twistedtree avatar image
twistedtree asked

Managing an MPPT

I'm trying to figure out how to manage multiple (4) BlueSolar MPPT 100/15 devices. I figured I'd connect them to a Venus device, which of course requires 2 USB to VE.Direct cables, plus two VE.Direct to VE.Direct cables But now what?

I gather the CCGX screens are available via some sort of ethernet access to the Venus? How do I do that? Does it have a built in web server, so I just browse to that device? Or is there some other way.

Just FYI, I have zero interest in VRM. This all needs to work over the LAN, or other means local to the boat. And Bluetooth dongles are a non-starter too. They are too unreliable, and don't have the required range between the Venus and where management will be performed.

I also have read about VictronConnect and downloaded it to try. I see that I can manage the MPPTs through it, but can it connect through the Venus to the MPPTs? According to the VictronConnect manual it can't, and can only connect via a USB or bluetooth dongle.

Hopefully I'm missing something really obvious here.

MPPT Controllers
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1 Answer
JohnC avatar image
JohnC answered ·

Hi TT. The Venus devices can't 'manage' mppt's to very much depth - yet. I believe it's under development, along with mppt syncing capabilities. The VictronConnect developments seem to have grabbed the priority there, but there's still the hardwired option as a fallback:

The GX is still a great device though, and monitoring on a remote screen is easily achievable. Victron call it 'Remote Console via LAN', over ethernet cable or wifi. Just type it's URL address into a browser tab and there's the CCGX screens with full functionality. How to get there:

Link-local addressing has been added to the firmware recently, so can work independently of a router, with no www necessary.

It may not be exactly what you want - yet.

And oh, don't write off VRM before you've experienced it. It can catch up to a sporadic web connection, and the graphs are magic..

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twistedtree avatar image twistedtree commented ·

The reason for no VRM is that the whole system will be on a LAN, and by design with no internet connection. So I'm trying to figure out what I need to set the system up initially, monitor it in normal operation, and make adjustments as needed along the way. From what I understand so far, here's what I would need, or at least one way to do it. Keep in mind there are 4 BlueSolar MPPT chargers. I welcome other suggestions.

1) Initial setup requires physical access to the devices to unplug the VE.Direct cable and in it's place plug in a VE.Direct to USB or Bluetooth adapter. I then use VictronConnect to configure the charger via the temporary cable. Now I repeat this 3 more times to configure all 4 MPPTs

2) Now I plug all the MPPT VE.Direct ports into a Venus. But since the Venus only has 2 ports, I need to use VE.Direct to USB adapters for two of the four MPPTs. Depending on cable length requirements, I probably need USB or VE.Direct extension cables to make the USB devices reach. Note that I can't use a CCGX because the location where I want to manage the MPPTs, is beyond the cable distance limit of VE.Direct. Therefor I have to use a Venus & access it via the LAN and a web browser. As such, I can't just have a screen/control device on my main power panel as I do with everything else, but rather I need to take a phone, tablet, of laptop with me to view MPPT operation while managing power at the man panel. That's awkward, to say the least. A CCGX woudl be much more appropriate.

3) Now that I'm connected to the Venus and viewing screens on it via my browser, what can I see about the MPPTs? This links to my other post/question about what CCGX screens are available and what data they show. That doesn't seem to be documented anywhere, so it's hard for me to evaluate whether any of this gear can meet my needs. Is there a consolidated power performance screen blending together the output from all 4 MPPTs? Can I look at each one's individual performance and operation? And exactly what parameters are visible, recorded historically, etc.

4) Then if I want to make any adjustments to one or more MPPTs, I have to go back and repeat step 1, hoping that I can find the adapter devices that is required. BTW, what I would expect is to be able to open up a config screen on the CCGX or Venus, make the change, and return to monitoring. But that's not possible.

What am I missing?

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JohnC avatar image JohnC ♦ twistedtree commented ·

1) Correct. Leaving aside the hardwired option.

2) The CCGX and VenusGX are essentially the same device, just differing features. Both subject to the same local wiring limits in much the same way. Remote access to either via lan/ethernet cable/wifi identical. Some discussion of suitable remote kit here: Yep, our own Guy asking. A 'remote CCGX screen' has been requested too, but understandably probably low on the development list given the myriad of diy options possible at the end of an ethernet link.

3) All mppt's should be viewable in real time, with history. Please note I'm not absolutely certain of individual vs aggregated data. Just dunno, never tried.. There's a couple of ways to view, via the 'home' screen or delving deeper where the history is too.

4) Yep, back to step 1. That's a bit of a hole in the operation, which hopefully gets plugged one fine day..

Not relevant to your question, but there's also other stuff like NMEA compatibility and Node-Red in development. Too dark for me..

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