MATE 3 now shipping

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MATE 3 now shipping

Postby mvrck on Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:23 am

FYI,

I just received my first shipments of the MATE 3!!

I will soon be installing the first unit and will provide some feedback this week.

Thanks
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby tallgirl on Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:37 am

What's the hardware configuration on the ones you got?
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby blackswan555 on Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:31 am

Anyone do Beta ?
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: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby Kent Osterberg on Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:12 am

I just received my first shipments of the MATE 3!!

I will soon be installing the first unit and will provide some feedback this week.

And not even a product brochure on the website yet.
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby intellact on Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:40 pm

blackswan555 wrote:Anyone do Beta ?

Not me, although I definitely wanted to.

So far I know absolutely nothing about what data the MATE 3 can store or how any of the communication works, which means that WattPlot cannot support any of them. I look forward to reading Maverick's posts soon!

How many units did you get, Maverick? Are any available for sale?
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby GreenerPower on Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:12 am

Be greener and may the force be with you
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby mvrck on Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:13 am

1. The cut sheet was posted on the forum by Steve earlier.
http://www.outbackpower.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4788

The overview:

1. I have MATE 3 Serial # MATE300001 (four units, ..02, ..03 & ..04))

Image

It shipped with software revision 001.001.016.

The software is upgradeable via the SD Card.

2. In the BOX: MATE 3, Huge Manual, CAT5 cable, 1GB SD Card.

I read through the manual and it mentions everything I could find on the actual unit. But many of the features say: "This feature is not implemented at this time."

So far, I think I found all the features of the current MATE to be functional in MATE 3. Some of the new features are also there and do work, like built in Graphs for several data points, like battery voltage, pv production, etc.

3. MATE 3 is much larger than the previous versions. But the quality of construction is quite nice. The tactile feedback of the buttons is better than the jelly buttons of the MATE.

Image

Detailed Setup is handled through a new button area called Navigation Controls. This is located under a magnetically coupled cover.

Image

4. Connections:

Image

a. SD Card
b. Ethernet Port
c. Outback Port
d. Serial Port

For the SD Card, I chose to record data from MATE 3. I chose 5 second interval for now. Tonight I will see what 24 hours of data looks like on the SD card.

For the Ethernet Port, The manual says: "This feature is not implemented at this time."
I was able to go to setup menu and configured it and found an FTP server, TELNET service but no HTTP server. Of course, that is documented to be true. We will have to see when that will be available.

I have grown found of getting a daily status & immediate error condition emails from WattPlot, so I wonder how I will get that with the new MATE 3.

For the Outback port, it works just like all other devices, but better. The MATE 3 now displays a lot more information that is available on the Outback bus, like hardware revisions of the other devices it found.

For the Serial Port, I DID NOT find one. But, the System Configuration > Date Stream > Serial Data Stream menu makes me think there might be one somewhere.

Thanks all for now.

Thanks
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby intellact on Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:46 am

Congratulations Maverick! This is very exciting. :mrgreen: (I wish I had the contacts and esteem at OutBack that you have... :???: )

mvrck wrote:For the SD Card, I chose to record data from MATE 3. I chose 5 second interval for now. Tonight I will see what 24 hours of data looks like on the SD card.

For the Ethernet Port, The manual says: "This feature is not implemented at this time."
I was able to go to setup menu and configured it and found an FTP server, TELNET service but no HTTP server. Of course, that is documented to be true. We will have to see when that will be available.

Frankly I have a lot less interest in the Ethernet port, optional serial port, and HTTP server than one might expect. The basic architecture for monitoring such data is well understood and, to a certain extent, already available. It is the (super-secret?) SD Card data that I am extremely curious to see. Please post a sample when you have one. (I had hoped to have a future WattPlot tool almost exclusively based on this data, but so far I have no idea what it might contain! ](*,) )

:?: You say you chose a 5-second interval. What were the other options?

:?: Were there any intrinsic files available through that FTP server from the MATE?

mvrck wrote:I have grown found of getting a daily status & immediate error condition emails from WattPlot, so I wonder how I will get that with the new MATE 3.

I don't know much about what role the MATE 3 will play in your system information strategy down the road, but as for WattPlot, I can tell you that all major development has been on hold for several months as we continue to await hints of what might be in store.

Thank you for sharing so much so quickly.
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby intellact on Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:56 pm

One more thing, Maverick...

:?: When you collected data in a file on the SD card, was that data accessible via the FTP server?

Thanks again for all the very useful information.
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby tallgirl on Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:28 pm

Maverick,

The serial port is an option. And I'd heard that HTTP wasn't available yet, so still waiting on mine :sad:

If you could shoot me some data from the SD card that would be sweet -- not sure what I can do with it, but at least I'd get to see something from a Mate 3.
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby tallgirl on Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:30 pm

intellact wrote:Congratulations Maverick! This is very exciting. :mrgreen: (I wish I had the contacts and esteem at OutBack that you have... :???: )


He actually SELLS the equipment -- you and I just make stuff that talks to the equipment he sells.
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby intellact on Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:44 pm

tallgirl wrote:
intellact wrote:Congratulations Maverick! This is very exciting. :mrgreen: (I wish I had the contacts and esteem at OutBack that you have... :???: )


He actually SELLS the equipment -- you and I just make stuff that talks to the equipment he sells.

This is very true. When all else fails, follow the money! :smile: (Still, you might think that we would qualify as Value Added partners at some level...?)

However, if I have to drop and beg my own clients for information that I should really know, I'll just have to slip on the old knee-pads... :wink:

Keep us in the loop, Maverick!
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby mvrck on Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:40 pm

FYI,

The FTP directory only has the config.xml file. No production data is stored there.

Also, another curious note. To get data from the MATE 3 to the SD card, I have to select the device (Charge Controller or FNDC only) and then select the date and hour that I am interested in looking at, then select save to SC. This takes 15 seconds, I would guess, but seems like forever. When I place the CD card into the PC, I see that there is more data there than what I put there, which is good. I hope that means it is automatic (afterall, I did enable that feature as such and it must be working! :grin: ).

I logged in by TELNET and the only thing I could figure is that that hardware that is the MATE 3 is running CMX (http://www.cmx.com/tcpip.htm)

Anyway, it seems to be working great. There was a little graph of today's great power production.
Image

Also on the SD card, was the landing page for the MATE 3's web interface. So, I know the MATE 3 can have a web page for the details.

As I used to tell one my best engineers at a former employer: "It's just a few lines of code, when can you have it ready?" Mr. Tsuruta, if you are out there in cyber space, please forgive me...

Between the inductors and the code, I am amazed that any of this stuff works...

More later,

Thanks
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby tallgirl on Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:10 pm

Maverick was kind enough to send me a large pile of CSV files. He's off looking for the secret magic decoder ring. I, on the other hand, look at Mate data all day I long (I also look at Modbus data and I swear my brain is wiring up a Modbus protocol recognition neural net ...) and instantly recognized it.

It's "raw" Mate serial port data. For anyone else who cares, which is probably just Randy and Andrew, each record is delimited with a carriage return (octal 015) with NO newline (octal 012). The records are CSV, the same as the Mate serial port data. The first two fields are the date and time for when the record was saved. Each record is 66 bytes in length. If you have a device count, you can seek forwards and backwards with fixed byte offsets and be reasonably sure you're going to land in the correct place.

Here's a short trace of Maverick's inverter around noon --

Code: Select all
1/26/11,12:00:00,1,15,00,00,124,123,13,09,000,02,270,136,000,054
1/26/11,12:00:05,1,15,00,00,124,123,13,09,000,02,270,136,000,054
1/26/11,12:00:10,1,15,00,00,124,123,13,09,000,02,270,136,000,054
1/26/11,12:00:15,1,15,00,00,124,123,13,09,000,02,270,136,000,054
1/26/11,12:00:20,1,15,00,00,124,123,13,09,000,02,270,136,000,054


He has a single GVFX 3524 on port 1. It's all the usual fields, if you've ever looked at the raw data. He's inverting 15 amps at 124 volts AC, of which 13 are being sold.

As you can see from the time stamps, Maverick saved the data every 5 seconds. Which raises an important issue -- there are 14 different "Extra Data" values for the FLEXnet DC (12 on a slightly older version of Mate firmware, but there are 14 in the Mate 3 firmware). DO NOT save your data at any interval greater than 1 second that divides evenly into 14. Five seconds is okay. Two seconds is not. Hopefully OutBack will keep that in mind if they decide to add records for the FLEXnet DC. Here's how the FNDC records get skipped around --

Code: Select all
1/26/11,12:00:00,e,0840,0450,0398,07,00100,271,100,000,08,34,128
1/26/11,12:00:05,e,0842,0450,0398,76,00882,271,100,000,08,34,153
1/26/11,12:00:10,e,0842,0449,0398,03,24053,271,100,000,08,34,147
1/26/11,12:00:15,e,0841,0449,0398,08,00192,271,100,000,08,34,149
1/26/11,12:00:20,e,0840,0450,0398,77,00084,271,100,000,08,34,146


Maverick's FLEXnet DC is plugged into port 5 ("e"). The "extra data" identifier is the 8th field -- 07, 76, 03, 08, 77. If the number is larger than 64, subtract 64 from the value and change the sign of the 7th field. So, the "extra data" was fields 7, 12, 3, 8 and 13.

And for people who are curious, yes, I've already started laying down code and Andrew and I are already talking among ourselves to figure out what to do. Now that OutBack has released a product with the files on them, I'll release tools that create those files myself. Version 2.01 is too "done" for the support to be included, but I'll have something in 2.02. For some value of "something".
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby tallgirl on Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:47 pm

FedEx just dropped off #38.

Immediate impressions -- a bit larger than expected, the Ethernet and Hub connections are on the BACK with no recess, it's mounted to whatever surface through four through-holes in the lower half of the body, they include a 1GB SD flash card.

Changes I'd make --

1). Smaller case.
2). Ability to route Ethernet and Hub connections from the bottom.
3). Smaller buttons relative to display size.
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby timmartin on Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:54 pm

Changes I'd make --

1). Smaller case.
2). Ability to route Ethernet and Hub connections from the bottom.
3). Smaller buttons relative to display size.


As a trained industrial designer and a 14-year veteran UI designer I can honestly say my list of changes is a LOT longer. First off I find their inverters prettier to look at. The mate2's ID was simple and straight-forward. It left much to be desired when it came to the UI and the limitations of 4 soft-buttons but it managed for quite some time. With the addition of the FNDC they started to have to work really hard to wedge the functionality into their menu structure. It's like Nokia phones about a decade ago. Things got more complicated so you need to restructure!

I'm excited at the new features but when I saw the ID, controls, and interface I was immediately disappointed. It looks like something from Radio Shack from the '80s.
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby tallgirl on Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:03 am

Tim,

I've not had a chance to get mine hooked up -- there is no serial or TCP/IP connectivity to the data stream, and since that's what I need, I'm waiting until I have otherwise free time.
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby tallgirl on Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:35 pm

I did have a chance to take my Mate 3 to a client's house and get a bit of experience with the unit.

First, for a first release, the user interface is in great shape. Yes, there are issues, but that's the case with all products. I've been in the software industry for 32 years and I've used a lot of products that seemed okay when they came out that were so improved after a couple of releases that I wouldn't even consider buying the initial release, if it were a different product. I have every confidence that OutBack will get the Mate 3 up to speed now that it's been released outside their own four walls.

There are some really neat features that are documented as "not working" that will be extremely handy when they =are= working. One of the costs my clients face is needing a serial-to-IP converter for their remote sites. The documentation for the TCP/IP connection does away with needing some rather convoluted network configuration -- the TCP/IP connection acts like a client, initiating a connection to a remote server, which will then listen for incoming connections. This means there's no need for a user to have a static IP address =or= open the TCP port to the Internet. I've not been told of anything being in the works, but this is the kind of functionality OutBack needs if they are ever going to create a central monitoring server. And, of course, since we already have the ability to accept incoming requests from serial-to-IP converters, we're ideally situated to add Mate 3 owners to our monitoring service, or any installers who are using our monitoring products, as soon as this functionality is added.

The one negative that I foresee being a "Must Fix" is changing the case so that both the Hub and Ethernet connection exit from the bottom. I opened the case on my Mate 3 already (of course!) and feel there is plenty of room to re-arrange both RJ45 jacks to make this possible -- changing the mounting of the jack to be in-line with the PCB, then create a channel in the case so the cable can either make a 90* bend into the wall, or straight out the bottom.
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby mvrck on Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:24 pm

I just installed .018 software on the MATE 3. That is kinda cool to be able to do that.

I ran through a few menus, but I cannot tell what has changed.

Still no web service, etc.

Patience is a virtue, I guess...
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby intellact on Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:39 pm

tallgirl wrote:The one negative that I foresee being a "Must Fix" is changing the case so that both the Hub and Ethernet connection exit from the bottom. I opened the case on my Mate 3 already (of course!) and feel there is plenty of room to re-arrange both RJ45 jacks to make this possible -- changing the mounting of the jack to be in-line with the PCB, then create a channel in the case so the cable can either make a 90* bend into the wall, or straight out the bottom.

I absolutely have to agree with this observation. As I mentioned to them, telephones have been designed this way for decades. Alas, some IT experience for the plastics molding industry tells me that this is not a change that is going to happen anytime soon (unless a lot of people were upset, and even then...) I fear the train has already left the station on this one. :???:

mvrck wrote:I just installed .018 software on the MATE 3. That is kinda cool to be able to do that. I ran through a few menus, but I cannot tell what has changed.

Yep, uploading your MATE over the internet is a huge step forward. :cool: Actually, I see a lot of changes, but I'm looking in quite different places. In fact, with a bit of poking around, it is possible to correct some MATE3 bugs yourself. (Ah, do not try this at home, kids - these are trained professionals...) :wink:
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby mvrck on Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:11 pm

I fear the train has already left the station on this one.


I agree. The 10,000 molded plastic boxes from China will need to be consumed, not to mention new injection molds, etc.

Any-whoo

Tell us more about your poking to find out the OS upon which this MATE 3 rides.

I can't remember if I posted the link to the Ethernet engine: http://www.cmx.com/tcpip.htm (CMS RTOS)

Believe it or not, I have not yet cracked open my MATE 3. I was only looking for one or two software features to be present over the previous MATE 1. Go figure.
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby intellact on Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:23 pm

mvrck wrote:
Tell us more about your poking to find out the OS upon which this MATE 3 rides.

Okay, I should have bitten my tongue... :-#

No, I am not looking into the MATE3 'OS' or messing about with anything that should not be touched. Being a software developer, I don't mess with other people's code. Period.

What I should have said is that I find some of their implementation to be of interest, and that some of the more open aspects allow a useful perspective on some of the internal workings. Enough said.

Stay tuned... :wink:
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby mvrck on Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:56 pm

Cool. The config.xml file is quite interesting. A pile of settings waiting to jacked with, for sure. :grin:

I wonder if that file is the live file used by the system? That would be neat, especially from the stand point of being able to see what settings a customer has without having to go out there and write them down.
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby intellact on Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:04 pm

mvrck wrote:I wonder if that file is the live file used by the system? That would be neat, especially from the stand point of being able to see what settings a customer has without having to go out there and write them down.

Alas, the word I have is:
OutBack wrote:The config.xml file accessible from the FTP interface is just a copy. The software does not store the real copy on the Ethernet processor

This makes absolutely no sense to me. :shock: (I believe it's something to do with security concerns, but there are clearly gaping holes in the logic somewhere.) I immediately emailed them some follow up questions but I have not yet had any responses to those.

Frankly, putting all of this awesome networking ability into a fantastic new product and then preventing useful and obvious remote functionality would be shooting yourself in the foot. ](*,) I sincerely hope that these are simply matters that still have to be ironed out before a truly complete version of the product is ready to go.

(See this other thread for some discussion on the config.xml content.)

By the way, there is already a WattPlot tool standing by which gives anyone an amazingly friendly interface for creating config.xml files. I'm reluctant to release a decent beta copy until the MATE3 firmware is a bit more settled, but I can send you a link off-line. :wink:
Andrew Welch, creator of WattPlot
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Re: MATE 3 now shipping

Postby tallgirl on Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:43 am

Andrew, Maverick,

My understanding is that the settings will be programmable through the Web interface. As I understand things, the only way to reprogram the Mate 3 from the configuration file is on that "Load Configuration File" menu. If there's an HTTP interface for doing that, that would be sweet, and I assume there will eventually be one.
Julie in Texas

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