WattPlot™

WattPlot™ solutions for Dealers and Installers

So you have clients with renewable energy systems from OutBack Power Systems.  Let's get right to work.  How would you best describe your present need:

I need to monitor client installations.

I need to do sophisticated diagnostics on problem systems.

My clients want to see their system's performance.

 
Monitoring Solutions

System monitoring falls into three major categories: Real-Time Integrity Monitoring, Historicial Performance Monitoring, and Full Monitoring.

 
Real-Time Integrity Monitoring
You want to know about potential system problems in real-time.  You need software that will keep an eye on things 24-7-365 so that you and your clients don't have to.  If something is amiss, you want an email or text message with enough information to know how you or your staff need to react.

WattPlot™ NetMATE will do this for you.  There are two common implementations of a NetMATE solution:

On-site - WattPlot™ NetMATE runs on a PC at your client site, connected to their OutBack MATE or MATE3 device.  Notifications are sent to one or more email addresses (which can usually include phone text messaging).

Advantages
  • Be instantly informed of potential system problems.
  • Can easily connect to MATE3 via built-in UDP/IP or optional USB.  Can easily connect to MATE via serial port (or serial/USB or serial/TCP converter).
  • If the client PC has a static IP address, you can connect any other WattPlot tool into the data stream from a remote location.
  • MATE connections and MATE3 USB connections support the ability for you to send commands to control the MATE/MATE3 device from a remote location.
  • Client can easily connect into NetMATE with a friendly system display like WattPlot™ VisualMATE.
Disadvantages
  • PC must be running at client site.

Central - WattPlot™ NetMATE runs on a PC at your office, connected to their OutBack MATE or MATE3 device over the internet or some other long-distance connection.  Notifications are sent to one or more email addresses (which can usually include phone text messaging).

Advantages
  • Be instantly informed of potential system problems.
  • Does not require a PC running at client site.
  • You have full access to all system data for drill-down detail exploration after-the-fact.
  • Can easily connect to MATE3 via built-in UDP/IP.  Can easily connect to MATE via serial/TCP converter.
  • MATE serial/TCP connections support the ability for you to send limited commands to control the MATE device from a remote location.
Disadvantages
  • The most common MATE3 connection method (UDP/IP) does not support commands to control the device.
  • If you change the IP address of your server, every MATE3 using UDP/IP connectivity must be reprogrammed on-site.
  • MATE3 USB connections and MATE serial or serial/USB connections are more difficult.

 
Historical Performance Monitoring
The system is being capably monitored on-site, and you only need past performance data so that you fine-tune the system parameters for maximum power production or look for systemic problems.

In order to do this, you need the system data to be logged.  The OutBack MATE3 device has a built-in ability to log data on an inserted SD memory card.  WattPlot™ SumMATE will turn that data into instantly meaningful information with a mouse-click.  There is no better way to view MATE3 data.  Period.

If your client is still using an original OutBack MATE, any WattPlot tool can be configured to log the raw MATE data, so long as the tool is running.  Again, WattPlot™ SumMATE is absolutely the best way to summarize and drill-down into that data.

Advantages
  • MATE3 data collection does not require a PC running at client site.
  • View system performance data as daily summary, pen-plots, monthly bar charts, spreadsheets, and more, each with the ability to drill-down deeper into the data.
  • Automatically backs up and manages extensive MATE3 data files.
Disadvantages
  • No real-time monitoring.
  • Original MATE data collection requires a data logging tool to be running somewhere.

 
Full Monitoring
You need both the protection of Real-Time Integrity Monitoring and the rich detail of Historicial Performance Monitoring, both in real-time!

WattPlot™ Monitor will do it all.  The flagship Monitor application is the most comprehensive software available for monitoring performance data from OutBack renewable energy systems.  Using WattPlot, you and your customers can connect to their OutBack MATE and see at a glance precisely what their system is doing and what it has done, every day, down to the second!

The monitor program plots performance data in real-time, as it happens!

Monitor a Mate in a remote client location, over the internet!  See what they see!

Get WattPlot's triple benefits: Settings, Diagnostics, and Performance Tracking!

Want to monitor client systems yourself?  Read about monitoring Multiple Systems!

Think you deserve special pricing?  We agree!  Read about discounts and branding!

WattPlot screen, showing real-time pen plots for an MX charge controller and an FX inverter

Settings

The OutBack inverters and charge controllers that control your clients' renewable energy systems are very sophisticated pieces of technology.  There are many settings possible that alter the behavior and performance of these devices and, consequently, their entire system.  As you know, each installation and situation is different for every installed system.  The circumstances of the solar and/or wind exposure, combined with the individual characteristics of the battery banks, utility grid (if connected), generators (if used), all contribute to a renewable energy system that, for each of your clients, is unlike any other.  Unique systems call for unique settings to get the most out of their investment.  The difficulty resides in how to determine what settings are right for their system.

Unique view of DC Voltage setting realtionships

WattPlot™ helps solve this problem by giving you an incredibly detailed view of what is happening with your client's system.  The historical plots will show you precisely what the wattages and voltages were at every second.  By simply moving your mouse along a stretch of plot, you can see what modes the system went into - when and why.  Each MATE vDC setting is also relative to the other settings.  These relationships can change as compensation for battery temperature affects some settings and not others.  WattPlot's unique VDC Setting Relationships screen allows you to see these relationships in a simple graphical format - and to see how a change in temperature will alter the way that these settings inter-relate.  Seasonal adjustments to MATE settings become a lot easier, and the tool is simple enough that you can easily use it to explain system behavior to your client, demonstrating the target-voltage strategy used by their OutBack equipment.


Diagnostics

Problem at a client site?  Perhaps the batteries are not being charged the way they should be, or the inverter is not able to keep up with demand, or the generator is coming on at strange times?  Perhaps the system is not selling power back to the grid efficiently or the client is getting warning or error lights.  As you know, the keys to diagnosing and solving these problems are (1) being alerted to these problems in the first place, (2) knowing what the system was doing when the problem occured, (3) knowing what the current MATE settings are, (4) being able to observe the system in action, and (5) knowing the history of the system.  Wattplot gives you all five keys.

Mate Settings window


 

WattPlot™ does a lot more than just inform you of device warnings and errors - it also checks for other alert conditions, such as firmware upgrades required, known device bugs, and communication errors.  Problems are highlighted right on the main screen, turning relevant value backgrounds red or yellow, depending on problem severity.  You can even program your own trigger events for WattPlot to react to.  Imagine WattPlot sending you an email, alerting you of a problem at a client site before the client is even aware of it!

No other software tracks the detail that WattPlot does.  Simply open any historical plot for the device and date in question, and you can see exactly what was happening before and after the problem occured.  WattPlot's MATE Settings screen is a lot more than the easiest way to look up MATE settings for your client's system - it also provides a wealth of information and descriptive advice for each value (often more than can be found in the OutBack manuals) and all at the click of a mouse.  No more beep-beep-beeping through menus on the MATE to lookup settings.  Want to look at what your client's system is doing right now?  If their computer can be accessed by an internet IP address, you can piggy-back on to their MATE data stream and see the same plots that are being generated on their on-site monitoring system.

From past days plots to monthly power summaries to detailed maintenance logs, WattPlot gives you a complete performance history of your client's system.  You can even program WattPlot to email these files to you on a regular basis so that you have all the information at your fingertips.  And if you can't solve a particular problem yourself, you can always email that same level of detail to someone else who might be able to help.


Performance Tracking

At the end of the day, the bottom line for most clients is "How much power am I producing/buying/using? and how healthy is my system?"

Monthly power summary

WattPlot™ supplies not only the expected monthly graphs, it also allows comparative graphing, provides full spreadsheets, and has drill-down capability from the graphs into daily plots.  Both you and your clients will be able to track performance at a glance, and immediately get details on days that don't measure up.

Feature Summary

Dealer Testimonials

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

WattPlot in the News

Download a free fully functional copy

Look through the User's Guide (as a pdf)

Browse WattPlot section of OutBack User Forum

Ordering, Pricing and Discounts

2-page WattPlot flyer (as a pdf)

Some Comments from Dealers and Installers

"During the run thru with the [client] we had to check open circuit voltages for all the PV modules.  It was our second day onsite the barge was leaving soon, we were slightly rushed but enjoying ourselves, and as I checked voltages at each breaker at the PV combiner boxes one fellow went ahead and unlocked the other boxes, while another trailed behind and tugged on wires and flipped the breakers back on.  At the end of the day while I was showing off the WattPlot software I noticed two of the 6 MX's were not charging.  If it wasn't for the clear layout of the software, and the ability to compare devices all on one screen, I would have never of realized that a bunch of breakers hadn't been flipped back on.  That's when I was sold."

- Jason Lerner, Waldron Power and Light Co., WA


"When I first began researching monitoring solutions (before my system was even installed), I was pleased to find that there were several options available.  WattPlot seemed the best fit for what I wanted to achieve. When I contacted Andrew Welch about the system summary logging, I expected an answer along the lines of "We don't do that, but maybe someday in a future release..."  However, Andrew sent an enthusiastic reply, and in short order, a beta version of the latest WattPlot software for me to try that included the new feature I had requested.  Awesome!!"

- Sallye Holloway, WoofPower.us


"WattPlot is a really nice piece of software and we recommend it to customers on a regular basis."

- Matt James, Customer Service Manager, OutBack Power Systems


"I've seen a couple of other companies attempt to do this, but I really like the simplicity of the interface as Andrew showed me how it tracks and logs every second of performance of his LAKOTA-based hybrid system . . . Andrew's done a very nice job of making a good intuitive interface.  He's made the necessarily complex control structures of the Outback easy to manipulate.  WattPlot displays the simple performance data of any parameters you want to know about. . . how much power is the system making right now, last night? . . or last month? . . and what configuration is best for my system to get the best performance? . . . Outback has made a beautifully versatile power management and control system with lots of very useful features.  All it needs is a little WattPlot to make it more user friendly for the average-techie who wants to see the power of the whole system, second by second or over the last month."

- Dave Cooke - True North Power (Outback Dealer)
Extracted from an article in Free Wind News


"I must say that the system, your company’s response for activation, and accompanying documentation all worked well to make the installation a snap, and this comes from one who was in the high-tech industry for 30 years."

- Ken Schwantje, St. Lawrence College’s Energy House, Ontario, Canada


"Over the past year, iCeL Systems has joined forces with WattPlot, a comprehensive software tool which provides real-time reporting on renewable energy system data.  WattPlot allows iCeL customers to monitor their energy storage systems remotely via desktop or smart phone.  For the Anaheim Energy Field project, iCeL CTO Dr. Ryan Wartena, made some special requests of WattPlot.  Wartena was extremely impressed with WattPlot’s ability to completely exceed expectations by developing a whole new product to meet iCeL’s needs for the Energy Field, which feeds into the Anaheim Public Utility grid."

- iCeL Systems


"I just [...] downloaded and read your user's guide for WattPlot.  Wow - that's just exactly what I wanted!  It even has pictures of the hardware connectors!  I also want to compliment your tech writer.  Very user-friendly user guide.  So many 'user guides' are still in 'tech-ese'!
I'm so excited to get data collection all the time!!  It makes it so much easier to analyze what's going on.
Finally, I wanted to say that I'm so glad your programming background inspired you to write this program.  I don't have a programming background, but I'm a systems analyst, so that's exactly what I was trying to do - gather enough information to analyze the effect of the various settings.  The Outback manuals aren't very user-friendly (they need your tech writer, obviously), although they're getting better.  Even their explanations of the settings are like reading Greek.
I'm going to get a cable to interface my computer as soon as I can, and download your WattPlot software.  THANKS!!!"

- Loretta Liefveld, Three Rivers, CA



For More Information

If you would like more information, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions, or contact us.

Copyright © 2006-16 Andrew Welch