schneider context XW6848, 5548, 4048 inverter opinions?

new2PVnew2PV Posts: 305Solar Expert ✭✭
I want to buy the new context Xw line inverter, however I am just looking on some opinions of this unit before I go ahead with the purchase? Anything really bad about these units?
XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
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Comments

  • VicVic Posts: 2,923Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Hi new2..,

    Welcome to this Forum.

    I have no experience with Schneider Inverter/Chargers.

    Several things that look concerning to me in the specs:

    There appears to be NO Idle Power consumption stated for either the XW or XW+ inverters, EXCEPT for Search Mode -- this concerning because, the Context SW 24 V inverter chargers seem to have alarmingly Idle consumption, wonder if Schneider is ducking a high idle consumption, by not stating it.

    For the XW+ inverter specs that I've looked at, the Inverter input voltage range is stated as 60 VDC for the 48V units. This may be a spec error, as this is essentially un-useable with Flooded, AGM, Edison, and probably other battery chemistries. The specs for the previous model -- the XW -- states battery input voltage range to 64 V. 64 V is still a bit low for Flooded batteries that are cold, or being EQed, IMO.

    Then, there is the requirement for extra doo-dads for adjusting parameters, and updating the often-stale FirmWare, as supplied by Schneider. The supply chain from China, where most of the Schneider electronic hardware is made. These units seem to be built in large quantities, and factory/distribution stock appears not to be rotated, or updated.

    Some here, have been disappointed with some of the ways this family of inverters seem to interact with the Grid -- I do not remember the exact details, but Schneider seems to be very slow in even trying to correct some of the most annoying BUGs, but whatta I know.

    It is good that you are asking questions before buying additional hardware, etc. Hope that you will try, very hard to define your exact needs, and expectations for your system.

    Recall that you are Grid-connected, but you seem to desire Backup power, but perhaps with NO charging from the Grid. Believe that you currently have a Classic 150, perhaps one 12 V AGM battery, and two unusual 12 V inverters, but that may not be correct.

    FWIW, Good Luck, Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 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 Posts: 305Solar Expert ✭✭
    Well, Vic you are correct on some of your assumptions, as I do want grid support and load shaving and backup power, however I just got rid of the inverters I had. The company was not giving me the level of tech support I wanted, weeks to get a simple answer out of them. The tare loss is listed in the manual, but it is not on the spec sheet for some reason. Actually the SW inverters were 40 watt tare, but the new SW4048 is 28 watt tare, and all the XW series inverters are 24-28 watt tare, and look they go up to 64 volts.
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • VicVic Posts: 2,923Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Hi New2,

    Unable to read the image that you posted ... perhaps if it were saved and then viewed ... the Forum software has taken a giant step backward in the past 4 - 6 weeks, and images is one of the major new flaws, IMO

    Believe that this was the link to the XW+ specs that I had referred to:

    http://solar.schneider-electric.com/...solar-inverter

    In the spec section of the above link, under Inverter Output, the Input voltage range is speced as 42 - 60 V. That is all that I was going from ...

    OK on the XW Idle Power specs being in the Manual, good, but Specs should be Specs, again, IMO

    More Later, Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 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 Posts: 305Solar Expert ✭✭
    Interesting the link opens for me, anyway its just a page from the manual. Can you suggest another inverter to buy that would have everything controlled from the web/smart phone? min 5 kw range and under 5k?
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • VicVic Posts: 2,923Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Hi new,

    I can see the image, it is just not readable, but thanks for posting it.

    The Context XW inverters have been very stout off-grid units. In the past on this Forum, there were some number of users who were Grid-Connected, in various forms, that felt that the XWs had a number of maddening bugs, that seemed to not being dealt with by Schneider.

    All of the ins and outs of designing and programming the different modes of inverters that are interacting with the grid is very complex. And for the user, trying to understand all of the trade-offs in programming these grid connected inverters is also complex.

    All of the above is only from reading posts, primarily on this Forum. That is all that I know.

    It could be possible that Schneider has finally figured out many of these issues.

    You might also want to consider the Outback Inverters, which have a good reputation. Some may say that this basic design from Outback might be a bit dated, but they seem to be reliable.

    Hope that others with the Context XW and XW+, that are grid Interactive in some manner will chime in.

    FWIW, Good Luck, Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 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.
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,969Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Happy with my XW in off grid mode. It's maddening to have to read the manual to get the setting all dialed in, but it is doable, and I would purchase another in a moment, if I need to
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || 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 ,

  • new2PVnew2PV Posts: 305Solar Expert ✭✭
    Question, can I use this inverter with micro inverters coupled on the sub panel? I sen t this question to Schneider and they are not giving me a clear answer.
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Posts: 414Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Happy with my XW 4024 grid support enhanced, sell ON. ComBox and XW MPPT 60-150. Have never tried AC coupling but is says wit will. Caution is you should have enough load or battery bank capacity for the grid tied wattage, it will shift frequency and knock the grid inverter offline. 5 min recycle and they come back. Will need either the SCP or ComBox to adjust settings. My XW was less than 6 months old from date of manufacture from the time I purchased it, with current firmware, but that hasn't been updated in along time. Manual shows DC In up to 64 vdc and an Idle no load rare of 28 watts. If you use search goes down to 8 watts while in search.
    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 Posts: 305Solar Expert ✭✭
    I will go with the combox, I dont need the SCP then, but what about the schneider battery monitor, is this something I must have? I was thinking maybe just go with 1kw of grid tie inverters.
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Posts: 414Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    I have battery monitor, isn't really necessary, just gives you some more information. Still need to do specific gravity readings if flooded batteries. I would be carefull with being AC coupled needs to be watched constantly to prevent overcharging the bank. Until they get grid inverters that the XW can control as far as throttling output heavy chance of overcharging exists.
    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 Posts: 305Solar Expert ✭✭
    Schneider says the micro inverters will be fine as long as the grid is stable so they do not shut down too frequently ,as every time they come on the the WX will go to re-bulk charge. The main thing is not to have the mirco inverter array not huge just enough to cover your constant loads. I am thinking 750 wat array would be a good start.
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • jtdiesel65jtdiesel65 Posts: 135Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    There was a thread with someone hitting the input voltage limit during EQ. I don't remember if it was 60V with traditional lead acid or 64V with a forklift battery. I'd double check those specs...maybe find someone with the same inverter to see if it really is 64V.
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,969Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    My XW6048 can be programmed to stay on line till 67VDC at the battery.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || 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 ,

  • VicVic Posts: 2,923Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    OK, fine on what the Manual says ...

    BUT, in Post #5, there is a Link. In that Link to the XW+ inverters for 48 Nominal battery voltages, about one third of the way down the page, there are " Technical Data ".
    Here, again is that Link:
    http://solar.schneider-electric.com/...olar-inverter/

    In those Technical specs, there are two references to Battery Voltage ranges.

    The first of these specs for battery voltage range is under, " Inverter AC Output "
    This spec is for a voltage range of 42 - 60 Volts, In this spec, it does NOT say 64 volts. It does NOT say 67 Volts. It does, however say 60 Volts. This was my reference.

    Even though it was NOT stated in the above specifications, it might be possible that Schneider is saying that they are unwilling to specify all of the other Inverter AC output specs, when the battery voltage rises above 60 Volts. If this was the case, then it is poorly stated, and am not sure that this, still, is very good performance for the new XW+ line of 48 volt inverters.

    Also in the Technical Specs, there is a named area -- Charger DC Output,
    Under this group of specifications, it is noted that the charger can output UP TO 64 Volts. It does, however NOT say anything about any voltage that is at all above 64 Volts.

    So, exclusively, and ONLY from these specs for the XW+ 48 V family of inverters, on the Schneider Electric Site today, these are the specifications that Schneider is willing to back, at this time.

    There is ONLY one footnote, " Specifications subject to change without notice "

    This is all that I was referring to. Just trying to be clear, cannot make up this stuff.
    Simply TRYING to be clear. FWIW, Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 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.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,084Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    There is a UL/NEC requirement for safety if the working voltage is >60 volts---Basically, if over 60 volts, you have to treat the wiring as if it is 120-600 VAC. In conduits, behind locked doors/cabinets, and qualified service technician access only.

    That MAY be the reason for the 60 volt "limit". Years ago, we had a person or two with getting high battery bus voltage faults that shut down systems with >72 VDC bus voltage errors.

    There are so many layered regulatory and physical requirements for safety and working voltages--Frequently what is told to the end user through manuals and spec. sheets are fairly divorced from real hardware/operational/potential system capabilities limitations.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • VicVic Posts: 2,923Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    BB. wrote: »
    There is a UL/NEC requirement for safety if the working voltage is >60 volts---Basically, if over 60 volts, you have to treat the wiring as if it is 120-600 VAC. In conduits, behind locked doors/cabinets, and qualified service technician access only.

    That MAY be the reason for the 60 volt "limit". Years ago, we had a person or two with getting high battery bus voltage faults that shut down systems with >72 VDC bus voltage errors.
    Frequently what is told to the end user through manuals and spec. sheets are fairly divorced from real hardware/operational/potential system capabilities limitations.
    -Bill

    OK, Thanks Bill, had not considered that ...

    However, thinking of an entire 48 Volt PV-based system, most CCs would be hard-pressed to fully charge a Flooded battery from a PV input voltage that was at or below 60 Volts. And the Schneider SCC CC (and most other MPPT CCs) probably needs more than 60 V input to do much charging at all.

    FWIW. Thanks, Vic

    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 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.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,084Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Years ago, I asked a UL inspector about 48 vdc systems that can see 64+volts on the dc battery bus and if the over 60 volt standards applied or not.

    He tried very hard to ignore me and say the system he was inspecting for UL approval was running on a 54 vdc power supply, so he did not care.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • new2PVnew2PV Posts: 305Solar Expert ✭✭
    Another question, do I need an inverter generator connected to the inverter or could I go with a cheap one, since the inverter will clean the power correct?
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • VicVic Posts: 2,923Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    new2PV wrote: »
    Another question, do I need an inverter generator connected to the inverter or could I go with a cheap one, since the inverter will clean the power correct?

    Almost all of the Hybrid Inverter/Chargers switch to charging batteries when Qualified AC is detected on their AC input terminals. The external AC input is switched to the inverter's output terminals by an internal transfer switch. So the inverter will do NO cleaning of the input power. The genset voltage, frequency and waveform all appear on the inverter output, for better and for worse.

    It is not uncommon for the inverter's charger to distort the genset's waveform to some extent, making the AC power delivered to the loads to be less perfect than one would see from the genset. This can be especially true for the smaller, less expensive generators.

    In addition, the genset needs to power both the downstream AC loads, and the inverter's charger, so these combined loads need to be considered. The XW series of inverters allow a way to divide the power to the AC loads and the battery charger.

    FWIW, Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 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 Posts: 305Solar Expert ✭✭
    According to Schneider the inverter does not bypass as you describe during GEN use, and the loads run through the inverter.
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • VicVic Posts: 2,923Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    OK, New2,

    Then this has changed for the XW+, I believe.

    If you have the time to read the manual, there is probably a lot of data and Theory Of Operation there. I do not have the Bandwidth or time to download or read/study the manual.

    Generally, these Inverter/Chargers have only one transformer and one set of drivers, and these expensive/heavy devices are only charging batteries, OR inverting, but not both.

    Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 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 Posts: 305Solar Expert ✭✭
    Vic, I been reading the manual and it shows AC2 pass through and charges the batteries, which looks like a direct connection to me, maybe the Schneider tech guy did not understand my question. I am still confused on this one, someone who owns one of these might know.
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,084Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Do you have a link to the exact XW model (or model family) you are asking about?

    I agree with Vic... In general, the typical inverter-charger uses that exact same hardware to both "invert" and charge the battery bank--Just the direction of power flow is reversed. So, it would seem to be unlikely for a lower cost/general purpose inverter-charger to have separate AC inverter and DC battery charger components to allow the AC input and AC output section to be completely isolated (i.e., you can have "bad" AC input frequency/wave forms, and "good" AC output frequency and wave forms.

    Not saying it cannot or is not done--Just does not seem likely.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • new2PVnew2PV Posts: 305Solar Expert ✭✭
    Schneider site is not working for me and the manual is too big to upload, I will try later to get you the link, but here is a screen shot on gen input Attachment not found.
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Posts: 414Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    XW with gen support enable, you can set limit on what will be drawn from generator(current limited) so the generator will supply the load or charge. If load is less than gen limit the any surplus from gen will go to charging. If load is greater than gen limit the inverter will supply what is needed up to it's capacity. As stated it will not do both inv/charge at the same time. Is all dependent on gen size and loads, on where any excess gen power is going. AC2 input needs to stay within the frequency & voltages tolerances. They can be set fairly wide to accept most generator outputs. Gen passed power will be at freq and voltage of the generator, it sync's to the source if assisting loads.
    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!!
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,969Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    I just posted this explanation on the Midnight Solar forum about my XW and gen support:
    When there is AC present (grid or generator) the internal transfer switches connect the loads to the AC source. And battery charging commences. The inverter is Charging batteries, not inverting.

    With the XW series, there is an additional mode (other hybrid inverters may have something like it too) called Generator Support, where if the inverter, with all it's sensors, determines that the loads are larger then the programmed size of the Generator, will cease charging, and sync with the generator, and provide power to the loads, so your 6Kw inverter can sync with the 5Kw generator and power a 10Kw load (for as long as the batteries hold out) when the load eases off, the inverter reverts back to charging. It gets used in my system all the time, when the pumps kick in, or the deep freeze in the garage starts.
    your mileage may vary
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || 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 ,

  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,084Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Yea--The XW should go into "GT Mode" and modulate the AC current to "support" the genset frequency/voltage sine-wave.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • new2PVnew2PV Posts: 305Solar Expert ✭✭
    So if you have a unstable frequency your loads see the same thing?
    XW6848 inverter with 2 X mppt 60 150 CC , with Canadian solar 260Watt panels 2 x 3.5 kw array
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,084Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    For a standard inverter charger--Yes.

    If you have an AC to DC Battery charger -> battery bank -> AC inverter, then your output is completely isolated from AC power variations.

    In general, most modern electronic devices are pretty frequency independent. Actual peak sine-wave voltage and wave form can cause problems with power supplies.

    Motor based systems may behave badly with frequency variations. Had a 50 Hz IBM Selectric Typewriter from Europe running on 60 Hz US power (behind a transformer)... Typewriter would occasionally have functional error because of the 20% higher line frequency.

    Another would be clocks/timers that use AC line frequency for timing.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • VicVic Posts: 2,923Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks SkiDoo, BB and Mike for the added detail.

    New2, it appears that in Gen Support mode, with the genset voltage and frequency Qualified, that the Inverter output is synced to the genset. So the AC on the inverter output terminals is the same frequency as the genset.

    If the genset frequency is unstable, the output frequency would also be unstable, within LIMITS;
    1. The genset frequency must remain within the range of frequencies that the inverter has been told (by some settings, I believe).
    2.. The genset voltage must remain within the range that it has been told that is OK (also by user settings).
    3. It is my GUESS that there is a limit on the rate of change in genset frequency that the inverter can follow, believe that above some max rate of change, the generator input would be dropped.

    I have never run Generator (or Grid) Support, and have never used any of the XW inverter/chargers.
    Have run the SW+ units, which were the Xantrex models that are one generation older than the XWs. ... SO whatta I know?
    FWIW, Thanks, Vic

    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 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.
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