Jump to content

For all the Axpert fans, intro to Outback.


Guest
 Share

Recommended Posts

For all the Voltronic fans who have never heard of Victron, thought Morningstar was the morning star... meet Outback.

FLEXMax Power One - man this equipment is just swanky, been around for years, well presented and clearly explained for the more technical among us.
See here: http://www.outbackpower.com/downloads/documents/2205121011631900-0094-01-00RevA.pdf

Owning a Victron or Outback setup ... you are in the top 1 percenter ito costs. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HaHa TTT. You not going to win this one. I quickly looked on PV Output and 76% of systems reporting to PV Output from South Africa are Axperts. If they were cheap and nasty I don't think the figure would be so high. Victron is very good kit well built and with good (not not excellent) documentation, but is that enough to warrant the premium one is paying?

I am not going to scratch out new prices but using prices when I installed my Axpert a year ago. For a 5000/24 Multiplus Victron you can get 1 Axpert 4kW, 4 x  260Ah batteries and 6 nearly 7 250W panels. I have not included a SCC. That would also be worth a couple of panels. I will be the first to admit that I have not had a failure which would be enough to temper my enthusiasm. Mike's reporting of failures on Axperts is troublesome. Still 40k is a lot of money and extends you ROI by a third on an average system.

In short would I like a Victron over an Axpert - yes. Would I pay R 30 k more for that privilege - no. Maybe when my ship comes home I will indulge myself.

 

Now that I have the PDF open I see it is a total Outback system. Price?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nooo ... not wanting to win anything, just introducing the "heavy weights" ito price and functionality

Outback Controllers I drooled over a few years back, the big 80amp one, was little bit cheaper then than the big Victron, me wanting to go BIG on solar. So ja, the kit is expensive.

But Chris, if you where living on a boat crossing the Pacific, or off-grid deep in the bundu's, would Axpert be your first choice? ;)

Outback, Victron, Stecca, Morningstar, Phocos ... really good brands, not cheap, just solid well researched equipment that has been around for decades.

But if they don't make a plan with their prices, I'm afraid the Taiwanese are going to overtake them all, 10 to 1 with lower prices lower quality.

But on the flip side, real off-gridders may never get to use Axperts so maybe they don't need to. Time will tell.

Any case, you all now know of the heavy weights.

Anyone care to add more names of long standing brands?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

But on the flip side, real off-gridders may never get to use Axperts so maybe they don't need to.

I think in an off-grid situation the Axpert comes into its own. It is not a true hybrid and is therefore either 100% solar or 100% grid/gennie backup. You not paying for functionality that you would rarely use. It is nearly pointless to run a gennie and then only use portion of the available power. You are paying for the fuel so only using a portion of the energy generated is false economy.

I would like the ability to combine gennie power with inverter power to power oven and hostess at the same time when we entertain. Two Axperts would do but I fear I could not parallel them and have them on different phases of my 3 phase generator so back to square one.

Addition: If I was crossing the Pacific I would want the best kit money could buy since my life would depend on it. But back here in the Karoo I have two generators as backup and essentially the most critical items would be perishable food and vaccines that need to be kept cool. Worst case scenario in a urban environment is SWAMBO sh!ts on your head and your Eskom bill is higher that month compounding your financing of your inverter repairs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, plonkster said:

Essentially this is the model that I am using to make a huge saving. If however you are running a generator because your inverter is unable to supply your load it is better for that generator to be operating at 80% capacity than idling at 25% capacity with the rest being supplied by solar. That 25% generated by the generator is some of the most expensive electricity in the world. Eskom is doing its level best to top it but they have some way to go.

From the Victron example: "The typical 7.5 kW generator will consume about 1.5 l/h diesel at low load and 2.3 l/h at 75% load".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Karoo is not deep in the bundu's by any stretch. ;)

Deep in Africa, where there are no towns or internet or even proper roads, now that is deep. 

And see, again Plonkster hauls out research to show us that you could have saved on gennie fuel years before you even knew of an Axpert. :D

If you knew that back then, about this research, I bet you that today you would be using Victron, not so?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I knew I could make a saving early on. I was going to go with Victron but everything escalated from 200k through 400k and was knocking on 600k. Two Victron inverters - 2V battery bank etc. Just too expensive. Re-evaluated my needs and decide to go with a 1kW inverter to start with. Realised that this would result in a lot of redundancy when I upgraded. Leading me to implement a system which would supply ½ of my needs. You right I would have ended up with a Victron but I would have been pissed to realise that there was something a quarter the price. The final push that became a shove was a R2/l price increase for diesel last April.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

And see, again Plonkster hauls out research to show us that you could have saved on gennie fuel years before you even new of an Axpert. :D

 

Thing is, bang for buck. For a three phase setup you'd need THREE multiplus units. What's the repayment on that? It's a seriously nice solution though, but I don't think Chris made a mistake with the Axpert. Even if I do think it's a 5-year inverter (Farmers tend to care about that thing... a Massey Ferguson might be a 10 000 hour tractor while a John Deere might be a 15 000 hour tractor... often the MF is the better option, because you're not a vegetable or grain farmer who plows large areas every year :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Chris Hobson said:

You right I would have ended up with a Victron but I would have been pissed to realise that the was something a quarter the price. The final push that became a shove was a R2/l price increase for diesel last April.

I no so sure Chris. My plain inverter was wot +-R9500 back in 2011. So when the Axperts came out I did have that uncomfortable feeling, Plonk posted a good article on those feelings one gets, but once I hauled in the reigns on my emotions and re-evaluated my initial decision, I was quite happy that it still held water.

Like what you said here. This is probably the best part of solar.

1 hour ago, Chris Hobson said:

Re-evaluated my needs ...  Leading me to implement a system which would supply ½ of my needs.

I started out with off-grid in my mind but in cities it is just not there yet.

As time goes by, needs are re-evaluated and one step at a time I am getting there.

Therein all the research about what devices was out there back then that one can buy today and 20 years later you drop a tear for it gave in at last. In today's environment that is becoming very scarce. Which I find quite sad. Nothing last anymore.

It is a lekker feeling when you drive a 16 year old Isuzu, still looking near spotless, bar the marks you put there yourself having had some fun with it. Or your inverter just works year after year. I like these older goed that was crafted with pride at the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

I no so sure Chris. My plain inverter was wot +-R9500 back in 2011.

I needed 3kW or greater and now after a year  I would like 6-8kW. With a 1300W inverter we would not be able to do the ironing, use the microwave, dishwasher or if the sun is really shining the oven. With the exception of the oven, in my situation a solar system must be able to handle the other appliances otherwise it not really worth installing. I do not have Eskom to fall back on for the heavy use appliances I must be able to power them. So if I was to go blue it would be a big chunk of blue with the appropriate price tag.

Victron is good kit and if money was no object I would have a Victron. I might still get a Victron because of features it has that Axpert does not have but that bridge will be crossed at the time I expand having paid off the initial investment. Is a Victron/Outback too expensive? That question has to be answered in the context of the market. We will see if the Big Boys respond.

Lets use wool versus synthetics as a example. Prior to WWII you bought woollen garments since nothing else was available. Synthetics made their appearance in the 1950's and at the time they were definitely an inferior product. Today the synthetic industry can spin fibres that have all the qualities of wool surpassing wool in many respects except that they cannot replicate wool's fire retardant qualities, nor a woollen garments ability to keep its shape. Today except for specific niche markets wool has to meet synthetics in the marketplace in terms of price. Wool/synthetic blends now rule.

I see the same happening in the solar industry. Either the Big Boys are going to be limited to niche markets (boating fraternity as an example) or the going to have to meet the Chinese challenge head on. I only have seen one Victron inverter locally and it is part of a pre- Axpert installation. Obviously folk are still installing Schneider, Victron, Outback and Steca but Axpert rules in South Africa at the moment. This may be anomalous due to the very weak Z(uma)AR  I think a fair amount of Blue assembly is in the East already to cut costs. The only other way to make a saving is RD costs which will  be to the detriment of everybody.

How big would Victron's share be if it cost half as much? I would be tempted if a Victron was double the price of its Chinese counterpart.  At the moment the European/US brands are 4X as much so its a no-brainer. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Respect Chris, take balls to do things with no Eskom and only a gennie as backup. Not everyone's cup of tea.

I still smile when I remember your post the day you got hot water via the geyser using spare solar. 

And your solar system, with the frame on the ground, I envy that setup. This roof mount is not my ideal scenario.

 

Iron, microwave, oven, vacuum cleaner ... those are things that if there is no Eskom, tough tekkies for the TTT household. Then we haul out the camp gas stoves, grab a broom and hang the stuff in the sun to iron. I cannot for the life of me, living in a large city, justify the cost of solar. Eskom goes up, I use less.

Yet every 6-8 months I try. Last attempt was to go grid tie, Mike talked me down, the bloody connection fee. I just cannot get past the costs and regs..

Was I in your shoes, I would have done same as you, without batting an eyelid, 10kw inverter sommer net.

 

I have a 25 year old wool jersey and a few pairs of those lekker army socks we got when we klaared out. Wife wants to throw it all out, allegedly due to supposedly being a wee bit worn. Gave her a choice, being the nice guy I am: Jersey and or socks go, so do you. What will it be?
Still wear the jersey and use the the socks ever so often. Wool is just lekker. Maybe I am getting old.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have the same socks but am restricted to wearing them here on the farm. Missus says I may not head to town wearing them. You will be pleased that you have made me re-evaluate inverters. Spent the afternoon looking at SMA and Zeversolar.  Who other than Imeon, Goodwe and MPP Solar produce hybrid inverters?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Chris Hobson said:

Either the Big Boys are going to be limited to niche markets

Victron is pushing very hard for integration into other systems, interconnecting with other equipment. Things like the Smart Flower. From where I'm sitting, it seems that's the market they are trying to capture, not the MFD (multi-function device) market.

4 hours ago, Chris Hobson said:

a fair amount of Blue assembly is in the East already to cut costs

The MPPTs are all made in China. Even the cables all say: Designed in the Netherlands, Made in China.

 

4 hours ago, Chris Hobson said:

How big would Victron's share be if it cost half as much?

Well, a 3kva Multiplus would be 12k, compared to the Axpert's 9k. The axpert still comes with a built-in MPPT, but the Vickie is a true Hybrid. I'd think a lot more people might go with the Victron if it's only 25% more. Don't think it can be done though, I swear just the nice aluminium case where all holes are prethreaded and everythine lines up perfectly costs half the price... :-P Man, you have to behold (and hold!) these things to appreciate it fully.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, plonkster said:

Well, a 3kva Multiplus would be 12k, compared to the Axpert's 9k.

You and TTT might still convince me! Would one be able to stack two 3kVAs? One needs to remember the Axpert is 5kVA unit so roughly equivalent to a Multiplus 5000. What would a 5000 cost? I find I am occasionally about 2kW short. It is not insurmountable but would be a nice to have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can parallel up to six Multiplus units. They just need to be the same and run the same firmware. Then, if you have a good quality power coming from your Diesel generator, you can use PowerAssist to combine with the generator, so you can use a smaller generator.

A 5kva will set you back around 35k.

http://www.sonopsolar.co.za/product/victron-multiplus-inverter-485000-single-phase/

Gamble on the rand improving after the elections? :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Plonkster, ignoring costs for the sake of knowledge transfer, hypothetically speaking why not a Quattro seeing a genie is in the equation?

Why I am asking, Quattro come in 5, 8 or 10kva

I also presume no CCGX is required, seeing it is all off-grid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quattro has two inputs and two transfer switches. It can handle both a grid and generator input and prioritise one over the other. Makes little sense in an off grid setup. Unless I'm missing something important, please correct me TTT.

Sent from my GT-I9195 using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Plonkster, I was more wondering, without lots of reading up with generators in play, if a Quattro was not more fitting.

If Multiplus can handle batts and genny, then it is the glove with power assist as Chris pointed out. Smaller inverter, smaller gennie working together.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Resurrecting an old thread, very interesting and applicable to me:

I did our farmhouse (no eskom, not even the option thereof) 3.5 years ago using Outback only (80Amp Flexmax & 3048 Inverter). Due to the reasons above - off grid and days' couriering away if problems happen. Did Outback serve me well? yes and no. Due to cost, i never got (and really needed) the interface (MATE) and the inverter (due to noise and no info/screen on it anyway) went under the floor with batterybank. Flexmax in livingroom (bloody noisy though...). Loong story short - vermin were active at one point under the floor and pissed into the inverter and blew it... Supplier says sorry, my fault no fix or replacement (5 year warrentee). Luckily (after some fighting) insurance pays out... For the price on one 3kw inverter i BUY THREE 4kw axperts. By that time i was already using Axperts elsewhere and completely impressed with them and their flexibility (esp at the price). Now i have two 4kw units (one supplying my house, second to cottage we added) and the thirds at a separate farmhouse we fixed and put on solar.

Altogether i know of about 15 units used (mainly offgrid), and not one single issue yet (except difficulty to get it to take a AVR genny to charge...). They're so quiet, now located in my livingroom and looked after. Flexmax still used for charging (figures given are very nice yes...) but seems like the Aux output (which i used for starting my borebole pump at Float) is not working anymore so will probably switch over to Axpert's SCC soon (to send flexmax for repairs). Axpert's dry contact doing perfectly now to start and stop pump via a contactor. Many basic fuctions on Axperts I use now (like setting Low DC cutoff, AC charge Amps etc) was not an option with OUtback (you have to have Mate) when i had it.

 

I dunno, the 'good' and pricey brands will have hard time winning me over again. I must just find out from you guys how to properly monitor Axpert via ALL these software options developed...? JUST looking for kwh for PV load, bat use and load per day!? Please tell me which, willing to pay as long as it works.. I have read pages and pages of the threads but can't really get understand as they get stuck in 'geek-language'...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...