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Old 06-29-2022, 01:13 PM   #1
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2022 27' Globetrotter
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Add Victron Bluetooth Dongle to MPPT 150/35

I have recently picked up my 2022 GT 27FBT and wanted to add the bluetooth dongle to my victron MPPT 150/35. Through the help of these forums, I found where the controller is installed (curb side front under panel below bed); however, there is already a cable connected to the VE.Direct port labeled "solar ctl". As I am sure I will start experiencing, nothing is ever as straight forward as I feel it should be.

Any ideas/experience?

Thanks,
Ian
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Old 06-29-2022, 03:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by retired-ccie View Post
I have recently picked up my 2022 GT 27FBT and wanted to add the bluetooth dongle to my victron MPPT 150/35. Through the help of these forums, I found where the controller is installed (curb side front under panel below bed); however, there is already a cable connected to the VE.Direct port labeled "solar ctl". As I am sure I will start experiencing, nothing is ever as straight forward as I feel it should be.

First, confirm you have a BlueSolar MPPT. If it's the SmartSolar, you do not need the dongle (I made this mistake in my home setup).


Second, see if you can follwow that cable. We have a rogue Victron cable in our DC wiring area that is not plugged in and I'm not yet certain where it comes from. Though mine was a dealer install, not the factory.
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Old 06-29-2022, 04:26 PM   #3
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Hi

The cable goes to the round readout gizmo for the solar. You can *either* have that readout *or* the Bluetooth dongle.

Bob
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Old 06-29-2022, 04:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
The cable goes to the round readout gizmo for the solar. You can *either* have that readout *or* the Bluetooth dongle.

Huh, after looking through the manuals, it seems like it might be an either-or situation. The only work around I can find, which would not be a cheap route to go, would be replacing the BlueSolar MPPT you have now (assuming that is what you have since you don't already have Bluetooth) with a SmartSolar MPPT which has bluetooth built in.


It's really a bummer the factory didn't install it with a SmartSolar so that you could have both.
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Old 06-30-2022, 08:45 AM   #5
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Thank you all for the replies. I have confirmed that I do have the BlueSolar and not the SmartSolar. You would think for the price we are paying a simple $200 more on the controller would be straight forward.

A few questions:

1. Is it a straight forward swap from the Blue Solar to the Smart Solar? I am thinking I could just get the SmartSolar MPPT 150/35 which would allow me to have bluetooth as well as the VE.Direct connect for the MPPT Control (which is already installed).

2. Before doing all this, does the app give me the ability to see power consumption over time as well as current battery levels?

3. If I am going through this effort/cost, is it worth combining the project with additional batteries (battleborn) and higher capacity inverter (thinking 2000w)?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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Old 06-30-2022, 09:18 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by retired-ccie View Post
Thank you all for the replies. I have confirmed that I do have the BlueSolar and not the SmartSolar. You would think for the price we are paying a simple $200 more on the controller would be straight forward.



A few questions:



1. Is it a straight forward swap from the Blue Solar to the Smart Solar? I am thinking I could just get the SmartSolar MPPT 150/35 which would allow me to have bluetooth as well as the VE.Direct connect for the MPPT Control (which is already installed).



2. Before doing all this, does the app give me the ability to see power consumption over time as well as current battery levels?



3. If I am going through this effort/cost, is it worth combining the project with additional batteries (battleborn) and higher capacity inverter (thinking 2000w)?



Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


1) yes. Straight forward swap - though you do need to perform the program miming on the new controller. You still have the port so whatever is plugged into it will still work.

2) yes. The app keeps a 30 day history on board. You can also purchase additional device which will upload info online to keep a longer history. 30 days is enough for me. All I really want to know is if it is working in the moment and at what level.

3) for me, yes. I upgraded to 400Ah of lithium (Battleborn placed under my front couch) and a 2000W charger/inverter that talks to my Czone. I donít really need the higher wattage because we donít use anything on inverter except for charging laptops and watching the occasional movie. We donít use the microwave while boondocking and we have an LP 2-way fridge and an oven. It was more important to me to have an inverter/charger that actually talked to the onboard electronics.
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Old 06-30-2022, 09:24 AM   #7
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1. I cannot imagine it is anything but a straightforward swap. They have the exact same profile, inputs, outputs, lights, everything. You can see them both on Victron's site. You will need to program the new charge controller correctly, so you may want to take photos of the settings pages on your monitor, or just lookup the settings for your batteries online.

2. It provides information on solar generation and some battery info (voltage, current, and state of charge). Some of their other charge controllers have a spot to add load lines that will track consumption of whatever you run through it, but it doesn't look like that model has it and that requires significant requiring to get all the loads to go through the MPPT. Our old trailer had a Renogy MPPT with that feature, but we did not use it. However, the better way to track the battery and power consumption is via a shunt (either a smart shunt or a shunt tied to a battery monitor like the BMV-712). The shunt ties directly to the nega5ive connection of the battery (nothing else should attach to the negative pole) so that it has the most accurate beat on what is going on in the battery. The shunt also allows for much finer measurements. I've attached screenshots of what our home MPPT shows us and what our trailer's battery monitor (BMV-712) shows us. If you do want to get battery info, a smart shunt is basically just a battery monitor without the round screen so you can read the battery via the app still but not have to figure out how and where to wire the monitor. The smartshunt or battery monitor will actually give you a percent battery capacity (does require some configuration and occasional re-syncing to the fully charged state).

3. The MPPT should be a very easy direct swap, no need to rewire or run more wires. However, if you also want a battery montior, and maybe want to tie in your portable Zamp connection on the exterior to the MPPT or a separate MPPT, then reconfiguring may make more sense. But you could easily do this in two stages: SmartSolar now, the rest later.
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Old 06-30-2022, 10:31 AM   #8
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Thanks all for the reply. Given I want more details on battery, is it better to just do the BMV-712 upgrade or do I also need to change out the MPPT to the "smart" version?

Ephraim - what charger/inverter did you upgrade to?
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Old 06-30-2022, 10:56 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by retired-ccie View Post
Thanks all for the reply. Given I want more details on battery, is it better to just do the BMV-712 upgrade or do I also need to change out the MPPT to the "smart" version?

Ephraim - what charger/inverter did you upgrade to?

You don't need the SmartSolar if you don't care about Bluetooth access to what your solar panels are doing. Each device gives some different information, some overlapping, though from different points in the system. The Battery Monitor, for instance, will show all power throughput (rooftop solar + portable solar + wall + 7-pin - load), while the MPPT shows exactly how much the rooftop solar panels are drawing in. So you just have to decide what info you want access to via the app.


The nice thing about the Bluetooth is that you can also network them together so that your devices get "smarter" the more information they have. This is particularly useful if you use both rooftop and portable panels like me. I'd love to get Victron MPPT for both so that they can all communicate together to maximize efficiency.
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Old 06-30-2022, 11:36 AM   #10
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I have the BlueSolar that didn’t have Bluetooth that came with my 2021 flying cloud. I bought the Victron Bluetooth dongle and I attached that to the factory installed MPPT. It seems to work well with the app and has been tracking all my solar history and has allowed me to change settings over Bluetooth. It was $50. You’d lose access to your screen since it would need to use the VE direct port but you’d be able to see everything on the app. This may be easier than getting the BMV-712 since I think you would also need to install the shunt and cheaper than getting a whole new charge controller just to get Bluetooth.
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Old 06-30-2022, 12:35 PM   #11
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We did the same,the cable goes to the display under the tv
Hooking up the dongle eliminates this display, the app has way more info. Just disconnect the cable and plug.in the dongle. Works great.
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Old 06-30-2022, 12:36 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by retired-ccie View Post
Thanks all for the reply. Given I want more details on battery, is it better to just do the BMV-712 upgrade or do I also need to change out the MPPT to the "smart" version?

Ephraim - what charger/inverter did you upgrade to?


I upgraded to a smart 100/50 with 700w of solar panel
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Old 07-01-2022, 10:14 AM   #13
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Hi

If you are doing a swap on the solar controller, bump up one size. If it looks like 35A is ok, go for the 50A. The math:

35A x 11V = 385 W
35A x 12V = 420 W

Is that power out ( so the above math is correct at 12V ) or is it power in ( so you get 5, 10 or 15% less and the 11V number is closer)? Actually it's temperature dependent and assumes some amount of air moving by the device. We rarely have a lot of air where we cram our controllers ....

That 35A gizmo should be fine up to 300W of panels. It most certainly will work for 400W and not catch fire. We all seem to keep adding panels. You want to size this and that so you don't swap out all sorts of stuff when you cram those next two panels up on the roof.

Bob
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Old 07-01-2022, 11:20 AM   #14
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Hi
You want to size this and that so you don't swap out all sorts of stuff when you cram those next two panels up on the roof.
Practically all high quality Solar chargers (Morningstar, Victron, Mastervolt, etc..) have automatic limiting circuitry built in. If you have a 50A Victron (720W @ 14.4V for Lithium) you can still put 1000W of panel. You will only ever get 50A out of the charger, but in the morning and evening, you will get higher output than if you simply match the charger max to the solar max. The charger just ignores the excess energy produced. The panel voltage will increase when the charger is ignoring the excess, but as long as the open circuit voltage of the panels is less than the charger max (100V on a Victron 100/50 Smart Charger) you are fine.

From the Victron 100/50 Smartcharger manual under "Specifications - Safety":

"1a) The solar charger will limit input power if more PV power is connected."

From the Morningstar website (And a great technical explanation of how it works):

Will Oversized PV Arrays Damage Solar Charge Controllers?

Note that these protections do NOT apply to PWM controllers. Only to MPPT controllers. You do lose overall efficiency when comparing the total size of possible solar production from the panels and the output of the controller, but that may be worth it to be able to use a smaller controller with larger panels and harvest more energy than you could if you matched the smaller solar array with the same controller.

Just another tool in the toolbox.

Note that a common use for this is knowing where your panels will be deployed. In NM, we often (about 85% of the time) get full rated power from the panel array. But if you live in a northern or coastal area, you will seldom, if ever, get that output. Size the panels for output in these areas and in the SW, you're controller will ignore the excess produced making your system much more usable in all locations.
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Old 07-02-2022, 11:05 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ephraim View Post
Practically all high quality Solar chargers (Morningstar, Victron, Mastervolt, etc..) have automatic limiting circuitry built in. If you have a 50A Victron (720W @ 14.4V for Lithium) you can still put 1000W of panel. You will only ever get 50A out of the charger, but in the morning and evening, you will get higher output than if you simply match the charger max to the solar max. The charger just ignores the excess energy produced. The panel voltage will increase when the charger is ignoring the excess, but as long as the open circuit voltage of the panels is less than the charger max (100V on a Victron 100/50 Smart Charger) you are fine.

From the Victron 100/50 Smartcharger manual under "Specifications - Safety":

"1a) The solar charger will limit input power if more PV power is connected."

From the Morningstar website (And a great technical explanation of how it works):

Will Oversized PV Arrays Damage Solar Charge Controllers?

Note that these protections do NOT apply to PWM controllers. Only to MPPT controllers. You do lose overall efficiency when comparing the total size of possible solar production from the panels and the output of the controller, but that may be worth it to be able to use a smaller controller with larger panels and harvest more energy than you could if you matched the smaller solar array with the same controller.

Just another tool in the toolbox.

Note that a common use for this is knowing where your panels will be deployed. In NM, we often (about 85% of the time) get full rated power from the panel array. But if you live in a northern or coastal area, you will seldom, if ever, get that output. Size the panels for output in these areas and in the SW, you're controller will ignore the excess produced making your system much more usable in all locations.
Hi

As I said, a smaller unit isn't going to catch fire.

Just why you would put another thousand dollars into more panels and save $50 or $100 on a controller that gives you less output than you could have is a bit unclear ....

If you have an RV, you are by definition mobile. Unlike a home installation, you could be in Alaska one day and New Mexico on another day. You might even make it down to Mexico. Do we all travel that far? I guess that depends ....

Bob

Bob
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Old 07-02-2022, 11:26 AM   #16
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Just why you would put another thousand dollars into more panels and save $50 or $100 on a controller that gives you less output than you could have is a bit unclear ....
I think you missed the point of the post. If you already have a 50A controller ($323 on Amazon ) and you already have 700W of Solar panel, you don't have to buy a new controller. In fact, unless you live in the SW, you will probably not see over about 500W out of those panels very often.

You can (and probably should) have more panel than you have controller for that reason alone. On the instances where your panels make more than your controller, you are not in danger. Should you desire to increase your panels to 1000W, you can do so using the Renogy 100W panels for about $300 ($100/panel with mounting hardware) and you don't have to buy a new controller. (Victron 150/70 for $589)

Why spend the extra money when there is no need too. Also according to the Morningstar analysis, the extra energy gained in the morning and evening, more than offsets the energy lost at midday when you oversize the panels.
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Old 07-03-2022, 09:30 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Ephraim View Post
I think you missed the point of the post. If you already have a 50A controller ($323 on Amazon ) and you already have 700W of Solar panel, you don't have to buy a new controller. In fact, unless you live in the SW, you will probably not see over about 500W out of those panels very often.

You can (and probably should) have more panel than you have controller for that reason alone. On the instances where your panels make more than your controller, you are not in danger. Should you desire to increase your panels to 1000W, you can do so using the Renogy 100W panels for about $300 ($100/panel with mounting hardware) and you don't have to buy a new controller. (Victron 150/70 for $589)

Why spend the extra money when there is no need too. Also according to the Morningstar analysis, the extra energy gained in the morning and evening, more than offsets the energy lost at midday when you oversize the panels.
Hi

Ok, but that was explained in the second part of my post that you edited out. You don't have to *live* in the southwest to be using your RV there. Indeed boondocking in that area is pretty normal and getting all the solar you can is something folks seem to like to do when off grid.

Bob
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Old 07-04-2022, 02:03 PM   #18
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Just a quick update. I went ahead and purchased the VE.Direct Bluetooth Smart dongle and connected with no issues. I left the MPPT control mounted and can switch the cable if needed in the event my bluetooth gives me issues.

One follow-on to this thread - I am look to added a 3rd "suit-case" style panel to my factory installed solar system. I am leaning towards the Zamp solar. Thoughts / Recommendations? Also curios on opinions on size? The plan is to only use this when I don't have solar coverage from the roof panels.

Thank in advance.
Ian
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Old 07-04-2022, 02:20 PM   #19
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Add Victron Bluetooth Dongle to MPPT 150/35

Quote:
Originally Posted by retired-ccie View Post
One follow-on to this thread - I am look to added a 3rd "suit-case" style panel to my factory installed solar system. I am leaning towards the Zamp solar. Thoughts / Recommendations? Also curios on opinions on size? The plan is to only use this when I don't have solar coverage from the roof panels.
Zamp makes good stuff and they are a very US-based operation if you live in the states and supporting domestic jobs is an important factor in your decision. I certainly like them for that. And you have the advantage of something that works out of the box.

We already have some Goal Zero panels (a more portable one and a portable but less so one). We have charge controllers on them and an adapter that reverses the wiring to match the Zamp wiring. They work great too. (I do also like Goal Zeros more portable panels more, ours doesnít have a kickstand like the 200W Goal Zero and the Zamp do, but I think itís lighter and more compact.

You could also go for a cheaper brand if you make sure there is a charge controller and correct positive and negative connections,
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Old 07-05-2022, 11:50 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by retired-ccie View Post
Just a quick update. I went ahead and purchased the VE.Direct Bluetooth Smart dongle and connected with no issues. I left the MPPT control mounted and can switch the cable if needed in the event my bluetooth gives me issues.

One follow-on to this thread - I am look to added a 3rd "suit-case" style panel to my factory installed solar system. I am leaning towards the Zamp solar. Thoughts / Recommendations? Also curios on opinions on size? The plan is to only use this when I don't have solar coverage from the roof panels.

Thank in advance.
Ian
Hi

If you are adding panels, ideally they should be same / same as what you have up there now. Since AS does not always use the same brand / model, first thing to do is to figure out what you have now.

Hooking a portable "suitcase" version up to the existing solar controller is not quite as easy as it might seem. You would need to run wiring to get to the controller and make sure the portable you buy does not already have a controller. ( = most have one on them ....).

Bob
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