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Victron MPPT display


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2 minutes ago, Mike Tee said:

I don't think anyone answered the question about sim card being necessary - so take the sim out of your present phone and give it a go!

If it's a Bluetooth or WiFi connx from onboard then no you don't need a SIM.

Each unit if fitted with Bluetooth is direct connectable using Victron connect software and can be linked into a local Bluetooth network.

Cerbo GX uses WiFi or a SIM card to put data on the net so VRM world (VRM Pro software) comes into play.

Cerbo also has a Bluetooth link that can be used although it appears a little limited compared to the SIM/WiFi connection.

 

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1 hour ago, cheesegas said:

It's Victron's system controller - basically a little computer running a modified Linux distribution which connects to your Victron MPPTs/inverter etc (and some non-Victron kit too) to aggregate and share data amongst them. There's an active DIY modification scene on the official Victron forums too as it's quite powerful and and can be made to do a lot of interesting things.

very much recommended due to the monitoring side... from anywhere!

image.png.1ecee4996922b638938816f4f740a007.png

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10 minutes ago, robtheplod said:

very much recommended due to the monitoring side... from anywhere!

image.png.1ecee4996922b638938816f4f740a007.png

Yep it was my Cerbo running off the batteries (WiFi too) that informed me my old 1600 inverter had failed whilst I was away last year.

Only time I went on holiday, over a thousand miles away and I get an alert that the inverter had failed, aargghh.

Shows it works tho 😊

Edited by NarrowboatTor
Misspelled
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57 minutes ago, NarrowboatTor said:

If it's a Bluetooth or WiFi connx from onboard then no you don't need a SIM.

Each unit if fitted with Bluetooth is direct connectable using Victron connect software and can be linked into a local Bluetooth network.

Cerbo GX uses WiFi or a SIM card to put data on the net so VRM world (VRM Pro software) comes into play.

Cerbo also has a Bluetooth link that can be used although it appears a little limited compared to the SIM/WiFi connection.

The Cerbo GX doesn't have a SIM card slot or 4G modem - for local monitoring only, it will however function fine with a wired ethernet or wifi connection, to allow another device on the local network such as a phone or tablet to view the Venus dashboard in a browser. This is different to VictronConnect as it's an overall view of all the energy flow, served by the Cerbo. 

 

However, to use VRM and/or access your installation from outside the network, it needs a means to access the internet - something like a 4G router on the local network or a wifi bridge to connect to the internet via your marina's wifi network. 

 

The only Victron device with native 4G connectivity is the GlobalLink 420, which is sort of a very limited version of the Cerbo, only supporting Bluetooth and ve.direct devices. You can also buy a USB dongle for the GX range which is basically a 4G modem and GPS antenna.

 

 

22 minutes ago, robtheplod said:

very much recommended due to the monitoring side... from anywhere!

Yep! It's also worth noting that VRM has a handy built in proxy feature, so the NodeRed dashboard I posted earlier can be viewed and configured remotely too. 

Edited by cheesegas
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Yep my apologies it's an "optional" GSM modem that can be added, my bad (really must learn to read the full details when I install things).

Works great on WiFi and Bluetooth tho keeps telling me (flashing orange led) it's not connected when it plainly is.

 

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My system can be monitored from anywhere without the expense of a Cerbo.

Just a 4g tablet running TeamViewer Bluetooth to the devices and that it cost me £20 and works.

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1 minute ago, GUMPY said:

My system can be monitored from anywhere without the expense of a Cerbo.

Just a 4g tablet running TeamViewer Bluetooth to the devices and that it cost me £20 and works.

If remote monitoring is all you need then that sounds like a good solution - however, the Cerbo does one heck of a lot more than just remote monitoring and that's not generally its sole intended purpose. However, I agree that not every system needs a Cerbo, but for more complex systems where you need to do things like set current limits, talk to a battery management board and need automation, that's where it comes in handy.

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I can also talk to the battery monitor system and set current limits etc, plus it gives me location data as well and make a phone call or send a txt 😉

Anything that is available locally is available remotely and it didn't cost £400 but I did have to argue with TeamViewer about personal use😟

 

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1 minute ago, GUMPY said:

I can also talk to the battery monitor system and set current limits etc, plus it gives me location data as well and make a phone call or send a txt 😉

Anything that is available locally is available remotely and it didn't cost £400 but I did have to argue with TeamViewer about personal use😟

Ah sorry, what I meant by current limiting is something which only the Cerbo can achieve. If you have a lithium battery, the management board will have a maximum current rating - let's say 120a. However, if you also have a 150a alternator connected via an external regulator along with a decent solar setup and a 70a MPPT, it's entirely possible to overload the battery management board by trying to charge with a current over 120a; due to the nature of lithium batteries, it'll happily accept it! This results in a high charge current disconnect.

 

The Cerbo will talk to the various charge sources and tell them to reduce their output to keep the total under 120a. The same feature will also share battery voltage and temperature amongst all charge sources, although this can also be done via a standalone ve.smart Bluetooth network. 

 

There's also a couple of relays built in which are very useful - I have a single alternator setup with a lead starter and lithium house bank. One of the relays is set up to turn on the DC-DC charger to charge the starter battery when the engine's running or if the voltage drops below a certain point.

 

For a more complex system usually seen on big cruisers, you also have input for tank level sensors and it will connect to a marine multifunction display over NMEA2k to show battery and electrical system info on that. It's also able to automatically start and stop an onboard generator according to load and state of charge of the batteries. Again, not that common on narrowboats but plenty on high end cruisers.

 

The Cerbo is around £200 now; almost the same price as a Raspberry Pi with all the USB to ve.direct/bus dongles. It's a totally difference device with a totally different use case compared to a tablet hooked up to Teamviewer for remote monitoring... Either solution can be good for your needs.

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Not something that could ever possibly be of use  in my system. LifePo4 105ah battery charged by Victron IP22 charger or MPPT controller both of which will never reach the 100amp limit on the charge rate. Neither will the car alternator as that is limited by the cars software to 5amps 😱

Everything needed can be done on the tablet easily. 

 

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Posted (edited)

Well it seemed like a good idea, but the tablet I got consumed about an amp plugged in to recharge it. Looking at the discharge rates of the tablet battery it looked like it would last a few hours, so I estimated I'd be using about 20ah/day to keep the tablet charged. Waste of time. I'll send it back to Amazon and just use my phone like everyone else...

Edited by blackrose
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5 minutes ago, blackrose said:

Well it seemed like a good idea, but the tablet I got consumed about an amp plugged in to recharge it. Looking at the discharge rates of the tablet battery it looked like it would last a few hours, so I estimated I'd be using about 20ah/day to keep the tablet charged. Waste of time. I'll send it back to Amazon and just use my phone like everyone else...

That estimate seems high. I have an old Amazon Fire tablet I found in the bin on my wall - that uses 0.1-0.2a in standby with the screen off. 

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45 minutes ago, cheesegas said:

That estimate seems high. I have an old Amazon Fire tablet I found in the bin on my wall - that uses 0.1-0.2a in standby with the screen off. 

The tablet I use is so low I can't measure it. Even with the panels switched off there appears to be no current drawn by the tablet or the TP M7350. Both batteries are at 100% so there will only be a small top up charge.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, cheesegas said:

That estimate seems high. I have an old Amazon Fire tablet I found in the bin on my wall - that uses 0.1-0.2a in standby with the screen off. 

 

The estimate was based on a reading. It draws about 1A while being charged with the screen on. Perhaps that's what you get with a cheap no-name tablet.

Edited by blackrose
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10 hours ago, blackrose said:

The estimate was based on a reading. It draws about 1A while being charged with the screen on. Perhaps that's what you get with a cheap no-name tablet.

Ah, whilst charging - that'll be it. Wait until it's fully charged and take another reading, I expect it'll be around a tenth of that. I'd have expected a decent tablet to use less power - or the same - as a cheap Amazon Fire. Mine doesn't do anything other that display a web page in a kiosk browser though.

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Posted (edited)

I gave up on the idea of a tablet and sent the one I'd bought back to Amazon. 

 

Instead I bought the Victron display for the MPPT for 32 quid which I'm happy with. It's always on and you don't need to wait for an app to load to see any figures. 

 

Before I fitted it I kept looking at the MPPT and somehow expecting to see something before reaching for my phone. Now I just use the app if I need any more detail, history, etc. The other good thing about the Victron display is that it gives you MPPT temperature which I don't think you get on the app. A couple of weeks ago I measured MPPT temp at 45C with my IR thermometer on a sunny day at full output and it's only supposed to have an operating temp of 40C maximum so I was a bit concerned, but I'm not sure how accurate the thermometer is. 

 

To be on the safe side I mounted the MPPT on an old stainless eberspacher mounting bracket that I had in my junk bin, which I sprayed black with stove paint. It's the perfect size. I used some big nuts as spacers between the MPPT and the bracket so I'm hoping that will act as an additional heat sink and maybe result in increased airflow around the back of the MPPT.

 

The installation instructions say it's supposed to be mounted on a non-combustible surface, but I wonder how many people actually do that? 

 

IMG_20240710_132203.jpg

Edited by blackrose
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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, PeterF said:

Is the 40degC max operating the maximum ambient temperature rather than the maximum unit temperature.

 

Operating temperature: -30C to +60C (full rated output up to 40C)

 

I read it that the unit shouldn't exceed 40C but perhaps I've misunderstood?

Edited by blackrose
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9 minutes ago, blackrose said:

 

Operating temperature: -30C to +60C (full rated output up to 40C)

 

I read it that the unit shouldn't exceed 40C but perhaps I've misunderstood?

40degC will be when the unit starts derating and throttling the charge current. 

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1 hour ago, blackrose said:

Ah so the unit can go up to 60C safely?

Yes, but as with all things electrical the cooler the better. Some people have mounted the MPPT on 1cm standoffs to allow more cooling air to flow and keep them cooler.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, PeterF said:

Yes, but as with all things electrical the cooler the better. Some people have mounted the MPPT on 1cm standoffs to allow more cooling air to flow and keep them cooler.

 

Yes that's what I've done but mine is now about 3cm away from the wall with a black metal plate between as a non- combustible mounting surface and to absorb/dissipate some of the heat. 

 

IMG_20240710_214612.jpg

Edited by blackrose
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