Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL

rpvietzkerpvietzke Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
Hi folks,

I'm new to the forum and maybe a little new to Schneider tech support, but a fairly knowledgeable TCP/IP networking fellow. And I'm having problems with the Conext ComBox that Schneider Tech Support so far hasn't been able to answer.

I have the Combox at a remote cabin, off-grid in southern Vermont. The cabin has DSL service, DC powered off my solar plant and works great. I have 3 working D-Link cameras and a web-relay control box that monitors the temperature (and lets me turn the heat on remotely.) These all work fine. I had a Morningstar Tristar MPPT-60 charge controller that also worked fine over the DSL line. Unlike the D-Link cameras, the MPPT controller web page was a bit slow and pokey to load, but it worked most of the time. I figured this was because the Morningstar was one of the first controllers with Ethernet and that the CPU was probably under-powered to run the web server.

I'm upgrading the inverter from a pro sine 2.0 (no remote monitoring) probably to a SW4024 and so I started by replacing the charge controller with a Schneider MPPT-60 and planned to add the inverter this spring. I added the ComBox along the way because the UI looked impressive in the demo and it seemed to be exactly what I wanted.

The unit has always worked fine on the local network when I am at the cabin. However Remote Access via DSL has been a bear. I'm no novice here. The router is setup correctly and I can get to all my other devices remotely just fine. When I initially installed the ComBox, I managed to get the login screen remotely most times and once in 100 times managed to get to the full UI too. Aware that others had this problem too (thanks wind and sun forum), I did the firmware upgrades and hoped it would improve. (like others here, I had problems upgrading to the latest firmware without a USB stick, but did manage to do so). The unit works fine on the local network, now I can't get to the UI remotely at all. Not even the login screen.

I've run some TCPDUMP's on the IP stream while trying to access the box and it sure looks like the ComBox's IP stack doesn't handle the TCP-window size of a DSL line correctly (default TCP packets are typically 1500 bytes, the combox seems to be trying for a max segment size of 1460, my other webcams seem to negotiate a 1412 size just fine. So, I'm guessing that the good folks at Schneider need to look at the TCP-stack and adjust the way they negotiate max-segment size so it can fit through a DSL line.

I've tried to relay this simple "trouble" to the schneider helpdesk without much luck. I've also suggested I'm willing to send some TCP-Dumps and my own analysis, but this seems to be beyond the helpdesk. Oh, and I've searched the ComBox setup pages for a max-segment size or MTU setting but don't think those are user adjustable.

Any folks have any ideas either how to get a real rep at Schneider or other solutions they have found to get this neat little box to work over DSL?

Many thanks,

Rob

Comments

  • frank.thomsonfrank.thomson Registered Users Posts: 15
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL

    Mine works fine remotely, but takes a long time, after I type the IP takes 2 mins to load the login and after 1 min shows a warning and after 5 mins shows the full page. But once its loaded, it all works fine. What I found from experience is that every time I clear my history/cache of the browser or try to log in from incognito mode of chrome, it makes me wait, else the next time I tried to load the home screen comes up faster.. may be it stores/cache the graphics & JS files....

    Ask TJMonk, he may be able to answer or fix it for you.. he is the comms guy with Schneider as someone said on one of the thread before..

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/member.php?13484-tjmonk

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?19202-New-SW-and-XW-communication-quot-Conext-ComBox&p=166826#post166826
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL

    There also has been a firmware update for the com box. My com box here will not work remotely and Sandra at Schneider suggested I update the firmware. I have to confess I have not got around to doing it yet but will make it a priority today or tomorrow
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL

    Dont knwo if this is related, but pmtu discovery doesnt always work, because of some borked intermediary. Whenever ive encountered odd issues like this mss clamping to some smaller value, like 1412 usually fixes it.
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • rpvietzkerpvietzke Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL

    Frank's contact suggestions were great and I'm now actively working with Schneider on this. Hopefully will get up to my cabin later this week to do some debug and test some ideas that Scneider proposed out. Will keep you all posted.

    Rob
  • rpvietzkerpvietzke Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL

    All -

    The Schneider site has the new 2.0 build of the combox firmware posted this morning. I'm looking forward to seeing what it has and if it addresses this issue in the thread….

    http://solar.schneider-electric.com/product/conext-combox/

    Rob
  • n4wffn4wff Solar Expert Posts: 48 ✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL

    Well, I accidentally upgraded the firmware remotely. During a slow moment at work, I uploaded the firmware to the device thinking I would upload it now, and have it ready to upgrade when I get home this afternoon. I was surprised, and sweating bullets when it asked me to stand by while upgrading. Happy to say everything turned out OK.
    I will not have time to explore the interface today. Maybe tonight. The interface is different, but it does seems snappier when I log into the web interface from my phone.
  • DMJ72DMJ72 Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL
    rpvietzke wrote: »
    All -

    The Schneider site has the new 2.0 build of the combox firmware posted this morning. I'm looking forward to seeing what it has and if it addresses this issue in the thread….

    http://solar.schneider-electric.com/product/conext-combox/

    Rob


    Release Notes For Conext Combox/Conext Modbus Converter
    Version: 02.00 Build 656 [6 Aug, 2014] New Features
     Updated Web User Interface
     Master/Slave ComBox Multi-Cluster support
     Three phase support
     Conext Insight Web Portal integration
     Multiple battery bank support ( up to 5 banks )
     Battery Monitor support for accurate battery state of charge
     Conext XW+/CSW+ support
     Dual Generator support
     Daily Summary Plots
     Modbus Inverter support (Conext CL, Conext TL, Conext RL)
     Modbus Power Meter support (PM8xx series)
     Modbus SMP3 Pyranometer support
     Lithium-Ion Battery support
     ComBox Performance improvements
    Bug Fixes
     Fixed crashes caused by some high latency network connections
  • DMJ72DMJ72 Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL

    I performed the update to v656, and I will be able to test this latency issue tomorrow. I have had no ends of issues with the previous versions with our cable modem service which in my area of Jamaica is not so good (rural).

    As far as the firmware .. I am not pleased, the new UI is not as good as the old one IMHO and now it won't recognise my Sandisk SD Card. (that it did before!)

    But I see there is now support for their new web portal! (Conext Insight). The combox is able to push data to it and verify a connection to the cloud, but I have not been able to find a login address to this new service yet... I guess in time they will release the product.
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL

    Well I updated my Com Box and I lost communications with the XW. it still shows up as a device but all values are 0. I tried updating 3 times and finally gave up and reverted back to old firmware
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL

    Ah I think this answers it. It appears Schneider is dropping support for the XW? Scroll down to find compatible products

    http://solar.schneider-electric.com/product/conext-combox/
  • DMJ72DMJ72 Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL
    halfcrazy wrote: »
    Well I updated my Com Box and I lost communications with the XW. it still shows up as a device but all values are 0. I tried updating 3 times and finally gave up and reverted back to old firmware

    Ryan, I tell you this "release was not fit for air play". My Solar PV logging has disappeared, My SD card is no longer recognised, the graphs default to 2013. Oh sometimes the graphs for the other stuff show up and sometimes they don't. I even made sure I did the clearing the memory prior to flashing procedure as recommended in the new Rev. E. Manual.

    The TCP/IP stack seems to be better though...
  • DMJ72DMJ72 Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL
    halfcrazy wrote: »
    Ah I think this answers it. It appears Schneider is dropping support for the XW? Scroll down to find compatible products

    http://solar.schneider-electric.com/product/conext-combox/

    That must be a website omission. Schneider could NEVER be so silly, besides SkiDoo55's XW shows up in the combox with the new firmware (see other thread here).
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL

    Don't think they are dropping support. Works with just about anything that is on ZanBus even my Zantrex GT 3.8 grid inverter.
    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!!
  • rpvietzkerpvietzke Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL
    DMJ72 wrote: »
    Ryan, I tell you this "release was not fit for air play". My Solar PV logging has disappeared, My SD card is no longer recognised, the graphs default to 2013. Oh sometimes the graphs for the other stuff show up and sometimes they don't. I even made sure I did the clearing the memory prior to flashing procedure as recommended in the new Rev. E. Manual.

    The TCP/IP stack seems to be better though...



    I couldn't get the new release to work with Apple Safari, but when I switched to Firefox, it seemed much better. This version may be browser sensitive?

    Rob
  • DMJ72DMJ72 Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL
    rpvietzke wrote: »
    I couldn't get the new release to work with Apple Safari, but when I switched to Firefox, it seemed much better. This version may be browser sensitive?

    Rob

    I just got the graphs etc to work with Safari 8.0, Firefox 31.0, and Chrome 36.0.1985.143.

    I had to reset the unit to factory defaults AFTER the firmware update to get it to work. See the Post in the "Solar Information links & sources, event announcements" sub-forum.
  • rpvietzkerpvietzke Registered Users Posts: 40 ✭✭
    Re: Schneider ComBox Remote Access over DSL
    DMJ72 wrote: »
    I just got the graphs etc to work with Safari 8.0, Firefox 31.0, and Chrome 36.0.1985.143.

    I had to reset the unit to factory defaults AFTER the firmware update to get it to work. See the Post in the "Solar Information links & sources, event announcements" sub-forum.



    I had a chance to take the upgraded box out to my cabin last weekend and low and behold the issue reported last Winter about access over DSL seems to be fully fixed. Remote access is speedy and reliable. This is great.

    During the 9 months where I was waiting for this patch be put in place, I've been using my (older) Morningstar MPPT-60 controller and its web dashboard instead of the Scneider box. I do like the Combox's view of the combined inverter/charger, but I really miss the simple dashboard the Morningstar provides on the schneider interface. IE, "Night time, absorption, Bulk, Float" for the charging mode on the home screen and a numeric read-out of the amps/watts generated during the past 24 hours without having to infer it from a graph…

    Anyway, making progress.
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