brassmonkey001 avatar image
brassmonkey001 asked

Next upgrade?

I currently have 2 x 265W solar panels connected in series to a Victron MPPT 100/50 Charge Controller which is connected to 2 x LiFePO4 138W batteries connected in parallel. I also have a BMV-712 to keep an eye on things.

My next step is to add in a means of charging the batteries from the vehicle alternator (180A, non-smart alternator), so I'm looking for a DC-DC charger and I'm hearing rumours of a new Victron Smart DC-DC charger about to be launched.

I would also want a means of keeping my vehicle's starter battery topped up from the solar system. Will this new charger be suitable for my needs?

Lithium BatterychargerOrion DC-DC Converters not smartsolar
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2 Answers
JohnC avatar image
JohnC answered ·

Hi BM. The new Orion Smart won't be a 2-way device, else they'd surely call it a Cyrix.. :)

There may be something in the Cyrix range that would suit you, depending on what your Li batts demand.

At very least, a way to transfer back from your solar > starter batts.

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Thanks John, but on the face of it, it seems to me that the Cyrix relays are not much different from any other voltage sensitive relay (in the way that they work anyway, specifications may differ). I already have a Durite VSR which I wasn't go to use with the LFP batteries after reading that it's an inefficient way to charge them and may potentially damage them and/or the alternator. I may of course be wrong and confused by all the conflicting advice out there regarding LFP! I've not looked deeply into Cyrix relays yet TBH.

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Justin Cook - Bay Marine Supply USA avatar image
Justin Cook - Bay Marine Supply USA answered ·

@brassmonkey001, your current options for (reliably, simply, and safely) charging your LFP bank from your alternator are both Sterling products... you can get the Sterling AB12210, which will connect directly to your alternator and provide multiple charge profiles out, including an LFP profile that would be appropriate for you; alternatively you can go the battery-to-battery way, connecting your start battery to your LFP bank and charging that way with a Sterling BB1260, or if you need a waterproof version the BBW1260.

That being said, if you want to stay all-Victron (even if just to keep that awesome Bluetooth functionality), then by all means wait another few months for the Orion Smart, which Europe should see sometime in December and we should see in the States sometime around late January. We haven't seen tech specs yet... I know it'll be in the ubiquitous MPPT casing, but I don't know what amperages are going to be initially available.

I second @JohnC in recommending you check out the Cyrix-Li line to see if one of those 3 models would meet your needs in terms of passing charge to your start batt from your solar-topped LFPs.

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Thanks Justin, the Sterling BB1260 was top of my list for a while, but I do like the interconnectability of Victron products!

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the datasheets are available from the victron product page for the Orion Smart already, A reseller in australia is already offering the 30 amp version but im still waiting for the 18

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