Please open source the mate3 software so we can fix it

Mate 3 communication device for Outback Power

Please open source the mate3 software so we can fix it

Postby systemsplanet on Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:51 am

It's 2017, and the latest firmware from Dec 2016 is showing signs of poor software engineering, yet again.

Seems like there are enough people with the knowledge and motivation on this forum to find the problems and offer suggestions to improve software stability, if you give us access.

Without seeing the software I can tell you are not applying basic software
engineering principles to your releases. For example: Automated builds, automated testing,
beta tests of standard configurations, unit tests, volume tests,
load tests, longevity tests, bug tracking, source versioning, etc...
you guys appear to build great hardware, but your software is
obviously not getting the attention required to deliver a solid product.

I'm a software engineer with a house full of connected internet devices, a solid firewall, solid Wan router, and the only device having any issues is the Mate3. It connects runs for about 5 hours, them looses connectivity... and never recovers unless I power cycle it. I'm one of many experiencing these kinds of basic connectivity issues.

Iif you want to email me a zip of the source code, I'll be happy to look through it.
I've been writing comms software for 30+ years.
You have to write comm software assuming it will fail, and include reconnect logic.
The mate3 behaves like it has no error retry logic.
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Re: Please open source the mate3 software so we can fix it

Postby ianMc on Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:46 pm

Every morning, up i get, trudge to the outbuilding, reset the mate (F..k), not that I am a developer, but I so second this thought.

Fixing the mate firmware aside, what I would really like are user definable triggers to hook into my home automation system.

By way of example I have six circuits that can trip between inverter and city power. If there is a city power failure I drop these circuits out until I am sure that I have enough spare battery power on hand.

FlexnetDC as we know will switch a relay at a certain SOC.

Would it be nice if

SOC 60% - load shed the system completely(ie switch down all unnecessary power consumption)
SOC 80%, system load 1kw, PV production 4kw, switch relay to pull in jacuzzi, lets load the system
Inverter load to high, switch out loads so that the inverter is not overloaded.

etc etc

Integration with home automation is going to be the next big thing, open source could be the answer

Regards

Ian
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Re: Please open source the mate3 software so we can fix it

Postby unicornio on Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:34 am

I completely agree with systemsplanet
A policy of opensource would bring grow Mate3 software with robust and reliable performance.

Personally, for months I have not updated it, since I found a very old version that does not fail, although I am aware that I am losing improvements and progress, I can not update the Mate3 of my clients if they are every day calling me because it stays hung ...

Sincerely, after 10 years working with all outback systems with total satisfaction, it's a shame that mate3, being a very powerful device that is underused because of the successive errors and bugs that the device has. Is the only fault I have found in outback systems, which on the other hand from my point of view are the highest quality and most reliable on the market.

Opensource policy, a team of betatesters (I have offered to it several times) is the only way to offer reliable and robust software for a final customer.

Personally, after more than 30 years working on ethernet systems, I have never seen a system that acts that stupid way with the ethernet connection.

hope this help!
Health, Mates!
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Re: Please open source the mate3 software so we can fix it

Postby intellact on Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:28 am

Hi all:

I can't disagree with the basic message and premise of this thread. I hear what you're saying, but let's be realistic. OutBack making the MATE3 firmware open source is not going to happen any time soon.

I might suggest an alternative though: Simplify the communications hardware. Consider getting an AXS Port device instead. :-k

Even though I suspect that a lot of the AXS Port firmware is shared with the MATE3, there is no question that the AXS is the simpler device. Your communication protocol would then change from OpticsRE to Modbus/TCP, using the industry standard SunSpec protocol. This is an extremely powerful tool that can capture far more information and gives you access to way more device and system program settings. \:D/

Giving up OpticsRE and getting system information out using Modbus/TCP means you have to start a whole lot from scratch. However, going back to your original open source programming idea, development could move quite rapidly. :smile:

My own familiarity with the Modbus interface is ramping up fast. Indeed, I'm considering creating a separate WattPlot tool to take full advantage of more capabilities - things that are simply impossible through the serial, USB, UDP/IP network, or SD card logging approaches. While I'm not quite ready to open up all of the WattPlot source code to the public domain :wink:, I would be open to sharing a lot of my learning with any developers on this forum. Perhaps an API would be the answer... :-k

And, as always, if anyone would like to experiment with some of the Modbus.TCP capabilities - which also work with the MATE3 - you are always welcome to try a free fully-functional install of WattPlot, just to see what can be done. :smile:
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Re: Please open source the mate3 software so we can fix it

Postby systemsplanet on Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:45 am

AXS Port is not a bad idea.
But wouldn't you still need the mate3 to configure your system?

Ideally we want an inexpensive, low-power-consumption bare-bones device
from Outback that provides open REST APIs that anyone can extend.

I really prefer not to require an external online web service like opticsre.
I can view my home cameras from my phone without hitting an external
Website. There is no reason the mae3 can't be controlled the same way

I'm personally not interested in adding another vendor like wattplot into the solution.
A wattplot solution would be worse off than just sticking with mate3.
When there was a problem, Wattplot would blame Outback, and
Outback would blame Wattplot. Users would be where we are now,
stuck with no solution.
Last edited by systemsplanet on Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please open source the mate3 software so we can fix it

Postby systemsplanet on Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:53 am

Given the investment Outback and Customers have made
in the mate3, it would be a good start for Outback
to upload the source to GitHub just to give others
a chance to review it and make suggestions. More eyes
makes for better software.

My guess is mate3 is long overdue for a complete rewrite.
If that's the case, then Outback needs to consider the
cost/benefit of a rewrite on aging mate3 hw vs
Porting to a widely adopted, proven, inexpensive hardware platform
like the raspberry pie.

Ideally Customers want open source hardware and software like
a new standard raspberry pie board that anyone can update with
Software from GitHub. That way, people with one-off
configurations won't be stuck with old firmware.
Anyone could contribute a module that meets their needs back
to the community.

The Raspberry Pie comes with solid software development
tools, solid networking, hardware expandability
(cameras, temperature sensors, sound sensors, light
sensors, bluetooth, etc). The new Pies support
Ethernet onboard, cost around $45 and consume low Power (.7 amps)
www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Pi-756-8308-Mo ... B009SQQF9C
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Re: Please open source the mate3 software so we can fix it

Postby intellact on Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:53 am

systemsplanet wrote:AXS Port is not a bad idea.
But wouldn't you still need the mate3 to configure your system?

Not at all. The AXS Port gives you access to EVERY system parameter, not just the ones programmable from the MATE3 interface.

systemsplanet wrote:I'm personally not interested in adding another vendor like wattplot into the solution. A wattplot solution would be worse off than just sticking with mate3. When there was a problem, Wattplot would blame Outback, and Outback would blame Wattplot. Users would be where we are now, stuck with no solution.

Your point, in principle, is well-taken. But your conclusion is well off the mark, as any current WattPlot client will immediately tell you.

Yes, OutBack errors have caused me a great deal of grief over the years, and I point blame where blame is due. :roll: However, I do not leave my clients with no solution. [-X I implement work-arounds and get their monitoring back where they need it.

WattPlot is not perfect software, but it has been around for 11+ years and has multiple hundreds of very satisfied users on every continent of the planet. And our clients tell us that our documentation and user support is second-to-none in any part of the industry (be it renewable energy or niche custom software).

I stand behind my programs, as I have been doing for over 40 years. :smile:
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Re: Please open source the mate3 software so we can fix it

Postby blackswan555 on Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:17 pm

As a Wattplot user I can confirm the below 100% ! Andrew was tireless in his help to me getting remote site monitoring running some time ago on mate 2s,
WattPlot is not perfect software, but it has been around for 11+ years and has multiple hundreds of very satisfied users on every continent of the planet. And our clients tell us that our documentation and user support is second-to-none in any part of the industry (be it renewable energy or niche custom software).


Tim
My comments are based on my experience and research, They are not endorsed or checked by Outback.I am an independent British electrician living in Spain, So please take this into account when reading /acting on my post`s.
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Re: Please open source the mate3 software so we can fix it

Postby OffgridHiker on Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:55 am

I think this could be great and I'm wondering if OB considered the possibility.

What about testing the software? That could be a challenge without a second MATE3 setup. (emulators could definitely be a big help.. but still, you have to run on the target eventually :))

If a "rewrite" is in order, perhaps a OSS project could take off the ground more easily? Starting from scratch would not require any licensed code from OB. An open platform may be a worthwhile goal.
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Re: Please open source the mate3 software so we can fix it

Postby unicornio on Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:08 am

hi, there!...

blackswan555 wrote:As a Wattplot user I can confirm the below 100% ! Andrew was tireless in his help to me getting remote site monitoring running some time ago on mate 2s,
WattPlot is not perfect software, but it has been around for 11+ years and has multiple hundreds of very satisfied users on every continent of the planet. And our clients tell us that our documentation and user support is second-to-none in any part of the industry (be it renewable energy or niche custom software).


Tim


I agree with intellact and Tim because in fact anyone who has started writing software for mate3 has achieved better and faster results than the official Outback team.

Here we use more the free application of #Jepefe that the system OpticsRE:
http://www.jeperez.com/monitor-solar-outback/


So it is a good solution to leave the software open in #GitHub and that everyone can contribute to engineer the software (or softwares) to control the solar plants of Outback ...

we need a software for clients that have internet connection and can host it in the cloud, and other software for customers who want to use it within their local network without connection to the internet, which is the most abundant case, by the way ... this is essencial!

hope this help!
best regards!
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