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Tom avatar image

Can I convert an MK3 to USB to run over Bluetooth?

Is there a Bluetooth device sold on the open market to plug in the MK3 USB so I can convert my MK3 to a BT option without having to purchase a new Smart Victron Bus Dongle? Why does Victron sell outdated products when new ones come out?

MK3
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3 Answers
Bowpay avatar image

It's a good question. What puzzles me is that the demo app on Android shows settings changes. Although no assistants can be changed. I have a Cerbo, mk3, ve Bluetooth dongle but can't figure out a way to display those settings outside of windows

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Alistair Warburton avatar image

Technically you mean Bluetooth to USB because the 'module' would be the USB host and as such have to implement the driver for the USB client, the MK3 in this case.

USB is extreemly fussy about timing and in general is a complex protacol, because it is designed to be, well, Universal

The upshot is that you cant just use a media converter that is passing signals through, the device would need to run a driver and buffer the messages, managing timing in the process.

Additionally I do not know what VE.Bus is, some variant or RS485 I suspect, but the point is I couldnt comment on its requirements, timing wise.

That said... And I am absolutly guessing now, you may find that it can be done with a smartphone.

If there is an app that offers serial port pass-through Bulrtooth to whatever then you may find that plugging the mk3 into an OTG cable will give you a vertual port that a Bluetooth serial bridge can be pointed at.

Just had a quick look on GooglePlay... BT/USB/TCP Bridge Pro for android looks promissing...

I have never tried it and do not know if it even should could work with Victron speciffucally.

However it supports all the 'standard' USB-Serial chips and is designed to do specifficaly what you want it to do, provide a two way bluetooth SPP connection to a physical network via a USB-Serial interface.

It has to be worth a punt... even without a free version.

Its probably worth pointing out that there are a raft of serial terminals and port monitors for Android as well as Tasker and the like that can sniff and display this stuff.

With the MK3 connected, there is status info streamed back continually I think and this could be read and even acted on by Tasker, or simmilar, automation apps.

Again the above is speculation but the MK3 definatly creates a vertual port in windows so it should work with anything that can do that. Of course you would have to figure out the protacol and frame structure but it isnt likely that would be hard for simple monitoring.

Something I plan to play with anyway.

If anyone knows why this will/could not work I would be interested to know, simply from an accademic perspective.

[Please be aware I am just pitching an idea here, and I am not even claiming it is a good one, but if a bridge is possible a smartphone is probably a good choice of device to run it on.]

Al

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Matthias Lange - DE avatar image

The MK3 is not outdated.

With the Smart dongle you don't have all options.

If you want to change all settings, setup assistants or update the FW you need the MK3 and VEConfig/VEFlash.


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Well I have the MK3 connected to the Multiplus. So if I want BT too I have to purchase another Dongle Smart Vbus or Venus GX since both can't do the same thing? I call BS on the wallet flush.

For now at least, even with the Victron Smart Dongle, you cannot change any settings over Bluetooth. It does not replace the MK3.

https://docs.victronenergy.com/victronconnect-vebus.html#ve-bus-smart-dongle-limitations

I have not seen a reliable way to adapt the MK3 to work over bluetooth. I do not think it would be possible, though I could be wrong.

It is possible that the available configuration options over bluetooth increases over time.

All communications protocols have their limitations, and require development and testing over a large product range. The company is trying hard to make this as simple as possible.

Depending on what you are trying to do exactly, if you have a GX device, you do not an MK3 or Smart Dongle at all. Remote VEConfigure is available for free.

Tom avatar image Tom Guy Stewart (Victron Community Manager) ♦♦ ·

I don't think I will attempted to convert my MK3 to Bluetooth. Not worth the effort. I am just looking for a lowest cost way to remotely change input Amp control and on off of the unit and charger without having to purchase another new device. I am in a RV and I think the CCGX or Venus is overkill and way over my budget. The Multi Digital is over the price of the Vbus BT Dongle and can do it. I just did not want to spend $80 for what seems very similar to the MK3 which I have. I guess I am regulated to plugging it into my phone, tablet or computer when needed which I assume is very limited.