Dave Angelini ✭✭✭✭✭


Dave Angelini
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Solar Expert


  • Gullo

    I have read much of this thread, and I want to say that I received my Gateway on February 12 from Arizona Wind and Sun. They went to some efforts to get it for me, and I have been super pleased with it!

    I chose to switch out my Combox for a Gateway for a number of reasons, but my first intent was to increase Xanbus bandwidth. I have 4 XW+ inverters, 7 MPPT80 charge controllers, an SCP, and 17 Discover AES 42-48-6650 batteries with 25kW of solar in an off grid (really a grid-as-backup) installation. That's a LOT of power hungry xanbus devices!

    The first thing I noticed with the Gateway was the WILDLY IMPROVED firmware upgrade process. Anyone that has had solar power for a while knows that there is almost no tech support call that doesn't come with a mention of updated firmware - and there is no well-functioning system if you do not update firmware relatively regularly. The firmware upgrade process in the Gateway makes it worth every penny - especially when you have so many devices to upgrade regularly.

    On top of that, the device configurations are much more complete - faults and warnings and suggested solutions are offered right on the history screen for each device, and the device settings are much more comprehensive! …. And the Wifi…. and remote Insight2 access …. and more memory ….. and on and on and on.

    Sure, all launches have their little snaffoos, and the guys in tech don't have much experience with the device yet, but as the reviews come in, the firmware updates will roll out. They already fixed one bug that I mentioned to them in my first week.... They're responsive.

    One thing though. If you look at the introduction website for the device, you'll see that Modbus support has an asterisk next to it... It would be awesome if this Modbus had a map so that I could give it to my eGuage people, and we could get my eGuage connected. Alas, I'm sure that's on the way as well. Also, in configuration, you will find a huge number of new settings and tabs for the devices. Some are self explanatory, and others are a complete mystery! I lovingly and sincerely request a settings map of some kind that would explain the effects of any proposed changes to the settings. I mean, if you give a monkey a button, he will push it - and this monkey wants to know what to expect...

    For now I deeply encourage anyone that is considering one of these devices to jump in with both feet. The current active and functioning improvements over the Combox are more than enough to keep you busy until all of the snaffoos and technical documentation is released.

    March 29
    • Dave Angelini
      Dave Angelini
      That is a huge system you have Gullo! Where are you? Thanks for the kind words. There should be one more gateway update and the wifi station mode will be working.
    • Gullo
      Dave - I'm in Knoxville Tennessee.
      It definitely is a huge system, and it came with an equally intense learning curve.
      I have a NABCEP certified solar installer, but.... Let's just say they didn't go to Schneider University lol.
      I noticed in a different thread that you highly suggest your off grid and remote clientele get very familiar with the equipment. I couldn't agree more! I never intended to lick the inverter and stick it on the wall and walk away until it quit working when I'm old and grey, but I never imagined in my wildest dreams I would be building my own 40 linear foot busbars and calculating voltage drops from the PDP to the battery either.
      I've also read a few of your posts regarding Schneider tech support... those kids are fun! I've probably had 30 case numbers over the past 3 years, and when they know what's up, they handle it fast. The problem comes when you ask why your inverters keep throwing dc under voltage errors despite having 53 volts at the DC terminals and busbar. Or when your charge controllers are (intentionally) set down from 56.6 volts bulk/absorb to 54.4 volts, why do they keep charging to 56.6 - even though the settings are confirmed in Gateway AND Scp? Or when you ask what specific settings for specific devices mean because the gateway has a lot more bells and buzzers than combox did, and they have zero experience with the device - they can't even login to it yet... Then they can be a little frustrating.

      I've read quite a few posts from you with Schneider in the subject/body. Do you have a lot of installer experience with Schneider?
      I have some questions that tech support seems completely oblivious to.
      Have you ever had an inverter simply quit turning on after flipping the 250 DC disconnect? I mean it was working fine, and I had to turn off the system to install a new 500mcm cable between the PDP and the battery, and when I flipped it back on 3 inverters loaded up fine, but one of them remains off. The only signs of life are the little green xanbus lights on the mother board, and the DC terminals have correct voltage. But otherwise it is dead.
      This same thing happened 3 months ago, and Schneider shipped replacements. Now the same thing happened, and I'm sure they'll replace it, but it's an effort to disconnect all wiring, remove the super heavy unit off the wall, and install the new one. I simply cannot imagine that flipping the 250 DC disconnect from closed to open and open to closed could cause an irrepararabble damage to an inverter - and definitely not 3 of them. It MUST be something simple, and considering the post where Schneider sent out a whole new unit for something as simple as an lcd display screen, I imagine they'd prefer to replace it than tell me how to fix it.
      Any thoughts?
    • Dave Angelini
      Dave Angelini
      Hi Gullo can we do this on e-mail. Yes I have been using schneider gear since they bought xantrex and before when xantrex bought Trace. I do think I know what is wrong with your inverter. Knoxville is the home of my favorite adult beverage. --Dave
      email [email protected]
  • Gullo

    I keep running into Dave as I read these threads

    I just want to update his post... Discover AES batteries already communicate with Schneider xanbus. I have 17 Discover batteries, and they are amazing. Unlike other companies that will give you a case of the blues, the Discover batteries work. And two things that are really cool about them are that they're small-ish and can be purchased one at time. All of the load calculations in the world will not prepare you for your actual loads with solar... You can't tell how much or how little load you will have with solar equipment until you have solar loads. You COULD use less. You COULD use more. If you buy a smaller (lower Ah) battery, once you have your system up and running, you can simply add more Discover batteries if you discover that you use more electricity now that it's free. So, you spend less on Ah up front, and you easily add capacity if you discover that you need it. What makes this possible is that each Discover battery has its own BMS, which means that when you want to add capacity, all you have to do is buy a battery and connect it... That's HUGE!

    The second thing is that they communicate with Xanbus - So you can always see your battery state of charge and voltage and amperage and any multiple of pertinent details about your battery right there in your Schneider Gateway or Combox. That's HUGE-er!

    Hugest of all... If you have a problem with DIscover AES, you unplug the battery or power it off with the on/off switch, and you still have a battery bank. With systems that utilize a single common BMS, you are without solar power until the problem is addressed - which will include shipping a huge battery away for repairs - at least 2 weeks because it takes a week to ship out and a week to ship back - not to mention waiting in line for the production cue to repair your battery... Yikes! I say buy Discover and start out happy.  

    March 29