question

linwood-f avatar image

API for Bluetooth 500 Smart Shunt access

I see where there are a lot of options for accessing devices with other systems, but I cannot find anything for the Smart Shunt (500). It doesn't appear to work on windows at all, and the linux version of Connect seems to require a GUI. I was hoping to integrate battery monitoring with other aspects of an astronomy system, for example to get an alert if the SOC drops below some threshhold, park the telescope, shut down gracefully.

Is there any mechanism for programmatically accessing its data via Blue Tooth, on Linux (preferred) or Windows?

It is standalone, not part of a larger system of Victron devices (well, I have a Victron charger but it will not be with the telescope in use).

Also, on a related question: Am I correct there is no remembered state of charge if the shunt is disconnected? That you have to manually enter it, and/or let the battery charge fully? As opposed on power-up to resuming where it left off?

But my main goal is to be able to monitor it from an automation system during unattended imaging.

Thanks,

Linwood

smartshuntsystem integration
2 |3000

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

4 Answers
mvader (Victron Energy) avatar image
mvader (Victron Energy) answered ·

Hi, the best starting place to read for programmatic access / protocols, is our whitepaper on Datacommunication. See our website.

There are multiple options, and the whitepaper explains them.

2 |3000

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

linwood-f avatar image
linwood-f answered ·

Thanks, @mvader, but I read that first (assuming you mean here: https://www.victronenergy.com/upload/documents/Technical-Information-Data-communication-with-Victron-Energy-products_EN.pdf ).

I was particularly interested when I saw you had a github entry for mqtt connections as that is what is the transport for messaging now for environmental conditions to the telescope's automation.

However, in that document there is a matrix of product lines there, which does not seem to include the smartshunt 500, and that document does not mention bluetooth at all.

This morning I did take another pass through, and the only thing that seems a possibility is the Venus system running on a raspberry Pi. My impression in reading through that is it requires a dedicated rPi (which is fine, though I need to follow further as I only have rPi4's sitting around that are not supported, will pursue if... ) but I see no mention of bluetooth devices, only bluetooth access of the rPi from the connect app. In the wiki it touches on Bluetooth for the Beaglebone, but it is not obvious if it works for accessing devices on the rPi (or even this device at all).

But the absence of the Smartshunt on the devices matrix at the very beginning makes me worry that all is for naught, as it is not listed.

If I follow this rather convoluted path to get venus up and running on an rPi (if I even can on a new one), will it lead to access of the data from the SmartShunt via Bluetooth?


1 comment
2 |3000

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

A SmartShunt is a BMV-7XX without a display.

There are also documents for the VE.direct protocol
https://www.victronenergy.com/support-and-downloads/technical-information

I don't think there is something available for Bluetooth.

linwood-f avatar image
linwood-f answered ·

Ah, that helps (BMV-7xx without display) a lot, thanks. I was hoping to avoid needing a direct connection. Let me follow through then a but further knowing the association with BMV-7xx. Maybe I'll find an older rPi 3B lying around so I do not have to try to figure out how to get it running on a newer rPi 4, and see what happens.

Thanks. Any further pointers welcomed. My hope was to install this on an existing weather station on a rPi 4 (I think it's a 4, have to check) and have it feed an mqtt broker, the rest would be magic afterwards if I could get that working.

2 |3000

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

linwood-f avatar image
linwood-f answered ·

Just to put some partial closer to this, I installed Venus on a rPi 3B i found. I could get it running, bluetooth was enabled, I could pair with the smartshunt, but venus does not seem to see it.

This answer to another question seems to imply that venus on rPi can only be connected to from bluetooth in Victron Connect, and that venus cannot itself connect to a BlueTooth device.

https://community.victronenergy.com/questions/95278/smart-solar-wont-connect-to-venus-os-on-raspberry.html

In addition the FAQ from Victron says the Bluetooth protocol is proprietary (for fairly good, but unfortunate reasons) so i can't roll my own queries.

Which seems to limit my options to a ve.direct USB cable. Which logistically given my current setup is inconvenient as the weather station rPi is pretty far away from the battery (requiring both extension and some kind of bulkhead USB connection). Plus I haven't yet figured out if i can get Venus to run on the debian variant (ubuntu) I'm running on the weather station.

Not sure this is worth the hoops. But thanks for the pointers, I may come back to it. Or someone may make Venus/rPi work with Bluetooth more fully!

2 comments
2 |3000

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

Venus (and the Cerbo etc...) communicate with the SmartShunt via their ve.direct ports, not wifi. You'll either need to rig up an appropriate TTL serial interface to make the connection, or buy a USB to VE.Direct interface cable which has all the various bits of electronics integrated.
Yes, that's what I found, thanks. Though wasn't trying wifi, but bluetooth. Since all the hardware and drivers are there, I wonder why Victron did not roll the bluetooth protocols in as well, it seems a relatively easy gap to fill (for them, not users, since the protocols are secret).