BZ Controller

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  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,180 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller

    boB , re your BTW about Xantrex, as I am aware they (Xantrex) are based out of Vancouver BC. Is this an alliance in the states? (Arlington-Xantrex) Is there word of what they may morph into?
    The only reference I found was that X has a facility in Arlington for Trace products....

    Eric
     
    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
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,980 admin
    Re: BZ Controller

    A 12/18/2007 short article:
    Arlington firm to lay off 55 workers

    Xantrex Technology plans to lay off 55 employees at its Arlington plant, according to a layoff notice released by the state Employment Security Department. Based in Vancouver, B.C., the company designs and manufactures backup power systems, solar and wind power converters and portable power supply devices. Xantrex could not be reached for details late Monday.
    And,
    B.C.-based Xantrex to close Arlington facility next year

    Xantrex Corp., a Vancouver, B.C.-based manufacturer of power conversion and control products, said it plans to close an Arlington manufacturing facility next year.

    Xantrex plans to move manufacturing to an existing facility in California. A spokeswoman said 45 employees will be laid off by May or June of next year, with 35 more to be laid off by November.
    Always difficult to read about...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller
    boB wrote: »
    I remember when Xantrex bought a couple of early MX60s long ago, which
    had these features, except for the Dynamic tracking part. I think that Kelly made his first XW version with those features in his prototype ??

    BTW, Arlington-Xantrex is going away during the first half of 2008. :cry:

    boB

    Hi boB,

    Kelly did do a model, it had nothing in common or was based on your MX60 and I did the Mppt for it. It was an analog pwm with digital overseer ... only a couple were made and we decided to go the DSP route ( My design ). The SC-60 again, wasn't based in anyway on the MX60, I did run full performance testing on one of your boxes to show the difference of the SC-60, which it out performed your box in every way ( upto 60 amps ). The design was proven and stable when the new CEO came on board and, well the rest is history.

    I still have a pair of SC-60's, working now over 2+ years without a hickup ..

    Generally speaking , people would never understand the stuff that happens in R&D and most of the decisions/changes made more times than not are internal politics/pissing match ... same at any big company I have dealt with. That’s why I work on my own ... If your ever in Florida and want to know the real skinny over a beer or two, look me up :D
  • boBboB Solar Expert Posts: 972 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller

    Regarding Xantrex laying off 55 people in Arlington: For many years, Trace had layoffs almost every year because of seasonal sales changes.
    The difference between then and now is that this will be the last time for Arlington.

    Let's not argue about WHO killed WHO ! This is supposed to be a FESTIVE occasion !

    Happy Christmas every body !!

    boB
  • crewzercrewzer Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 1,832 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller
    How 'bout shipping it to Crewzer instead?!
    Thanks, but I'll pass on this opportunity. My plate's pretty full these days... 8)

    Thanks, though!
    Jim / crewzer
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller

    So now I feel really left out in the cold. I can't even use it for a boat anchor,,,it doesn't weigh enough!

    It does have a really cool RED led that blinks! Oh well,

    Thanks for the input,

    Icarus.

    PS. I will do a a simpler review when I get some sun and back home.
  • PhilSPhilS Solar Expert Posts: 370 ✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller
    crewzer wrote: »
    Thanks, but I'll pass on this opportunity. My plate's pretty full these days... 8)

    Thanks, though!
    Jim / crewzer

    Sound's like Kenputer is next in line if Solar Guppy doesn't want to keep that thing around as an example of "what NOT to buy". My endorsement of Kenputer being next in line is hearby given. I know he's into wind so maybe it'll be good for something with his system.

    Phil
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: BZ Controller

    For what it's worth, I've had a BZ 500 on my cabin for the last 6 months, with (6) 55W 12v Panels wired at 24V charging a 12VDC 440 AH @ (12v) bank. (4 6V Johnson Controls scrubber rated 220AH @ 6 V) My threshold of discharge LV is 50 %, which means a full bank means I have 2640 Watts to spend ( less 25 % for line/battery/inverter/ temp losses). Call it 2KW. Tight budget. I laugh cause it's worth 15 cents where I come from.

    I replaced a Sunstar controller that was 6 years old and dying. (everything was 12V)

    I use a 1000 watt cheapie inverter, hardwired into a grounded AC panel, and have the cabin wired inside as a residence using 12 G Romex.

    Have 1800 Watt coleman gen, use the 15 amp DC out to the battery bank, and run power tools off of the AC out when I'm working, so that it's always charging if it's on, (albeit only a little). Hardly ever get LV , but if I do, I just transfer generator Ac to cabin panel( I use a disconnect), continue charging 15 A DC from the gen, and that's that. I run lights, very small dorm fridge, laptop computer with 19" CRT for movies, coffee grinder, sometimes small fan in summer to sleep, boom box stereo, Christmas lights.

    My experience ( with new batteries) has been very good. I monitor system voltage, and the sytem has maintained full charge, with almost no need to add water. I like that part.

    I am a professional solar installer, and I build system 20 times this size, both PV and thermal This was my first, in 1996, and when something wears out, I try something new and better, hopefully. I just wanted to encourage people to develop an understanding of how your lifestyle is critical to your energy consumption, and to work as hard at that end as building big systems.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller

    My quick reaction is, if you are seldom or ever required to add water, perhaps you are not getting your batteries fully charges, and perhaps not equalized. Fully charging batteries WILL use a bit of water do to the off gassing of the electrolite.

    Just a thought.

    Icarus
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: BZ Controller

    I bought a bz 500 2 years ago,i agree that it looks a bit "soviet" and i have know idea of the quality of the internal components,but i saw 15 amps from a panel rated 9.5 amp.Bz also shipped to europe,something a lot of US companies are reluctant to do,and did i mention that its very cheap!here in Spain an outback mx60 is 1200 euros! thats 1700 usd.I paid less than 250euros for bz 500. including shipping.and 5 year warranty.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller

    One final note on this,,,

    I finally was able to do a bit of test with the controller that PhilS sent me.

    Wiring it up to 120 watts of panel, with a static 12 volt car battery, that was showing ~12.3 volts. Full sun, panels putting out 5.7 amps, 14.1 volts. Within five minutes the amperage dropped to ~.5-1.5 bouncing around, and the "Float light" lit up. I don't have enough test equipment (here, I'm not at home) to do a through test, but disconnecting the battery from the controller showed a voltage of ~12.5. Way under what it should be before dropping to float.

    In searching to re-find this thread, I noticed another thread about BZ controllers doing a similar thing.

    A word to the wise, same you pennies (and your batteries) and buy a decent MPPT controller.

    Icarus
  • crewzercrewzer Registered Users, Solar Expert Posts: 1,832 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller
    Within five minutes the amperage dropped to ~.5-1.5 bouncing around, and the "Float light" lit up. I don't have enough test equipment (here, I'm not at home) to do a through test, but disconnecting the battery from the controller showed a voltage of ~12.5. Way under what it should be before dropping to float.
    Tony,

    I believe the problem here is that BZ's "float" stage is what most of the reat of us usually considered to be the "absorb" stage. IOW, when the BZ controller's "float" light comes on, it's signalling the beginning the absorption stage, rather than ending it. To be at all effective, the controller should stay in "float" mode, with the light on, for a couple of hours.

    I'm not defending BZ's product or nomenclature. This is just my interpretation of their controller's operational algorithm based on a quick read of their OM.

    HTH,
    Jim / crewzer
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller

    Jim,

    I guess my point is that the hardware really doesn't cut it. The amperage drops to almost to nothing once the float light starts. Any added advantage from the mppt you get in early stage charging is more than lost during absorption/float. As always thank your for your insight!

    Icarus
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,962 ✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller

    I'll be more direct, having just done some competive data analysis with a new in box BZ 500. ( also phil's older unit )

    Don't buy one,
    If you know of someone thinking of getting one, telll them not to buy one.

    The Mppt doesn't work, its a total mess. The array voltage is in a ~second random movement/ramp from -2 to -13 volts from the true vmp. The testbed in this case had a verified vmp of 38 volts, the bz was going from 25V to 36V non-stop .. averaged with a yokogawa about 12% off true vmp.

    The unit has no heat sink and could never ever support 45amps.

    Its has other design issues as well, clearly produced by someone that lacks basic power supply design skills.

    I know I've written this in the other thread, but its so bad, I feel it warrants posting the info here. If anyone thinks it works OK, they aren't doing any meaningful measurement to quanify that thought and are doing a dis-service to recommend the unit to anyone.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller

    Here, here Solar guppy,

    End the line for this hardware. I don't even think there is any hardware to salvage off it, maybe the lugs!

    Icarus
  • PhilSPhilS Solar Expert Posts: 370 ✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller

    It's gratifying to read test results that confirm my amateur observations. As I mentioned, it seemed like I was "losing" half a day's potential sunlight production with the BZs. I was used to a C-60, which didn't claim "MPPT" but seemed to charge better than these units. The C-60 that was still on some other panels when I installed the BZs and would keep on charging while the BZs would be almost shutting down for the day.

    After I bought a couple of MX60s, I gained a true appreciation of MPPT.

    The saddest thought is of others with BZ units thinking "this is how it is" and buying more battery bank than necessary in order to have enough power to get them through the day. Don't suppose it'll be anytime soon that Consumer Reports does a comparison test, eh?

    And no, SG and icarus, I still don't want them back ;)

    Phil
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: BZ Controller

    years ago i had considered buying one, but at that time i saw no website or regular address of the company be it for warranty or just general product information. that was a red flag for me back then as there was nobody to contact. this may have changed now, but it hasn't changed my opinion that they need to prove themselves as a company and prove their product. in light of the info revealed here i'd get a linear regulator before getting the bz junk and that's saying alot with linear regulator's high inefficiencies.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: BZ Controller

    Before buying the mx60 (which I recommend), I thought of buying the BZ. Thus, I sent several emails to the company, to inquire about the product. They never answered.

    Hope this helps.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: BZ Controller
    Amilkar wrote: »
    Before buying the mx60 (which I recommend), I thought of buying the BZ. Thus, I sent several emails to the company, to inquire about the product. They never answered.

    Hope this helps.


    FWIW, before I bought my MX-60 I emailed Morningstar several times, they answered my questions within 24 hours. Even though I didn't buy their product, their customer support really impressed me. I might have chosen their controller but my proposed system configuration required MPPT, which their replies explained.

    Cheers,

    Bad Apple
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: BZ Controller

    Interesting stuff, A good read.
    Was interested myself, to know how the BZ was.

    We are using a Morningstar PS-30M here and are very happy with it.

    The wiring is not as clean looking as a BZ,or Outback controller box mounted on top of the Disconnect box but, its performance and price really get the job done around here.

    Thank you all for doing such great research and letting me get an education :D
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: BZ Controller

    Bad Apple:

    I am glad to hear about your experience with Morningstar.
    My point is: If a company does not answer the questions of someone interested in BUYING their product, will that company answer questions once that person already BOUGHT the product? What will happen when the product fails?

    If a given company does not pay attention to my concerns, well, I do not pay attention to its merchandise.

    Thanks.
  • Rick ClarkRick Clark Registered Users Posts: 11
    Re: BZ Controller
    I'll be more direct, having just done some competive data analysis with a new in box BZ 500. ( also phil's older unit )

    Don't buy one,
    If you know of someone thinking of getting one, telll them not to buy one.

    The Mppt doesn't work, its a total mess. The array voltage is in a ~second random movement/ramp from -2 to -13 volts from the true vmp. The testbed in this case had a verified vmp of 38 volts, the bz was going from 25V to 36V non-stop .. averaged with a yokogawa about 12% off true vmp.

    The unit has no heat sink and could never ever support 45amps.

    Its has other design issues as well, clearly produced by someone that lacks basic power supply design skills.

    I know I've written this in the other thread, but its so bad, I feel it warrants posting the info here. If anyone thinks it works OK, they aren't doing any meaningful measurement to quanify that thought and are doing a dis-service to recommend the unit to anyone.

    :D I'm glad you posted this as I had it on my list to look at for my system, I will take your advice and stay away from their products. Thanks Rick
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