canadianbacon avatar image
canadianbacon asked

Solar Marine Setup

Designing out a new solar / charging / inverter system for my boat, and have a couple questions on which monitoring steps to take.

First, I would like to end up with the following:

- Monitoring of output of each panel and total

- Historical data stored on output / efficiency of each panel

- Monitoring of battery level, discharge etc

- Monitoring of inverter / charger and output / load etc

- Likely a couple other things that would useful / make it easier for battery / power management that don't come to mind at the moment

- Cost is not a huge issue, would rather complete this properly, but of course would rather save money where I can

Current system plan includes:

- Multiplus 12/3000/120

- Argofet 200-2 (to split the starting and house bank)

- Isolation Transformer 3600W

- BMV-700

- 4x MPPT 75/15 (one for each 145W panel)

- 4x MPPT Control (one for each MPPT)

- Digital Multi Controller 200/200A GX

- CANvu GX or Colour Control GX

- GX GSM or Wifi Stick (to upload system data to the cloud when in range)

- Octo GX (looks like I need this to connect all 4 MPPTs / MPPT Controls)

Areas where I am unclear, or maybe am missing something:

Do I need the Octo GX to connect all 4 MPPTs/MPPT Controls? Or is there an easier / simpler way?

Are there serious differences between the CANvu GX and Colour Control GX? Have not seen a good comparison - I like the aesthetics of the CANvu better, however only thing I have found is the glass bridge connection will only work with Octo / Colour Control.

Do I need a second BMV-700 and shunt to see total PV output or will the GX Family add the 4 controllers output together?

Is there anything else I am missing that I need to achieve my goals above?


MPPT ControllersSolar Panelgx devicemonitoring
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1 Answer
boekel avatar image
boekel answered ·

You've got a lot of components listed that are not needed or not usable in combination with eachother.

For such complicated systems I strongly suggest you work together with an installer, if you have the system diagram drawn you can ask here for suggestions but you really need an experienced installer to get things right.

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canadianbacon avatar image canadianbacon commented ·

Appreciate that - but I would like to figure out / learn what is required myself so I have full knowledge of the system. Could you shed some light on what is not needed / do not work together or point me in the right direction to learn more? Thanks.

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boekel avatar image boekel ♦ canadianbacon commented ·

I suggest you first read the documentation for the components you want to use.
any device can only have one connection, so that would be to the Venus device and not an MPPT control.
Also only one Venus device in the system.

What you're asking is something an installer did a study on, not something you can put in a forum post. So if you figure things out we can help, but I think you still should use an installer if you don't have the experience yet, especially with cable sizes, fuses / breakers, etc. etc. Lot's of things that can go wrong. Especially on a 12V system the currents are huge. (What reason do you have for using 12 volt? existing hardware?)

What kind of batteries are you planning to use?

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canadianbacon avatar image canadianbacon boekel ♦ commented ·

Ok great, thank you. Perhaps what I should've been more clear on was not that I was expecting to have all the GX stuff I listed in the system, was more a query on what would be required to get the result I would like. I understand that I would only need a single controller.

Interesting re the MPPT Control, as it was an installer I originally talked to that said I needed an MPPT Control for each MPPT to read it, and then integrate from there. I'll do some more reading through the docs, but when I looked, there is very little to compare and describe how various GX Family devices work together (if at all) as each one seems to have some differences but many similarities. Say I wanted the Colour Control GX, but can't connect all 4 MPPTs to it, is there a way to make that happen? Or would I be forced to using the Octo GX or Venus instead? Is there a screen / tactile control that I could connect or I would be force to using smart phone control? (something I would like to avoid).

12v is because that is what the existing marine system is on the boat, too complicated to change to 24v at the moment, but maybe thats something I should think about. I have an marine electrician and good electrical knowledge in terms of wire sizing and terminations etc, so that isn't a concern for me, more understanding the specific devices.

Planning to use Firefly AGM L15+ Batteries.


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boekel avatar image boekel ♦ canadianbacon commented ·
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canadianbacon avatar image canadianbacon boekel ♦ commented ·

Great, appreciated.

I think I've decided on the following after reading further into those links you sent - please let me know if any issues

CANvu GX as main controller

4x MPPT, 2 connected via, 2 via USB via USB hub.

1x BMV-700 connected via

1x MultiPlus connected via VE.Bus

1x Digital Multi Control connected VE.Bus

From reading I think that should work and cover off what I am looking to do, I will network the CANvu and may add a GX GSM down the road if I think its worth uploading to the cloud quicker.

Thanks for your continued help / insight

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boekel avatar image boekel ♦ canadianbacon commented ·

Sounds about right, I don't have experience with the CANvu myself.

What batteries are you using?

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canadianbacon avatar image canadianbacon boekel ♦ commented ·

From reading, looks to be a Venus replacement, benefiting me as it has 1 more, although given the USB maybe doesn't fully matter.

Planning to use Firefly AGM L15+ Batteries.

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canadianbacon avatar image canadianbacon canadianbacon commented ·

Now after reading this actually considering an Octo GX and a using one of the Rasp Pis I have or iPad...

For others reading this, this picture

from this post

helped a lot to get my head around comparison.

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