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Victron Components


JJS
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Hi Guys,

I am investigating if by changing to Victron components if I can make my system work better and to fully utilize the Victron VRM portal.

Currently running is a Microcare 5kw inverter and 60 amp MPPT and DIY LifePo4 battery with its bluetooth BMS.

If I would would change to the following would I be able to get all the data required and shown on a Venus GX.

Bring in a Victron Venus GX, replace the MPPT with a Victron one, putting a BMV712 between the Microcare inverter and battery, install a ET112 on incoming Eskom feed and another ET112 on the inverter output and us their data on the Venus ?

Will these all talk and connect in harmony with the Venus and will the MPPT as example use the BMV's info to determine the SOC of my DIY battery ?

Thanks

 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, JJS said:

Will these all talk and connect in harmony with the Venus and will the MPPT as example use the BMV's info to determine the SOC of my DIY battery ?

So basically you'll be installing all Victron stuff except for the inverter. Yes, it will log all those things to VRM. This works even for small setups that has only an MPPT (one customer use them to monitor camera-on-a-pole type setups that has only an MPPT). Of course the inverter itself cannot be monitored, it will be a DC load in the system and you'll only see the difference between the inverter draw and what the MPPT makes as battery current, measured by the BMV.

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33 minutes ago, plonkster said:

So basically you'll be installing all Victron stuff except for the inverter. Yes, it will log all those things to VRM. This works even for small setups that has only an MPPT (one customer use them to monitor camera-on-a-pole type setups that has only an MPPT). Of course the inverter itself cannot be monitored, it will be a DC load in the system and you'll only see the difference between the inverter draw and what the MPPT makes as battery current, measured by the BMV.

 

Thanks @plonkster

Idea is to one day get a Victron inverter but that not going to happen soon.

I know this is not the real image but it works for my explanation :)

Would I be able to get this info, like the "Grid" from the ET112 ,  "AC loads" from another ET112,   "PV Charger" from the MPPT,    "Battery" from the BMV and would "DC Power" then be the inverter load also from the BMV ?

 

Not sure whats the difference between AC and Critical Loads.

 

image.png.b203715395900459315a27dd416affc0.png

Edited by JJS
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14 minutes ago, JJS said:

DC Power

 

You'll see something like the below. I simulated with a three-phase meter, so it shows three values under AC Loads, but on a single phase system you'll see just one value.

The DC loads value is simply a subtraction sum. It just subtracts what is missing, in this case 489W + 271W = 760W

Selection_642.png.ae8facc5bd9c9aa6975c0a80e2b5db9e.png

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52 minutes ago, plonkster said:

 

You'll see something like the below. I simulated with a three-phase meter, so it shows three values under AC Loads, but on a single phase system you'll see just one value.

The DC loads value is simply a subtraction sum. It just subtracts what is missing, in this case 489W + 271W = 760W

Selection_642.png.ae8facc5bd9c9aa6975c0a80e2b5db9e.png

Thanks a plenty again :)

Another semi related question, the Victron MPPT's, once they go into float with a full battery but suddenly there is a high load coming from the house, do they go into boost again or just supply the power needed if the panels can support the load ?

 

Reason I ask is, my Microcare goes into float pre-maturely battery still has like 20% to go then it outputs much less power from the panels and them if I add load from the house it cannot pull that load until I reset the panel breaker and it goes to boost again.

 

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10 minutes ago, JJS said:

Another semi related question, the Victron MPPT's, once they go into float with a full battery but suddenly there is a high load coming from the house, do they go into boost again or just supply the power needed if the panels can support the load ?

If the voltage drops low enough, they will go back into Bulk mode and repeat the cycle (Bulk, absorb, float). Victron chargers use something called Adaptive Charging, which means the absorption phase is not a constnat amount of time, rather the time it stays in Absorb is determined by how long it took to get from Bulk to Absorb.

So if the voltage drops low enough to trigger another bulk cycle, but it charges up quickly, then it will go back to float sooner.

If it can handle the load purely from PV without the voltage dropping low enough to trigger another cycle, it will remain in float mode.

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10 minutes ago, JJS said:

the Victron MPPT's, once they go into float with a full battery but suddenly there is a high load coming from the house, do they go into boost again or just supply the power needed if the panels can support the load ?

The SmartSolar willbe able to handle this and start charging if the SOC lowers again. The only time I have found the SmartSolar goes into a holding pattern state is when the connection the the battery BMS is lost. 

 

2 hours ago, JJS said:

DIY LifePo4 battery with its bluetooth BMS.

Which BMS do you have for your DIY battery? If it has bluetooth, that would be connected to the BMS using a serial connection and in that case you might get much more by using my serial battery driver and skipping the BMV.

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2 hours ago, Louisvdw said:

The SmartSolar willbe able to handle this and start charging if the SOC lowers again. The only time I have found the SmartSolar goes into a holding pattern state is when the connection the the battery BMS is lost. 

 

Which BMS do you have for your DIY battery? If it has bluetooth, that would be connected to the BMS using a serial connection and in that case you might get much more by using my serial battery driver and skipping the BMV.

I have a ANTBMS and you have my 110% attention when you say serial battery driver, please elaborate Louis :)

My new PI was delivered today to try and get it going and get data from the BMS

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2 hours ago, plonkster said:

If the voltage drops low enough, they will go back into Bulk mode and repeat the cycle (Bulk, absorb, float). Victron chargers use something called Adaptive Charging, which means the absorption phase is not a constnat amount of time, rather the time it stays in Absorb is determined by how long it took to get from Bulk to Absorb.

So if the voltage drops low enough to trigger another bulk cycle, but it charges up quickly, then it will go back to float sooner.

If it can handle the load purely from PV without the voltage dropping low enough to trigger another cycle, it will remain in float mode.

I have a feeling this is what my microcare is doing, if the day is lazy solar then after a certain amount of time of boosting it just goes to float for the fun of it, i cannot put my finger on it, very random

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1 hour ago, JJS said:

I have a ANTBMS and you have my 110% attention when you say serial battery driver, please elaborate Louis

So the ANT does have an interface to connect to that screen. I guess that is also where you plug in the bluetooth?
If it an normal RS232 or RS485 serial interface, all you need is a USB-232 or USB 485 cable that you can connect to the Pi. 
Then we do need the command protocol that your BMS works with, You should be able do get this from your supplier of the manufacturer and I can adjust my driver to talk to your ANT BMS as well. It should just be a set of hex characters we send the BMS and then we need to decode the result. My driver does this and publish the values on the Venus OS device (your PI running Venus OS, or a GX device)

More information on my driver and what it can do is in my install thread here

More

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8 minutes ago, Louisvdw said:

So the ANT does have an interface to connect to that screen. I guess that is also where you plug in the bluetooth?
If it an normal RS232 or RS485 serial interface, all you need is a USB-232 or USB 485 cable that you can connect to the Pi. 
Then we do need the command protocol that your BMS works with, You should be able do get this from your supplier of the manufacturer and I can adjust my driver to talk to your ANT BMS as well. It should just be a set of hex characters we send the BMS and then we need to decode the result. My driver does this and publish the values on the Venus OS device (your PI running Venus OS, or a GX device)

More information on my driver and what it can do is in my install thread here

More

Nope. The ant BMS bluetooth part sits on the BMS. The screen output rs485 that go's to the board that process all the info for the screen. I got the python script to upload to a Pi to pull the data off the bms to Grafana. 

6dd2959d1bc68746ec97d61e36a3855e.jpg

Edited by Gerlach
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Here some better photos of one of them. I think this is a lower amp version. My got FIT's on both side. @plonkster Jip. Looks like a ESP. I got the 3de bms on it's way, slooooowwwwllllyyyyy. I will open that one and take some close photos. 

0f4985cbaa807c6bf6f9e1c8a2b7b918232e589d_2_690x387.jpeg

3df7e30e1eb2412cf188d2291d94a46ab1a6edaf_2_690x388.jpeg

ee08b61f3744cc8c599a1ab2a951d420707f347a_2_690x388.jpeg

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11 hours ago, JJS said:

I have a feeling this is what my microcare is doing, if the day is lazy solar then after a certain amount of time of boosting it just goes to float for the fun of it, i cannot put my finger on it, very random

To add what JJS where posting about, we were talking off forum allot, I had the same problem with my Microcare MPPT. When I started with my first lifepo4 bank, It will charge it full, go in float and stay on float then. If there is demand from the inverter, it will start taking from the lifepo4 bank, and a bit from the the MPPT where the MPPT must have supply the full load. It will idol like this and put a bit back in to the lifepo4 in float mode and then will idol in low volts again, till you switch it over in Boost mode again and then it will charge at full. Same story in Float it will not supply "full" solar array power. 

Got my second Lifepo4 bank, first bank will charge full, second one will charge till there is 20ah still to go, then it will go in float. If you switch it over to boost again it will charge it full then. Bit off a problem when you not at home to check this. In lockdown I did a test, I connect my second MPPT and pulled one of the strings out of the first mppt combiner and moved it over to the second MPPT. Same settings then number 1 MPPT so that it can trail it. Now it works better, one will go in float and then the other one will keep running in boost till the 2 banks are full. 

The Microacare stuff work nice, but they got this small stuff that is a bit of problem. I even got the Battery and solar monitor stuff for mine and pain in the rear end just to get the RS converter working so that the MPPT's can connect to the monitor.

I think more and more to sell the Microcare mppt's off and get a MLT Nomad MPPT or Victron MPPT. 

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12 minutes ago, Gerlach said:

MLT Nomad MPPT or Victron MPPT

I am super happy with the Victron SmartSolar MPPT I have. (and it is a cheapy 100/20-48V) So you cant go wrong there in my opinion. 

And it is easy to get the data in/out if you want to tinker

Edited by Louisvdw
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2 hours ago, JJS said:

bluetooth or the screen rs485

The problem I can see is that bluetooth is disabled on the VenusOS for the Pi. And I do know that RS485 using FT232R chip does work, cause I tested that on the VenusOS Pi already. So I would say first option would be to use the RS485 and once that is working we can look at if the bluetooth option will work. Also I am not sure the serial-starter deamon that the VenusOS use to start the driver does work on bluetooth. I guest is might, but I don't know if that is in the serial ports it loops over. We will need to test that as well.

 

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1 hour ago, Louisvdw said:

bluetooth is disabled on the VenusOS for the Pi

That was done for expediency. You see, on th Rpi3 and later, there are two UARTs.  The one is a proper one, and the other is called a mini-UART as it is a little less complete, eg it does not have its own clock, its baud rate is relative to the cpu rate. By default the good UART is bound to the bluetooth chip.

But, the bootloader Venus uses (u-boot) needs a serial port for its console. This bootloader is required so that two versions of Venus can be loaded alternately, you can always boot back into the old one (that's why it doesn't simply use the proprietary Pi bootloader to boot the kernel directly).

There is a version of u-boot that runs without the serial port, but that would mean shipping two bootloaders, one for the rpi2 and one for the rpi3 and later.

It turned out to be far easier to just disable bluetooth, use the good UART for the serial port, and then there were fewer differences between the boards to worry about.

Given that at the time, there was just about nothing bluetooth worth talking to anyway, there was no real point in pursuing this further.

Now you can change that. But you'd have to cross-compile a new version of u-boot, and then change your config.txt to no longer swap the UARTs.

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