Midinite 150 first impressions

fca1fca1 Solar Expert Posts: 124 ✭✭
Hi there, just to share with you some toughs on my new midnite 150..

what i like:
-Built construction (solid)
-A lot of configuration options, and logical to follow and that apply on-line to the cc.
-Connections (usb,ethernet,lcd, etc)
-


What i didn't like:
- Size of the connector for dc cables (i'm using 35mm2 cable) had to crimp it until it fits on the small connector a mess.. (very easy to add bigger connectors)...
- The FANS, i hate fans very loud noise (this something that i will have to fix) i would prefer to put external silent fan 120mm always on, that that small fans kicking in that everyone complained... any 1 knows what makes the fan start , temp ? what is the trigger ? could be changed etc


- The Ethernet connection, only with that tool, would be nice to have very simple webserver integrated that showed the basic status at least
- The mod-bus reading is limited to a host, you can't have 2 systems getting data from the classic at least the midnite sw locks it ..

here its first install pic, still work in progress as always


Attachment not found.
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Comments

  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    fca1 wrote: »
    - The FANS, i hate fans very loud noise (this something that i will have to fix) i would prefer to put external silent fan 120mm always on, that that small fans kicking in that everyone complained... any 1 knows what makes the fan start , temp ? what is the trigger ? could be changed etc

    It's internal temp that makes the fans come on. The first one comes on (that's quieter), then the Turbo Fan kicks in when the controller gets hot and they sounds like my wife's hair dryer. But the deal is - this is power generating equipment. So the basic rule of thumb is - would you install a Honda EU2000 in the bedroom with the exhaust routed thru the wall? No. It makes noise. So do inverters and controllers. So install 'em in a suitable place where you can't hear the noise from it.
    --
    Chris
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,738 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    would you install a Honda EU2000 in the bedroom with the exhaust routed thru the wall? No. It makes noise.

    How about in the bathroom? http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?15396

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions

    try these lugs to ease your large wire issue... there are 4 sizes shown , second row...http://www.bdbatteries.com/lugs.php#instruct
     
    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
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    vtmaps wrote: »

    That deal with the bathroom is so far out on a limb that it wouldn't have surprised me to see that guy claim he has some sort of digester on the toilet and is running the EU2000 on methane :roll:
    --
    Chris
  • fca1fca1 Solar Expert Posts: 124 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    It's internal temp that makes the fans come on. The first one comes on (that's quieter), then the Turbo Fan kicks in when the controller gets hot and they sounds like my wife's hair dryer. But the deal is - this is power generating equipment. So the basic rule of thumb is - would you install a Honda EU2000 in the bedroom with the exhaust routed thru the wall? No. It makes noise. So do inverters and controllers. So install 'em in a suitable place where you can't hear the noise from it.
    --
    Chris
    Yes but i would not mount a racing exaust on Honda ...

    There are plenty of solutions low noise fans etc , learn with computer solutions where 80mm fans are nearly silence and the 120mm are virtually silence..

    That's point , I think it's something that midnite didn't pay attention ..
    Regards
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    fca1 wrote: »
    Y
    That's point , I think it's something that midnite didn't pay attention ..

    Or just simply figured it should not be an issue. To my way of thinking only a hobbiest is going to install a controller in the house someplace where you have to listen to it all the time. And the hobbiest is probably not going to have a large system. For the real off-grid installation there's typically going to be a battery or utility/power room that is separate from the living quarters, and where electrical equipment and batteries reside. And the real off-grid system is more likely to have the controller running at full capacity where the fans are going to make noise.

    I got four Classic 150's and they sound like a 747 running at Full Dawg. Except that it doesn't bother me because the only time I'm in the utility room to hear them is only if the System Control Panel indicates a fault of some sort that I have to go in there to investigate. I would never think of installing this type of electrical equipment in the living quarters of a residence.
    --
    Chris
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 975 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions

    What we DID pay attention to was to make the fans the most reliable they could be and to make the turbo turn on after the smaller ones turn on.

    Can't make them any quieter without making the casting larger... The audible noise is made worse by the path the air has to take. Kind of
    like a siren. We do know how that goes. One thing that does sometimes get in the way of the turbo staying quiet (the main noisy fan) is
    that its plastic holder sometimes rattles when it vibrates. You can try sticking some tape or glue on that external piece if it
    starts buzzing. Buzzing is annoying to me.

    What you could try is to place a large quiet fan in the room and point it at the Classic and see if it helps to keep it cool enough where
    the Classic fans do not come on.

    As far as only so many Ethernet connections to the Classic at once, this was discussed on the Midnite forum page just recently.
    There may be a third party solution coming that would allow lots of connections at once including, I think, a web server.
    This is what is kind of nice about having an open communications protocol in that others can make solutions that we don't have
    resources to do ourselves.

    boB
  • fca1fca1 Solar Expert Posts: 124 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    boB wrote: »
    What we DID pay attention to was to make the fans the most reliable they could be and to make the turbo turn on after the smaller ones turn on.

    Can't make them any quieter without making the casting larger... The audible noise is made worse by the path the air has to take. Kind of
    like a siren. We do know how that goes. One thing that does sometimes get in the way of the turbo staying quiet (the main noisy fan) is
    that its plastic holder sometimes rattles when it vibrates. You can try sticking some tape or glue on that external piece if it
    starts buzzing. Buzzing is annoying to me.

    What you could try is to place a large quiet fan in the room and point it at the Classic and see if it helps to keep it cool enough where
    the Classic fans do not come on.

    boB
    That is what I will do connect a silent 120mm fan on it to see if it helps not turning on the "turbo" arapovic fan ;)
    I agree reability above all in these kind of devices..

    Chris, you like noise I got it... No problem with that ...

    Thanks
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    fca1 wrote: »
    Chris, you like noise I got it... No problem with that ...

    No, I did not say that. What I said was that this is power equipment. Do not expect it to be quiet. Generators, wind turbines, power inverters, MPPT controllers, transformers - they all make noise and generate heat. Plan your installation accordingly. Do not install that sort of stuff in the living quarters of a residence.
    --
    Chris
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions

    For comparison, XW SCCs do not have fans and are absolutely quiet. The biggest noise they produce are relay clicks.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    For comparison, XW SCCs do not have fans and are absolutely quiet. The biggest noise they produce are relay clicks.

    I got one of those. Haven't used it lately because I couldn't get it to agree with the Classics on when absorb should end. But I'm going to re-install it next week sometime to reduce the load on the Classic in the hot weather. The Classic has been running REALLY hot at max rated capacity from about 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM every day, and only about 5-10 amps below rated capacity for an hour and a half on either side of that. Might get a little better efficiency from the solar if I split the load up between two controllers and generate more electricity and less heat.
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions

    Couple of observations about thermostatically controlled cooling fans on charge controllers:

    They only come on during the day when the controllers are passing power, so shouldn't be too disturbing since most people are awake at that time anyway.

    They only come on when the unit is hot, so measures can be taken to reduce their run time such as making sure the area where the unit is mounted has good air flow and limited other heat sources.

    Not running a controller at its maximum power rating will reduce the problem, especially for hybrid systems that have to run full array power through the controller most of the day are going to be the worst offender.

    The noise level isn't as bad as some people make it out to be. Be realistic and compare it to other noise generators. My refrigerator is more annoying than the MX60 by far, and the 'frige runs 24/7.

    The "no fan" units generally can not handle as much power as the fan-cooled ones, and require much larger heat sinks to manage what they do. It would be interesting to test the actual operating temperatures of two comparable units and see how the cooling difference affects longevity. If the non-fan type really runs even a bit warmer it will have shorter life, all else being equal.

    If you don't like the noise, sell it and find a no-fan unit to take its place. Good luck finding anything as good as the Classic. Frankly other than the Outback (fan) and MidNite (fan) the others are somewhat lacking in functionality. It's time Morningstar and Xantrex (or whatever they're called these days) got some up-to-date charge controller designs; they're practically dinosaurs by today's standards.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    It's time Morningstar and Xantrex (or whatever they're called these days) got some up-to-date charge controller designs; they're practically dinosaurs by today's standards.

    I don't know about the Morningtar units - the last one of those I had was a PWM style 60 amp and it was a very good unit. But I have to give credit to the Schneider Conext XW-MPPT-60 - when I ran it after I bought it it performs right with the Classic on the same array. There's absolutely nothing wrong with its MPPT algorithm. And it interfaces very nicely with a XW power system. It is lacking in features that the Classic has, such as AUX outputs and functions on the AUX ports. But it's also a less expensive controller than the Classic.

    The only reason I stopped using it then was because it doesn't network with the Classics and there was some confusion between the two as to who's boss and when absorb should end. So the XW-MPPT-60 would see less than 2% of ah capacity (because of wind gust output with the Classics) and decide absorb was done. So it would go to Float and stop putting out power when the Classics were still in absorb.

    I ran the XW-MPPT-60 at full rated capacity and it doesn't seem to get any hotter than the Classic (to the touch).
    --
    Chris
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    \ It is lacking in features that the Classic has, such as AUX outputs and functions on the AUX ports. But it's also a less expensive controller than the Classic.

    ...

    I ran the XW-MPPT-60 at full rated capacity and it doesn't seem to get any hotter than the Classic (to the touch).
    \


    The Classic Lite only costs $20 more than the Xantrex XW and for that $20 you get a whole lot more charge controller. Larger output capacity, programability, aux outputs, local or web based monitoring, constant upgrades/improvements, etc, etc.

    No contetst IMO.

    As far as temperatures- the classic allows you to monitor the internal temps of several components - more important for longevity than what the outside case temp feels like. Hard to compare to the Xantrex since I don't think it lets you monitor those temps. Even though the Classic uses fans it also is cooled by its heavy duty metal case (with some small fins) with a large thermal mass. I suspect even without fans it would perform fine in all but the hottest climates.

    My 2 classics sit in my partial basement utility room which even on a hot day rarely gets above 70 F inside. The fans are relatively quiet in my experience and only come on during mid day sun when the CCs are putting out lots of amps, and I have never observed the secondary turbo fans coming on.
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    mtdoc wrote: »
    The Classic Lite only costs $20 more than the Xantrex XW and for that $20 you get a whole lot more charge controller. Larger output capacity, programability, aux outputs, local or web based monitoring, constant upgrades/improvements, etc, etc.

    Yes, however, if you have a XW inverter and power system, the XW-MPPT-60 does something that the Classic can't do - integrate seamlessly with the rest of your power system, including data logging available right at the SCP, etc.. The XW system has always had web monitoring, but I guess the new ComBox will make it better than the old Gateway. I haven't seen the ComBox (yet) on NAWS' website. But I'll be buying one when I see it on there.

    Being I have both, I saw pluses and minuses with both controllers. I'm going to re-install the XW-MPPT-60 because my Classic on the solar array (6.0 kW installed capacity on it) is getting way too hot this time of year. Our utility room is insulated but not heated in the winter. But with a XW inverter putting out 3-6 kW, plus four controllers in there charging batteries at 5-10 kW, the temp in our utility room today is well 100 degrees. And it doesn't do any good to try to ventilate the place with fans because it's 96 degrees outside. It actually stays cooler in the utility room today if I leave the outside door shut.

    The wind is blowing at 20-30 mph so the wind turbines are lit right up and the fans on all my Classics are all running in Turbo High Boost today and they are HOT. If you touch the solar one you will burn your fingers on the heat sink.
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions

    Ambient temp at 100F, full power going through the controllers ... yes, I expect the cooling fans would be on. :D

    Chris you may want to get creative with the ventilation: my 'cold room' (walled off portion of the car port) manages to stay below ambient in Summer due to the venting despite having two freezers running in it. If you can pull air in from the shaded side (or through underground - but that gets complicated) you could drop the temp in there enough to make it worth the effort. Yes, just what you needed; another project! :p

    I know I can improve mine, but at the moment am unable to continue with any of the projects I've already got started so I'm sure not adding one more to the list! Besides, I have a wife to do that for me. ;)
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 975 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions

    Chris, why do you need the Classic to coordinate with the XW ? Do you use a generator often to charge with through the Xantrex ??

    boB
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,087 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    boB wrote: »
    Chris, why do you need the Classic to coordinate with the XW ? Do you use a generator often to charge with through the Xantrex ??

    boB
    Not sure about Chris but being able to communicate with everything in the system is still the only reason I use Outback and the XW system. I looked at the Sunny Island system and it probably would do also. I am on my 60th offgrid system now and they all are doing very well.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    Chris you may want to get creative with the ventilation: my 'cold room'

    I am 99% certain I could make improvements to the cooling in that room. The thing is, we only get this kind of hot weather for like 6 weeks, so it's not like Arizona. And we've never run this kind of power thru our system before. The wind turbines aren't bad - they average maybe 1.2 kW and they're all over the scale because the wind is turbulent in summer from daytime heating. In the winter they'll hit 2.5 kW apiece and stay there for hours on end. That never happens in summer.

    It's the solar controller I'm concerned about. With my "virtual tracking" setup with panels pointed in three directions that solar controller is coming up to about 84 amps at 10:00AM and it never leaves 84 amps until 3:00 in the afternoon. That controller is handling some serious power - putting out almost the daily consumption of the average American home in a mere 5 hours. Utility transformers melt in hot weather doing that kind of stuff.

    I think I'm on the downside of the efficiency curve of the Classic by pushing it that hard. So I'm going to split up the load with two controllers.

    boB - I got a Schneider Conext XW-MPPT-60 controller and I used it for a little bit when I bought it. It did not want to coordinate charge stage with the Classics very well. If the wind came along with a big gust, causing the solar controllers to throttle back, the XW-MPPT-60 thought that absorb was done because its output dropped to less than 2% of bank capacity. So it would switch to Float when the Classics were still in Absorb, then then XW-MPPT-60 stopped putting out power. So I had to go to the SCP and force it back to Bulk all the time. So I stopped using it.
    --
    Chris
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    boB wrote: »
    Chris, why do you need the Classic to coordinate with the XW ? Do you use a generator often to charge with through the Xantrex ??

    boB

    I also like being able to communicate with and remotely monitor every component of the system. (But them I'm a controls junkie and do it for a living with commercial HVAC systems!)

    Also, Chris did mention earlier difficulty getting the XW and Classic to agree on whether and when absorb is finished. I'm tempted to buy a Classic to play with myself (split my current array between the existing FM80 and the Classic) and have wondered about that myself. For instance, right now I'm absorbing (or dropping back to bulk when the clouds go by) but also running the mini-split AC. (An opportunity load - on warm, sunny days when the CC bumps to absorb I enable it.) CC is producing 1800W, of which 1500 is being used by the house. If I split the array, and one CC decides absorb is done and drops to float it's basically doing nothing while it waits for the battery voltage to sag. The other CC in the mean time is maxed at roughly 900W, too little to run my loads, it drops to bulk but the voltage eventually falls enough for the floating CC to start working.

    So I have one CC that thinks it has finished charging, the other is stuck in bulk all day, unless I reduce loads enough that it can push the voltage up and finish absorb by itself with just half the array.

    Perhaps that's not necessarily a problem in the big picture, it just doesn't satisfy the control freak in me! I'd really like to have systems that could communicate with each other even across different brands. I don't like being locked in to a single vendor! (Or, for instance with Midnite, you don't currently have an inverter so I'd need to buy another brand anyway.) With my HVAC control systems, I can integrate darn near anyone's equipment if they just use a standard protocol instead of proprietary junk. Nobody has the same feature set, but you can at least link things together at some level. It's taken years for the HVAC market to get to that point (and there are still those who prefer lock-in) but it did happen over time. Hopefully the same will happen with RE systems.

    The Outback Mate is a fair start - in fact it's why I chose Outback over Xantrex, since I could get the comm protocol docs online. However it's only really useful for monitoring, I don't have nearly enough control through that serial port! (In particular I wish I could remotely enable/disable the charger in the inverter, but being able to command other parts of the system would be nice.)

    My Morningstar kit has reasonable communications - I can poll the SureSine 300 and SunSave MPPT, but haven't tried remote control yet. I just wish they'd used a standard serial interface instead of requiring a dongle.

    You guys have made a great start with the Classic, and I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do with it. But when are you going to have an inverter that I can talk to the same way?!? :)
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    RandomJoe wrote: »
    I also like being able to communicate with and remotely monitor every component of the system.

    Me too!8)

    Also, Chris did mention earlier difficulty getting the XW and Classic to agree on whether and when absorb is finished. I'm tempted to buy a Classic to play with myself (split my current array between the existing FM80 and the Classic) and have wondered about that myself. For instance, right now I'm absorbing (or dropping back to bulk when the clouds go by) but also running the mini-split AC. (An opportunity load - on warm, sunny days when the CC bumps to absorb I enable it.) CC is producing 1800W, of which 1500 is being used by the house. If I split the array, and one CC decides absorb is done and drops to float it's basically doing nothing while it waits for the battery voltage to sag. The other CC in the mean time is maxed at roughly 900W, too little to run my loads, it drops to bulk but the voltage eventually falls enough for the floating CC to start working.

    That's one of the big advantages of the Midnite Classic - it's "Follow Me" firmware implementation allows all Classics to coordinate charging.

    I'd really like to have systems that could communicate with each other even across different brands.

    That would be nice but I don't see it happening - at least not in the foreseeable future.
    The Outback Mate is a fair start - in fact it's why I chose Outback over Xantrex, since I could get the comm protocol docs online. However it's only really useful for monitoring, I don't have nearly enough control through that serial port! (In particular I wish I could remotely enable/disable the charger in the inverter, but being able to command other parts of the system would be nice.)

    You can control a few things remotely with the Mate - but I wish there was more control available. Another nice feature of the Classic - almost all settings can be changed remotely!

    While direct communication between inverter and charge controller sounds nice in theory - I can not think of any problem it would solve or improved system efficiency that would result. The only advantage I can see is you might then be able to monitor your entire system with one piece of software.

    I've been very happy with my current monitoring setup and the integration of my Classic CCs with my Outback inverter. I can monitor (and if needed control them) remotely from anywhere on the web, my iphone, etc using a cheap ebay netbook running free VNC software and $50 WattPlot software to monitor control my Outback inverter and battery monitoring via FNDC while simultaneously monitoring/controlling the Classics with the local app and also running my weather station software:

    Attachment not found.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions

    All these systems can be monitored and controlled remotely. And they use standard protocols - Modbus, CAN bus, Ethernet. The problem is that there's no good interfacing hardware/software that could work with them.

    I think the problem is lack of demand. Most people are happy with their system as they are. Others would want to do something, but do not really think this would be possible. The rest of the market is very small and is served by relays, DIY, PLCs, microcomputers and other klugy solutions.

    Remote Internet control is also difficult because it can be hacked and I don't think that these companies want to deal with that.
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    NorthGuy wrote: »
    All these systems can be monitored and controlled remotely. And they use standard protocols - Modbus, CAN bus, Ethernet.

    Well yeah if you're technically savy enough to write your own program to make use of Modbus or Canbus then there's lots of options- very few in their user base are able to do that.
    The problem is that there's no good interfacing hardware/software that could work with them.

    I disagree. I find that the interface and software options for Outback and Midnite products pretty darn good given their price (free to $50!) and the fact that as you say there is a relatively small market for this stuff. They are also constantly improving. What I'm using requires only very modest computer skills and can be set up in a couple of hours.
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    mtdoc wrote: »
    Well yeah if you're technically savy enough to write your own program to make use of Modbus or Canbus then there's lots of options- very few in their user base are able to do that.

    I agree. But if there were a serious demand, you would expect lots of third-party solutions on the market. But there's almost nothing.
  • fca1fca1 Solar Expert Posts: 124 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions

    Regarding sw I'm using ScadaBR to monitor my system
    Here you can one of the views...
    http://tinyurl.com/o7vfbox

    I was saying that ( non sun at nigh times , at least over these parte of the worl) ;)

    Will mount a 120mm fan on top to see if I can cool it down ....
    My power/battery room is at 27c when outside is 38c ( hot)...



    Regards
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    mtdoc wrote: »
    That's one of the big advantages of the Midnite Classic - it's "Follow Me" firmware implementation allows all Classics to coordinate charging.

    Well, the XW system has "follow me" too, and it even coordinates charge stage with the inverter. And you only need one battery temp sensor on a XW system - like if the inverter has one the MPPT controllers don't need one because they all know about the one the inverter has over Xanbus. So none of that stuff is really new. But it is nice to have those features where your devices all communicate and know what's going on.

    The networking system on the XW is a lot easier. No hub, nothing. Just plug it in with CAT5 on the end of another component that doesn't have two ethernet cables going to it, stick a network terminator in one of the ports on the two components that are at the end of the "chain", and it "just works".

    The capacity of the controller for the money can be good and can be bad. The Classic will handle up to about 5.0 kW on a 48V system and the XW-MPPT-60 can handle about 3.6 kW. So if your system is between 3.6 and 5 kW, the Classic is probably the better unit to get. If you put in 6 or 7 kW of solar capacity, then two MPPT-60's are cheaper than two Classics, and if you have a XW inverter, the twin MPPT-60's is probably the better way to go.

    Some people like stuff that's simple, plugs in and "just works" so they don't have to mess with it and can get on with their life and go fishing. Some people like all the frills so they got stuff to play with all the time. So it's really six of one and half dozen of another.
    --
    Chris
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,664 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions

    I've got the XW-6048, SCP & Gateway, and the MS TS-MPPT 60 with the web interface. The gateway and TS are both connected to a standard wireless router, and I can can log onto it with the laptop, and READ the inverter and controller status. I've not been motivated enough to automate it, so I just log it all to a spreadsheet manually.

    And with a 3KW array on the TS-MPPT 60, it will run toasty at noon on a 100F day, but no so hot that I can't keep my hand on the heatsink. I've not seen any logged message about overheating.
    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 ,

  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    mtdoc wrote: »
    That's one of the big advantages of the Midnite Classic - it's "Follow Me" firmware implementation allows all Classics to coordinate charging.

    As do multiple Outbacks, or as Chris mentioned multiple XWs - but only with the same brand. I expected that, but want more! :)
    You can control a few things remotely with the Mate - but I wish there was more control available. Another nice feature of the Classic - almost all settings can be changed remotely!

    That's good to hear, and what I had hoped! I'm still trying to convince myself I need another $500 plaything... I think I'm about ready to buy though! :)
    I've been very happy with my current monitoring setup and the integration of my Classic CCs with my Outback inverter. I can monitor (and if needed control them) remotely from anywhere on the web, my iphone, etc using a cheap ebay netbook running free VNC software and $50 WattPlot software to monitor control my Outback inverter and battery monitoring via FNDC while simultaneously monitoring/controlling the Classics with the local app and also running my weather station software:

    Yes, there is good software available for a *person* to monitor things. However, that's not what I'm after. I want to set up a system that has full control of any function based on any other input variables I may wish to use. I thought of a better specific example after writing the above yesterday:

    I install the Classic into my current system. As it stands now, the Classic knows nothing about system loads, battery amps (I know Midnite is working on a shunt board) or what the other CC is doing, but I already have the FNDC telling me everything I need to know in satisfying detail. If I have a network variable I can stuff the battery amps value into (or others if useful to the control software in the Classic) now it can work with that value without my having to add a redundant piece of hardware. (And the Classic may even have that point available, I haven't looked at the modbus doc in detail yet.)

    In this case, nearly everything is in place, as I can already talk to the Mate and Classic it's just a matter of having the network variable present to be used.

    The FX inverter control is one I wanted to try a while back, I already switch it between grid and inverter on a schedule (time of day, along with some other parameters) and last year went to TOU billing. Occasionally there are heavily overcast days where the utility is charging a high rate (since they set the day's rates 5PM the day before) so I keep the inverter going and draw down the battery bank. I wanted to be able to tell the charger in the inverter to start at (say) midnight to bulk-charge to a certain point if it was necessary - but I can't. That control point simply isn't available.

    I'm sure no one really foresaw a use for that, heaven knows very few people are going to set up a system like I do! I work with what I can get, knowing that, but will take every opportunity to express my desire for more. :)


    As to currently available software, I don't do Windows. (I do have it in a VM for those times when I have no other option.) Very few companies offer their software for OSX, almost none for Linux. That's fine, just another example of my deviation from societal norms! :p I've also found I usually want a different layout / system representation from the original author's - just personal preference. However, I *can* write my *own* software. I just want the functional interfaces and documentation available to be able to do so.

    I also don't like "web interfaces" that require I ship my data off to the company so I can view it from their website. However well-intentioned, at some point most companies are going to want to move on and abandon the old system. Or some decide they want to monetize it - charge for full access, splatter ads across the page, whatever. Not to mention what happens in a power outage? I can keep my home network running indefinitely but the cable box in the neighbor's yard dies after 2 hours. So I'll write my own web interfaces too! (This is actually how I prefer to control my system, as I don't have to install software on each device I use.)

    I also run a database on my server that collects All Kinds Of Data about my home environment. It logs data from my weather station, solar system, temp sensors in the house, whatever occurs to me. I have the various logging daemons set to log fairly rapidly, especially on the solar system so I can catch all the transients. It can be fun (well - *I* think so!) to dig around in that big pile, compare weather station data with solar system performance, what have you. But - again - I have my preference in software. (Namely, not MSSQL or MySQL - the two most common - I use Postgres.) I'll write my own loggers too, that's fine, just make sure I can.


    Don't mistake all this for a rant against any company, I know darn well I'm "not normal" and don't expect anyone to cater to my rather niche desires. Doesn't stop me from *wishing* for even more capabilities! The only time I start ranting is when a company seems to actively try to "lock up" the hardware I (might) own - such as Enphase, or hide their comm protocols from me - such as Xantrex. And then I go buy someone else's stuff!
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    RandomJoe wrote: »
    or hide their comm protocols from me - such as Xantrex.

    Actually, the XW's communication protocols are published someplace because there's third-party solutions like this one that have communicated with the XW system for quite some time:
    http://www.briery.com/

    I don't know a lot about computers. It seems the less I have to do with them, the more peaceful my life is so I can concentrate on the important stuff like fishing. But I think somebody told me once that the XW's comm protocol is like Modbus over CAN or something like that. The Outback's comm protocols are proprietary. This Dan Lenox that wrote the Power Dashboard software originally had it working with the XW system and he must've twisted somebody's arm at Outback and added Outback functionality to it later.

    So it seems to me that if software like this can communicate with the XW, it could be added to the Classic controllers too so they could "listen in" on the Xanbus network and coordinate their charge stage with the XW system.

    Again, I know nothing about computers - I usually look at 'em, put 2 and 2 together, add 12 and carry 5, and hopefully it works :blush:

    Edit:
    Actually, maybe he never did add Outback to it. It just mentions the XW and Xanbus on this page and it says it just "listens" to the data being transmitted on the Xanbus network.
    http://www.briery.com/dashboard.html
    --
    Chris
  • Coach DadCoach Dad Solar Expert Posts: 154 ✭✭
    Re: Midinite 150 first impressions
    RandomJoe wrote: »
    As to currently available software, I don't do Windows. (I do have it in a VM for those times when I have no other option.) Very few companies offer their software for OSX, almost none for Linux. That's fine, just another example of my deviation from societal norms! :p I've also found I usually want a different layout / system representation from the original author's - just personal preference. However, I *can* write my *own* software. I just want the functional interfaces and documentation available to be able to do so.

    I also don't like "web interfaces" that require I ship my data off to the company so I can view it from their website. However well-intentioned, at some point most companies are going to want to move on and abandon the old system. Or some decide they want to monetize it - charge for full access, splatter ads across the page, whatever. Not to mention what happens in a power outage? I can keep my home network running indefinitely but the cable box in the neighbor's yard dies after 2 hours. So I'll write my own web interfaces too! (This is actually how I prefer to control my system, as I don't have to install software on each device I use.)

    I also run a database on my server that collects All Kinds Of Data about my home environment. It logs data from my weather station, solar system, temp sensors in the house, whatever occurs to me. I have the various logging daemons set to log fairly rapidly, especially on the solar system so I can catch all the transients. It can be fun (well - *I* think so!) to dig around in that big pile, compare weather station data with solar system performance, what have you. But - again - I have my preference in software. (Namely, not MSSQL or MySQL - the two most common - I use Postgres.) I'll write my own loggers too, that's fine, just make sure I can.

    Wow... quite impressive... You are no "ordinary Joe" either. :D

    I look at the SOC to see if the batteries are charged or not :blush: and then go hunting, fishing, hiking, ATVing or other outdoor activity...
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