rmaddy avatar image
rmaddy asked

Adding Venus OS Raspberry Pi to existing Victron setup


My current mobile setup includes the following Victron components:

  • Multiplus compact 24/2000/50-50 120V
  • Smart Solar MPPT 150/45
  • BMV-712
  • Battery Protect 100A
  • Digital Multi Control connected to Multi with an RJ-45 cable
  • VE.Bus Smart Dongle connected to Multi with another RJ-45 cable - allows me to see the Multi via Bluetooth on VictronConnect. When needed I disconnect the smart dongle and use a MK3 to connect the Multi to a computer.
  • MPPT Control connected to the charge controller with a VE.Direct cable

With all of that I have a little control panel with the Digital Multi Control, the BMV-712 display, and the MPPT Control. I can also run VictronConnect on my phone and computer and see the BMV-712, the Battery Connect, the Smart Solar, and the Multi.


I have recently learned about running Venus OS on a Raspberry Pi (RPi), optionally with a touch screen. I have done some research on what it takes to get everything connected and I have a few questions. Related to that is determining what becomes redundant and what becomes unnecessary with my current setup once a RPi and screen is added.


Finally my specific questions.

  1. Since the Multi (via the Smart Dongle), the Smart Solar, the BMV-712, and the Battery Protect all have bluetooth, can any of these (or all) connect to the RPi via bluetooth or do all of them require USB connections? From research it seems bluetooth support may or may not work under some circumstances. If everything can connect via bluetooth then several of the remaining questions go away.
  2. Is there any benefit to keeping the Digital Multi Control if the RPi has a touch screen? I assume all of the information shown with the LEDs on the multi control will appear on the RPi's screen. So that just leaves the Charge-only/On/Off switch and the current knob (which I have fixed at 30A anyway). Am I correct that those can also be controlled through Venus OS?
  3. Let's assume I wanted to keep the Digital Multi Control for a moment. If the Multi can't connect to the RPi via bluetooth then I need to use the MK3 cable to connect the Multi to the RPi using one of the Multi's RJ-45 jacks. And since the Digital Multi Control needs the other RJ-45 jack of the Multi, this means there is no way to keep using the Smart Dongle to keep bluetooth access to the Multi for use with VictronConnect. Or is it possible, using another MK3, to connect the Digital Multi Control directly to the RPi instead of the Multi?
  4. Is there any benefit to keeping the MPPT Control? Can everything it controls and displays be handled by Venus OS?
  5. Is it even possible to keep the MPPT Control if I wanted to? The Smart Solar just has one VE.Direct connector as does the MPPT Control. Is it possible to connect both the MPPT Control and the VE.Direct to USB cable needed for the RPi to the Smart Solar using some sort of "Y" cable? Or would the MPPT Control get its own VE.Direct to USB cable and connect to the RPi instead of the Smart Solar?
  6. With the RPi screen showing status info, is there any reason to keep the BMV-712 display visible with easy access? Or does the BMV's display just become a place to connect the VE.Direct to USB cable?
  7. Can the battery protect be connected to the RPi in any way (assuming via bluetooth doesn't work)? The only thing that would be handy on occasion is the ability to turn the BP on or off. But that can always be done via VictronConnect.

I know some of these questions are a bit subjective but I'm curious what some the pros and cons are. And many of the objective technical questions may become irrelevant depending on some of those choices but I'd like to know what is physically possible to help in making my decisions.


MPPT ControllersVenus OSRaspberry Pimultiplus compactbmv-712
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2 Answers
Matthias Lange - DE avatar image
Matthias Lange - DE answered ·

1. Every device needs a wired connection to the RPi.

2. Everything you can do with the DMC or Smart dongle you can also do via Venus OS.

3. You maybe could use a RJ45 splitter but why have 3 devices doing the same?
In the Moment a DMC or Venus device is connected the Smart dongle goes into "secondary mode" and only shows some informations.
With the DMC connected you cannot switch the Multi with the Venus device. The DMC is the "master" in that case.

4 + 5. The MPPT has only one port so you can only connect it to the MPPT control OR to the RPi.

6. All informations of the BMV you have on the RPi screen. If you don't need the BMV relay you could also swap to a SmartShunt.

7. No there is no way to connect the BP to the RPi.
The Bluetooth of all devices is only for a direct connection to VictronConnect.
Only a few devices can be connected together via Bluetooth to share voltage and temperature in a "Smart Network"

1 comment
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rmaddy avatar image rmaddy commented ·

1. I've seen threads here talking about adding support for bluetooth. Is the goal to eventually allow wireless device connections via bluetooth with Venus OS?

5. Out of curiosity, if a "Y" cable is made and plugged into the Smart Solar with one set of wires going to the MPPT Control and the other set of wires going to the RPi via USB, would that actually work?

6. I forgot to mention I have setup the BMV-712 to do mid-point battery monitoring. I don't know if the Smart Shunt supports that or not. But I see no point spending the money on a Smart Shunt to replace my existing BMV-712.

Thank you for your assistance.

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Kevin Windrem avatar image
Kevin Windrem answered ·

Matthias answered all your questions, so let me just say that a Venus device provides nice integration for an all-Victron system such as the one you have. That can be CCGX, Cerbo GX, etc or a Raspberry Pi 2, 3 or SOME 4s.

With the RPI solution, you'll need USB adapters for all your devices: VE.Direct to USB for the MPPT and BMV and MK3 for the Multi.

Keeping the DMC means you can't control the current limit or inverter mode from the Venus device so decommission it. Also you can hide the BMV.

Raspberry PI 4 comes in three board versions. The latest (v1.4) will NOT run Venus OS currently. All 8 GB RPI 4s use the v1.4 board so ignore them. 2G and 4G RPI 4s may use any of the three boards, so they are a crap shoot. Victron is working on this but until it's fixed, a RPI 3 is recommended instead. They also draw a little less power.

I replaced my CCGX with a Raspberry PI 4 about a year ago and use the "Official Raspberry PI 7" Touchscreen" and love it. I wanted the touchscreen functionality rather than the CCGX buttons. It all works great and has not given me any issues. I fortunately have v1.1 and a v1.2 RPI 4s.

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rmaddy avatar image rmaddy commented ·

Thanks for the feedback. Your replies lead me to a next level question. Let's assume I remove my DMC and MPPT Control and I hide the BMV-712 display and replace them all with the touch screen for the RPi. That allows me to see what all devices are doing at once on the screen. And I can turn the Multi on and off through the screen. So far so good.

What I'm not sure about is which approach is used if I need to change a device setting. Say I want to turn off Power Assist on the Multi or I want to change a battery setting on the BMV. Are these changes made through Venus OS or VictronConnect?

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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem rmaddy commented ·

There is no device setup through Venus OS, so VictronConnect or the more VeConfigure (Windows only) for more complex Multi setup (assistants, etc).

You also asked about multiple devices on a VE.Direct connection. That's not possible - one device on each end of the cable.

Any yes, SmartShunt supports mid-point monitoring although I don't see a need to scrap the BMV-712. Just tuck the display out of site.

I have a set of scripts that help setting up the PI with a touchscreen, and also some GUI enhancements. I also have setup scripts and services for SeeLevel tank systems, CANbus, RPI digital input expansion and enhancements to the generator interface.

All at GitHub:

It's been a fun project. Hope it works out for you.

FYI, Rob Duthie is working on "Stetson", a board that provides many of the interfaces missing from the PI.

At this point, only the design documents are available. I don't know if Rob plans to sell a finished board. If he does, I may switch to it.

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rmaddy avatar image rmaddy Kevin Windrem commented ·

Thanks again. Very helpful. I actually have a SeeLevel monitor for my fresh and gray tanks. I'll have to check out your GitHub site.

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Kevin Windrem avatar image Kevin Windrem rmaddy commented ·

Garnet makes a special version of their tank system which speaks NMEA2000. You need to contact them for that version: 709-N2K NLP. Then you need my TankRepeater to overcome a limitation within Venus OS.

The standard and RVC versions don't interface to Venus OS.

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Rob Duthie avatar image Rob Duthie Kevin Windrem commented ·

Hi All

Yes i plan to sell the PCB as moudles or complete with Din rail mount case etc,

Just adding the last of the analog inputs in etc.

I am running the 2x VE direct port via the I2C inteface chip for serial data.

Rob D


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