Midnite Classic CC Watch

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Comments

  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    halfcrazy wrote: »
    You are also correct it is the only one of the major controllers on the market today totally made in the good old USA we brought jobs to the us not china we felt in todays economy that was extremely important.

    Given the quality and delivery schedule problems with Chinese factories, to say nothing of rising shipping costs are oil prices head back up and Chinese labor cost inflation in the 15 to 20 percent per year range, more companies are going to have to bring manufacturing back to the States.

    If the cause of the Xantrex inverter recall is Yet Another Round Of Bad Chinese Capacitors, y'all won't be the only American product for long. We went through this in the computer biz 10 or so years ago -- one of my power supplies failed rather spectacularly when all the filter caps failed in fast enough succession they sounded like machine gun fire.

    The Great Chinese Outsourcing Experiment was fun while it lasted.
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 966 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    lorelec wrote: »
    I don't have any stake in any of this, except that I feel compelled to mention that I've been building my controllers in the USA for two years now...and that includes everything from the bare PCB on up. I realize that I'm not a major player yet, but I've seen mention made in several places by Midnight (including their print ads) that the Classic is the only US-built controller, which simply isn't true.

    Marc


    Hi Marc...

    You are definitely made in the USA but until you get your UL1741 (and/or other) certifications, you won't be able to be legally installed in most places.

    I certainly hope that you eventually get that requirement out of the way. As soon as you do, we will not say that anymore in the ads.
    boB
  • loreleclorelec Solar Expert Posts: 200 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch

    Bob,

    "Made in the USA" and "UL listed" are two totally separate things. I'm sure you know that. In any case, I don't think it's illegal to install a non-UL approved device. Perhaps it might not be code approved, and the local utility (if any) and/or your homeowner's insurance (if any) might not condone it, but I don't expect to be arrested for it. Again, a huge difference.

    Marc
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    lorelec wrote: »
    Bob,

    "Made in the USA" and "UL listed" are two totally separate things. I'm sure you know that. In any case, I don't think it's illegal to install a non-UL approved device. Perhaps it might not be code approved, and the local utility (if any) and/or your homeowner's insurance (if any) might not condone it, but I don't expect to be arrested for it. Again, a huge difference.

    Marc
    Many local jurisdictions do in fact make it illegal in some cases to install non-UL listed products. But, like so many other laws, it is almost unenforcable unless done on a huge scale. And in many places it only applies to "licensed contracters" or some similar term, not to the end user.

    Many of those laws are pretty vague - for example does it apply to house wiring, but not toasters? I never heard of anyone going to jail over it, but a few years back a local contracter was hit with a hefty fine for installing a bunch of non-UL swimming pool pumps. But that is something you hear about maybe once in 20 years.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,696 admin
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch

    UL / NRTL label enforcement has been a policy of big city fire departments (like NYC) for decades and even for many small departments.

    They even got down to power strips and coffee pots (you had to pull the offending product or your business was red-tagged).

    Decades ago, my father used to repair small office equipment... Guess where the biggest rat nests of plugs and wiring he ever saw--Yep, under the secretary's desks of the local fire departments.:roll:

    -Bull
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,975 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch

    BTW, just received my Classic 150 today. Now, cannot wait to place it on-line!

    The latest manual on the Midnite site is filling in more of the details:
    http://www.midnitesolar.com/products.php?menuItem=products&productCat_ID=21&productCatName=Charge Controllers

    Thanks Midnite, Fine work ! 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.
  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    lorelec wrote: »
    Bob,

    "Made in the USA" and "UL listed" are two totally separate things. I'm sure you know that. In any case, I don't think it's illegal to install a non-UL approved device. Perhaps it might not be code approved, and the local utility (if any) and/or your homeowner's insurance (if any) might not condone it, but I don't expect to be arrested for it. Again, a huge difference.

    Marc

    There are places where the NEC doesn't apply. The NFPA (the people who produce the NEC) aren't a legal body and the NEC doesn't have the force of law unless your jurisdiction has adopted it. That's usually how the UL listing requirement applies -- through the NEC's requirement that only "Listed" equipment be used and installed according to its listing.
  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    Vic wrote: »
    BTW, just received my Classic 150 today. Now, cannot wait to place it on-line!

    The latest manual on the Midnite site is filling in more of the details:
    http://www.midnitesolar.com/products.php?menuItem=products&productCat_ID=21&productCatName=Charge Controllers

    Thanks Midnite, Fine work ! Vic

    Is the Modbus communications upgrade in your charge controller? Could you poke a hole through a firewall and give me access to it?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,696 admin
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch

    You guys might want to discuss the details via PM/Emails assuming Vic does not want a lot of people attempting to access his network/controller.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • rickrick Administrators Posts: 127 admin
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    tallgirl wrote: »
    There are places where the NEC doesn't apply. The NFPA (the people who produce the NEC) aren't a legal body and the NEC doesn't have the force of law unless your jurisdiction has adopted it. That's usually how the UL listing requirement applies -- through the NEC's requirement that only "Listed" equipment be used and installed according to its listing.

    As a side note, some equipment is "listed" but not "labeled". In some jurisdictions, a product is not considered "listed" unless it is also "labeled". However, if you have a product that is "listed" but not "labeled", your local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) can usually make an exception and allow it to be installed according to how it is "listed".

    Once a product is deemed acceptable to the AHJ, it's considered safe for the application and will not cause any problems with the law or insurance companies.
    Website administrator for Northern Arizona Wind & Sun
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 2,975 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch

    Hi BB,

    Well, at this moment, my off-grid sites have no internet at all, not even dial-up. I'd prefer that others not try updating my MN CC in my absence, but bet that Julie could prob hack into my system (when it is net-connected) if she really wanted to ...

    Have been too cheap to buy satellite internet, but guess some day soon will have to make that big step.

    Off to the mountains. Bill, look for a smoke cloud ESE of your location. Only if I screw something up in the install, har har.

    Have Fun, 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.
  • halfcrazyhalfcrazy Solar Expert Posts: 720 ✭✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    Vic wrote: »
    Off to the mountains. Bill, look for a smoke cloud ESE of your location. Only if I screw something up in the install, har har.

    Have Fun, Vic

    Vic

    Have fun with the Classic and give us a shout if you need any assistance.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,696 admin
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch

    Cheap, I can relate!8)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • garlicgarlic Solar Expert Posts: 43
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch

    I just couldn't let this go by without speaking up as it really bothered me.
    The idea that The Rogue charge controller does not some how
    legitimately hold the criteria of being "made in the USA" because
    it is not UL certified is silly and condescending.
    To someone like myself (a customer) who comes from the
    off grid,more self-sufficient end of the RE user spectrum,UL certification
    carries as much weight as the approval of the Berlin polka fest committee.
    The Rogue charge controller is an excellent,affordable building block for
    an off grid system that has all the great features and technology without
    being overloaded with things I don't have use for.I like Morningstar products
    as well because they are proven and adaptable, though I like to support someone who has worked hard on his own and taken the risks to make a quality product.

    The Midnite Classic has all of the latest tech. and the high voltage input
    can be a big bonus,but the "your door is ajar" type features and the
    condescending attitude are things that I'm not spending hard earned
    money on.I build my own electronic equipment when I can find the pc boards ready made,otherwise I shop carefully.

    FWIW,just my own opinion and observations.

    Thanks,

    Garlic
  • keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch

    I've been following this thread. I just wanted to make the observation that I didn't take anyone's post as putting down the Rogue controller in terms of it's function. I've read good things about it. It's just not in the same category as controllers that will meet all codes for a typical installation. As has been pointed out, this might not matter if someone is off grid and doesn't need to mess with code as much.

    I also have a charge controller that is Made in the USA by a small company called Coleman Air. It's also not something that would meet NEC requirements. There are a lot of charge controllers on eBay too which consist of a simple circuit board and automotive type relays. Many of these are also Made in the USA.

    I think the Midnite Classic is just in a whole different category of controller along with Xantrex and Outback and other code compliant controllers. The Rogue is right up there, but doesn't have the certifications needed to meet code in some installations. I also considered a Rogue for some solar that I plan to add to my system, but at the time it was not available for 48V systems.

    I guess Midnite could change the wording a little... "the only UL listed charge controller made in the USA"... or something like that.

    It seems like some people are frustrated and venting at Midnite for some reason. I'm not sure why.

    Edward
  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    Vic wrote: »
    Hi BB,

    Well, at this moment, my off-grid sites have no internet at all, not even dial-up. I'd prefer that others not try updating my MN CC in my absence, but bet that Julie could prob hack into my system (when it is net-connected) if she really wanted to ...

    Being the only person here who's probably ever had a legal "license to hack", I'm also the least likely person =to= hack your Classic.

    The issue boB raised of not having security on the Modbus port (and prolly limited security elsewhere at present) is a real deal-killer. My system is currently exposing port 1502 as a Modbus slave with my OutBack gear, but you can't even get through the firewall yet because there's no firewall support for Modbus in my software yet either.
  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    I think the Midnite Classic is just in a whole different category of controller along with Xantrex and Outback and other code compliant controllers. The Rogue is right up there, but doesn't have the certifications needed to meet code in some installations. I also considered a Rogue for some solar that I plan to add to my system, but at the time it was not available for 48V systems.

    This "doesn't have the certifications" is the problem. There's nothing magical about UL / ETL / eieio certification because they aren't required for all possible installations.
    I guess Midnite could change the wording a little "the only UL listed charge controller made entirely in the USA"... or something like that.

    That would be a bit more honest, as well as more informative.
    It seems like some people are frustrated and venting at Midnite for some reason. I'm not sure why.

    This is the thread for doing that?!?
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 966 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    tallgirl wrote: »

    The issue boB raised of not having security on the Modbus port (and prolly limited security elsewhere at present) is a real deal-killer.

    Hi Julie...
    The regular modbus mode, using port 502 or 3900 or whatever you want it to be (We'll make that changeable), is of course not protected, which is the way it is in other products and is the way it should be.

    The other modbus mode, where it talks to a server, IS protected by encryption. You can have it both ways. Both at once if you want to.

    boB
  • SteveKSteveK Solar Expert Posts: 277 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch

    And now for more semantics.

    I think the Classic should keep the designation of "only charge controller made in the USA". It really is the only true charge controller I am aware of at the moment. There may be other USA born Solar CC's, Wind CC's and Hydro CC's....but not all three in one like the Classic.

    They would be wrong to say "the only solar charge controller made in the USA" for instance.

    I've ordered the Classic 150 and have made provisions to compare my Rogue to the Classic by switching in and out the PV's to each CC instantly. This because I know eventually we will be adding wind or hydro in our "summer home" to be built in the near future.

    I expect the Classic will have some stiff competition from the Rogue in that solar role....
  • tallgirltallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    boB wrote: »
    Hi Julie...
    The regular modbus mode, using port 502 or 3900 or whatever you want it to be (We'll make that changeable), is of course not protected, which is the way it is in other products and is the way it should be.

    The other modbus mode, where it talks to a server, IS protected by encryption. You can have it both ways. Both at once if you want to.

    boB

    There's no reason you can't either lay encryption on top of Modbus or create some type of access control list that would limit which hosts have access to the port.

    Encrypting the slave port would be a proprietary solution (unless you used a standard crypto method, such as DES or AES, and a well-defined method for sharing crypto keys ...), but you could add access control rules to the Classic that would be transparent to the master.

    The problem is that Modbus is typically transaction oriented, rather than connection oriented, so there is no state that's maintained from one transaction to the next.

    There are well-understood ways to solve that problem -- requiring the master to use a persistent connection after performing some other action, for example -- but an access control list would be the simplest solution and at the TCP layer is very easy to implement, 5 or 6 lines of C code total. The code to generate and process the HTML is a different story, but that's an infrequent operation compared to packet level filtering.

    Our solution for our Modbus slave support will likely involve some number of permitted addresses and netmasks being granted differing levels of access. Addresses in some set of ranges would be able to read, others could read and write, others would be denied all access. Very easy, fairly effective against port scanners and Chinese hackers. I wouldn't put a box on the Internet that didn't have some kind of firewall in front of it, or built into it.

    (Edited to add:

    Here's an example of the firewall debugging output for the follow-on release that includes network filtering --
    rule 1, Firewall:[address=192.168.0.0,mask=255.255.255.0], r/w = false
    rule 2, Firewall:[address=192.168.0.160,mask=255.255.255.255], r/w = true
    

    All of 192.168.0/24 has read access to the Modbus slave, but only 192.168.0.160 (my laptop ...) can issue "Write" commands. The rest of the Internet has neither read nor write access.

    This level of control, with or without read/write protection, should be easy enough that your network engineer dude could lay the code down in a matter of hours.

    What's not in the upcoming release =yet= is mapping the three different user levels we support into different addresses to grant read/write access. We'd have to map different registers to different permitted levels of write access, but we've not devised a method for persisting the connection state long enough to know who is trying to do what and how ...)
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 966 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    SteveK wrote: »

    I've ordered the Classic 150 and have made provisions to compare my Rogue to the Classic by switching in and out the PV's to each CC instantly.

    I expect the Classic will have some stiff competition from the Rogue in that solar role....

    A-B comparisons are fine but be careful of the "instantly" part because, depending on where the different CCs are in their tracking states, they may not both be sitting at what they think is the MPP voltage when you make the switch. One unit may not even be awake. One may take a moment to get to that point and not be quite "instant". And, hopefully, the switch is a break-before-make type so the inputs of each charge controller aren't paralleled during the switchover.

    I don't doubt at all that the Rouge will find the correct MPP voltage, and wouldn't be surprised if you get slightly more power at very low levels because of its lower power requirements. (i.e. higher efficiency at lower power) If the Classic is running in single cylinder mode during the switchover, then it will have a better chance in lower power comparisons.

    Actual energy production is probably the best way to compare, but solar insolation and panel temperature cannot be trusted to be the same so would have to be A-B'd over time. At least with one array, that part is the same and partial shading on one vs. another array doesn't impact the comparison as much.

    Are you going to use a separate current / power or energy meter for this ? i.e. A third party ?

    I would be interested to hear how this all works.

    boB
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,345 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch

    I have used the A/B switch method to compare controllers side by side. (In fact testing a Rogue) The problem is that the Rogue takes time to wake up so it really isn't an exact side by side comparison. Marc (at Rogue) and I discussed this issue and it was determined that if you rebooted the Rogue each time it would wake up faster, but you would lose the data log. A more informative comparison might be hour buy hour over the course of several similar days, or wiring two strings, each through their own controllers, with the ability to data log, and then compare the total output of each.

    Tony
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 966 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch
    icarus wrote: »
    I have used the A/B switch method to compare controllers side by side. (In fact testing a Rogue) The problem is that the Rogue takes time to wake up so it really isn't an exact side by side comparison. Marc (at Rogue) and I discussed this issue and it was determined that if you rebooted the Rogue each time it would wake up faster, but you would lose the data log. A more informative comparison might be hour buy hour over the course of several similar days, or wiring two strings, each through their own controllers, with the ability to data log, and then compare the total output of each.
    Tony

    The Classic should stay running for a little over 1 minute before it goes back to sleep when you switch off its PV input while it is running. Depending on its mode, it may or may not stay right where it was on the input voltage, but if it didn't do a sweep/check it should come back to where it was before you disconnected it.

    boB
  • SteveKSteveK Solar Expert Posts: 277 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch

    Icarus and BoB,

    Thanks for the info. and it is noted.

    Presently I have 6 panels in parallel with #10 THWN. They individually feed to the 6 PV, 2 pole, breaker panel in the basement and are combined 50% on one pole and 50% on the other. Then those two poles are fed to another 2 pole panel that allows me to keep the array split in half via a switch, or combine the poles into one. (through the seperate CC input breakers). I'm a bit embarrased to report that I wired this way while wasting dollars on China grid ties that no longer reside in this home.

    So I could go either way, switch CC #1 in, or CC #2 in, or both in on seperate arrays.

    I'm soon to add 2 more panels and will include these a described above too.

    The data collection will be done using the BMV-602 and serial interface option.

    No specific purpose for this testing other than my own interest.

    BoB I could send what I find to you when completed.

    Thanks guys for the tips!
  • SteveKSteveK Solar Expert Posts: 277 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midnite Classic CC Watch

    Anyone else got their Classic fired up yet?
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