lnanne avatar image
lnanne asked

Victron 100/50 Smartsolar first impressions and wish list

We have had this controller for just over two weeks now so I wanted to share our first impressions before we forget the challenges of the learning curve. Our application is for four 160 watts solar panels on our RV charging 4 six volt 210 AH each golf cart batteries wired for 12v. Apologies for posting this as a question, didn't know how else to share the information.

What we like:

1. We love the bluetooth capabilities and phone app and information provided and it's one of the main reasons we chose this controller. There are challenges to the information provided (see below) but we are happy to have what is there.

2. The other main reason for choosing this controller was our ability to override the defaults to better match changing battery specifications for volts and absorption time especially. There was much frustration with this initially because the documentation did not say that it would take a FACTOR times the max absorption time based on startup volts. Now that we understand how it works, we generally like this feature when conditions are consistent (i.e. sunny days with no clouds).

Challenges/wish list:

1. The volts and current shown don't match our Trimetric battery monitor and we can't completely explain why. For example, we have to set the absorption volts to 14.95 to get 14.8 per the trimetric. We can't explain why the currents shown going to the battery seem consistently higher than what is shown at the battery even accounting for load.

2. Absorption time has been critical for our lead acid batteries but we're discovering the controller will show x minutes of absorption but on cloudy days it's not true. We observed it started absorption at 14.95 volts but almost immediately dropped in volts due to clouds but it stayed in absorption and counted the time. It would be so much more helpful if it would stay in absorption until volts and amps meet a certain criteria for a specified time. Then we wouldn't have to adjust the solar controller for factors it isn't aware of.

3. Trouble shooting has been very frustrating because the history isn't very helpful. We have to observe the readings on the app as events happen to understand what's going on. Is it possible to get a text log we could import into a spreadsheet that has the following information:

a. Start and stop date and time, volts, current , watt hours, max watts, etc. as it changes states from "off" to" bulk" to "absorption" etc. Especially for key triggers that cause it to turn on or transition to the next phase.

b. We've observed that the yield shown on the history screen is actually watt hours used(?). We had hoped it would also show kWh available that day so we could see how much capacity we had.

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4 Answers
mvader (Victron Energy) avatar image
mvader (Victron Energy) answered ·

Hi @lnanne, various items fixed here:

thank you again for your nice & consise way of explaining the things for improvement.

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

The detailed and high resolution history data for Victron equipment is available with the addition of a Venus-device:

It is possible to export a spreadsheet of the data that is recorded by the MPPT, but it doesn’t contain much more additional info than the graphical display in the app.

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lnanne avatar image lnanne commented ·

Thanks, not sure it makes sense to purchase additional equipment. I would think it would help everyone for troubleshooting and save you guys headaches/time on support to have a log to review too?

Thanks for the reply.

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Mark avatar image
Mark answered ·

Regarding the voltage reading difference - this could be simply due to voltage drop in the cable between the MPPT & battery (assuming your other meter is connected direct to the battery terminals or to a bus bar nearby). 0.15v is ~1% delta, which is OK in terms of cable sizing.

To check what's going on it would be good to get a decent multimeter & take a voltage reading directly at the MPPT charge terminals, then another directly at the battery terminals. Voltage drop will be worst when the charge current is at its highest - so best to check this on a sunny day when the MPPT is in bulk phase or just after going into absorption phase.

If confirmed then a Bluetooth 'Smart Battery Sense' device will help to provide the MPPT with an accurate battery voltage (& accurate battery temp as well).

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mvader (Victron Energy) avatar image
mvader (Victron Energy) answered ·

Hey @lnanne; thank you for the nice write-up! I shared it with the R&D engineers whom are currently working on related things (adding more configuration options for absorption time; improving how the controller decides that a next day has started: fixes certain issues with that 30 day history).

More about that later.

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