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BARGES: All about barges and barging - building, buying, maintaining, equipment, handling on the water, etc.
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TOPIC: Twin solar controllers

Twin solar controllers 04 Sep 2019 10:43 #109274

  • Pete_Milne
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I looked long and hard at the Multiplus configurations and Hub-x assistants before deciding that none seemed to do the job of simply controlling the shore power. As Jan says, they seem to be aimed at shore installations with 'Feed in' option to the Grid. [My advice from Victron]

The Virtual switch looks as though it will do the job (as will the BMV or CCGX) . I chose to use the CCGX as it has more options to switch on the shore power - like when I switch on a high power device like the microwave or toaster.

Pete

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Pete Milne, Quo Vadis , Europe

Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 23:08 #109264

Jan, yes I agree which is why I said in my earlier post you should have an anti-islanding device to ensure export doesn't happen and that you are legal. Hub 1 should be OK but not ESS.

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Chris Grant, barge Esme www.mvesme.co.uk or see Esme in the DBA barge register

Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 18:24 #109259

Chris
BE CAREFUL with a HUB or ESS implementation on a boat.....first of are you allowed to feed back to the grid, Ill ask Victron but these solutions are for land based installation and not optimal for boats... I MIGHT be wrong.. But lets check it please before people run into troubles

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Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 17:04 #109257

And one more link to the Victron info
www.victronenergy.com/live/dc_coupling:prioritize_solar

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Chris Grant, barge Esme www.mvesme.co.uk or see Esme in the DBA barge register

Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 16:59 #109256

Chris,

My Victrons are not recent types, but I checked and indeed, I can program de virtual switch.

Roland

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Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 16:57 #109255

Small update to my last post, you can use VE Configure to ignore AC input based on State of Charge as an alternative to low battery voltage. See attached screenshot
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Chris Grant, barge Esme www.mvesme.co.uk or see Esme in the DBA barge register

Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 16:45 #109253

Roland

I think that the simplest albeit a bit crude is the BMV as you can program the relay based on State of charge but you do then need an external relay (SSR) to switch the shore power.

If you program the MultiPlus using VE configure, depending on which model or if a Quattro, even the older MP has a 'Virtual Switch' setting which can be programmed to ignore AC input at certain conditions. This means you don't even need a relay or shore power SSR.

However, there doesn't seem to be a SOC choice but you can set voltage low limit so if the solar is insufficient and the battery voltage falls below say <23V because of ship demand, it will restore AC input and if the voltage is >XX for >XX minutes then ignore AC input. Messing about with these figures would allow you to maximise PV power while safeguarding against low battery voltage when it is insufficient for the ship demand.

If you have a more recent MultiPLus or Quattro with the correct firmware, as Ian suggested, you can load an 'assistant' that will optimise shore power and control it automatically to only draw what is required to make up PV shortfall compared to ship demand. However, there is also potential to export power back to the grid so you should have an anti-islanding device to ensure this doesn't happen and that you are legal in certain countries.

There is lots of help on this at Victron
www.victronenergy.com/live/assistants:self_consumption_hub-1

Roland Eggermont wrote: Thanks for the information Chris.
Although it was a while ago, I think it will be possible to program the Multiplus.
But you say "this is a very simple solution". What is the better or best solution?

Roland

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Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 16:40 #109252

Yes unless you program the multi, it wil always use shore power
there are a few solutions......
1) the BMV has a relay which can be triggered by the SOC, which if it falls below a set amount switches the shore on. ( see Chris's article)
2) The Multi also has relays which can be triggered by assistants
3) The Venus ( so perhaps the CCGX aso ) has a shore limit function.....you can set low, and remotely adjust it

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Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 16:05 #109249

Thanks for the information Chris.
Although it was a while ago, I think it will be possible to program the Multiplus.
But you say "this is a very simple solution". What is the better or best solution?

Roland

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Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 15:50 #109246

This is a very simple solution from Pete and co-incidentally I have written about it in the October Blue Flag. It will work with any of the Victron BMV-600 or BMV-700 range or indeed any battery monitor that has an auxiliary relay output settable in the parameters. The shore power will only be connected if battery state of charge (SOC) falls below a preset level, perhaps 80% and then will disconnect again when it recovers enough charge, perhaps 85% to allow the solar PV to (hopefully) take over again. Pete's use of a solid state relay (SSR) is ideal as it provides very clean zero voltage switching of the shore power. If you go this way, make sure you mount the SSR on a heatsink if shore power is anything more than a few amps.

While the Multiplus auxiliary relay can be used as an alternative this does require programming from a PC and VE Config, not everyone will want or be able to do that.

Pete_Milne wrote: I am also in Belgium (Gent) and achieve this with a relay on my shore-power input. I control the relay with the 'generator start' facility of my Victron CCGX display. It could equally be controlled from the relay output of the Multiplus or of a BMV702 meter. This works very well.
Pete

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Chris Grant, barge Esme www.mvesme.co.uk or see Esme in the DBA barge register

Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 14:54 #109245

OK Pete, thank you!
I' ll check the Victron Multiplus manual.

Roland

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Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 14:05 #109243

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Roland Eggermont wrote: What I want is: when solar power is available, the solar controller must have priority to the Victron Multiplus. I don't want to consume expensive shore power(in Belgium) when I can get solar power for free.

I am also in Belgium (Gent) and achieve this with a relay on my shore-power input. I control the relay with the 'generator start' facility of my Victron CCGX display. It could equally be controlled from the relay output of the Multiplus or of a BMV702 meter. This works very well.

The relay is like the attached pictire and sits in the same box as thr RCD.

Pete
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Pete Milne, Quo Vadis , Europe

Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 13:25 #109241

Hello Jan,
Thanks for your reply! I did not yet order solar panels and controller.
But I think my question was not very clear.
What I want is: when solar power is available, the solar controller must have priority to the Victron Multiplus. I don't want to consume expensive shore power(in Belgium) when I can get solar power for free.
But I do not understand how this can be realized. As far as I know, the Multiplus will consume shore power (if connected), solar power available or not. Or am I wrong?

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Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 11:56 #109238

Roland
The victron multi plus has assistants which can give priority to shore power.

you do not mention what kind of solar controllers you have .....Lets assume they are Victron MPPT's all you do is connect both controllers to your battery bank ( on the correct side of the BMV shunt) and then connect them to your solar panles and make sure you have the controllers set for he correct battery type.
The multiplus in parallel don't matter really. If they are set at the right battery type, all wil work in sync.. Now YES theoretically if there is some voltage drop over the cables the multi or MPPT can switch to a different state faster than the other, but I am sure you have short correct cables
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Twin solar controllers 03 Sep 2019 09:52 #109234

My question concerns solar controllers but is a bit different:
I have 2 Multiplus in // that convert shore power 230Vac to load de batteries and vice versa.
What to do when I install solar panels + controller?
I will have then 2 controllers (different) to load the batteries: the new solar controller and the existing Multiplus.
And when loading the batteries with solar power, the Victron Multiplus will at the same time be active to power the 230Vac instruments on the boat. that is not very efficient.
How can this be resolved?

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Twin solar controllers 16 Aug 2019 20:55 #108743

  • Hans Egli
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Nikki wrote: ...and I do hope your panela are working well. I have managed to get 572 watts out of 600watt panels. More than happy with their performance.

Take care, Hans,
Nikki


yes, very pleased all works fine and it was fun going shopping with you :-)

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Twin solar controllers 16 Aug 2019 19:08 #108740

...and I do hope your panela are working well. I have managed to get 572 watts out of 600watt panels. More than happy with their performance.

Take care, Hans,
Nikki

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Twin solar controllers 16 Aug 2019 18:17 #108739

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Nikki wrote: The tech behind this is an Arduino Mega board with a TFT display screen. Total cost is well under €60 if the parts are sourced locally, and the parts can be bought for around €20 from China.

All the hard work has gone into the programming of the microprocessor. This programming can only be achieved by very, very sad people who have nothing better to do on their boat in the evening!!!!!!


hahaha you are funny and you having a brilliant mind.... love it.

My best regards

Hans

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Twin solar controllers 16 Aug 2019 17:33 #108737

The tech behind this is an Arduino Mega board with a TFT display screen. Total cost is well under €60 if the parts are sourced locally, and the parts can be bought for around €20 from China.

All the hard work has gone into the programming of the microprocessor. This programming can only be achieved by very, very sad people who have nothing better to do on their boat in the evening!!!!!!

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Twin solar controllers 16 Aug 2019 17:20 #108736

Nikki wrote: Here is a picture of my homebuilt display panel, showing information from twin solar displays and also a BMV battery monitor (all Victron).
Any electronic / project engineers who might like to make a similar display panel, please feel free to contact me for more details.
N.


WOW !

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res non verba,
Tx for the beer :-)
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