WattPlot™

About WattPlot™

WattPlot was started by Andrew Welch of Intallact in 2006.  He created the tools to monitor his own OutBack renewable energy system, since the existing only existing product was unsophisticated and not suited to his needs.  An installer saw the WattPlot software and immediately wanted to offer it to his clients.  The rest is history.

Today, many hundreds of sites around the world have installed the WattPlot suite of monitoring tools, and we have a presence on every continent (including Antarctica)!  WattPlot has a global reputation for sophisticated and friendly interfaces, superb documentation, and exceptional technical support.  Other fly-by-night solutions have come and gone.  WattPlot remains commited to our growing client base, and users have relied on our software for over a decade.

WattPlot still offers the most comprehensive renewable energy system monitoring tools available anywhere.  Period.


Some History

WattPlot was originally just a single program, developed in Visual Basic 6, which offered snapshot values and our signature pen-plots for monitoring FX inverters and MX-60 charge controllers, using the serial data stream from an original MATE.  Users appreciated its rich interface, and the ability to drilldown to each second of detail.

In the early days, OutBack was very supportive of WattPlot (and a few other monitoring software developers), since they offered a much-needed service that complemented OutBack's hardware.  We offered design advice on OutBack data stream design, and had a sub-forum on the popular OutBack User Forum where many OutBack clients shared ideas, had questions answered, and exchanged information.

As a result, WattPlot kept pace with new OutBack hardware as it was introduced, so that software monitoring support was never far behind the new devices.  Of course, there were also advances in PC technology and communications tools.  The challenge of supporting the wide variety of old and new OutBack devices, PC operating systems, and diverse system configurations was daunting; but WattPlot supported it all, from Windows NT to Windows 10 (and even virtual environments on Macs, etc.).

Gradually, new features were added - often based on user requests and suggestions.  These include such things as user-definable device reporting sets, spreadsheet reports, web data file support, multiple MATE support, a TCP Server feature, and another signature function: Automatic Actions, which allowed WattPlot to respond to system conditions with MATE Commands, email notifications, etc.  Support was added for the FLEXnet DC monitor, the FLEXmax charge controllers, the MATE3, and the new Radian hybrid inverters.

The most significant advance came with the introduction of WattPlot version 5 in 2013, which was actually a suite of tools written in VB.Net.  WattPlot 5 represented a significant advance in the software development, which had been redesigned from the ground up.  Users could now choose from WattPlot Monitor (the next generation of the original program), VisualMATE (a simplified animated system view), SumMATE (a non-live analysis tool for data log files), and NetMATE (an applet providing a smart TCP Server).  Other tools such as WattPlot CheckMATE (for monitoring many MATEs in industrial settings) and WattPlot ShowMATE (for public display monitoring), had limited markets and were never widely distributed.  The WattPlot 5 tools quickly became the monitoring solution of choice for OutBack equipment.  (Even OutBack staff were using the tools!)

Unfortunately, over time, the OutBack culture changed.  The company was bought out, staff came and left, and important changes to interfaces and data formats were no longer shared.  OutBack technical documentation (which was frankly never a strength) became even more inadequate, inaccurate, and out-of-date.  Our attempts to point out serious implementation errors went unanswered.  Our emails were ignored or we were told that we would have to live with errors because they were not going to be corrected.  When we let other users know of the effect all of this was having on our software integrity and OutBack's own clients, our user sub-forum was deleted overnight without warning, as were the sub-forums and posts of all the other frustrated developers.  Communications became very strained indeed.  OutBack began relying on their own new monitoring solution (OPTICSre) and claimed that WattPlot was now a competitor.


Today
The WattPlot software support and development stopped paying for itself some time ago, but the tools continue to evolve and clients still receive excellent support.  In 2016, WattPlot once again embarked on a new generation of renewable energy system monitoring software.  As with version 5, the core software classes were redesigned from scratch, but this time the objectives had changed.  WattPlot 6 relies exclusively on Modbus/TCP communications and is no longer limited to OutBack equipment.  The first WattPlot 6 tool is WattPlot ACKcess, whcih is now being field tested.


Read our best WattPlot testimonials here.

For more information, see our WattPlot page or contact us.


Copyright © 2018 Andrew Welch, Intallact