Victron Solar Configuration for Specific battery Type(s)

RAW

Full Member
Dear Anyone with greater Solar and Victron Knowledge than me

I am now doing some preliminary tests with Sylvia and the Solar Panel on her roof which can output up to 285W

Solar Panel is going to a Victron MPPT 100/30 Charge Controller with a Bluetooth Dongle spec here
Battery is a LEOCH 12v 160AH Lead Acid Sealed, spec here

I am configuring the Solar Controller for best working parameters for the battery through the Victron App on my phone
I am a bit confused on what the Max Absorption time should be or how I would work it out ?
And also what should the Equalisation Voltage be or how do I work it out ?
settings.jpg
For those interested this is the reading at 7pm This evening in the somewhat cloudy Pennines of Northern England
26July19_7pm.jpg

Thanks in Advance for any help on this
Robert
 

wildebus

Full Member
I would not set an automatic equalization for the battery. If you did do an equalization run, I would use the "Max Charge" defined in the Datasheet (so 2.45V/cell = 14.7V) but the datasheet is very confusing with the colour-coding of the 3 types of charge looking - to me, anyway - to be mixed up.

Absorption time - I'd leave at the controllers default 6 hours as no other info seems to be given. Chances are you will never get that time anyway as demands on the system will switch the controller back into Bulk Mode anyway.
 

Edina

Administrator
I'm using the same controller with Trojan T125s and set it for no auto equalisation and left the abs time as default, as David suggested. Great controller.
 
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RAW

Full Member
I would not set an automatic equalization for the battery. If you did do an equalization run, I would use the "Max Charge" defined in the Datasheet (so 2.45V/cell = 14.7V) but the datasheet is very confusing with the colour-coding of the 3 types of charge looking - to me, anyway - to be mixed up.

Absorption time - I'd leave at the controllers default 6 hours as no other info seems to be given. Chances are you will never get that time anyway as demands on the system will switch the controller back into Bulk Mode anyway.
Hey thanks @wildebus
I also got in touch with Ian Emberton of Xerogrid Solar who I purchased the kit from in the first place and he said
Never equalise sealed batteries (good tip) and Absorb Voltage 14.4 for 1 hour with Float 13.4
So attached are the settings as I have them now plus the output in the cloud base that exists
Loud_output.jpgScreenshot_20190727-093752.jpgNEW CONTROLLER SETTINGS.jpg

Thanks for sorting the cable for me and the other bits, it's just arrived; so will crack on after finishing the coffee

Cheers
Robert
 

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wildebus

Full Member
An max absorption time of 1 hour is rather short I think? :unsure:
You will never fully charge a battery from around 85% - the rough point a battery goes from Bulk to Absorption - to 100% in 1 hour, but give it a go. This is the handy thing with kit like the Victron MPPT - it is so easy to fine-tune the parameters (y)
 
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RAW

Full Member
An max absorption time of 1 hour is rather short I think? :unsure:
You will never fully charge a battery from around 85% - the rough point a battery goes from Bulk to Absorption - to 100% in 1 hour, but give it a go. This is the handy thing with kit like the Victron MPPT - it is so easy to fine-tune the parameters (y)
Yes, I also thought it was quite short and am learning about the Three Stage Charge Process
BULK, Absorption and Float
So with the Victron it feeds Bulk until the LEOCH is charged to XX% and I think XX could be a higher value than 85
Looking at this www.alpha-batteries.co.uk/leoch-160ah-agm-leisure-battery
Does "Top Up Charge Voltage" mean the same as Float Voltage ?

Cheers
Robert
 

wildebus

Full Member
Yes, I also thought it was quite short and am learning about the Three Stage Charge Process
BULK, Absorption and Float
So with the Victron it feeds Bulk until the LEOCH is charged to XX% and I think XX could be a higher value than 85
Looking at this www.alpha-batteries.co.uk/leoch-160ah-agm-leisure-battery
Does "Top Up Charge Voltage" mean the same as Float Voltage ?

Cheers
Robert
I would say "Top Up Charge" is the same as Float, yes.
I find the charge capacity when the charger goes from Bulk to Abs tends to vary a bit each time. The Battery Charger changes mode depending on how the battery is accepting the charge.

As it happens, I have just plugged my charger into my camper. I'll let you know how far it takes the 88% it started at after an hour - but with the way the current going into the battery is a constant decline due to the way lead acid batteries must be charged, I am sure it will not be full :)
FWIW, I have my chargers set to have a maximum absorption time of 5 hours as that is what the makers of my batteries state as the maximum. In their words ... "strongly recommend that the boost charge voltage shall be limited to 5 h of duration. This is counted from the time the battery voltage reaches the boost voltage and the charging current starts to decrease".
 

RAW

Full Member
Just wired the Inverter for testing, not with load as yet
Latest from Victron App is below
Screenshot_20190727-152557.jpg
Looks like I can squeeze inverter next to battery below seats but will lose some storage
Batterywinverter.jpg
Also then may have to put some ducting in for cooling?
Next challenge is connecting this into the existing circuit, think I might need even more cable - Groan
It's taken the morning and a bit more to run cables and attach them up properly.

The work continues !!
 

wildebus

Full Member
Just looked at my battery SOC .... taken 3 hours to go from 91% to 97.7%. It is a big battery bank, but the charger is a 120A Victron Multistage charger so well capable of putting in a big charge IF the battery can take it.
The reason it takes so long at this point is the current drops off significantly in Absorption mode. As said, the charger is a 120A unit but at 91% SOC the 645Ah Battery Bank would only accept 30Amps, and at 97.7% it will only take in 8Amps. (This slow recharge when nearly full is a major limitation of Lead Acid Technology and an area where Lithium shines)

PS Robert. Those Inverters are happy fitted on their side if that helps air circulation and packaging :)
 

SquirrellCook

Full Member
Hello Robert,
I too was confused with the Victron 100/30.
I guess with a new toy you can over watch it.
I was frustrated by the fact sometimes the absorption time was very short and did not reach 100% before going into float.
Due to sub optimum weather conditions and a high battery demand there was just not enough sunlight in a day to replenish the battery.
Well that what I thought. As it happened we never had a problem.
If some days it does not reach 100% and only around 97% don't panic.
The other thing that I had to get used to is that it's not a "sunshine meter"
It will only load the solar panels based on the demand of your system and battery state.
So once you have it set to your battery manufactures spec, just let it get on with it.

Mark
 
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RAW

Full Member
Hello Robert,
I too was confused with the Victron 100/30.
I guess with a new toy you can over watch it.

Mark
Hiya Mark,

Thanks for the input. I am a bit confused as to how much charge the battery has and where this is displayed.
At present the new leisure battery (160ah LEOCH AGM) is on a separate circuit. I am deliberating bringing it into the existing Van's circuit. The negative points of this are mixing new tech with old tech and how it will fair.
It's all a case of testing it I think.
This is the latest from the Victron App and also the Victron battery monitor that's attached to the battery
However, what charge capacity does the battery have at the moment and how do I find that out as I cannot see that in the app and as it is in Bulk Charge State then I would imagine it is not at a high charge capacity ?
The battery is 160ah so at the moment does the Victron Smart Controller show the battery as only having 1.4A ?
Battery_Sense.jpg Victron_Smart.jpg

Any ideas ?

Thanks
Robert
 
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wildebus

Full Member
...However, what charge capacity does the battery have at the moment and how do I find that out as I cannot see that in the app and as it is in Bulk Charge State then I would imagine it is not at a high charge capacity ?
The battery is 160ah so at the moment does the Victron Smart Controller show the battery as only having 1.4A ?
View attachment 1452 View attachment 1451

Any ideas ?

Thanks
Robert
The 1.4A is the amount of current the MPPT Controller is putting into the battery.
The Controller is not a Battery Monitor and is not able to tell you the current SOC (State of Charge) of the Battery. The closest you can get to that with the controller is the Battery Voltage info - but that is skewed when there is either a charge going in or a load on the battery.
If you want to be able to truely monitor the Battery SOC, then you would need a proper battery monitor. My suggestion if you go down that route is get one of the Victron ones rather than a NASA Marine one (the two common choices) as you could then later on add in the Victron GX system running on a Raspberry Pi and get a full-featured whole-system monitor.
I see two possible Victron BMV options - the cheapest one is the BMV-700 - This is the entry model, no bluetooth but can be connected to the Pi with a cable at a later date; or the BMV-712 - The Top Model, with an extra monitoring input, built-in Bluetooth and an integrated relay that the monitor can control, and a lower power usage. IMO the 712 is worth the extra £65 over the 700 and I think is the most common purchased model in the range.
 

SquirrellCook

Full Member
The battery is 160ah so at the moment does the Victron Smart Controller show the battery as only having 1.4A ?
Sorry, so used to having BVM712 I forgot it's not part of it. With the BVM state of charge I'm not convinced it's real world numbers, but it give you a feel of what you have. I played for a while "how low can you go" just to see if the claimed capacity was as I'd calculated based on loading and run times. My monitoring kit is not as flash as David's though. (trying to avoid being seduced) Pie idea is tempting!
 

RAW

Full Member
Dear David

Thanks so much for your input, that's very helpful
The Victron monitor you point me to is a little pricey
I was thinking that as I have a Raspberry Pi then if I download the Venus OS, could I not add it into the bluetooth victron network and would it then give me the battery capacity through the Pi with that OS on ?

Also, would there be a way of outputting the information the Venus OS collects to the web so that I could then remotely monitor everything ?
I have a connection in the Van that is a shared data device for 4G and a WifI dongle for the PI
All then I would need is a bluetooth adaptor for the PI that would work with the other Victron Devices

Many thanks
Robert
 

wildebus

Full Member
Dear David

Thanks so much for your input, that's very helpful
The Victron monitor you point me to is a little pricey
I was thinking that as I have a Raspberry Pi then if I download the Venus OS, could I not add it into the bluetooth victron network and would it then give me the battery capacity through the Pi with that OS on ?

Also, would there be a way of outputting the information the Venus OS collects to the web so that I could then remotely monitor everything ?
I have a connection in the Van that is a shared data device for 4G and a WifI dongle for the PI
All then I would need is a bluetooth adaptor for the PI that would work with the other Victron Devices

Many thanks
Robert
The Victron Venus OS and the Victron Bluetooth Connect systems are totally separate and do not talk to each other in any way (maybe some time in the future they may but it sure isn't a case of holding your breath!). Venus knows nothing about Bluetooth :(

If you have a Raspberry Pi, you can download the GX OS image to go onto the Pi for free (BTW, I think it needs to be a Pi Model B or C for it to work) and it will connect to the WiFi no problem - so all you need to get are the Data Cables (VE.Direct to USB - Proprietry to Victron and about £30 each). You can then use the Features of the Venus GX to view the system :)

But .... you would still need the BMV :sneaky: That is how the Venus System knows the information. You then use the Free Victron VRM (Victron Remote Management) portal to look at everything from your PC anywhere you have access to the internet :cool:

You know, I think it is inevitable that sooner or later you will want to use the Pi and look at the SOC info, so may as well bite the bullet and do it now! :D
 

wildebus

Full Member
So just to confirm I would need both a BMV (Victron Monitor) and a way of connecting the BMV to the Pi that is not via Bluetooth ?
OR would I HAVE TO connect the Pi to the Victron 100/30 Solar Controller via the VE.Direct to USB cable ?

At the moment I have the Battery Sense and the bluetooth dongle via the VE.Direct port

Thanks
Robert
When you are talking about the Victron GX system, forget about Bluetooth - it is just not available as a connection.
The only way to connect devices to a central device running the Venus OS is hardwired via cable. If you are looking at the 'genuine' Victron devices, you use a VE.Direct to VE.Direct Cable; If you are looking at the Raspberry Pi running the Venus OS, you use a VE.Direct to USB Cable.

Now the next bit is not such good news .... the VE.Direct Devices (such as the MPPT Controllers and the BMV Monitors) connect using the VE.Direct port on the devices. You will be using the VE.Direct port on the MPPT for the Battery Sense. So to connect the MPPT to the Pi, you will lose the Smart Battery Sense, which is annoying (This is one of the reasons why when I am proposing kit to customers for potential builds I always recommend the built-in Bluetooth option as it keeps the VE.Direct port free just in case).
If you DID decide on having the Pi and you got the BMV and cabled it up, you end up with the choice of loosing the Smart Battery Sense and connecting the MPPT to the Pi, OR keeping the Battery Sense and not having the PI knowing about the Solar System (remember the Venus system knows nothing about Bluetooth. For me, MPPT on PI trumps MPPT with Battery Sense if it were an either/or choice.
It is a great shame Victron have not got Bluetooth connectivity option on the GX as it would make life a lot easier for everyone (and would be a super cheap way to add system monitoring with just a Pi!! :D but it is not possible :( )
If you could sell on the MPPT100/30 and Dongle and change to a 100/30 Smart Solar that would be the best option!
 

RAW

Full Member
Dear David,

That's very helpful, thanks
As budget is a bit prohibitive and I don't know how much I could potentially get for the non-BT 100/30 plus dongle and battery monitor, less than I paid for sure, then I might leave it for a bit. The Cheapest route would be to get a VE.Direct to USB for now and play about maybe with the PI and Venus OS through that route. Would mean I could still use the battery monitor on the APP on the Phone

What seems strange though is why Victron don't have the App for Android show the SOC or is there other software on other devices that could connect via BT to the Charge Controller? Or is that a deliberate ploy by Victron to get people to spend more money and buy their pretty expensive devices ?

E.g I have a chromebook and I can run some Linux packages on it so that might be a route, and will research some other connection methods.
I found this article which is about some garmin devices and victron that looks interesting

Thanks again
Robert
 

wildebus

Full Member
Dear David,

That's very helpful, thanks
As budget is a bit prohibitive and I don't know how much I could potentially get for the non-BT 100/30 plus dongle and battery monitor, less than I paid for sure, then I might leave it for a bit. The Cheapest route would be to get a VE.Direct to USB for now and play about maybe with the PI and Venus OS through that route. Would mean I could still use the battery monitor on the APP on the Phone

What seems strange though is why Victron don't have the App for Android show the SOC or is there other software on other devices that could connect via BT to the Charge Controller? Or is that a deliberate ploy by Victron to get people to spend more money and buy their pretty expensive devices ?

E.g I have a chromebook and I can run some Linux packages on it so that might be a route, and will research some other connection methods.
I found this article which is about some garmin devices and victron that looks interesting

Thanks again
Robert
Quite simply, you don't have any device installed that can calcuate the SOC. The Solar Charge Controller knows about the charge going into the battery from the Solar Panels, and it knows the Voltage, but it knows nothing else.
The only way to know the SOC of a battery bank is to have a gizmo that can read the current going into the battery or out of the battery. Usually a Shunt (this is what most monitors use) or occasionally a hall effect sensor is used. You can get SOC monitors for around £35 or so and they are worthwhile to have but if you were eventually looking to be able to have an integrated setup, then that £35 monitor would need replacing with the BMV eventually so might be a dead-end purchase.
 

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