oceanwolfe avatar image
oceanwolfe asked

Seeking help with best network setup for my boat's configuration

I'm trying to figure out the best network setup for my 36 ft sailboat before buying the connecting pieces so I don't end up with unnecessary pieces. However, having some difficulty figuring out the best approach from Victron literature. So many options!

I have a Multiplus Compact and a BMV 712 battery monitor installed along with 200 Ah of Relion lithium fePO4 batteries. I'll be adding solar panels and replacing the existing wind charger (we're getting ready for extending cruising, pandemic allowing). I also have a gel starting battery.

I want to connect the energy system information to the Furuno TZTL12F MFD in the cockpit networked with TZTouch2 to iPad(s) belowdecks and have access to programming the Multiplus.

Must I get a Victron Color Control GX or similar to be able to talk with the Multiplus, or will I end up able to accomplish that through one of the other pieces I will end up needing to handle the remaining parts of the system? I'm assuming I will end up with a wired network, but need the Furuno and Victron units to work together.

I don't know everyone else's experience with getting support through dealers, but I've dealt with three different ones, seeking to buy the Multiplus and other pieces, and all of them quit responding once I asked detailed system questions. I sent all of them system diagrams and lists of existing equipment, they quoted a price for the initial couple of equipment pieces, and after I asked question about how to get them to work with solar panels and wind generators, they quit responding to my emails. I don't live near a dealer (the closest is 3.5 hours away), so email is a necessity.

I concluded (perhaps wrongly) that I was too small potatoes to be worth spending the time on. Anyway, was just curious if this was a common experience for small-boat system people.

system design
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2 Answers
JohnC avatar image
JohnC answered ·

Hi @Oceanwolfe

You'll need a GX box of some type

Various price, power and capabilities, so you choose. The Cerbo would be nice.. :) But even a rPi with Venus OS loaded could do it if you're adventurous.

And you'd need to check with Furuno whether your particular Furuno kit is Victron-compatible, and any 'limitations' you might expect. There's quite a bit if you google 'victron furuno', even links back to here.

Re dealer support.. Mine claims he's overwhelmed due to Covid, many would be sick of tyre kickers, and a wide-ranging list of questions might just be too confronting. That's actually a requirement here, to be specific, and limit the queries/post to something reasonable. Or they just get left alone..

There are indeed a lot of purchase options. In your case, go the wired route. Bluetooth has it's place, and you may well end up with kit that has both, but you won't need the bt.

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oceanwolfe avatar image
oceanwolfe answered ·

Thanks JohnC,

I'll look into those avenues. Half the problem in the network arena is that it is constantly changing and one wants to be able to accommodate future changes wile working with existing equipment installs. A tough balancing act if one doesn't have a good view of the "big picture".

Regarding dealer support, what I gave them was a list of the types of equipment I had (battery, mfd) and that I needed to add (e.g., solar and wind generator controllers, charger inverter, ability to talk to Furuno, and similar things) and asked them simply what I needed to buy to accommodate those needs.

Never got an answer from any of them to the email with that question. The most I got was "buy a Multiplus and one of the monitors". They basically all said this at the first contact email, but that is clearly not a useful response.

I did, however, take the repeat advice and bought a Multiplus and the battery monitor. Not from them, however, only because they all basically abandoned me.

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oceanwolfe avatar image oceanwolfe commented ·

Let me add that when I sent those questions to the dealers, I worded it asking for a quote for whatever equipment was needed to address my needs. I had intended to order for them (I don't like to steal support and then go to Amazon or something), but...

My take was that they either couldn't answer the questions and didn't want to dig to find the answers, or the equipment needed wasn't worth their time.

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