Schneider Electric / Xantrex?

XizangXizang Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭
Schneider Electric sounds like some little repair shop down in the low rent industrial section of town.  And Xantrex sounds like an anti-depressant pill my ex-wife takes.  If it weren't for the fact that Schneider Electric owns Square-D electrical apparatus, I would dismiss them as a serious company.  But the more I look at them, the more impressed I am in their charge controllers and inverters.

Anyone there have any first-hand experience with them?   What do you think?

Comments

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,320 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2016 #2
    I have worked for them. One of the largest corporations in the world. I own their stock and in my opinion all the way back to Trace they have always innovated and the industry would catch up. Trace and the first decent reliable sine wave inverter. Xantrex and the first ever split phase inverter/charger along with their update and improvement of the Outback MX-60 the XW -60 150V.
    Schneider with the first ever high voltage XW MPPT -80-600V charge controller and recently the COMBOX to modernize the XW platform and the inexpensive new SW. I only use the XW gear as the rest is really not commercial grade and I have never been unhappy in many installations. The grid-tie gear is really not my expertise.

    The joke that was told on the old Xantrex forum when the XW line came out was, 
    What does XW mean?  ans.  Xantrex wins....

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,831 ✭✭✭✭

    I've been sold on Prosine inverters for a long while since I saw them on commercial fishing boats in the Gulf of Mexico. Prosine may have been an independent company purchased by Xantrex, as originally they just reference Prosine on the cases and later Xantrex. Salt air is a real test for electronics.


    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • XizangXizang Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭
    So the way I get it is, Schneider and Xantrex and Square-D is really the Mercedes Benz or BMW of the electrical world?  (I've never owned a Rolls Royce, though one is on my bucket list) 
  • XizangXizang Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭
    Photowhit said:

     Salt air is a real test for electronics.


    Indeed.  What sea water won't corrode, sunlight will decompose.   The harshest environment of all is out on the sea.   Thanks for the tips.
  • RossmanRossman Solar Expert Posts: 178 ✭✭
    We have all Schneider/Conext gear for our off-grid house, and love it!
  • WaterWheelWaterWheel Registered Users Posts: 314 ✭✭✭
    Both I and my local solar installer guy run Schneider/Conext.       His system is about 8 years old and runs it in grid assist mode.      I installed a XW 6848 last fall and run 90% of my house off grid and am happy with it.

    Conext XW6848 with PDP, SCP, 80/600 controller, 60/150 controller and Conext battery monitor

    21 SW280 panels on Schletter ground mount

    48v Rolls 6CS 27P

  • XizangXizang Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭
    edited February 2016 #8
    I know the host here sells equipment, but do any of you know of a really good alternate source for Schneider Electric Xantrex C-35 Charge Controllers and perhaps Xantrex inverters?   Maybe something like a Walmart of solar equipment...

    (I admit I'm cheap.  But I'm retired and living on a very small fixed income, so I have to be cheap to survive)
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2016 #9
    The history is, in case you missed it, Trace (before that Heart) was a real off grid innovator in the 90s. They sold to Xantrex around 2000. Xantrex was then in turn bought by Schneider ("One of the largest corporations in the world") in 2008.  See http://www.midnitesolar.com/pages/frontPage/nwHistory/history.php

    The Trace C40 was the bread and butter of charge controllers in  its day. You still see countless of them running in old systems everywhere, 20 years later. They are cheap, and cheerful and i believe still available.

    However things have moved on. To follow the enginerring lineage through to the present day check out the Midnite Brat and Midnite Kid.

    If you are on a budget C40s are virtually given away in the used market.


    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,831 ✭✭✭✭

    As to the Rolls Royce, I'm a fan of the Outback Inverters as well. My electronics have always lived outside in a an minimally controlled environment. Exposed to the changes of temperature in a ventilated cabinet out of the rain and direct sun. I'm likely to purchase a sealed Outback inverter, if Midnite doesn't start producing inverters when I get around to purchasing the planned size inverter for my home.

    To add to Zoneblue's History lesson, Trace employed an Engineer (Chief Engineer?) Robin Gudgel, his brother boB Gudgel also worked there for a bit before they left and started Outback producing module field repairable inverters, They sold out (I think they still own a %) and later opened Midnite Solar Producing Electrical breaker boxes for solar as well as combiner boxes, then producing a Charge controller with the ability to measure the current going into the battery. (Schnieder has one that does this as well) The Gudgel bros have inverters in their heart and have been threatening to produce them lately...

    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,229 ✭✭✭✭
    The price of a C-40 controller on the host's site is almost the lowest price you'll find online. Add to that no sales tax for out of state addresses and you will be hard pressed to find it cheaper.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,831 ✭✭✭✭

    Well a search finaly turned up a history of Robin and inverters;

    http://hardysolar.com/inverter/inverter-history.html

    Midnite no longer has it up that I could find, though I use to have a legacy link, they do have this;

    http://www.midnitesolar.com/pages/frontPage/robinsCorner/robinsSystem/robinSystem.php


    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • XizangXizang Registered Users Posts: 50 ✭✭
    Following that is a bit like trying to follow some people's marriages, divorces, kids, step-kids and all their in-laws.   Those guys are constantly changing companies - a lot like some Realtors I've known.

    So after all the stories are told and the reminiscing is done, is there one best maker of charge controllers and inverters?   How about the optimum balance between cost and durability?
  • WaterWheelWaterWheel Registered Users Posts: 314 ✭✭✭
    Pick your equipment and take your chances.       I went with Conext

    Conext XW6848 with PDP, SCP, 80/600 controller, 60/150 controller and Conext battery monitor

    21 SW280 panels on Schletter ground mount

    48v Rolls 6CS 27P

  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,131 ✭✭✭✭
    the devil is in the details,  I used an MX 60 and real happy with it but now that the Classics are out and their added features, (notice there is a lot of visual similarity to the MX60?).  Great products... I am a fan. Field serviceable, great support too.
     NOTE:  Outback stuff needs a $300 part to get the 'system' to be programmed , called a MATE.
     
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
     NOTE:  Outback stuff needs a $300 part to get the 'system' to be programmed , called a MATE.
    That's true of their inverters, but their charge controllers do not need a Mate.

    Its a very good thing that the Mate is not included with their inverters.  Three reasons:

    1) The Mate is the control panel for their inverters.  I have my Mate in the house but the inverter is in the garage.  If the controls were built into the inverter I would have to pay for them twice in order to have a remote control panel (the Mate) in the house.

    2) The inverters can be stacked for larger systems.  If you have four inverters stacked, you only need one Mate.  If the Mate was built into the inverter, you would have bought four of them.

    3)  There are different levels of Mate.  If you don't need all the logging features you don't have to pay for them.

    By the way, other full featured inverters do the same thing... i.e. the controls are a separate item for an additional price.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,831 ✭✭✭✭
    Xizang said:
    Following that is a bit like trying to follow some people's marriages, divorces, kids, step-kids and all their in-laws.   Those guys are constantly changing companies - a lot like some Realtors I've known.

    Well, I guess you haven't been around to understand the point, The Gudgel boys have been there, when Trace designed reliable inverters, they were there, when Outback designed MPPT charge controller and modular inverters, they were there, When Midnite created a charge controller which could monitor the current going into the battery they were there....

    BTW - Outback inverters do run fine without a mate, particularly if you don't intend on using the inverter as a power source for your system (Battery charging)

    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
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