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Genetry Solar Forums may shutdown


Sean Genetry Solar
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As the title says we are looking at cost cutting measures that do not directly impact our inverters. Over the past year we have spent more money developing our product than we have made and if we wish to continue to operate we will need to cut where we can till our product development is complete and we are able to keep sales at a regular pace. This forum costs us about 50 dollars per month to operate and while that may seem small to many, it does add up over time.

We just paid for October so if the forums do close it will not be till November. We are open to ideas on how we can keep this forum open and running.

 

Thank you

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That seems a bit expensive, but I have no idea what you get in return for that money.  Hitting up Google et al returns a bucket of cheaper options.

I think it would be a mistake to shut the forum as, even though there isn't a lot going on here, it is a good place for people to receive tech support and advice on the Genetry inverters and associated products.

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29 minutes ago, TheButcher said:

That seems a bit expensive, but I have no idea what you get in return for that money. 

What do we get?  A pretty nice and modern-looking forum.

There are numerous free options, but most of them look extremely "dated" (phpBB for one!) and require a server ($10-15/month) to host the site.  We were hoping to have a full website redesign with direct forum and inverter data integration, etc., to combine and reduce all costs in those regards....but so far that's still a project on the burner.

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37 minutes ago, Bwicked007 said:

Thoughts on Patreon or Discord apps? If y’all do get rid of this forum, which I hope not because I just got here lol.

The goal is to roll the website + inverter data server + forum into a single web host cost.  But obviously as the current forum host isn't free (though it is a very nice setup), we likely will have to switch forum providers to a free one we can self-host.

Don't want to get rid of the forum, that's for sure.  But numbers are numbers.

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Looks like your using SquareSpace for the main site and Invision for the Forum. Correct me if I'm wrong. I've been using Wordpress for 20+ years and do it myself. Cost me $30.00 / mo for hosting at GoDaddy. Use Woocommerce for the ECommerce Plugin. I just have a basic site showing my products. If I wanted to add a forum it would probably take a few hours and I could use a Free Plugin. I like SquareSpace and think their prices are fair. $50.00 a month just for a forum is way too much.

GoDaddy has a basic web site for $5.99 / mo. that supports Wordpress. You could set up a Wordpress Forum only site there and link to it from SquareSpace.

Let me know if I can help. I would like to do this for you but I'm swamped with orders and development right now.

later, DeWayne
https://www.opennrg.com/

 

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8 hours ago, OpenNRG said:

Looks like your using SquareSpace for the main site and Invision for the Forum.

That is correct.  Both were easy to come by, but neither are fitting the bill for us super well...

 

Goal is <$30/month for a VPS that runs the website (including eCommerce), the WiFi server and the forums--all tightly integrated.  No monthly subscription fees.  But that requires web programmers who actually know how to make stuff work, not just stacking modules together....

...yeah, that's why it's taking awhile 😉.

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I don't see a way to edit posts here. Correction - Used Wordpress for about 8 years. Before that used Dreamweaver.

If you go with Wordpress / GoDaddy you'll be at the <$30.00/mo mark. Benefit of Wordpress is you have complete control. Modules (Plugins) save time.

It's easy to learn and get your site up. If you need custom code written their are lots of freelancers out there that do it for a living. Lots of support forums.

Getting a Web Design firm to do the whole site from scratch would cost a lot of money.

I would look at some Wordpress forums, pick one, and post what I need to accomplish. See what kind of response I get.

I really want you guys to do well. We need good, reliable, supported inverters. I can't think of another company I would buy an inverter from. Mostly because you are so open about everything and so accessible.

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6 hours ago, OpenNRG said:

Getting a Web Design firm to do the whole site from scratch would cost a lot of money.

True.  The other option is to utilize the help of various customers/forum members...which is the current plan, albeit moving at a bit of a slower pace.

Can do SOME coding myself (the wifi.genetrysolar.com webpage is entirely written by me...spending DAYS on Google trying to figure out things step by step).  I'd rather not, as it takes more than enough time to work on the inverter designs/boards/code, etc., etc.

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Before I went to Wordpress I looked at all the "Easy" options. At that time they didn't offer the features I was looking for. Now days it seems several are well featured.

Curious: If I copy and paste the wifi.genetrysolar.com (no https://www. in front) from your post above it opens to login. I did sign up.... Nice.... If I go to https://www.genetrysolar.com and add "wifi." in front of it I get "can't find site". Take the secure (s) off http and it loads. Where or how are you hosting the WiFi Page?

You can add custom code to Squarespace but is it worth the time. I believe the fastest, easiest and cheapest path for right now is to register genetryforums.com at GoDaddy. Host it on GoDaddy for $5.99/mo.. Add a forum plugin for free. Export your current forum to the new forum. Later, you can move your site over to Wordpress if you want.

I'm glad I took the time to look into Squarespace a little. Was vaguely considering moving my site to it. Now I know I won't.

My opinion is you guys could be on a much needed path. A good forum is a major asset. It doesn't just have to be a about your inverters. My energy (Demco) just went up 28% to 12.8 cents / kwh. I know that is still below national average. What pisses me off is they sold it in the news as a 7 cent raise and then added a bunch of misc charges. Most people wont take the time to do the simple math and know what it really was.

Let me know if you are interested in this path and I'll continue either here are through email.

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43 minutes ago, OpenNRG said:

Curious: If I copy and paste the wifi.genetrysolar.com (no https://www. in front) from your post above it opens to login. I did sign up.... Nice.... If I go to https://www.genetrysolar.com and add "wifi." in front of it I get "can't find site". Take the secure (s) off http and it loads. Where or how are you hosting the WiFi Page?

It got broken when I updated the SSL cert....for whatever reason, the SSL cert update bot ALWAYS rewrites the HTTPS security on that server--and I evidently broke it trying to restore it back to how I had it.  Need to try to fix it...again...

The "wifi.genetrysolar.com" server should force-redirect to HTTPS.  However, there's a special clause that's the proverbial monkey wrench in the gears that's causing me a headache.

WiFi is a LAMP stack on an AWS server slice.  Was free for a year, haha.

 

45 minutes ago, OpenNRG said:

You can add custom code to Squarespace but is it worth the time.

Nope.  SquareSpace is such a closed system that it's not even worth using.  It's easy to use if someone's selling shirts from China.  Now, an IoT product?  Nope, not even close.  Shopify is a tad more flexible, but still difficult.

 

 

As far as a redesign, we have our sights set high.  Fully integrated solution, not a "thrown together bumble" of various ill-fitting plugins.  All 3 sections (e-commerce, forum, and WiFi access) using the same authentication--i.e. no need for 3 separate user accounts.  And all 3 sections tightly integrated into each other so tightly that you can't tell where one ends and another begins.  Go to Genetrysolar.com -> log in -> My Inverters -> list of inverters -> click one -> current inverter status.  Click another tab: bam, you're in the forum (already logged in). 

Yeah, there is no off-the-shelf solution for that...I am fully aware.

Looks like we'll be switching the forums to Simple Machine Forums (SMF) at some point in the near future.  Free to use, looks decent, very customizable, integratable, has importers for IPB, etc., etc.

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