Help & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
GENERAL PRODUCT QUESTIONS
QUESTIONS ABOUT OUTBACK EQUIPMENT
QUESTIONS ABOUT TRACE/XANTREX INVERTERS
GENERAL PRODUCT ANSWERS
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
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.
ANSWERS ABOUT OUTBACK EQUIPMENT
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
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.
A12: Presently WinVerter Monitor OB is not compatible with the OutBack Mate3, but we hope to have products that support the Mate3
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
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.
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.
ANSWERS ABOUT TRACE/XANTREX INVERTERS
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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
* 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
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.
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