thebelcherman avatar image
thebelcherman posted

Cerbo GX MK1 & 2 vs Raspberry Pi 4 Model B - The facts.

Wrote this article after receiving my Cerbo GX MK2.

I had been running Venus on a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B for 3 or 4 months.

Was very happy with it, just rock solid. Never once, did I feel like it was being pushed beyond it's processing power.

Not long after setting up the Pi did I realized it's limitations. And the list was long.

No native CAN-Bus support, no relay's, no digital inputs, tank sensors and finally no VE.Direct ports.

VE.Direct was easily dealt with, using Victron's VE.Direct to USB dongle. The others were a little more challenging.

That's when I joined the community, developing code to help overcome these limitations.

The particular project I was working on was @fguiot (aka Lucifer06) RemoteGPIO. This project adds additional Relay's and Digital inputs to any device running Venus OS. But did take long to figured out there was an issue with the Digital inputs not functioning on the Raspberry Pi.

Spent some time and resolved the problem. Now I needed a real GX to make sure that my code ran on it, without issues. Figuring the Cerbo had to be the most popular GX device out there, I placed my order.

My Cerbo GX MK2 arrived, and I fired it up. Launched the Victron Remote Console and was greeted with a very underwhelming experience. Just going from page to page in the Console was painful, analogy would be like trying to walk in 3ft of snow. I had to see what was under the hood of the MK2, it was obviously struggling.

Off I went to get some specifications of the Cerbo's SoC. I couldn't find anything published on the topic and probably for good reason, I wouldn't publish it either.

Pretty clear from my findings, why it behaves like it does.

Specification Cerbo GX Raspberry Pi 4 Model B


Architecture: armv7l arm7l

CPU(s) 2 4

Thread(s) per core: 1 1

Core(s) per socket: 2 4

Socket(s): 1 1

Vendor ID: ARM ARM

Model name: Cortex-A7 Cortex-A72

CPU max MHz: 960.0 1500.0

CPU min MHz: 144.0 600.0

MIPS: 50.52 108.00

The Cerbo GX MK1 & 2's SoC is based on the Cortex-A7 that was first released back in 2011. Half the CPU cores, half the clock speed and scoring just under half the number of MIPS as 5 year old Pi.

Now I know why the Cerbo GX experience feels like it does. It just doesn't posses the processing power necessary for a fluid experience.

$45 Pi verses a $350 Cerbo. My baseless expectation was that it would at least keep pace with Raspberry Pi 4 model B. Never even crossed my mind, that a device that was released Q1 2024 maybe late 2023 in some parts of the globe, would be so horribly under-powered. Really a same, would have taken a couple of month to do it right. If was wasn't developing for code for Venus, this thing would be going back to Vicrtron. Still might, it's so bad.

So any of you guys that started out like me on a Pi and think you'll be stepping up getting a Cerbo GX, you're are dead wrong. It's bad, really bad.

Asked my dealer to send me an Ekrano for testing, they didn't know what it had under the hood. But they did tell me it was substantially quicker. I'll update post this with my findings, once it arrives.

cerbo gxVenus OS
2 |3000

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Hi, yes the Cerbo is not a very powerful CPU.

Plenty powerful for 99% of systems out there, but not once having a large system. (Many components) and on top of that mod it and do lots of things with Node-RED. On the other hand, our stats shows lots and lots of cerbos out there running fine incl Node-RED flows.

We’ll have a faster version at some point, but it will take quite a while before we’re there I’m afraid.

More info on various hw architectures here:

1 Like 1 ·
enodev avatar image enodev commented ·

So the main question is:

What do you need the Cerbo GX for?

What did you need the Raspberry PI for?

What does success look like for you using these two?

As I understand things, the role of Cerbo GX is to provide interconnect for everything, coordinate everything, push data out to VRM and allow the system to run smoothly. For this you do not need much as @mvader (Victron Energy) explained.

Now some people root the system and start modding it adding potentially CPU intensive workloads to the heart of Victron system. Or enable Venus OS Large. Is that good? Is that recommended? Is that supported? I think the answer to many of these would be yes assuming you know what you are doing. I understand that from tinkerer's perspective it's an attractive option.

But do you really know what you are doing? Are you really sure that your Node-RED flows are not causing CPU to go 100% - and accidentally preventing Venus from throttling PV charger and stopping excessive power feeding into grid when feeding to grid is disabled or penalised with negative prices? Are you really sure?

So I think I would these days advise against running more stuff on Cerbo. Put your own Raspberry PI aside and do whatever you wish with it, overclock it, install whatever software you like, experiment, talk to Cerbo over MQTT or DBus TCP/IP and leave it alone tested and running smoothly.

That brings us to the other question. Is Cerbo expensive compared to RPI? Remember the price is not a sum of the parts only. It's tested, certified, and working as intended. Do not want to pay the price? Fine... alternatives exist and you pay less upfront and more with the daily maintenance... everybody is different...

I for one welcome the variety of options that Victron offers, but think that the time will come when these options will need to be tightened more to assure for safety, electricity can be dangerous and software is simply too fragile...

just my .002 cents,


1 Like 1 ·
Michelle Konzack avatar image Michelle Konzack enodev commented ·

Ths exactly what I was thinking several times the last year when I read that the CerboGX is not powerful enough. It seems, most peoples do not understand the concept.

0 Likes 0 ·
prein avatar image prein commented ·

I stepped up from a raspberry and found that:

- native CAN / VE Bus interfaces are a real benefit. Having a raspberry in my boat with lots of cables and add-ons to make it work.. It was a real mess, very unprofessional. Now with the cerbo it is just a very clean install.

So when I went to create my ESS I didn't hesitate to go for the cerbo directly.

Off course: the pi4 is quicker, but there's more to life than just CPU performance. I find the performance of the Cerbo very acceptable. For me the raspberry pi was an easy way to get me addicted to the venus os. They did a great job by addicting me and have me buy a cerbo ;)

And yes I have to admit: I would have preferred the ekrano when I built my ess at home. But the price has me revert to the cerbo over the performance improvement of the ekrano..

0 Likes 0 ·
Al avatar image Al commented ·

The Ekrano is quad core, so should be good for most people now struggling with the Cerbo.

It's a real shame the MK2 Cerbo is still only 2 core, I guess it takes time to develop a product and Victron weren't expecting so many people to use Mods that the Cerbo already can't support.

I'll have to sell my recently upgraded from a CCGX to MK1 Cerbo and get a rpi4 because the MK1 is too unstable and can't handle the mods I need with "unsupported batteries", I will often get error #65 No BMS or "low Voltage" power shutdowns because the CPU is too slow and overloaded to connect the battery drivers in time - The "No BMS / Low voltage" is a flawed but fixable bad logic for DIYers, but I'm currently in the minority asking for it to be set by the user : (

The Ekrano with a mounted screen isn't useful where all my cables currently are, so it's not an option for me or many others now either.

So it now looks like the best option is the raspi Stetson hat, hopefully it can still be bought to simplify turning a rpi4 more plug and play:

0 Likes 0 ·



TheBelcherMan contributed to this article