WattPlot™

Important Notice - Limited Return of Operations

Due to extraordinary personal commitments, WattPlot was forced to suspend its operations on July 1, 2018.  In 2023 I am pleased to announce that WattPlot has now returned to Limited Operations, focusing on the development of the awesome new Version 6 app: WattPlot ACKcess™!

The current status of operations is detailed below:

WattPlot ACKcess™ is now in early production and is available for download.  Even unlicensed, the program provides an informative and animated view of your system right away after installation.  To see more of the massive feature set, you can request a free trial activation, and then order a permanaent activation if you love it.  (We think you'll love it!)

All WattPlot version 5 applications remain available for download - no license required.

WattPlot version 5 application bugs and feature requests are no longer supported.

Email inquiries and requests for support may still receive a slightly longer than usual wait time.  (We apologize in advance.)

 

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 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 committed to our growing client base, and users have relied on our software for over 15 years.

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 from OutBack Power Systems, using the serial data stream from an original MATE.  Users appreciated its rich interface, and the ability to drill down 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.

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 originally focussed exclusively on Modbus/TCP communications and the applications are no longer limited to OutBack equipment.  Field tests for WattPlot ACKcess, the new version 6 tool, went very well.  The program was particularly powerful with the OutBack AXS Port device, and even successfully connected to systems combining OutBack inverters and MidNite Solar Classic charge controllers!

Meanwhile, given the extremely low price of the application license fees and unlimited free support, the WattPlot software support and development gradually stopped paying for itself.  In 2018, other priorities intervened in the life of Andrew Welch, the sole developer, and so a decision was made to drop all license fees, leave the software out there for anyone to use, and suspend operations.


Today

Suspending operations took the pressure off, and gave Andrew time to publish not one but two books, among other things.  Still, WattPlot ACKcess had a whole lot of promise, and Andrew was keen to see that effort get out into the real world some day.  In 2022, he revisited the code and started to finish the work that had been started seven years earlier.  Great strides have been made, and ACKcess is now ready for some closer looks!


Read our best WattPlot testimonials here.

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


Copyright © 2018-24 Andrew Welch, Intallact