FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

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rewired
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FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by rewired »

I purchased a house with an FXR3048 inverter, Mate, FM60 CC, 10 kWh AGM battery bank and 2280 watt solar array that was installed in 2013/2014.

With the help of an electrician, I replaced the failing AGM batteries with 2x10.4 kWh lifepo4 battery banks (generics using the Fortress configuration settings).

I have the electrician coming back next week to install a 2nd FM60 and wire up the 2 new Canadian Solar 445 watt panels (in series). I'm also installing a hub4 and Mate3s.

I've been reviewing documentation and studying in preparation for the change and understand that the FM60s are not field upgradeable. Are there any firmware differences between the new FM60s and the ones sold several years ago that may cause a compatibility issue?

Is there a hardware difference between the FXR3048 I have and the newer FXR3048As and FXR3048A-1s or will a firmware update bring my FXR3048 up to current? If there are differences, can someone tell me what they are and if there anything I need to do differently on mine?

My current plan is to install the hub4 and Mate3s (and get it connected to my network and OpticsRE) before the electrician arrives to be ready for the physical installation of the panels and FM60.

Thanks for any guidance provided, as well as for all of the information the forums have already provided!
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Mike Curran
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by Mike Curran »

This probably applies for your FM60:
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=15498&p=89963&hili ... ran#p89963
Unless you're adding a VFXR to stack with your existing inverter, in which case the firmware versions must match, I would not worry about differences in firmware for the FM60s. FWIW
https://ei.tigoenergy.com/p/pZXn7SZQyO45
https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/Hctc107221
rewired
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by rewired »

Thanks, Mike!
Any idea if there's any significant differences between the hardware in the different versions (A and A-1) from the older FXR3048? I'm planning to update the firmware to the latest available version and want to make sure that I don't somehow turn it into a very expensive doorstop because of some hardware incompatibility.
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by raysun »

rewired wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 9:35 pm Thanks, Mike!
Any idea if there's any significant differences between the hardware in the different versions (A and A-1) from the older FXR3048? I'm planning to update the firmware to the latest available version and want to make sure that I don't somehow turn it into a very expensive doorstop because of some hardware incompatibility.
If there is a (very likely) difference its in the control board and the power board. Replace those, and you'll have the latest firmware and functionality.

Its unlikely the A/A-01 firmware will load on the original FXR hardware without creating a rectangular building block.
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by rewired »

Thanks, raysun!
That's what I was worried about!
I'll see about getting the boards updated before I run the firmware update.

(And Happy New Year!)
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by raysun »

The hardware upgrade is: a) a fairly expensive proposition and b) not supported by Outback. What are hoping to get out of the investment?

The "A" series does add a good deal of grid interactive options, useful if you are selling power, etc. Its useful, but not strictly necessary, for supporting your lithium batteries. It does add Support mode for blending generator and inverter power when needed, a nice touch.

IMO, it would be a much better investment to add a Mate3s, Hub 10.3, and FlexNet DC battery monitor to the system. From a practical standpoint, it will make the system far more manageable.
rewired
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by rewired »

raysun,

The support mode would definitely be a nice feature to have.
I'm unclear what the differences in available feature sets are between the hardware versions, but did look up the controller and power board prices ($275 and $640 are the best prices I saw in stock online).

I'm in the US Virgin Islands, where we have arguably the highest power costs in the world at 41 cents per kWh.

We're adding 2x445 watt additional panels and another FM60 to expand our existing 12x190 watt system to cover the power used by our more frequently visiting friends.

Initially, I was concerned about adding a 2nd FM60 with a different firmware version to the mix. I was also interested in the new operation modes available on the newer A and A-1 hardware versions, but I'm not sure that is worth the investment at the moment.

I've already physically installed a Mate3s to replace the existing Mate and a Hub4 to integrate the charge controllers. I'll try to finish cabling them today and get the Mate3s connected to OpticsRE. That should allow me to understand more clearly what the operation modes in my current system can provide compared to the newer feature set. Once I've had a chance to monitor for a few weeks, I'll have a better feel for whether the system upgrade we have planned for next week will meet our needs. I'll likely try to defer the hardware upgrade untill it's time for an inverter refresh.

Does the FLEXnet DC provide any significant advantage with lithium batteries? The only documentation I found on Outback's site was from 2008 and doesn't even mention lithium or the Mate3s.
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by jbakker »

Hello

I have 2 FM 60 charge controllers on my system charging an 800 AH lithium battery.
Both have different firmware. 3.3.0 and 2.1.0. No issues with them at all charging the battery.
Just a bit of tweaking the settings and they are happily charging the lithium battery pack.

Springtime upgrade to newer inverters as mine were 10 years old when I installed them and that was 5 years ago.
I did upgrade have the firmware upgraded on the control boards.
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by raysun »

No matter the battery type, a good battery monitor is essential, IME.

Relying on battery voltage to track state of charge (SoC) has serious shortcomings. It did with lead acid batteries, which have a pronounced voltage/SoC curve; and is even more of an issue with lithium batteries, which have a very flat voltage/SoC curve.

In both cases, a quality "current counting" battery monitor gives the best tracking of battery status. They monitor (charge) current into the battery, and (discharge) current out of the battery to derive SoC, charge/discharge rates, and other important factors.

The FlexNet DC (FNDC) is such a monitor. As important, it integrates with the Outback "ecosystem" to provide advanced charging and control functions.

The FNDC was designed for lead acid battery chemistry, but adapts to LiFePo4 just fine. Mine typically reads SoC about 1 - 3% low, but that automatically corrects when the battery is fully charged. Compared to the 10 - 20% error for SoC estimate from voltage readings, the FNDC readings are pretty darn accurate.

Having the information, and control, afforded by the FNDC will materially increase battery service life.
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REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by raysun »

Is your house tied to the grid, with the battery/inverter supplementing power to offset grid cost?

Does your electric company offer a power sell-back (net metering) program?

Is the grid electric power charged at a single rate, or does it vary with time of use?
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by rewired »

raysun wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 8:46 am Is your house tied to the grid, with the battery/inverter supplementing power to offset grid cost?

Does your electric company offer a power sell-back (net metering) program?

Is the grid electric power charged at a single rate, or does it vary with time of use?
raysun,

Yes, we are grid tied and sell back to offset costs. We're grandfathered into a 'legacy' program that's 1:1 with only a small base rate (<$10/month) and no participation fee. New participants are charged $25-75 for the 'honor' of being in the program for systems <10 kWh and only get a 3:4 return on what they sell.

There isn't a time of use variance.

Now I have a confession to make - I was told by the previous owner that the inverter is an FXR and there is some documentation that supports that, but when I connected the Mate3s to OpticsRE this morning, it identified it as a GTFX/GVFX inverter. I did some more digging in old paperwork from the previous owner and found a receipt from 2008 for a GVFX inverter.

I don't see any clear markings on the unit that would tell me which it is...
Any ideas where to find the markings and serial number on either unit?
I'm starting to wonder if it is a GVFX, making it much more likely that I'll just pull the trigger on buying a new FXR3048A-01.

On a more positive note, I did find a reference on a sales website that indicated that units with the -1 designation have been verified for UL1741 compliance.
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by rewired »

raysun wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 8:40 am No matter the battery type, a good battery monitor is essential, IME.
...
The FlexNet DC (FNDC) is such a monitor. As important, it integrates with the Outback "ecosystem" to provide advanced charging and control functions.
...
Having the information, and control, afforded by the FNDC will materially increase battery service life.
Thanks, raysun!

I'll see about ordering the FLEXnet DC and and shunts. I will likely push my electrician off until I can get an FXR delivered unless I can absolutely confirm that I already have an FXR (which I'm doubting more with each passing moment).
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by raysun »

GVFX makes sense. It was Outback's first "grid interactive" FX class inverter. I'd tend to believe what the Mate3s is reporting. The Model/Serial numbers may be on a sticker under the inverter's front cover. It's removed by loosening 4 screws. Be careful pulling the cover away, as circuit boards are often attached to that cover.

When I went to Lithium, I upgraded my FX class inverter to FXR A-01 units (the 01 is required for certain jurisdictions, like here in Hawaii.) Though off-grid, the expanded battery compatibility, and Support mode were enough for me to make the switch.

With net metering on the table, having the grid interactive features in a listed and Outback supported chassis is somewhat of a "no brainer" in my book. I'd be loath to expose a DIY, non-certified, upgrade to the public network, and to public liability.

A Chinese clone lithium battery is enough adventure for one system. 😉

That old GVFX/FXR? It can still live a useful life in another system somewhere. Or, if kept, configured as a stand alone battery charger should such a function have value.
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Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by raysun »

Screenshot_20220101-082227_Firefox.jpg
Glancing at the battery specs, fairly conservative charging rates are listed. For the two units:
40A - normal charge rate
100A - maximum charge rate

Long term, adhering to the 40A charge rate will be healthiest for the battery. Exceeding the 100A maximum is likely to be quite hard on them. In fact charging above the recommended 40A will cause varying degrees of stress.

Since there will be three parallel charging sources - two FM60s and the inverter/charger - there is high likelihood for "overdriving" the charge rate.

Some charging math:
• The existing FM60 with 2280W array.
The theoretical output (at STC) would be
2280W / 50V = 45.6A
This alone is the "normal" charge rate. However, the panels have aged a bit, and you, like me, live in a warm climate, and typically the heated panels' output is reduced in the neighborhood of 25%.
• The 2nd FM60 with 890W array.
890W / 50V = 17.8A
New panels will inherently produce more power. They are still subject to derating by heating, but use the STC measurements for planning (and safety.)

Both charge controllers in parallel have a potential to exceed 40A total charge current, but well below 100A. The operative question is how much time is spent above 40A. Something to keep an eye on.

• The inverter/charger. The 3048 FX class inverters are capable of 20 - 25ADC charging current (the maximum is configurable by specifying the AC current in the AC Input menu.)
If the inverter charger is active at the same time as the FM chargers, there's a potential to have a charge current in the 85 - 95A range. Definitely something to keep an eye on.

Its unlikely the charging sources would exceed the 100A "red line", but they have the potential to easily exceed 40A. How much of an issue this may be is a good question for the battery vendor's technical support.
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REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by raysun »

Another question. The USVI power grid is 110V @ 60hz, yes?
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by provo »

raysun wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 10:58 am
The 3048 FX class inverters are capable of 20 - 25ADC charging current (the maximum is configurable by specifying the AC current in the AC Input menu.)
If the inverter charger is active at the same time as the FM chargers, there's a potential to have a charge current in the 85 - 95A range. Definitely something to keep an eye on.
This is where Global Charge Control (in the Mate3s) is really helpful. You can set a Maximum Charge Current for all the chargers totalled together. It won't turn down the inverter charging, but it will take that current into account and adjust the FM's up and down.
Last edited by provo on Sat Jan 01, 2022 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by raysun »

provo wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 12:30 pm
raysun wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 10:58 am
The 3048 FX class inverters are capable of 20 - 25ADC charging current (the maximum is configurable by specifying the AC current in the AC Input menu.)
If the inverter charger is active at the same time as the FM chargers, there's a potential to have a charge current in the 85 - 95A range. Definitely something to keep an eye on.
This is where Global Charge Control (in the Mate) is really helpful. You can set a Maximum Charge Current for all the chargers totalled together. It won't turn down the inverter charging, but it will take that current into account and adjust the FM's up and down.
My first thought as well. However, I believe Global Charge Control only works for we off-grid users. Since it uses code from the Grid Tie routines to modulate charger output, both "normal" Grid Tie (to sell to the grid) and Global Charger Control can't be used in the same system.

(I wrote a whole long post explaining how GCC would work. Then went - wait a minute...
DELETE.)
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by provo »

raysun wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 12:37 pm However, I believe Global Charge Control only works for we off-grid users. Since it uses code from the Grid Tie routines to modulate charger output, both "normal" Grid Tie (to sell to the grid) and Global Charger Control can't be used in the same system.
Hmmm...I wonder if you could manually turn off selling (maybe switch to Support Mode instead of Grid-Tie on the inverter) just while charging, and then switch back. Kind of a pain, even if it would work...
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REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by raysun »

provo wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 12:46 pm
raysun wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 12:37 pm However, I believe Global Charge Control only works for we off-grid users. Since it uses code from the Grid Tie routines to modulate charger output, both "normal" Grid Tie (to sell to the grid) and Global Charger Control can't be used in the same system.
Hmmm...I wonder if you could manually turn off selling (maybe switch to Support Mode instead of Grid-Tie on the inverter) just while charging, and then switch back. Kind of a pain, even if it would work...
I wouldn't bother. Your system is pretty conservative, charging-wise.

Your battery is rated at 150A continuous charging, yes? The array is naturally limited to half that, so even "full gas" is a fairly low C rate. By my reckoning, 20A per block (40A total) is the "zero stress" target. However, there's lots of headroom between it and 150A.

My system natively limits to around 60A most of the time. I'm happy with that. It ranges up above 100A on occasion. That's fine too. I have GCC enabled, at 160A, so normally it does nothing. (In truth, it never does anything.) The only opportunity to trigger control is if the inverter chargers are running and the charge controllers hit maximum output. Even that, unthrottled, would total no more than 215A, so below the maximum continuous charge rate specification.

So why bother with GCC? Because I can, and it causes no extra work. If it did cause extra work, and wasn't needed, I'd eschew it altogether.
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Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by provo »

raysun wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 1:06 pm
I wouldn't bother. Your system is pretty conservative, charging-wise.

So why bother with GCC? Because I can, and it causes no extra work. If it did cause extra work, and wasn't needed, I'd eschew it altogether.
Yeah, I use GCC all the time now -- I'm in Support Mode all the time also, so it's easy. I was thinking more of the OP's situation, where he may want to be able to sell back.

I keep the GCC set at around 25A, which makes for a nice slow bulk period. Before I learned about GCC (thanks, BTW!) I would get 50A or even 60A charge current on a sunny day, and I needed a lot of time in absorb before CPM happened. Now it's 6 - 8 minutes.
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Location: St Croix US Virgin Islands

Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by rewired »

raysun wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 11:27 am Another question. The USVI power grid is 110V @ 60hz, yes?
120 volts @ 60hz (nominally).
20220101_172943.jpg
Just today, the Mate3s tracked an input voltage range of 115-124 volts.
Not only do we have some of the most expensive power in the world at 41 cents per kWh, but it's also some of the least consistent and reliable...
Last edited by rewired on Sat Jan 01, 2022 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Honda EU7000is generator (gas)
Mate3s with hub4
2x 445 watt Canadian Solar panels
Location: St Croix US Virgin Islands

Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by rewired »

raysun wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 10:58 am ...
Glancing at the battery specs, fairly conservative charging rates are listed. For the two units:
40A - normal charge rate
100A - maximum charge rate

Long term, adhering to the 40A charge rate will be healthiest for the battery. Exceeding the 100A maximum is likely to be quite hard on them. In fact charging above the recommended 40A will cause varying degrees of stress.

Since there will be three parallel charging sources - two FM60s and the inverter/charger - there is high likelihood for "overdriving" the charge rate.

Some charging math:
• The existing FM60 with 2280W array.
The theoretical output (at STC) would be
2280W / 50V = 45.6A
This alone is the "normal" charge rate. However, the panels have aged a bit, and you, like me, live in a warm climate, and typically the heated panels' output is reduced in the neighborhood of 25%.
• The 2nd FM60 with 890W array.
890W / 50V = 17.8A
New panels will inherently produce more power. They are still subject to derating by heating, but use the STC measurements for planning (and safety.)

Both charge controllers in parallel have a potential to exceed 40A total charge current, but well below 100A. The operative question is how much time is spent above 40A. Something to keep an eye on.

• The inverter/charger. The 3048 FX class inverters are capable of 20 - 25ADC charging current (the maximum is configurable by specifying the AC current in the AC Input menu.)
If the inverter charger is active at the same time as the FM chargers, there's a potential to have a charge current in the 85 - 95A range. Definitely something to keep an eye on.

Its unlikely the charging sources would exceed the 100A "red line", but they have the potential to easily exceed 40A. How much of an issue this may be is a good question for the battery vendor's technical support.
I currently have grid tied turned on, but the charger function of the FX turned off. Before I finished installing the Mate3s this morning, having both the inverter charger and the FM60 CC in play was making it difficult to monitor.

You are correct about the decrease in power generation - it was pretty sunny today, but maxed out around 1.8kw. They're probably a little past ½ way on their useful life and I'll likely replace them next year with 6 of the 445 watt panels (balanced between the 2 FM60s).

My (still limited) understanding is that I can limit the charging current to the batteries and sell back the excess to the utility.
raysun
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My RE system: Flexpower Two: (2) FXR3048A-01, (2) FM80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
6 SimpliPhi 3.8-48 (48v @ 75AH. 450AH total)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by raysun »

Someone else will have to chime in on selling to the grid. My (limited) understanding is the battery must be fully charged, then a higher than normally specified Float voltage creates the additional current flow to sell.
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Mike Curran
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Posts: 2771
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:28 pm
My RE system: Outback - Garage roof:
- 8 (2x4) Evergreen 180's into one FM80 (2007/2020 - replaced MX60)
- 6 (2×3) ALEO S79-300's into one FM80 (2017)
- 2 grid-tied VFXR3524A-01's series stacked, replaced GVFX's (2020)
- 12 Surrette/Rolls 2V x 1766Ah (2007)
- Hub10.3, Mate3s, FNDC, RTS. Tigo ES maximizers on each PV module.

Westinghouse Solar - Barn roof: (2012)
- 30 (2x15) 235W panels with Enphase M215 microinverters, grid-tied

Outback Skybox - Barn roof: (2019)
- 14 Talesun 275W in series (DC array input to SB inverter/charger)
- 3 SimpliPhi 3.8 batteries, 48V, 225Ah total
- AC coupled input from 14 Talesun 275W, Enphase M215 microinverters

Battery systems operate in grid-tied, net metering w/backup mode
All self-designed and self-installed
Location: Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by Mike Curran »

raysun wrote: Sat Jan 01, 2022 3:44 pm Someone else will have to chime in on selling to the grid. My (limited) understanding is the battery must be fully charged, then a higher than normally specified Float voltage creates the additional current flow to sell.
That is correct. You cannot sell unless your battery has reached sell voltage, which usually means it has also reached float voltage. That doesn't mean that the battery is fully charged though - only a system with an fndc can be set up to insure charge parameters are met before selling is enabled. Without one you can sell without your battery first being fully charged - it just has to reach the sell voltage setpoint.
https://ei.tigoenergy.com/p/pZXn7SZQyO45
https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/Hctc107221
raysun
Forum Emperor
Posts: 7777
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:57 am
My RE system: Flexpower Two: (2) FXR3048A-01, (2) FM80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
6 SimpliPhi 3.8-48 (48v @ 75AH. 450AH total)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: FXR3048 and FM60 updates and compatibility questions

Post by raysun »

You cannot sell unless your battery has reached sell voltage, which usually means it has also reached float voltage. That doesn't mean that the battery is fully charged though
Interesting point.
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