question

Michael Vesovic avatar image

VictronConnect mandatory update

hi all

Currently, we are preparing an installation of a number of cabinets for deployment at remote mine sites, each containing a SmartSolar MPPT 75/15s. For remote access to the device, we are utilizing the VE.Direct port, to connect via a Serial to Ethernet bridge to the MS Windows VictronConnect application.


The issue that we have discovered is that during firmware update, the load output of the device switches off at about the 4% mark. The SmartSolar’s load output controls power to all of the down-stream network connectivity hardware, including the Serial-to-Ethernet converter, network switch and Ubuiti WiFi radio. This causes the update to be interrupted, with no possibility of it starting again without physical intervention at the Cabinet. The latter will not be possible as the mine site will eventually be inaccessible.

Any ideas are welcome. Alternative VE direct software, how to block VictronConnnect from checking latest firmware downloads, etc would be appreciated.


Michael

MPPT - Solar Charge ControllerVictronConnectupdate
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

4 Answers
JohnC avatar image
JohnC answered ·

Hi Michael. This begs the question - why use the LOAD terminals for your comms? For something mission-critical a direct batt connection might be better, and in your case perhaps easy to just pull the LOAD+ wire and double it into the BATT+ port.

You may have good reason to not do that, but please come back..


3 comments Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Hi JohnC

Thanks for your response.

In answer to your question, For our requirements, we require the SmartSolar to manage the load output should there every be a need to conserve the battery's power. This could be as a result of overcast days, battery aging etc. We have instrumentation in the field that needs to be powered up at critical times.


In this vein, a Battery Protect could be used too.. https://www.victronenergy.com/battery_protect/battery-protect


Hi John, this (direct battery connection) is what we went with. Thanks!


Michael Vesovic avatar image
Michael Vesovic answered ·

Hi all,


Just as a follow up: We determined that to guarantee our network equipment stays powered up during a remote firmware update, and that SmartSolar can also recover from a failed firmware update attempt is to connect all our ethernet devices directly to the 12V LiFePO4 battery.

The only downside we are aware of is VictronConnect will no longer be able to report on the load current draw. Is there any other drawbacks?


Thanks,

Michael



1573627541775.png (177.0 KiB)
Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Mark avatar image
Mark answered ·

Hi Michael,

I think that the best compromise that your going to get is if you add a basic time delay circuit/relay into your system and either run all loads from it (possibly via a larger relay) or only the critical load(s) that you require to stay alive during an update (which should only last for a few minutes).

You should be able to pickup something suitable already made or in kit form from most electronics stores or online.

For example;

https://www.jaycar.com.au/high-performance-timer/p/KC5379

https://www.jaycar.com.au/12v-3a-timer-module-2-seconds-to-23-minutes/p/AA0364

Littlefuse also have a large range of 'delay on break' timer relays, available with a fixed or variable time delay;

https://www.littelfuse.com/products/protection-relays-and-controls/time-delay-relays/delay-on-break.aspx

Just make sure you properly check the specs/instructions before you buy anything to ensure that it has the capability to do what you need (my links are just examples I quickly found- so check for yourself).

1 comment Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Hi Mark.

The Littlefuse product is very interesting. Thanks!

With this solution thought, if the firmware update fails for another reason (i.e. network connectivity interruption during the update) the Delay on Break Timer we will not be able be restarted and subsequently we will not be able to to retry a firmware update.

We'll keep this thread updated on our findings.

Cheers,

Michael



Guy Stewart (Victron Community Manager) avatar image
Guy Stewart (Victron Community Manager) answered ·

Hi Michael,

Other solutions to the load terminal disconnection problem not withstanding,

The latest, and current version of VictronConnect will not normally force a firmware update unless you wish to change settings. There are still some exceptions where there is an urgent and critical bug fix.

This was introduced in version 5.9.

Firmware updates are no longer mandatory for basic monitoring:

Live data page: This page can be accessed without updating the firmware unless the update is highly recommended and marked as mandatory.

Setting pages: To view and modify settings it is always necessary to update the product to the latest version included in VictronConnect.

I would suggest once the units are deployed, to freeze the version of VictronConnect used, and there should then be no firmware updates to contend with (even if changing settings). VictronConnect does not look to the internet for the latest firmware updates, they are embedded inside the application itself.

So it would require updating the VictronConnect app to trigger the firmware update notification (if any).

1 comment Share
10 |3000 characters needed characters left characters exceeded

Up to 8 attachments (including images) can be used with a maximum of 190.8 MiB each and 286.6 MiB total.

Hi Guy

Thanks also for your response.

A concern with what you've suggested is that it leaves open the possibility that our customer may inadvertently initiate a firmware update sometime down the track.

Would Victron be willing to address this potential issue by leaving the Load output enabled? Or is this behavior by design? If it is by design, then can Victron ensure that the SmartSolar device can at least automatically recover itself and resume normal operation after a failed firmware update, i.e. reboot itself, exit the update routine and resume normal operation after a reasonable period of time, without physical/user intervention? If it does this already, do you know what the time period is?

Many thanks,

Michael