question

thorvald avatar image
thorvald asked

What can I use to tell if a Generator (or AC Charger) is on?


For some of our remote solar camera stations we occasionally get a string of bad weather days. So the client will start up a manual generator with a BlueSmart batter charger attached, this will charge the battery.


However it's hard to tell from the VRM dashboard if the charger is running or not as the DC load box can be quite random at times (as indicated by Victron, it's not a 100% accurate number).


God how I wish the BlueSmart chargers had VE.Direct on them (in a 120v model, I know there apparently is a 230v model).


The setup at site:

1 x Venus GX

1 x 100/30 SmartSolar MPPT

1 x SmartShunt 500A

1 x Phoenix 12/250 Inverter

(All connected via VE.Direct cables and DVVC is enabled on Venus).

1 x AGM 12v Battery (moving to Lithium one day)

1 x BlueSmart IP67 12v Battery Charger (connected to the manual generator and put on the load side of the SmartShunt so we can sometimes see the negative DC load which means the charger is running).


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I was hoping there was a VE.Direct AC sensor or something similar I could use so I know when the BlueSmart charger is plugged in.

Hoping to avoid purchasing a $3000 Multiplus for such a small setup since there are no smaller 120v models available yet that I can find (just the monster 2000 and 3000 models).


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Alternatively a method to see the BlueSmart Bluetooth interface from one of the other SmartSolar devices (using the VRM portal and adding the BlueSmart to a VE.Smart Bluetooth network would work!).


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One of the reasons I ask is the MPPT has no idea the BlueSmart charger is there and does very weird things when the charger is running (thinks the battery is already in Absorption mode etc) an the SmartShunt occasionally shows voltages over 14.40 volts (don't want to damage the battery).


MPPT ControllerschargerVenus GX - VGX
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3 Answers
thorvald avatar image
thorvald answered ·

I guess I should ask a second question, is it advisable to connect both the MPPT and the Blue Charger to the same battery at the same time?

I suspect the two will conflict since they can't get an accurate voltage measurement of the battery.

Right now I manually stop the MPPT charger to be safe (using the Victron App remotely connecting through VRM, man I LOVE THAT FEATURE). No more driving to sites all the time.

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wkirby avatar image
wkirby answered ·

It is perfectly acceptable to have more than one charging source on a battery.

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ripper avatar image
ripper answered ·

You can leave them both connected, they will do their thing independently.

Left field low cost idea, if its a camera setup, switch on a light and have a visual look for the generator.

Otherwise get hacking and use any of the digital or analog inputs on the venus and have them read out via VRM too. Generator on, Temp sensor 2 high temperature or something like that. It might be as easy as a 3.3V DC supply also plugged into the generator as a high signal on digital in and use signal as alarm door open.

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wildebus avatar image wildebus commented ·

I like that idea :) If went to the 3-output Blue Power/Blue Smart Chargers rather than the single output ones, you could put one of the outputs into one of the Digital Inputs (via probably a Opto-Controller to reduce the voltage) without any extra kit and would be able to see whenever the Charger is alive (so AC is running).

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