Help & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1: My PC doesn't have an RS-232 Serial Port. How can I use your software?
Q6: My power equipment is located a long way from where I want to monitor it. What are my options?
Q3: Is your software compatible with Windows Vista and Windows 7 and Windows 8?
Q4: Can your software run under Linux or Mac OS?
A4: At this time we have not had sufficient interest to justify the investment in tools and recoding required to create software for these alternate operating systems. Sorry.
Q8: My system is off-grid and I am very power conscious. Do I need to leave my PC on all the time?
A8: If you want valid and continuous data logs, then you do need to leave your PC running, otherwise if you only want to see an occasional snap-shot of system status, you can run WinVerter and your PC only when needed. If you are worried about power consumption, we recommend using a laptop with all power conservation settings enabled which can generally reduce power consumption to about 15 watts.
Q5: Is your software compatible with SunSpec?
Q7: What options do I have for monitoring my system over the internet?
Q9: How accurate is the power data displayed and logged by WinVerter?
Q2: When I run your software it is asking for an Upgrade ID. What is that for and how do I get it?
A2: Except for our early software for the Trace inverters, all of our software will only operate in fully functional licensed mode when you have supplied it a valid unlock code (Upgrade ID) tied to your PC's unique Host ID. When you purchase a license and supply us with the Host ID displayed by our evaluation software we generate the Upgrade ID and email it to you. Click HERE for more information.
A1: Click HERE to download our document "Adding a Serial Port to Your PC"
A3: We have not tested, and do not support operation under Windows Vista. We do support operation under Windows 7, but you may need to take a few precautions. Click HERE to download details. Although we have not yet tested on Windows 8, we are fiarly certain that it will work under Win8 with the same precautions as used under Win7 because Win8 apparently is Win7 optimized for touch screens.
A5: SunSpec Alliance, a consortium of RE equipment manufacturers, developed and published a specificaiton for data communications with RE power conversion equipment. This specification is loosely based on Modbus. Our WinVerter Environmental Monitor software is capable of being used with SunSpec compliant products, but our other software is not.
A6: Normal RS-232 data is specified to operate over 25' cable lengths, but most people find that it runs OK up to 100 feet (30 meters) if there is no significant electrical noise. For distances over 100 feet please click HERE to download our document "Connection Options" which explains ways to extend your connection distance.
A7: By using Remote Desktop, you may access any of our WinVerter software over the Internet, but this does require a full time Internet connection for the monitoring PC, and it may require changing firewall settings in the monitoring PC and the site's internet router. Our WinVerter Environmental Monitor can generate and export web pages to a specified web host to allow viewing system information over the internet without using Remote Desktop.
A9: It is as accurate as the data supplied to us by the power conversion equipment. Both the Trace/Xantrex and OutBack Power inverters have a 1 ampere resolution for AC current. For 120V systems, that is an accuracy of about +/- 60 watts. Thus for small loads, the accuracy can be poor, but it improves with larger loads. With an average 1200 watt load, the average accuracy will be +/- 5%. However,WinVerter Environmental Monitor uses highly accurate external power sensors that are considered utility revenue grade which is as good or better than utility kWhr meters.
Q10: What OutBack equipment is necessary to use WinVerter?
A10: To use WinVerter with OutBack equipment, you must have an OutBack Mate1 or Mate2, and at least one OutBack inverter (FX, VFX, GFX, GTFX or GVFX series) or charge controller (MX or FM series). These components are also found in OutBack's FLEXpower series. If you are monitoring multiple OutBack devices, you will also need an OutBack HUB (either 4 or 10 port). In addition, if your PC is using an external media converter to add an RS-232 port to your PC, then you will also need to make or buy our Mate Adapter.
Q11: Is WinVerter Monitor OB compatible with OutBack's Radian Series?
A11: The OutBack Radian Series does not use the OutBack Mate1 or Mate2 and thus WinVerter is not capable of working with that model of inverter.
Q12: Is WinVerter Monitor OB compatible with OutBack's Mate3?
A12: Presently WinVerter Monitor OB is not compatible with the OutBack Mate3, but we hope to have products that support the Mate3 soon.
Q13: Is WinVerter Monitor OB compatible with OutBack's AXS Port?
A13: The AXS Port is OutBack's gateway for SunSpec compliance. WinVerter Monitor OB is not compatible with the AXS Port, butWinVerter Environmental Monitor is compatible with it. Note however, that with the AXS Port, not Mate can be used with the OutBack equipment.
Q14: Can I use WinVerter to program my OutBack equipment?
A14: Where possible we offer software for programming inverters (see our WinVerter Setup SW for the Trace/Xantrex SW Series). Unfortunately, the OutBack Mate1 and Mate2 only provide real-time power data over the serial port and do not allow external devices to program the OutBack system. Therefore WinVerter can not program the OutBack equipment.
Q15: Can WinVerter access the data logged internal to the OutBack Mate?
A15: The OutBack Mate has the ability to store data logs for a number of days, but unfortunately this data is not made available via its serial port. Only real-time power data is available via the Mate's external serial port. Therefore WinVerter can not access the data for prior days.
Q17: What Trace/Xantrex equipment is necessary to use WinVerter?
A17: You will need the SWCA Communications Adapter which plugs into the "Remote" port of your SW or PS-Series inverter. Although Xantrex no longer manufacturers the SWCA, Xantrex has given us written permission to manufacture and sell them. We call ours the SWCA-II because it has a slightly different form factor than the SWCA, but it is also somewhat more imune to surges.
Q23:  WinVerter is running, and data is being displayed, but sometimes the displays blank out.
A20: WinVerter for the SW will not work with the XW inverters. The Schneider XW series inverter uses XANBUS which WinVerter does not support. Schneider does offer their own monitoring software which you can purchase through their dealers. However, if you add Schneider's Communications Gateway or Combox option to the XW, then you can use WinVerter Environmental Monitor to access its power data.
Q20: Is WinVerter compatible with the Xantrex/Schneider XW Series?
A23: This and occasional beeping are symptoms of intermitent data from your power conversion equipment. This could be caused by incompatible drivers for your PC's add-on serial com port (not compatible with your version of Windows), a cable from the power conversion equipment to your PC that is too long (more than 100 feet, or more than 25 feet in the presence of electrical noise), or if you are using an OutBack Mate wihtout our Mate Adapter, or the buttons on your Mate are being pressed (pressing buttons on the Mate interrupts the data flow for a couple of seconds each time).
Q18:  I have multiple SW inverters. How can I use WinVerter to monitor them?
A18: If you have a stacked pair of inverters you can either choose to monitor one at a time (either by using one SWCA and manually replugging the device at the inverters, or by having an SWCA for each inverter and swapping the plugs at your PC's serial port.), or you can monitor both at the same time by using two SWCAs (one for each inverter) each plugged into a separate RS-232 serial port at the PC (i.e. your PC will need two serial ports). By doing this you can run two instances of the WinVerter program and view each inverter in its own separate window. But the limit is two running instances on the same PC (i.e. one PC can not monitor more than two inverters at the same time).
A19: We make and sell the ICA Communications Adapter which comes with Windows-based ICAP software that emulates the inverter's control panel. However, because the SW-Plus series was only on the market for a few short years, we never had sufficient interest to make software for monitoring or setting up that inverter. The SWCA, WinVerter Control SW, WinVerter Monitor SW and WinVerter Setup SW are not compatible with the SW-Plus inverter.
Q19: Do you have solutions for the Trace/Xantrex SW-Plus inverter?
Q16: What are the limitations of the free downloadable Evaluation software?
A16: The downloadable Evaluation software on our web site has two modes of operation; Simulation mode, which allows viewing all of the features, but with simulated data, and Evaluation mode, which allows communications with your power conversion equipment, but has reduced features (e.g. no data logging, no energy/Whr accumulation). There is no time limit for the evaluation, and the evaluation software can be turned into fully functional licensed software by the addition of an Upgrade ID.
Q22:  I have installed WinVerter and have tried to run it, but no data is being displayed.
A22: Here are things to check:
* If your PC is using an add-on serial port, are its drivers compatible with the version of Windows you are running?
* Can you find your PC's serial com port in Windows Device Manager?
* Have you selected the right com port number in the Options menu of WinVerter?
* Are you using an RHE-provided cable to connect from your PC's serial port to your power conversion equipment? Is it fully plugged in?
* Are you using a custom/home made cable to connect your PC to your power equipment, and is it wired correctly?
* Is the serial gateway to your power conversion equipment plugged in an operating (e.g. SWCA for Xantrex SW-Series inverter, Mate for OutBack power equipment)? If you are plugged into a Mate, have you enabled the Mate's serial com port?
For more details download and read our Com Port Troubleshooting guide by clicking HERE.
Q24: WinVerter was running fine for a long time, but suddently it no longer works.
A24: First, try exiting WinVerter and restarting your PC. Check to see if all cables and devices in the chain of equipment are still properly plugged in and operating. If so, your location might have had a nearby lightning strike which can damage the serial gateway (SWCA or Mate) at the power equipment, or it may have damaged the serial com port of your PC.
Q21: I need to replace my SWRC for my Trace/Xantrex SW or PS-Series Inverter. What are my options?
A21: As far as we know no one is making a direct replacement for the SWRC Remote Control. However, many people replace the SWRC with the SWCA Communications Adapter and instead use their Windows PC for remotely controlling their inverter using our WinVerter Control SW freeware.