What's New in WattPlot 5?
(Read on, WattPlot fans - this is going to blow you away!)

WattPlot has always been the friendliest OutBack MATE monitoring software ever.  Since 2005, we have also worked hard to give our users all the features that they asked for.  WattPlot provides sophisticated capabilities for industry professionals, but always gives the beginner assistance and information that is not available anywhere else.

In 2013, we started developing a completely new WattPlot - WattPlot™ 5 - essentially programming from scratch.  This document summarizes some of the amazing tools that we have created since then:

WattPlot™ Monitor     Our new flagship monitoring program is even more powerful than before.
The Automatic Actions in the PRO version give you unprecedented control of your system.
WattPlot™ VisualMATE     A unique animated view of production and power flow.
WattPlot VisualMATE shows your full system activity at a glance.
WattPlot™ NetMATE     A MATE/MATE3/AXS-compatible TCP Server for OutBack data streams,
with built-in email/texting capability for critical messages.
WattPlot™ SumMATE     Upload, summarize, and backup MATE3 SD Card data with a single mouse click!
View any WattPlot data as plots, summaries, spreadsheets, charts, and more.

Hardware Support

WattPlot™ 5 supports monitoring the new MATE3 device (by network UDP/IP, Modbus/TCP, or USB cable), and the AXS Port (Modbus/TCP), and it supports the new Radian inverters - that much you would expect.  It is also quite comfortable on all the latest Windows platforms, with no special settings.  But check out some of these features:

  • Process every data file on your MATE3 or AXS Port SD memory card with a single mouse click!  All data will be captured and summarized into industry-standard spreadsheet files, and the original files will be automatically copied/moved into sorted monthly folders.  Of course, WattPlot can graph the summary files for you, show daily plots, and allow you to drill down to each second on each device.

  • Purchasers of OutBack FLEXpower units want everything preconfigured and ready to go.  So WattPlot™ 5 delivers the same convenience when monitoring them.  Select your FLEXpower model type from the dropdown menu in the system configuration screen, and everything will be filled in for you.

  • We've also adopted a new approach to changes made to your actual OutBack system.  If you add a new device or upgrade your MATE to a MATE3, WattPlot will automatically adjust its configuration.  Plug and play!

Pen Plots

WattPlot pen-plot screen for an inverter

WattPlot's signature real-time pen plots have always been a great feature from our very first release over a decade ago.  Now WattPlot™ 5 adds in all the features you asked to see for those pen plots:

  • Resize the plot windows to any size you want.  Select scatter plots or continuous lines, thick or thin, in resolutions of 1 second, 1 minute, or 3 minutes - giving you the whole day's performance at a glance.  Just double-click to zoom in!

  • First, we had plots by device,  Then we added Reporting Sets, allowing you to group multiple devices of the same type on a single graph.  Now you can put all the devices for a single OutBack system on one pen plot, giving you a complete power production picture in one screen.

  • WattPlot™ 5 also shows you your pen-plot data at the exact time that it was generated.  For example, if you are viewing MATE3 data that was logged every 5 seconds, you will see the gap between the plot points (when viewed at 1-second resolution).  No more invisible time jumps when monitoring was interrupted.

Greater Accuracy

The original WattPlot would log data, as it arrived, in one long sequence, and record meaningful data.  WattPlot™ 5 increases the accuracy and precision of your data values in a number of ways:

  • As noted above, every second of data is precisely indexed to the second that the data was generated.

  • If you have a FLEXnet DC monitor in your system, you can specify the exact location of the shunts so that WattPlot™ 5 can replace certain device amperage values with the more accurate and precise FnDC shunt value.  WattPlot™ 5 will also confirm that the two values correspond.

  • MATEs in other time zones can be monitored with time zone differences taken into account.

New Views on Data

WattPlot™ 5 goes way beyond pen plots for viewing your data.  Here are some of our newly added screens:

  • WattPlot's innovative monthly bar and line graph summaries are still available, but we've added a new Daily Summary screen.  By opening a MATE3 CSV file, Raw-Data-Capture OBM file, or selecting a WattPlot-monitored day, you can view the full system's performance numbers on a single colour-coded screen.

  • WattPlot daily summary screen

  • The More Information buttons show above include useful summaries you won't find anywhere else, such as how much time a specific device spent in each operating mode that day.

  • Our unique VisualMATE™ tool gives users an animated view of their entire system's power flow in real-time.  The WattPlot™ 5 Monitor program (PRO version) now offers the VisualMATE window as a built-in option, along with all of the plots, etc.

  • WattPlot VisualMATE screen, showing real-time system activity and power flow

  • For true convenience, it also has a built-in browser screen for viewing your MATE3's web interface directly.

Automatic Actions

We were the first software provider to offer Automatic Actions (MATE commands, email, alarms, etc.) in response to user-defined trigger conditions.  WattPlot™ 5 PRO takes that concept to the next level, with a host of added capabilities:

WattPlot Automatic Action definition screen

  • Supply additional conditions: IF this AND that AND that, THEN do this.  This permits you to easily create very responsive actions, such as "If the Battery Voltage is less than 24.8V, and it is after 7pm, and the inverter is in AC Drop, then Start the Generator."  A similar rule appears in the sample screen above.   You won't find an easier interface anywhere.

  • You can even temporarily disable any trigger or condition at any time, without deleting it.  That's a real convenience, rather than having to create it from scratch every time you want to use it.

Bells and Whistles

The original WattPlot was designed to be installed on 1990's PC hardware.  While that made it compatible with older systems, the programming functionality was limited.  WattPlot™ 5 was written in a state-of-the-art programming environment, giving us enormous opportunities to expand the program in many directions.  And we never miss an opportunity to make a zillion little enhancments:

  • No more waiting for trial licenses to be created and set from the WattPlot offices for new users.  Now WattPlot can issue its own trial activations by email!

  • Are you running WattPlot™ 5 on an unattended computer?  Our new Auto-Start option will automatically add the Monitor program to your Windows startup menu.  Easy!

  • Responding to so many user requests for tweaks and features means that new releases are frequently available.  And yes, we sometimes have subtle bugs that have to be corrected as different OutBack installations stretch the software in different directions.  WattPlot™ 5 can now automatically check to see if new releases are available, show you the details, and give you the option to update your software.  Of course, all updates are still free-of-charge.

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

Copyright © 2013-19, Andrew Welch