In praise of Trace

706jim706jim Solar Expert Posts: 345 ✭✭✭
From my signature you can see that I've used solar for quite some time. My original 180 watt system in 1994 was considered "large" at the time.
I just had to comment after reading the tribulations that others have experienced with equipment over time that my Trace components have performed flawlessly over a looooong time period. DR1524 inverter goes back to 1994 and C40 charge controller to 1996. While future system upgrades will include an MPPT controller and a pure sine inverter, how can anyone not be impressed with these old units that have never given me a problem.
In particular, my fridge requires that the inverter run for 6 months 24/7 and it hasn't let me down to date.
For those who appreciate fine quality American made equipment!
Island cottage solar system with 2400 watts of panels, 1kw facing southeast 1kw facing southwest 400watt ancient Arco's facing south.Trace DR1524 MSW inverter, Outback Flexmax 80 MPPT charge controller 8 Trojan L16's. Insignia 11.5 cubic foot electric fridge. My 27th year.

Comments

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Trace (no pun intended) the lineage from Trace to Outback, to Midnight...Good engineering and good customer service.  The common link?   Robin, BoB and Mary Gudgel.    You could even include Magnum the mix.  I still run an ancient C40 on one installation, as well as some Arco panels.  I think I bought my first PV to charge a radio battery and reading light in ~1989. 

    tony
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,350 ✭✭✭✭
    706jim said:
    From my signature you can see that I've used solar for quite some time. My original 180 watt system in 1994 was considered "large" at the time.
    I just had to comment after reading the tribulations that others have experienced with equipment over time that my Trace components have performed flawlessly over a looooong time period. DR1524 inverter goes back to 1994 and C40 charge controller to 1996. While future system upgrades will include an MPPT controller and a pure sine inverter, how can anyone not be impressed with these old units that have never given me a problem.
    In particular, my fridge requires that the inverter run for 6 months 24/7 and it hasn't let me down to date.
    For those who appreciate fine quality American made equipment!
    "In particular, my fridge requires that the inverter run for 6 months 24/7 and it hasn't let me down to date."  You run the fridge for six months/year then? Still an incredibly long lasting unit.

    My Samsung fridge seems to be on too much lately. Need to check power consumption (not as easy as it should be) and put some foam insulation panels on the sides if the fridge is OK. I may be in the market for a new fridge.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,526 ✭✭✭✭
    Some fridges don't have the old "coils" for removing the heat , they use the skin of the fridge . Maybe yours is this type and that's why it's running too long since you put foam on the sides

    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.

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,350 ✭✭✭✭
    Have not placed any additional insulation on it due to fears about interfering with normal operations. I'm not sure it is faulty. It has two smallish 300 watt compressors instead of one large one. My overnight battery voltage has been slipping and I keep looking at the fridge as a possible culprit. Could be the freezer. Could be colder batteries. Could be older batteries. Could be shorter days. Could be something else. Could be all of the above - but I do feel that the overnight voltage is slipping faster than it should be. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,478 ✭✭✭✭✭
    A kill-a-watt type device can be handy to narrow down the possibilities.
    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
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,350 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2019 #7
    Estragon said:
    A kill-a-watt type device can be handy to narrow down the possibilities.
    Of course - if I could get to the fridge plug more easily. I'd do it now but headed out tomorrow and I want a 24 hour sample. Hmmm - maybe a 72 hour would be better.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,350 ✭✭✭✭
    Alright - going for a multi-day KwH reading. Seems like quite often it is just the fan making noise rather than the compressor. We shall see. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,350 ✭✭✭✭
    No because system voltage always drops when the fridge kicks on. Once again - electronics messing with me. 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • SaggysSaggys Solar Expert Posts: 55 ✭✭
    I to have turn of the century Trace equipment that I have been running at our cabin for 5 trouble free years. I dread the day I need to upgrade to more modern gear.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,287 ✭✭✭✭✭
    icarus said:
    Trace (no pun intended) the lineage from Trace to Outback, to Midnight...Good engineering and good customer service.  The common link?   Robin, BoB and Mary Gudgel.    You could even include Magnum the mix.  I still run an ancient C40 on one installation, as well as some Arco panels.  I think I bought my first PV to charge a radio battery and reading light in ~1989. 

    tony
    This may be the way you remember it, and there is some bit of accuracy, but NQR.
    Trace was sold to Xantrex.
    Xantrex was sold to Schneider Electric Solar division.

    During the day, the story I heard was the Gudgel's went out the back door at Xantrex with others to form Outback.

    I worked at HP in the late 70's and maintained a mountain top offgrid Earth Station for our TELNET  satellite connections. This went out to our divisions world wise.

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

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Dave,

    I think that is essentially correct.  Robin has a pretty good history summery  on the MIdnight site.  My broader point is that the common thread through much of the RE electronics world runs through the Gudgel family, including folks that were early hires at Magnum.  I remember Robin from the days of Phase Linear, Carver and Tapco in the Audio world.  

    Tony
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,350 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019 #13
    Had to reboot a flashlight earlier this week. It conked out while I was carrying supplies through an unpowered area and sought a lower flashlight power level. By reboot I mean that I had to remove the batteries and re-insert them. Then the light was as bright as new. 

    A flashlight that needs rebooting. Welcome to 2019. While sitting on my high horse I must mention that I have been doing significant maintenance on several automobiles lately. Having taking a 40 year hiatus from twisting many wrenches.  This is my conclusion: engineers working in the automotive industry should be castrated so their gene pool ends - NOW.  The first guy who decided the fuel pump belongs inside the fuel tank? Vaporized - along with these pioneers:
    1) Painted, plastic bumpers and door handles.
    2) Plastic ends on radiators and plastic hose attachments.
    3) Plastic blades on water pumps. 
    4) Engine belts that power everything combined with valves that hole pistons when the belt quits. 
    5) Using fewer head bolts so head gaskets blow out more frequently. 
    6) Spark plugs that take specialty tools and divine guidance to replace. 

    Lots of story of ancient Trace inverters still ticking away. 

    I am stocking up on old cars - not dealing with miles of modern auto electronics. A mouse can total a $40,000 car. An $80,000 car? - even easier. Its been that way for awhile though. 

    Yet these are the best days ever for solar power. Still can't believe how cheap panels have become. All we need is a major battery break through now. 

    The next generation of engineers shows promise. Too bad about overlooking the brakes though.: 


    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,287 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Sorry Tony,
    I still do not agree and I am sure Bob or Robin would say that there were quite few others at Xantrex from Trace that were also excellent engineers  (A team) and there was quite a bit of R & D in the valley where I worked. I have the emails still, and not wanting to get into this with you who I respect, let us agree to disagree.

     I remember on the xantrex forum circa 2004 or so a string of e-mails between one of the Gudgel bros at Outback and Jeff Everette the guy who brought the XW system into being, (along with quite a few others) describing what the letters XW meant.

    I also remember some great help from Bob at Outback on the MX-60 that I was using for clients to get long solar wiring runs.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Dave,

    I am not sure what we are arguing about.  All I’m saying (in essence) is that Robin et al have been around the block with a lot of companies. Not meaning to imply that Robin etc al were the font of all the good that has come out of all those companies.

    T
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,287 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Agree move on. 
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • m151m151 Registered Users Posts: 26 ✭✭
    Agree on Trace, installed a 2512SB around 1995 for back-up. It's running right now during the Northern California shutdown. That's 25 years of 100% operation. I have never owned any other electronic product that has come close. Good job to all concerned. Thank you!
  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,350 ✭✭✭✭
    m151 said:
    Agree on Trace, installed a 2512SB around 1995 for back-up. It's running right now during the Northern California shutdown. That's 25 years of 100% operation. I have never owned any other electronic product that has come close. Good job to all concerned. Thank you!
    2500 watts? I think that is a rare size these days.
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • m151m151 Registered Users Posts: 26 ✭✭
    softdown said:
    m151 said:
    Agree on Trace, installed a 2512SB around 1995 for back-up. It's running right now during the Northern California shutdown. That's 25 years of 100% operation. I have never owned any other electronic product that has come close. Good job to all concerned. Thank you!
    2500 watts? I think that is a rare size these days.

    Well if the damn thing would break, I could upgrade to a pure sign wave!
  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,526 ✭✭✭✭
    m151 said:
    softdown said:
    m151 said:
    Agree on Trace, installed a 2512SB around 1995 for back-up. It's running right now during the Northern California shutdown. That's 25 years of 100% operation. I have never owned any other electronic product that has come close. Good job to all concerned. Thank you!
    2500 watts? I think that is a rare size these days.

    Well if the damn thing would break, I could upgrade to a pure sign wave!
    Funny.... That's what is keeping so many people in Baja stuck in the last century and at 12 volts as well. 

    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.

  • 706jim706jim Solar Expert Posts: 345 ✭✭✭
    Yes at the time you had a choice of 2500 watts at 12 volts (sorta too big) and 700 watts (too small for a lot of things). My DR1524 nicely bridged this gap. I recall that the 2512 was pretty expensive.
    Island cottage solar system with 2400 watts of panels, 1kw facing southeast 1kw facing southwest 400watt ancient Arco's facing south.Trace DR1524 MSW inverter, Outback Flexmax 80 MPPT charge controller 8 Trojan L16's. Insignia 11.5 cubic foot electric fridge. My 27th year.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,287 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019 #22
    Maybe for Baja, but Trace had a SW5548 back in the day. I have one here if anyone wants to buy it. I use to keep it as a spare but the newer gear has all of the comms that are sorely lacking on this old vintage, but very dated equipment.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,350 ✭✭✭✭
    Maybe for Baja, but Trace had a SW5548 back in the day. I have one here if anyone wants to buy it. I use to keep it as a spare but the newer gear has all of the comms that are sorely lacking on this old vintage, but very dated equipment.
    Can you tell us more? 
    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,287 ✭✭✭✭✭
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • arbyarby Solar Expert Posts: 107 ✭✭
    "but Trace had a SW5548 back in the day."
     Back in the day eh?
     I'll have you know that my SW5548 never fails to impress me, and it does not require me to communicate with it. I turn on the light switch and the light comes on.
    3310 watts panels, Classic 200 controller, 8 Surette S530's, Xantrex 5548 inverter, Honda EX5500 backup Genny.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,287 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great for you and if it meets your needs who cares if there are parts to repair an obsolete product. I can't use them anymore because I run a business. Still have one here for a spare. 

    People expect support and with a networked system I can look at it from my office and not roll a Truck. Since I do this world wide it would be air travel and for most that is too much. The network on modern solar is what is missing in the older products. I can see a graph like below and know what happened in the last 24 hours. The system will e-mail/text me also.

    only 9 hours below but  it could be the last 7 days graphically and history data for years. 



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

  • dougbertdougbert Registered Users Posts: 5 ✭✭
    Great for you and if it meets your needs who cares if there are parts to repair an obsolete product. I can't use them anymore because I run a business. Still have one here for a spare. 

    People expect support and with a networked system I can look at it from my office and not roll a Truck. Since I do this world wide it would be air travel and for most that is too much. The network on modern solar is what is missing in the older products. I can see a graph like below and know what happened in the last 24 hours. The system will e-mail/text me also.

    only 9 hours below but  it could be the last 7 days graphically and history data for years. 


    I installed my Trace SW4024 back in 2000 in my house and 1200 watts of panels and it is still running.  Those 12  100w panels are now producing 55watts today and the dual Solar Boost 50 controllers have POTS to adjust Bulk/Abs/Float - not fun anymore.  BUT I am implementing my plan to get a XW+ 6848, controllers and batteries in the near future.  Manually reading old electric meters and entering into a spreadsheet is getting even older.  Looking forwarding to displays like the above

    dougbert

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