Outback Flexpower opinions

rdg1rdg1 Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
I need to do a complete upgrade to a very basic system that I currently have.
This is for an off-grid home in Baja California.
Any opinions on the " all-in-one" Flexpower system?  Is it better to go with individual components or get the entire unit?

Thanks

Comments

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,588 ✭✭✭✭✭
    There's something to be said for an integrated system, as long as it meets your needs.  The learning curve can be less steep with similar menu and manual layouts, common metering etc.  

    That said, there may be features that would be useful in your specific application which would be better met with a mix of component vendors.  I tend to prefer separates, but just MHO.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • rdg1rdg1 Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Thanks for the response.

    I am looking for 3000 to 4000 watt 48v inverter.
    If I go with the outback, would probably get the 80a MPPT.

    The Magnum looks promising but that 100a MPPT is really pricey.  

    I know it is important to get good quality components but I do have a budget, haha
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,588 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've been generally happy with my Outback inverters.  One of them had board failures, but Outback was good about getting replacements to me in reasonable time.  Probably just a bad run of boards.  The problem unit had a lower serial#, and since I've had no problem with the other unit or replacement boards, I assume the problem was solved.

    I use Midnite controllers, but Outbacks are pretty well regarded too.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,422 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think the Op is asking about flex power which is a pre wired system from Outback. I could be wrong but the last time I ordered one it was this way. They are great time savers and the one I ordered for a customer was also pre-tested, which is nice also.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,588 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The pre-wired is handy also.  I think our hosts have various combos using e-panels as well.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • rdg1rdg1 Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    so it is sounding like several of you feel the convenience and matching components are worth the additional cost, (looks like about $400-$500),
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,588 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It really depends. 

    If the package pretty much meets your needs, it does save installation time and can make operating the system simpler.

    If "matching components" means you're hoping for a magic shortcut around figuring out loads, battery capacity, and charging for your specific application, maybe not so much.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • wellbuiltwellbuilt Solar Expert Posts: 355 ✭✭✭
    I’m   No expert  when it comes to the solar stuff but I really like the flex power one .
     I have to say it was easy to hook up ,with some help from the guys above. 
      My biggest problem was getting all the  Materials needed to compleat the job .
     It took me a few weekends , and  I had to figure out the equipment and order it as we worked. 
      I have a flex power one 36 48 with a fm 80 cc the system really works well together .
     It powers a off grid 2400 sf home in ny . 
      The system is very compact and I don’t think you would save much money piecing it together your self.
       I like the magnum equipment also , and the 100 amp CC is nice .
       The only problem I see is you really can’t add a  Second inverter for more power  easily .
        I’ve been running the system for 6 months and so far so good . 
       We had 6 week of just rain and snow but things are improving now 
    Out back  flex power one  with out back 3648 inverter fm80 charge controler  flex net  mate 16 gc215 battery’s 4425 Watts solar .
  • rdg1rdg1 Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Thanks for the input.
    Estragon, what I was referring to as far as matching components was the items being presented.

    Back in the day, my home stereo had ALL different manufactures, Phase Linear, RTR, Teac, Kenwood, etc.  But now I typically tend to lean towards matching manufactures if possible.  I figure they should know how to make their stuff work together...  Case in point about the FlexPower.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,588 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yeah, back in the day I could tell the difference in sound between different brands of power amp.  Not sure if I can't now because it's all digital, they've all upped their game, or I just can't hear as well.  Probably a bit of all of the above :neutral:
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,422 ✭✭✭✭✭
    definitely stay with the same brand unless you have a real good reason not to, and money should not be the reason.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,422 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Estragon said:
    Yeah, back in the day I could tell the difference in sound between different brands of power amp.  Not sure if I can't now because it's all digital, they've all upped their game, or I just can't hear as well.  Probably a bit of all of the above :neutral:
    Same here! I had vacuum tubes, electrostatic speakers and moving coil cartridges. These days I have stereo amazon echo alexas and really enjoy the music. Even better that she does the work!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,006 admin
    One suggestion... Yes, the pre-wired systems are great, especially if you are a first time DIY and/or if you are 200 miles from your hardware sources.

    Another suggestion, cut a 4x4 (or whatever) sheet of heavy plywood and mount everything to the panel (controllers, chargers, inverters, etc.) at home, and even wire up batteries+solar panels and test the system first.

    Once you get it all working, just toss the entire pre-wired/configured/tested plywood panel in the back of the vehicle and head to your place. Then just bolt the panel to your wall.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,422 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It might be a challenge to pre-build for Mexico. Duty or avoiding it may be an issue. The broker I use gets it down there and I believe Wind and Sun probably has their sources. 

    The pre-wired systems are great for pros also as they can get it done faster and less chance of a early mortality failure from a warehouse.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • SurfpathSurfpath Solar Expert Posts: 391 ✭✭✭

    I have had a flexpower 1, 48v, system for a little over 6 years and recommend it.

    Pros:

    Easiesh to install by novices* - we set it up pretty much by ourselves. It was also super quick to install (IMO the prewiring is worth every penny). The system integration/communication is a nice feature (even the 'old' mate). Outback service is responsive & helpful. The mate's menu system is pretty straightforward (my neighbor has a Sunny system and the manuals and readouts are frustratingly difficult to understand).

    Cons:

    *The FP unit outback manual (at the time?) has nice diagrams, but it's is challenging to read and does not go into enough detail. The mate and FX manuals are better. The FP enclosure is relatively small (be prepared to install/attach wires in confined circumstances). I also believe my unit cannot be practically used with a Lithium battery bank (something to do with it will not allow for really deep cycling, which is one of Lithium's advantages). But perhaps this has changed now with the newer FP models? Oh, yes, the outback battery monitor, the FlexnetDC, is pretty much a useless blackbox (google and you will see). So, it takes about 6 months to sort out the right charging profile for your battery bank. Just keep an eye on things as you go through this process.

    Hope that helps!

    Outback Flexpower 1 (FM80, VFX3048E-230v, Mate, FlexNetDC) 2,730watts of "Grid-type" PV, 370 AmpHrs Trojan RE-B's, Honda 2000 watt genny, 100% off grid.
  • rdg1rdg1 Registered Users Posts: 20 ✭✭

    Surfpath,

    Thanks for your input.

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