Interchanging / upgrading inverters

Discussion about OutBack Inverters in Off Grid Applications

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Escape Artist
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Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:04 am
My RE system: Outback FM80, dual Outback FX2024 inverters, 5kW PV, Bergey 1kW wind turbine, Mate v1

Interchanging / upgrading inverters

Post by Escape Artist »

Hello all:

I have two stacked FX2024 inverters on a 17-year old system I installed that I'd like to upgrade to a single VFXR3524 in order to be able to also upgrade from a Mate 1 to Mate 3. The old inverters are mounted to a first generation panel (preceding the Flex series).

My questions:
1. Do the newer inverters in the FX series have the same hardware mounting holes and overall dimensions as the old ones? That is, can I just swap out one for the other?

2. Are there new inverter inputs on the newer FX inverters that I should be aware of? (I've installed many of the newer ones for other customers but didn't do a head-to-head comparison between my old ones and these.)

3. Will the new Mate 3 work on my system if I upgrade the inverter? I have a 17-year-old hub and an FM80 charger that seem to be compatible but who knows?

Thanks for any help here. I tried going through phone support and gave up after being on hold for an hour.

James in Maine
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Mike Curran
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Posts: 2477
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, battery backup mode
All self-designed and self-installed
Location: Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Re: Interchanging / upgrading inverters

Post by Mike Curran »

Escape Artist wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 7:17 am Hello all:

I have two stacked FX2024 inverters on a 17-year old system I installed that I'd like to upgrade to a single VFXR3524 in order to be able to also upgrade from a Mate 1 to Mate 3. The old inverters are mounted to a first generation panel (preceding the Flex series).

My questions:
1. Do the newer inverters in the FX series have the same hardware mounting holes and overall dimensions as the old ones? That is, can I just swap out one for the other?
Yes
Escape Artist wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 7:17 am2. Are there new inverter inputs on the newer FX inverters that I should be aware of? (I've installed many of the newer ones for other customers but didn't do a head-to-head comparison between my old ones and these.)
No, just more operating modes to choose from.
Escape Artist wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 7:17 am3. Will the new Mate 3 work on my system if I upgrade the inverter? I have a 17-year-old hub and an FM80 charger that seem to be compatible but who knows?
Yes.

Note my answers are based on my experience upgrading from a pair of GVFXs to VFXRs.
https://smart.tigoenergy.com/p/pZXn7SZQyO45?date=2021-04-19
https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/Hctc107221
Escape Artist
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Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:04 am
My RE system: Outback FM80, dual Outback FX2024 inverters, 5kW PV, Bergey 1kW wind turbine, Mate v1

Re: Interchanging / upgrading inverters

Post by Escape Artist »

Thank you Mike. Much appreciated.
raysun
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Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:57 am
My RE system: Flexpower Two: (2) FXR3048A-01, (2) FM80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
SimpliPhi 48-3.8 (6 @ 48v)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: Interchanging / upgrading inverters

Post by raysun »

Also note, for the FXR class inverters the current model Mate3s is recommended. (The Mate3 is discontinued.)

The upgrade will be well worth the effort, even though (like me) most of the new FXR operating modes are grid-oriented and of no use to ofc-grid settings.

General efficiency, stacking modes, and battery compatibility are much improved. The Support mode, with the proper generator type, is a substantial performance feature improvement.
Escape Artist
Forum Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:04 am
My RE system: Outback FM80, dual Outback FX2024 inverters, 5kW PV, Bergey 1kW wind turbine, Mate v1

Re: Interchanging / upgrading inverters

Post by Escape Artist »

One more question:

Is the interchangeability maintained with the mobile versions of the Outback inverters? Looking at upgrading to the VFX3524M for the bonding options.
Escape Artist
Forum Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:04 am
My RE system: Outback FM80, dual Outback FX2024 inverters, 5kW PV, Bergey 1kW wind turbine, Mate v1

Re: Interchanging / upgrading inverters

Post by Escape Artist »

And before I go all in, is anyone aware of an inverter firmware or board upgrade for our first-generation FX2024T inverters (serial 657 and 658) that would allow them to communicate with a Mate3s and provide OpticsRE service?

James
JRHill
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Posts: 1869
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My RE system: VFXR3648, FM80, 3k panels, Mate3s, FNDC, 4ea 3.8 PHIs. EU7000is AGS. X240 with big Bertha way off in the shop. Off grid.
Location: PNW
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Re: Interchanging / upgrading inverters

Post by JRHill »

Just another thought: If you upgrade to a single inverter why not choose this time to go 48vdc? Maybe the wind turbine is the limiting issue (not to mention a matched battery bank)?
User avatar
Mike Curran
Forum Emperor
Posts: 2477
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, battery backup mode
All self-designed and self-installed
Location: Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Re: Interchanging / upgrading inverters

Post by Mike Curran »

Escape Artist wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:00 am And before I go all in, is anyone aware of an inverter firmware or board upgrade for our first-generation FX2024T inverters (serial 657 and 658) that would allow them to communicate with a Mate3s and provide OpticsRE service?

James
When I upgraded to a Mate3, and then 3s as a warranty replacement, they both provided the web interface and Optics functionality with my GVFX inverters. So maybe you should do the Mate upgrade first before replacing your inverters, if Optics is your main goal. I suspect you will get that, staying with your older inverters. No firmware or board upgrade needed.
https://smart.tigoenergy.com/p/pZXn7SZQyO45?date=2021-04-19
https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/Hctc107221
Escape Artist
Forum Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:04 am
My RE system: Outback FM80, dual Outback FX2024 inverters, 5kW PV, Bergey 1kW wind turbine, Mate v1

Re: Interchanging / upgrading inverters

Post by Escape Artist »

Just spoke with Outback installer support (third try). No go on Mate3s compatibility with pre-2005 inverters (even though some tech specs say that the 3s works with all Outback inverters). Also, even if I had a new enough inverter, OpticsRE does not work with inverters that have pre-061 firmware.

Two options were offered: (1) Replace all three circuit boards on both my older inverters so the current firmware would apply. (2) Upgrade my inverters.

Also got solid confirmation that all inverters share the same mounting holes and dimensions.

Thanks to all on this forum for your help. It's really appreciated.
raysun
Forum Emperor
Posts: 5617
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:57 am
My RE system: Flexpower Two: (2) FXR3048A-01, (2) FM80, MATE3s, FlexNetDC
SimpliPhi 48-3.8 (6 @ 48v)
Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: Interchanging / upgrading inverters

Post by raysun »

Two options were offered: (1) Replace all three circuit boards on both my older inverters so the current firmware would apply. (2) Upgrade my inverters.
Option (1) would seem a fairly expensive option to get Optics support. While the electronics on the inverters would be new, the power circuit electric components, namely the transformer and main capacitor, would still be original. They are long-lasting components, but don't have infinite life. After 10 - 15 years, capacitors especially can be approaching end of life.

Option (2) addresses all the issues above, and adds functionality to boot. It also opens up the opportunity for configuration changes, potentially adding to overall system efficiency.
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