Michael Riley avatar image
Michael Riley asked

How to Connect a VenusGX and VRM on a sailing boat

How to Connect a VenusGX to VRM using an Apple iPhone 6 from a sailing catamaran at sea.

Initially I tried using the built-in WIFI. Configured the Venus and could 'see' various local WIFI networks. Turned on my iPhone WIFI and then my 'hotspot'. Tried connecting to my phone which was about 1 m away from the Venus and I could 'see' the phone. It took a while to finally show that it would not connect and failed.

I have a USB WIFI (Victron) so inserted that into the Venus and re-booted it. Logged in again using the local web server [(WIFI to Venus and then Safari to IP address)]. The signal strength of my phone (hot spot) was now full - up from 60%. Selected my phone name and then used the local keypad on the Lynx to select and enter the password. (Note here - you can use the computer keyboard - the local up down/left right and enter wheels are cumbersome). Entered <return>.

The screen jumped back to the <phone> name screen and it took ages to finally 'Connected'. At that point I changed my wifi connection on the MacBook leaving the Venus connected to my phones hotspot.

Changed my connection to another hotspot (my wife's iPhone) - logged into VRM and there was my installation - all the devices up and working. Did some software updating and downloaded some Mulit Settings using remote VE.Configure on the VRM website.

All working great (from East Coast Australia - Gold Coast).

Venus OSVenus GX - VGXVEConfigure 3
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2 Answers
mvader (Victron Energy) avatar image
mvader (Victron Energy) answered ·

Hi Michael, nice! Thank you for sharing the info.

To have an wasy internet connection always; you could consider installing a 4G router on the boat; with an antenna. There are various brands available; see Google & co.

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Michael Riley avatar image
Michael Riley answered ·

@mvader (Victron Energy Staff)

Thanks Matthijs for the info.

I use a GSM booster with either an omni directional (preferred and easy) or a Yagi antenna to get very good GSM coverage whilst within approx 50 nm (90km) of a GSM tower. As we are continuously moving around the coast and out in amongst the Great Barrier Reef System (we are full time live aboard sailors) the '4G' coverage in Aust is not always great and given that the implementation of 4G is a real basket case in Aust (not technically 4G for all telco's) with the best geographic coverage being from Telstra (the old government 'Telecom') it is always a tradeoff on performance and 3G use.

Moving around the East Coast and islands of SE Asia and Pacific; 4G is definitely scratchy or non-existent and we use mobile phones (with hotspot) pretty much everywhere with great reliability (local SIM cards et el.

PS in a previous life I had a radio engineer/military communication specialist background. Going the router path with 'firewall' etc etc. is something as a system administrator that I have had to deal with in the past but not keen to go back to that.

Perhaps you can expand on your thinking and give me a little more info and rationale why this is effective and I would be keen to learn.


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andyalford avatar image andyalford commented ·

I have tried numerous approaches to the internet connection aboard a boat thing. And by far the most successful has been the branded 4G/LTE router from our local Telecoms company (Globe in Philippines.)

There are some drawbacks, but I find that having a Wifi network on this little 44 yacht is suprisingly useful, and not overkill as I used to think. I pay a monthly 300G per month contract, speeds can sometimes be quite impressive. I have two external antenna which I planned to install on the spreaders, but have never had weak enough signal to bother. Next project is to connect USB3 disks to a Raspberry Pi for sharing with OpenMediaVault. Very low power solution, and I can then watch MP4 without a wired connection. I have another Raspberry Pi with Venus OS, looking like a large screen CCGX, and viewing that from phone / tablet over WiFi. I have the Bluetooth as well, but that is rather short range and slow to be convenient.

When we arrive in Malaysia, I will be setting up the same thing with Celcom Telecom, but they charge so little for their dedicated boxes.

I hope that experience is helpful.

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Related Resources

Venus GX manual

Venus GX product page

Victron Venus OS Open Source intro page

Venus OS GitHub (please do not post to this)

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