Originally Posted by caltexflanc
You really have to ask, "which Xantrex?". The one from 10 years ago before they were bought out by a private equity firm? or the one run by the private equity firm? or the one today, owned by the Schneider Group of France? Anecdotally, I hear things have got better since the Schneider acquisition.
This is a good point. Here's a rough history:
- Heart Interface made the Freedom inverter chargers show in a previous post. These were crude, but worked, and arguably started the use of inverters in pleasure boats. They also made all the Link battery monitor devices that many people still use today.
- Trace made a very good line of inverters. The DS (I think) models were modified square wave, and the SW models were sine wave. The SW models arguable ushered in the world of sine wave inverters. These were excellent devices.
- Then along came Xantrex, then a Canadian company. They bought Heart, Trace, and a handful of other lower end consumer inverter companies. I'm not sure, but I don't think they ever designed and built anything themselves, but just bought up all the inverter companies out there at the time. At this point everything started getting labeled Xantrex and things became confusing because some of the products were crap and some were still good. Support went to hell and the downward spiral began.
- The Trace guys left and started Outback, and built another line of good products. Their initial product line was the "FX" line, which internally stood for Fu$k Xantrex.
- I'm told that Magnum was also started by another Trace refugee.
- Xantrex attempted to create a more modern version of the SW inverter and it was a complete dud. They also tried to do a firmware update for the original SW so it would meet the new grid-tie regulations and it broke as many things as it fixed.
- The only good thing to come out of Xantrex is the newer (5 yrs old now) XW line of inverters. I've been running my house on one for about 7 years now and they are really quite good.
- Schneider buys Xantrex and appears to do three things:
1) They move the XW line under the Schneider name and target it as a industrial product. The XW line, for example, is not on the Xantrex web site, only the Schneider site.
2) Everything else remains under the Xantrex name, presumably targeted at consumer and commercial applications.
3) They appear to be actively culling the Xantrex product line through aggressive neglect. Looking at their product line up now, many of the problem products appear only in name. But the designs look different. I understand wanting to flush bad products from the market, but normally you would not want to take the company's down the crapper with them. Oh well, can't win them all.
So that's my understanding/interpretation. Anyone got any other dirt?