OutBack needs to update their FNDC manual

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Heimhenge
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OutBack needs to update their FNDC manual

Post by Heimhenge » Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:04 pm

And probably some of the other manuals too. Hoping someone from OutBack reads this post and acts.

This is more a comment than a question, but feel free to chime in if you've had a similar experience. Might fix things quicker. :)

So I recently had an OutBack system installed, and have been dutifully going through the manuals learning my way around the system. I don't have Optics RE installed (yet) but figured it couldn't hurt to learn how to read the MATE3s.

I got hung up in the FLEXnet DC manual trying to get to a MATE3s display that was shown graphically on page 17. Probably wasted 2 hours on that before I realized the instructions referred to the original MATE, not the MATE3s. To a longtime OutBack system owner it would have been obvious. To a newbie on a learning curve not so much.

Anyway, once I discovered that the display I was looking for no longer existed, I checked the revision number on the FNDC manual. That didn't help much other than to confirm it was the same document available for DL from the OutBack website. Then I spotted the copyright date for that manual: 2007. :shock:

OutBack: Time to get your IT and/or tech writers on this and get your documentation up to date. </rant>

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Re: OutBack needs to update their FNDC manual

Post by JRHill » Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:16 pm

My gosh, when has someone not had trouble with a manual. By the time a manual is published it is obsolete. And, jokingly, who reads the friggin manuals anyway? Well I do. I think some of the most unappreciated folks are tech writers. They are the ones who have to communicate in writing what many of us can't do face-to-face. That's a really difficult job.

The good ones should have a job in gov't if they could stand it.

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IanMcCluskey
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Re: OutBack needs to update their FNDC manual

Post by IanMcCluskey » Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:49 pm

Happy to report we started the project to update this manual last month. We are taking the time to do it right, but it should be published in the coming weeks!
Ian McCluskey
Product Manager


Alpha Technologies Inc. / OutBack Power Technologies
3767 Alpha Way Bellingham WA 98226 USA
http://www.alpha.com

raysun
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Re: OutBack needs to update their FNDC manual

Post by raysun » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:09 pm

I'm going to add just a bit to the confusion and say that the original Mate (the oval shaped one) is still sold and supported. Its offered as the least expensive option for programming certain of the inverters.

The Mate3 is no longer sold and is end-of-life. The Mate3s is the current model.

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Heimhenge
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Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:28 am
My RE system: 9 CSUN 390W panels for 3.51 kW
UniStrut PV rack on a flat roof
Midnight Solar MNPV3 combiner box w/ breakers
Outback Radian GS4048A-01 inverter
Outback FM100 charge controller
Outback FLEXnet DC monitor
Outback MATE3s system controller
Outback Hub
Trace DC breaker and shunt box
Lifeline GPL-8DL x4 = 12.2 kWh @ 48 volts
Running OpticsRE since March 2020
Location: 30 miles north of Phoenix @ elevation 2200 ft

Re: OutBack needs to update their FNDC manual

Post by Heimhenge » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:25 pm

Thanks Ian! Looking forward to it.

And raysun, yes, I too always read the manuals and find them generally difficult. But that's a whole 'nuther can of worms compared to "obsolete". I get that tech writing is a difficult task. Did it myself for some number of years, reasonably well but not much fun. Very difficult to translate from engineers to users. Those that can do tech writing well are truly gifted.

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Re: OutBack needs to update their FNDC manual

Post by ralphday224 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:59 am

raysun, do you mean that Mate3 is/will no longer supported? After almost 5 years I'm just getting really comfortable with mine :eek:

I suppose if and when buttons start to malfunction I"ll be into a Mate3s or whatever will be the flavour then.

Ralph

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Suniva 330 watt panels (12 - 6 strings of 2 in series)
Hyundai 355 watt panels (6 - 3 strings of 2 in series)
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: OutBack needs to update their FNDC manual

Post by raysun » Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:59 am

ralphday224 wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:59 am
raysun, do you mean that Mate3 is/will no longer supported? After almost 5 years I'm just getting really comfortable with mine :eek:

I suppose if and when buttons start to malfunction I"ll be into a Mate3s or whatever will be the flavour then.

Ralph
It's still supported, but a discontinued model. The 3s is pretty much identical in form and function when used with OB gear of that vintage.

I swapped a 3 for a 3s, and there were no changes in data or parameters.

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Re: OutBack needs to update their FNDC manual

Post by fcwlp » Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:51 am

Heimhenge and raysun, I read the manuals too but really appreciate that the PDFs are searchable and can be marked up.

raysun
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My RE system: Flexpower One: FX3048T, (2) FM80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
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Suniva 330 watt panels (12 - 6 strings of 2 in series)
Hyundai 355 watt panels (6 - 3 strings of 2 in series)
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: OutBack needs to update their FNDC manual

Post by raysun » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:00 am

fcwlp wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:51 am
Heimhenge and raysun, I read the manuals too but really appreciate that the PDFs are searchable and can be marked up.
The manuals are useful, but I find the on-line application notes often address the issues I am wrestling with at any given time.

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Re: OutBack needs to update their FNDC manual

Post by sodamo » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:31 am

I too read the manuals -frustrating.
I appreciate the challenge of the tech writers.
I have seen a lot of info either disappear or not easily stumbled upon over the years. I wish I could recommend a way for OB to keep the info both up to date and readily available.
David
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