50 and set "Bank Size" to that value. :confused:

    Such small annoying things are everywhere.
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox

    I haven't seen any Outback menu fiascos either. And that's really odd because I use their stuff.
  • ChrisOlson
    ChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox

    Outback's menus have always been unorganized and difficult to set up for me. They got dollar signs for "selling" and it "buys" power from the generator, and all sorts of weird stuff. The Mate3 is not any better. When we were looking at getting a Radian I went and looked at one that was operating, and was not impressed. With an Outback system you can't even set critical things like your generator crank time, preheat time and spindown town from the Mate because Outback doesn't even build an auto gen start. Their opinion is that you should just buy a two-wire generator (or strap on a crappy Atkinson controller). No thanks - not for off-grid. It had better be integrated, or forget it.

    Don't know much about grid-tie. Being without the grid since June 2002, and doing perfectly fine on our own for that long, today you couldn't get myself or my wife to hook up to it if they gave it away for free and promised to send a Christmas card.
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    Off grid stuff doesn't require much, but there are still some bad things. For example, if you start a generator and it makes to absorption, but there's some solar still present, it draws full power from the generator and dials down solar charging. Why? Should be reverse.

    I got Classics instead of XW MPPT's. But the answer is to NOT absorb with your generator. That's bad off-grid practice. Use either the STOP ABSORB or the STOP V trigger to stop your generator before it tries to do that. I got both set and which ever one is the first to be true (depends on battery temp), kills the generator before any attempts are made to absorb the bank with gen power. If you do need to absorb the bank with the generator in an emergency (10 days or more and RE power hasn't gotten the job done), then start the gen manually and do it. The STOP ABSORB and STOP V triggers won't stop the generator if it's started manually in the XW-AGS menu.
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    To set terminating amps, you need to multiply them by 50 and set "Bank Size" to that value. :confused:

    What's so abnormal about that? The normal ending amps for termination of absorb is 2% of ah capacity. If you're confused over that, you would've gone into a coma over the way the SW/SW Plus does it. The older ones used AC amps to the charger for the ending amps setting. You had to calculate charger efficiency to come up with the DC amps, then multiply bank ah x .02 to come with DC amps. Then use your charger efficiency calcs to convert the DC amps to AC amps for the menu setting :D

    Coming from the SW Plus, and many of the menu items are the same, it was no mystery to me as to how to set up the XW so it "just works". I didn't even read the manual. The menus are laid out different (I like the XW's menu layout MUCH better because they're easier to find and understand, and allow scrolling thru them by simply holding down the UP or DOWN buttons). But they do the same things. And the XW has a few more options than the SW Plus for some things - for instance, for the 30 second gen start on low volts trigger for extremely heavy loads that don't meet the Load Start setting, the SW Plus used LBCO. The XW allows setting that independent of the LBCO.

    So basically, I see none of the noted problems with it. Ours does not drop the generator or charger when loads are added to the system like yours does. I wired up our backup generator to the AC1 input today, without changing any of the default settings except for setting the Charger Block so it doesn't try to charge batteries with that generator (it's too small), and tested it. It thinks that generator is the "grid" and it works perfectly.

    So I dunno. The XW is a sophisticated thoroughbred compared to the SW Plus, and the SW Plus is a pretty dang fine inverter. But dealing with this stuff as long as I have I ain't no novice either, so I don't expect any hand holding in the menus when it comes time to set up an inverter so it works. After getting the thing tuned to my liking, I cannot find a single glitch in the way it works - and we push it to its raw limits just about every day.
    --
    Chris
  • ChrisOlson
    ChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    I haven't seen any Outback menu fiascos either. And that's really odd because I use their stuff.

    I remember the first time I was trying to set up an Outback system and I seen it "buying" power from the generator I was, like, "What in the FRICK is this? Are we robbing Peter to pay Paul here?" :roll:
    --
    Chris
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    I remember the first time I was trying to set up an Outback system and I seen it "buying" power from the generator I was, like, "What in the FRICK is this? Are we robbing Peter to pay Paul here?" :roll:
    --
    Chris

    A matter of mindset. :p

    I worry that since two of the brightest minds in solar left the company that product advancements are now driven by accounting rather than engineering. :blush:
  • ChrisOlson
    ChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    I worry that since two of the brightest minds in solar left the company that product advancements are now driven by accounting rather than engineering. :blush:

    Are you talking about Outback Power being bought by the Alpha Group? The way I understand it, Outback was in bad financial straits before that took place.

    There's a little proverb that engineers share in the engineering dept of any company:
    "The best engineered products rarely succeed in the marketplace. The best marketed ones do."
    --
    Chris
  • NorthGuy
    NorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    But the answer is to NOT absorb with your generator.

    Sunlight period is very short in December and January. So, I pretty much need to use almost all of it to get a 4-hour absorption. The only way to do that is pre-charge with the generator. It must do all the bulk and some amount of absorption - until current gets low enough to continue with solar. You would think that while you're doing this absorption, the system would use all the solar plus some from the generator until generator part goes to zero, where I switch to absorption and sun does the rest.

    Not so. The charge from the generator goes full force, but solar is dialed down. At this point not only I lose all the solar energy, but I also do not know what the production is and when is the good point to stop the generator and go to solar.

    AC power always costs money. Solar is always free. When both are available, priority should always be given to solar. They gave it to AC.

    People who are grid-tied find themselves in this situation all the time - XW suppress solar charging and starts charging batteries from the grid in the middle of sunny day. How stupid is that?
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    What's so abnormal about that? The normal ending amps for termination of absorb is 2% of ah capacity. If you're confused over that, you would've gone into a coma over the way the SW/SW Plus does it. The older ones used AC amps to the charger for the ending amps setting. You had to calculate charger efficiency to come up with the DC amps, then multiply bank ah x .02 to come with DC amps. Then use your charger efficiency calcs to convert the DC amps to AC amps for the menu setting :D

    Why not to call ending amps "Ending Amps". That is easy, understandable, unambiguous and you do not need to multiply anything.

    Now, manual says that "Capacity" is used for "Ending Amps". But how do I know if that's the sole purpose for "Capacity". It's quite possible Capacity is used somewhere else. If I change it, it may bite me, because I don't really know how it's used. So, I need to go through the whole manual trying to figure out if capacity is used somewhere else or not. Took me several hours.

    And the list of these things is endless ...
  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    Are you talking about Outback Power being bought by the Alpha Group? The way I understand it, Outback was in bad financial straits before that took place.
    Chris

    I think Marc was talking about the former action rather than the latter, ie boB and Robin left precipitating the takeover
     
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  • ChrisOlson
    ChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    Sunlight period is very short in December and January. So, I pretty much need to use almost all of it to get a 4-hour absorption. The only way to do that is pre-charge with the generator.

    After you've worked with your system for awhile you should know what your consumption is, how much it takes to replace it, and what equipment you need to replace it. Unlike most, I don't get all bent if the batteries don't get charged up every day. We rarely use the generator for battery charging. We have considerable wind power (which actually works in the winter time) and that helps. But using the generator for peak loads also helps because it reduces how much has to be put back into the batteries. In the dead of winter it's not unusual for us to generate 10 kWh/day for peak load support from the generator. That equates to about 2 1/2 hours of gen run time per day.

    BUT - we get more kWh from our generator to the loads by using it for peak load support because the power generated by it goes direct to the loads instead of being wasted in battery charging and inverting. By using that feature to reduce the amount of kWh that has to go back into the bank, the RE system can keep up without having to use the gen for battery charging. Have you thought of that? It's one of the "tricks" that I've learned (and that not very many off-grid folks have learned or use) to use the generator more efficiently.

    Your present generator is way too big to make it work efficiently. But if you intend to live off-grid permanently, you should be putting the pencil to that.
    People who are grid-tied find themselves in this situation all the time - XW suppress solar charging and starts charging batteries from the grid in the middle of sunny day. How stupid is that?

    Why not defeat it with the Charger Block during the day? I know Joe_B mentioned something about the Charger Block not working - but it works here with our backup generator on AC1. What I don't understand is this:

    Normally I would just use charger block to disable charging on AC1 and still allow the generator on AC2 to charge when the AGS tells it to start. Since charger block does not work for AC2 properly, when the AGS starts the gen, it just picks up the local loads and will not charge the battery.

    I have some problems figuring out why something like this works perfectly here and not somewhere else. The Charger Block does not affect AC2 at all. I have it set and I tested it. It works as advertised - when I fire up the "grid" (our backup gen on AC1) it just goes to loads and doesn't charge because of the Charger Block settings. When I fire the standby gen (on AC2) it charges fine. So saying the "charger block does not work for AC2 properly" is a misnomer - it's not supposed work on AC2. It does EXACTLY what the manual says it's supposed to, for me.

    So I'm confused over that.
    Why not to call ending amps "Ending Amps". That is easy, understandable, unambiguous and you do not need to multiply anything.

    LOL! The old SW/SW Plus inverters did not even have absorb. They just called it "Bulk" and "Float". All those calculations you had to do manually with those were set in the Bulk End Amps setting.

    Outback doesn't even have ending amps. They just got a timer.

    The XW's way is a lot more intuitive, to my way of thinking. It just asks for one simple setting - how big is the freaking bank? It does all the calcs for you if you answer that question correctly. If you want to mess with the proper ending amps that it calculates based on how big the bank is - NOW you're on your own, and you'd better not complain about it 8)

    So let's just say that after running these inverters for years, I don't have much sympathy for the folks that want the thing to brush their teeth for 'em and tuck 'em in nice and cozy when they go to bed at night. It's a machine - and every machine has limitations - learn to deal with it. :D
    And the list of these things is endless ...

    Evidently so. But I'll tell you what - if I find a glitch in the thing that is not due to my programming it incorrectly you can rest assured you'll hear about it. But so far, I've put it thru its paces just to see what it can do, how robust it is, and how much it will take before it complains or screws up. There was some glitches when I first started testing it after putting it in - but those glitches were not related to anything being wrong with the inverter or the software. I fixed every single one of them by tweaking settings until it performs flawlessly.

    Again, I know nothing about grid-tie, and don't want to. So I can't say much about any bugs there. And for off-grid I believe in setting up a system totally different than most folks use because I avoid using the generator at all costs to charge batteries, and instead use it for peak load support. And I can definitively say, after getting it tweaked the way I like it, it is a formidable off-grid inverter and you're likely not going to buy a better one because it don't exist. And that's why I picked it over a Radian. The XW has been around for a long time. It is proven. It's almost impossible to break one. But note - there is a difference between perfect (in the eye of the beholder) and proven. When it comes to choosing between cool (like a iPod-type scroll wheel thingy on the control panel) vs proven, for off-grid power I'll take proven over cool every time.
    --
    Chris
  • mtdoc
    mtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox

    Personally, I've never had any problems with Outbacks menus.

    ChrisOlson wrote: »

    Outback doesn't even have ending amps. They just got a timer.

    Not true. Though it does require their FNDC battery monitor. They call it "return amps" but it's the same thing.

    By all reports, the XWs seem to be very solid hardware. But based on the number of threads that continually pop up here, it sounds like their software has some serious issues, at least when it comes to the grid interactive features.
  • Joe_B
    Joe_B Solar Expert Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    I have some problems figuring out why something like this works perfectly here and not somewhere else. The Charger Block does not affect AC2 at all. I have it set and I tested it. It works as advertised - when I fire up the "grid" (our backup gen on AC1) it just goes to loads and doesn't charge because of the Charger Block settings. When I fire the standby gen (on AC2) it charges fine. So saying the "charger block does not work for AC2 properly" is a misnomer - it's not supposed work on AC2. It does EXACTLY what the manual says it's supposed to, for me.

    I wonder what version of firmware that you are using. My system is running 1.07 BN3 and the charger block most definitely does not work properly. I have confirmed this with tech support.

    Here is the actual email text they replied with:
    I confirmed Charge Block affects AC2 even with older firmware revs, which is contrary to what is indicated in the manual. I have emailed engineering for a response. I will foward when I get more info.
    Rgds,

    So I am confused, It states in the manual that when charger block is enabled, it will only affect AC1. On my system with all of the previous versions of the firmware, it blocked charging on both AC1 and AC2 and was confirmed by schneider tech support.

    What gives?

    Oh yeah, this message traffic between S and me was over a year ago and I am still waiting for a solution. I have emailed them several times since and got baloney.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,802 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox

    Joe, when you say that the solar stops charging, and I am simplifying because I did not read a lot of this thread because I am doing three other things. You do have the solar set-points, bulk, absorb, and float .3V or more positive (higher) than the grid or generator set-points right? I understand that there is more to understand with grid-tie but this basic data has to be true or you will shut the solar down.
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  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox

    I would love to try out the ComBox, as long as it's less pricey than the "Gateway".

    Is the heritage XW series going to go away, with the introduction of the Conext XW ? Should I buy my beefy spare now?
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    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • ChrisOlson
    ChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    Joe_B wrote: »
    So I am confused, It states in the manual that when charger block is enabled, it will only affect AC1. On my system with all of the previous versions of the firmware, it blocked charging on both AC1 and AC2 and was confirmed by schneider tech support.

    We got 1.07 BN3 in our inverter and it works fine here. I have the Charger Block set to disable charging on AC1 from 0:00 to 23:59.

    I also have AC2 set to priority instead of AC1. And if both generators are running at the same time neither one will charge.

    I found in my testing it that there is three things that must be true for it work:
    - AC priority set to AC2
    - no power present on the AC1 input
    - and the bank voltage must below the Recharge Volts setting.

    <shrug> dunno what to tell you. It works.
    --
    Chris
  • ChrisOlson
    ChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    mike95490 wrote: »
    Is the heritage XW series going to go away, with the introduction of the Conext XW ?

    The Xantrex XW and the Conext XW are the same thing. They're just getting rid of the Xantrex name.
    --
    Chris
  • Joe_B
    Joe_B Solar Expert Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    Joe, when you say that the solar stops charging, and I am simplifying because I did not read a lot of this thread because I am doing three other things. You do have the solar set-points, bulk, absorb, and float .3V or more positive (higher) than the grid or generator set-points right? I understand that there is more to understand with grid-tie but this basic data has to be true or you will shut the solar down.

    Yes I have it set properly but the issue is that I have unstable grid power. It will occasionally glitch causing the XW to go through a qualification cycle. Once the grid is requalified, and if the charger is enabled, it will immediately go to a bulk cycle on the grid charger without regard to the recharge volts setting. When this happens, the xanbus will shut down both SCC's.

    I originally thought that I could set charger block to disable grid charging during daylight hours on AC1 but soon found out that charger block will disable charging on AC2 as well thereby making my nice Honda inverter generator essentially useless. I cant rely on my generator to automatically recharge the batteries unless I am there to manually enable the grid charger.

    I have discussed these issues with the tech support people at S and they agree that this part of the code is a mess. They have repeatedly told me that they are working on this problem. I have had an open support ticket for this for over a year. I send them emails about once a month inquiring on the progress of the fix and all I get is baloney. I have told them that the product does not meet the specifications that they themselves set forth in the manual. They agree but will apparently do nothing to fix it.

    I am pretty much at the point that I am going to have to settle for what I have and do it better the next time. So disappointing......
  • NorthGuy
    NorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,913 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    BUT - we get more kWh from our generator to the loads by using it for peak load support because the power generated by it goes direct to the loads instead of being wasted in battery charging and inverting. By using that feature to reduce the amount of kWh that has to go back into the bank, the RE system can keep up without having to use the gen for battery charging. Have you thought of that?.

    This only makes sense if your inverter is not big enough to support all the loads. I don't have so many loads. If I turn up totally everything, it still will not overpower the inverter.
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    Your present generator is way too big to make it work efficiently.

    Opposite of that. If I were buying now, I probably would buy 17kW.
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    LOL! The old SW/SW Plus inverters did not even have absorb. They just called it "Bulk" and "Float". All those calculations you had to do manually with those were set in the Bulk End Amps setting.

    From the controller's viewpoint Bulk and Absorption are the same. It doesn't really matter if it's called "Bulk End Amps" or "Absorption End Amps".
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    It's a machine - and every machine has limitations - learn to deal with it. :D

    I deal with it, but that's not the point.

    It's not just a machine - that's a machine and a computer that governs this machine. Machine is very good. Computer pretends to be smart, but, in fact is only good for "stock" situtations. When something deviates from their way of thinking, it cannot adapt. You need to buy PSX-240 to prevent it from dropping your generator. Joe needs to install a relay to disconnect AC1 (even though there's already a relay inside XW). Both these, and many others, poroblems could be easily dealt with in firmware if they had put a little bit of a thought in it.
  • ChrisOlson
    ChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    This only makes sense if your inverter is not big enough to support all the loads. I don't have so many loads. If I turn up totally everything, it still will not overpower the inverter.

    No - absolutely, no. You have to get away from the mindset that you need a big generator when you got an inverter than can do Gen Support. It seems folks have a hard time getting their head wrapped around this. You have designed your system to use the generator to charge the batteries instead of using the RE system to do it. Design your system to use Gen Support instead. Any time the loads exceed what the generator can deliver have it fire your smaller, more fuel efficient generator up and use it to power those peak loads so the RE system can concentrate on charging batteries instead of running loads.

    It has nothing to do with overloading the inverter.

    You have four different Load Start triggers in your XW-AGS - one for inverter load (based on amps) and three for voltage sag under sustained heavy loads (based on voltage), but that do not exceed the Load Start amps setting. Set up properly, starting and stopping the generator on-demand for loads that exceed the generator capacity, you do not need a 8 kW or a 17 kW generator. Our system is living proof that it works - our daily consumption is probably better than double what most is (we use roughly 30 kWh/day) - and we do it all with a 4 kVA generator that is hardly ever used for battery charging.

    Sometimes the generator starts and only runs for 20 minutes for a certain peak load. But that 20 minutes of run time equates to 1.2 kWh that went from the generator direct to loads, and at the same time took the load off the RE system so it could charge batteries at 6 kW instead of 2 kW. The end result is that even though the total gen run hours may or may not be any different, I guarantee you that I will get more kWh to my loads per gallon of fuel burnt than you will charging batteries with it. It's not even a contest.

    RE systems basically charge batteries for free. Generators don't. And you can gain 15% efficiency from your supplemental power provided by the generator if you don't use it for battery charging.

    I've tried to explain it to folks time after time, and they still can't get their head wrapped around the concept - because they have the mindset that the generator should be only used when the RE system has not kept up and the batteries are depleted. My experience has shown me that you have already dug your own grave at that point, and now you have to lie in it because you left yourself no options but to use the generator to charge up your dead batteries. My way never lets them get to that point because I throw some supplemental power at the loads all thru the day at the points where the generator can do it most efficiently.
    --
    Chris
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: New SW and XW communication "Conext ComBox

    Let's try a simple explanation of what Chris is talking about:

    The inverter and generator work in concert to power loads that neither unit on its own could handle.
    Like stacking inverters, only one of the power sources is a generator instead.

    This is not the same as a standard off-grid install where the generator gets sized to both run the loads and provide charging current for the batteries because it has to do the whole thing by itself.