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Old 03-05-2021, 02:11 AM   #1
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Victron SmartShunt

So I figured I don't need to install the Victron display thing, I could just get the 'smartshunt' which is a bluetooth shunt...

but it doesn't have any idea of history, you can read its current values at any time.

there's an android app, but it has to be running to store any history for graphing, if you even change focus, it resets and reconnects and forgets, ugh.

but ok, you can check the charge state and all the volts/amps/etc

its not quite as cool as I'd hoped it would be, it needs a data logger. and I guess they have a whole pile of those, and they can monitor this 'smartshunt', they have a different android program for talking to that stuff.

but still, being able to check battery charge state, and live voltage, current, accumulated amp*hours from anywhere in camp is plenty useful.
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Old 03-05-2021, 07:59 AM   #2
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Disgusted with Victron

When I was shopping for my solar system I decided to get some sort of monitoring system. The Victron 712 seemed to be the best and I ordered one. You can monitor them with a phone app and they also have a windows PC program that is available on their site.

I got everything installed and could never manage to interface my Surface Pro X tablet with the 712. My Pro X isn't a "normal" windows 10 machine so I blamed the failure on that. So I got out my older Surface 3 and that didn't work either. Well maybe the Bluetooth is to old on that one. Then I got an old Samsung Galaxy 5 from my daughter. That didn't work either.

I went poking around on their site and found a forum of owners who helped each other out with problems. After a bit of time and searching I found out the windows program doesn't work, never has, and they have no plans to make it work. Now if that is the case why do they even offer it for download on their site.

Victron makes some "nice" stuff and the only way you can get it to work together is with a phone app. I use my phone for talking, taking photos, and to my surprise texting. I like to do things on a decent sized screen.

Now someone will have to convince my that any piece of Victron equipment is the best thing since sliced bread for me to buy anything else from them ever again. It is because of the time they caused me to waste.
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:37 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
So I figured I don't need to install the Victron display thing, I could just get the 'smartshunt' which is a bluetooth shunt...

but it doesn't have any idea of history, you can read its current values at any time.

there's an android app, but it has to be running to store any history for graphing, if you even change focus, it resets and reconnects and forgets, ugh.

but ok, you can check the charge state and all the volts/amps/etc

its not quite as cool as I'd hoped it would be, it needs a data logger. and I guess they have a whole pile of those, and they can monitor this 'smartshunt', they have a different android program for talking to that stuff.

but still, being able to check battery charge state, and live voltage, current, accumulated amp*hours from anywhere in camp is plenty useful.
You need to have a Victron controller to get better history. I also was initially disappointed with our 712, but after purchasing a Victron 100/20 for our portable and replacing the GoPower controller for our rooftop with a Victron 100/30 am pleased with the history on the Victron controllers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasC View Post
When I was shopping for my solar system I decided to get some sort of monitoring system. The Victron 712 seemed to be the best and I ordered one. You can monitor them with a phone app and they also have a windows PC program that is available on their site.

I got everything installed and could never manage to interface my Surface Pro X tablet with the 712. My Pro X isn't a "normal" windows 10 machine so I blamed the failure on that. So I got out my older Surface 3 and that didn't work either. Well maybe the Bluetooth is to old on that one. Then I got an old Samsung Galaxy 5 from my daughter. That didn't work either.

I went poking around on their site and found a forum of owners who helped each other out with problems. After a bit of time and searching I found out the windows program doesn't work, never has, and they have no plans to make it work. Now if that is the case why do they even offer it for download on their site.

Victron makes some "nice" stuff and the only way you can get it to work together is with a phone app. I use my phone for talking, taking photos, and to my surprise texting. I like to do things on a decent sized screen.

Now someone will have to convince my that any piece of Victron equipment is the best thing since sliced bread for me to buy anything else from them ever again. It is because of the time they caused me to waste.
While it may not be "the best thing since sliced bread" the BMV 712 keeps track of ah's till full. If you want to keep track of your history you need a Victron controller. OTOH, the 712 was all we needed to quickly determine our batteries had failed.

Victron's app is intended to be used from a phone, and find Victron's interface easy to use. Windows is an overblown, outdated, bloated operating system that's hard to use. When I retired from my job as school tech coordinator/computer department head, I couldn't wait to ditch Windows for a Chromebook and have never looked back.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:56 AM   #4
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I'm surprised no one has figured out a way to connect a Raspberry Pi via Bluetooth and use it to do the continuous data logging. I assume the data stream sent to the app on a phone is unencrypted.
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:14 AM   #5
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I'm surprised no one has figured out a way to connect a Raspberry Pi via Bluetooth and use it to do the continuous data logging. I assume the data stream sent to the app on a phone is unencrypted.
Probably because it's not needed, except for the anal data keepers. Our combination Victron BMV 712 and Victron controllers do a great job.

Every day arriving and when leaving, I had to look at similar, but more complicated data to keep the school and students secure (LOL!). Needless to say it was just to make a couple of anal principals happy. I was always in a better mood when we had principals let me do my job, vs those who thought they knew more (with no hands-on experience or education) than I knew. The last complained to the superintendent/school board and was embarrassed when he was told to let me do my job.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:27 AM   #6
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I like the Pi idea, (or Arduino) but why even bother with Victron? There are voltage and current monitors that can be read using I2C serial communication.
https://forum.digikey.com/t/monitori...c-to-a-pi/3111
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Old 03-05-2021, 11:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
I like the Pi idea, (or Arduino) but why even bother with Victron? There are voltage and current monitors that can be read using I2C serial communication.
https://forum.digikey.com/t/monitori...c-to-a-pi/3111
Why bother? We don't want a wired system, much less another additional hole in our camper. After the fact, I wish I hadn't cut a hole in our cabinet for the 712. We asked ETI to not cut a hole for our GoPower controller. Until a couple of days ago the GoPower controller sat on a box, bouncing around, underneath the rear dinette seat for the past 2 1/2 years (300 nights camping, 30,000 miles towing). The GoPower controller was replaced by a 100/30 Victron Smart controller that is screwed to the inside of the rear dinette seat. Victron and others allow you to communicate via bluetooth. Because it's bluetooth, when we're bored, we can monitor the system from our tow vehicle while driving down the road.

As always, TETO!

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 03-05-2021, 12:11 PM   #8
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Perry, I could see a real use for having that information. If you boondock a lot you could program the Pi or Audrino to tell you what your remaining battery capacity is based on your usage rather than what the level of charge is in the battery. You could have alarms warning you of a spike in draw. I don't know if this is possible but you could possibly feed data about tank levels for water, grey and black as well as propane. Basically have a central control system for the entire trailer telling you what your capacities are based on your actual usage.
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Old 03-05-2021, 01:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
I like the Pi idea, (or Arduino) but why even bother with Victron? There are voltage and current monitors that can be read using I2C serial communication.
https://forum.digikey.com/t/monitori...c-to-a-pi/3111
I'm retired and burned out on computer programming. I don't want to have to write a custom data logger AND a display application or webservice to peruse it. 20 or 30 years ago I woulda jumped on it.
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Old 03-05-2021, 02:10 PM   #10
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The Pi, (or Arduino) can have Bluetooth, and talk to your phone. No holes required.

Github has all the code you might need all free for the taking, (open source).
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Old 03-05-2021, 02:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
The Pi, (or Arduino) can have Bluetooth, and talk to your phone. No holes required.

Github has all the code you might need all free for the taking, (open source).
thats like a box of lego, tho. unless you're saying there's a ready made battery monitoring system already assembled and integrated
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Old 03-05-2021, 04:24 PM   #12
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thats like a box of lego, tho. unless you're saying there's a ready made battery monitoring system already assembled and integrated
Lego is a good comparison.
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
I'm retired and burned out on computer programming. I don't want to have to write a custom data logger AND a display application or webservice to peruse it. 20 or 30 years ago I woulda jumped on it.


I'm with you on this one.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Adams View Post
Perry, I could see a real use for having that information. If you boondock a lot you could program the Pi or Audrino to tell you what your remaining battery capacity is based on your usage rather than what the level of charge is in the battery. You could have alarms warning you of a spike in draw. I don't know if this is possible but you could possibly feed data about tank levels for water, grey and black as well as propane. Basically have a central control system for the entire trailer telling you what your capacities are based on your actual usage.
We boondock a lot and all I have to do is look at the 712 for the ah's used and the current voltage to know what real level of charge is in the battery and how many more days we can go without sun.

I don't look at those worthless monitor buttons that are included with every trailer to know how much electrial we have remaining, fresh water left, grey water storage remaining, or how much black water storage we have left. Just when you depend on that cheap monitor it lies to you.

We have no problem going eleven days with the 28 fresh, 28 grey and 30 gallon black tanks. Sixteen campers has taught us what works and what doesn't. I want to camp, not stare at some Raspberry Pi program wondering if I forgot a piece of code.

We don't carry a generator, nor a portable holding tank either.

As always, TETO!

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:47 PM   #15
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I just look down the toilet with the trap open. Tells me all I need to know.
Nothing else matters. I have a battery-operated lantern for light. I have a five-gallon container for water. I have beer.
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:15 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
that's like a box of lego...
I got more of a laugh reading that and imagining a Lego starter kit with one piece inside, than I got from reading the comics in this morning's 'paper'.


Glenn, How can you possibly know when to stop filling that poly jug without a float level sensor to indicate the capacity is being reached?


As with too many things, I think we devise solutions first, and only then try to create problems to solve.




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Old 03-10-2021, 06:55 PM   #17
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I just look down the toilet with the trap open. Tells me all I need to know.
Nothing else matters. I have a battery-operated lantern for light. I have a five-gallon container for water. I have beer.

Thank You! Best answer and solution!


I am frugal and rinse out the empty plastic whiskey jugs for water. Too old to lift that five-gallons of water anyway.
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Old 03-14-2021, 02:50 AM   #18
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You actually can talk to the Victron from something like a Pi. The downside is, the Bluetooth protocol is totally proprietary so that's out. The VE.Direct protocol's supported over USB or RS232 (via an adapter) and is published and documented.

Or there's the easy way: set up the Color Control GX to talk to their site, and you get lots of metrics history available from anywhere. I think you can also install their software on something like a Pi.

I suspect that to some degree the limited features are a result of power constraints. You really don't want the battery monitor to eat your battery, so the microcontroller and memory are designed to take milliwatts. I think 0.06W of parasitic drain. They'd probably have to increase that 10x or more to add history.
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Old 03-14-2021, 11:29 AM   #19
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Old 03-14-2021, 09:36 PM   #20
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I've bought a fair number of those $30 chinese electrical widgets and had them fail after relatively short usage, if they ever worked right in the first place.. since the brand names on them all seem to be fly-by-night never twice the same, even tho 10 different brands might look identical, its kinda hard to trust what you're going to get. and the hassle of returning defective product to china and haggling over a refund vs exchange exceeds the value of the product.
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