alan avatar image
alan asked

Please Victron, use ModbusTCP or another IP based method for your addons!!

Firstly, I absolutely love the continual improvement and additional functionality Victron provide for their products.

However, please make them easier to implement.

Most ppl/places already have an IP based network and if they don't there is a plethora of equipment available to implement one suitable for almost any situation.

For instance, the latest two additions that ppl have been waiting for, Temperature sensors for the CCGX and the Tank sensors are difficult to implement in a lot of systems.

Think rural properties where the GX device is in a standalone power shed separate from say the cold-room where temperatures would like to be monitored, or the tank on the top of a hill (I am aware that levels can be measured from anywhere in the reticulated system with a pressure sensor, this is just an example, but still an extension to the water network could be required in this case)

For the temp sensors, the Ruuvi Tags are great, but trying to get a bluetooth signal 50+ meters through a couple of sheds and a brick wall is not a lot of fun. If you make the ruuvi gateway compatible (or a victron made ethernet/bluetooth bridge), then it could be simply dropped into the network via wireless/ethernet/fibre/EOP/hell 2-cans and a string and connected to the GX. The gateway already supports HTTP and MQTT.

Instead directional external antenna's and long usb runs are required to add a dongle that can pick up the signal from that distance. Not too mention the fact that any of your GX devices don’t even contain a dependable BT chipset nor do you have an officially supported module. (After a lot of experimentation the Sena UD100 works well and supports external antennas).

The tank sensor (I have not used it yet) but the same thing applies, USB is not easy to push 100m. If it was IP based it could be installed at the drop of a hat with some wifi equipment on a tank up a hill or at worst case an ethernet cable run.

Ok I have had my rant, but please think about the practicality of implementation for products, you can have the best product in the world but if you have to sacrifice a goat to the radio gods and read Egyptian hieroglyphs to get it working then it's not going to do well.

The EV Charging Station, Modus TCP, excellent work.

@mvader (Victron Energy) @Johannes Boonstra (Victron Energy Staff)

Venus OSModbus TCP
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Mike Dorsett avatar image Mike Dorsett commented ·

This would be a good approach, though for some devices it should be possible to use a local processor (PI) to interface with the sensor and then use Dbus, MQTT (? I've not used this one yet) or Modbus TCP/IP to transfer the data over WiFi or Ethernet. I've also had the problem of how to get a level sensor working on a tank 100+m away up a hill.

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alan avatar image alan Mike Dorsett commented ·

Yes that could be the preferred option I would be happy to buy a pi for every sensor required, but with multiple systems to support it needs to work with the stock VenusOS build so the first update doesn’t require multiple reprogramming of systems.

Two things to think about there though are

What software goes on the pi, stock raspbian or venus.

If raspbian who is going to make the driver etc..

If it's venus, then the GX software needs to be updated to allow adding a second or third venus device to work as a slaves off the original GX, to add additional sensors.

Most people like to use VRM as a 1 stop shop, rather than having multiple VRM instances for different objects.

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2 Answers
jeroen avatar image
jeroen answered ·

Can't you use the CAN-bus for this?

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alan avatar image alan commented ·

Can bus is limited to 250m, (maybe 200m in reality). A cable install is required as well which can be a lot of $$$ and work.. Even if you own an excavator to trench it in.

What if it's 300m away, then a cable is out (copper anyway) and VE.Can doesn't work over fibre (but TCP/IP does), it's much easier to drop in a long range ubiquiti/mikrotek client and with the new wifi halow gear even easier.

The new GX Tank 140 uses USB.

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Mike Dorsett avatar image
Mike Dorsett answered ·

The remote PI's would normally use Raspbian, and you can write your own drivers using python.

Installing long runs of signal cable is a PIA, as well as expensive. Using wifi or Zigbees is another alternative, zigbees also have the capability of forming a mesh, useful for acting as repeaters. CAN bus is not only limited by the cable aspect, but also by the excessive secrecy applied to the protocols. :(.

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