Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

samuelsamuel Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
I recently installed a Victron BMV 600s battery monitor at my family's cabin. The whole process was quite an undertaking - though this is likely only specific to our install. Since the cabin is separate from the battery bank (housed in the garage) we had to run a line between the two structures; which involved a trencher and even spending some time in the garage attic. From a wiring perspective the BMV 600s is easy to install.
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It's just one large shunt between the negative lines. I installed it between the negative bus bar and the inverter/solar charger/and DC lights lines. Connect the red wire to the positive bus bar to power the meter and then plug in the meter via a 6pin ethernet cable.

I have full details of the install posted here

Basically the Victron BMV 600s does exactly what I want it to do. I would however like it to display how many DC watts are being used or put into the battery bank. I’m most familiar with the units of Watts so I was a little disappointed not to see this on the monitor (though to be fair, I was aware of this at the time of purchase). As for the daily operation of the battery meter: I like to leave the monitor on “SOC” and see how much is left in the batteries at a glance. Then when running appliances overnight I look at the “TTG” and see how long the system can run under the current load (will we make it till morning?). When the solar panels are producing energy it is nice to glance at the “I” (current / Amps) and determine if there is an excess in energy that the batteries can’t take that we could use in the cabin. As the meter gets more use we’ll get a better sense of how accurate it is. As of now, it looks like the meter is going to be the most useful addition to our system yet.

The decision to install the battery monitor was made because the readings from our Xantrex control panel (and MS3000 inverter) didn't make much sense. After comparing the readings from the BMV 600s to the Xantrex panel I found that Xantrex over reports how much power is being consumed by about 3 amps in a 12V system. I also found that the "Inverter Output" - which is labeled as AC Watts isn't even close and can be off by as much as -200 to +500 Watts. Again, details and images are at this post

Oh, and I would definitely recommend the Victron BMV 600s. I love the 5 simple and useful menu choices and the versatility in mounting location offered by the 6 pin ethernet cable connection.

Comments

  • john pjohn p Solar Expert Posts: 814 ✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    Victron make great products,, Their inverters are about as good as it gets.. Their 1000w inverter will start motors that just about everyone elses 2000w inverters have trouble starting.
    I dont sell them or even know where you can buy them.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    Very interesting Samuel. Thanks for sharing.
  • DapdanDapdan Solar Expert Posts: 313 ✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    Victron monitor come in black? I have Two of them and a link lite installed at my residence and I have installed about 3 of them for clients. It is a very nice monitor and I prefer it over all the others out there.

    Cheers...
    Damani
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    They seem to have a solid product, I used the Victron manual as the basic template for my own DIY battery monitor design.

    http://code.google.com/p/solar-monitor/
  • samuelsamuel Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    The monitor I have has a black circular face with a grey border. The wall mount plate (square piece that holds the circular face to the wall) is grey as well.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    Will they work with a 120 foot run of connector cable between my solar shed and house? Morningstar Sunsaver MPPT with it's remote meter does just fine, but surprisingly (to me) the Xantrex 1800/12 pure sine inverter will not work with it's remote switch/display unit. Pain in the butt having to head out through the rain to change the inverter from Power Save to ON, or back to Power Save as needed. Some items, like breadmakers or front load washing machines, in some parts of their cycle will not keep the inverter turned on, so they keep starting back from the beginning. Yeah, I know I could plug in a load to keep the inverter running, but I hate wasting power that isn't easy to come by.
  • samuelsamuel Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    waynefromnscanada,

    I see no problem with running 120' with the BMV 600s. I researched that same question (except in my case for 100' with a 2' patch cable) and couldn't find a rock solid answer. I took a chance on this meter because I could see an integrated circuit on the shunt, from which I inferred the ethernet cable is only for sending data to the meter and the length of the cable does not affect the readings. One thing to remember with the BMV 600s is that it uses a 6 pin data cable, not the standard 8 pin cat5e cables. I had to modify an 8 pin to a 6 pin in order to complete the install (easy with the right tools).

    I have a MS3000 with a control panel mounted on the other end of 100' of cable with a 3' patch cable and it functions just fine (except for it's errant inverter output readings).

    Both the Xantrex control panel and BMV 600s have ethernet cable tethering them to their corresponding components in the garage. Since ethernet is a data cable, in theory something like a 1000' run of cable should still work. I'm unsure about the length limitations of other cables however. Perhaps the power output on communications cable for the 1800/12 inverter is not high enough to overcome wire losses for that distance.

    -Sam
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    Thanks a lot Sam for your information. Greatly appreciated.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor
    samuel wrote: »

    I had to modify an 8 pin to a 6 pin in order to complete the install (easy with the right tools).

    -Sam

    Sam, just a point of curiosity: did you connect the 8 wire cable to a couple of 6 pin connectors or did you make a couple of 'adapters' for each end of a standard 8 pin cable to 6 pin connectors?? 'Adapters' would allow for ease of changing cable length if needed...

    thanks
    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,219 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    I think the xantrex not working over distance is a voltage drop problem, if you used a heavier gauge wire your likely fine, perhaps speaker wire? Kinda surprised the switch wouldn't work if extended.... just the gauge values, which might have been the original posters problems if just a longer cord was used, I believe the display holds the gauge as well on the prosine 1800.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor
    Photowhit wrote: »
    I think the xantrex not working over distance is a voltage drop problem, if you used a heavier gauge wire your likely fine, perhaps speaker wire? Kinda surprised the switch wouldn't work if extended.... just the gauge values, which might have been the original posters problems if just a longer cord was used, I believe the display holds the gauge as well on the prosine 1800.

    Tried that. It's a digital com type thing, the remote has a chip that communicates with the computer in the Prosine and they have to go through a process before it even fires up. Even tried cat-5 cable, nothing worked over 50 feet. The on/off switch just signals the chip on the removable switch/display package that the switch is mounted on, and the chip then communicates digitally with the control computer in the inverter, which then fires it up.
  • samuelsamuel Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    Well, this is a bit late, but the short answer to how I made a 6 to 8 pin ethernet cable is trial and error. Anyone out there (like my father-in-law) would look at may work and say that I put the colors of each individual wire in the wrong order when I made my cable - but all I really did was match up each wire and not use two wires.

    So, 6 wires are needed, 2 are not. A simple crimp tool and some phone jacks make it possible to modify a standard 8 pin ethernet cable. I just marked which two wires I wasn't going to use.
  • samuelsamuel Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    weird happenings...

    Dad is reporting that the monitor has been behaving strangely under the following circumstances:

    Generator on, PV panel producing, AC window unit running. Inverter is on AC Bypass. The monitor will report 15amps current and stick on that (which is not accurate). It will then stick on 15amps for hours and hours.

    PV panels producing, generator off, power being used in the cabin (large load - well pump). Then the monitor sticks on 15amps as above.

    I'll be investigating this weekend and double checking the monitor settings and inspecting the hardware for damage and wear.


    Current monitor settings:

    Victron BMV-600s

    74% CEF (charge efficiency factor)
    0.10A Ith (current threshold)
    1.25 PC (Peukert exponent)
    13.4V Vc (charged voltage)
    1500Ah Cb (battery capacity)
    50% DF (discharge floor)
    0.5% It (tail current)
    15 min Tcd (charged detection time)
    0 Tdt (time to go)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,640 admin
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    Sounds like a connection/wiring/dirty/short somewhere...

    Battery Monitors work by measuring small voltages across a large resistor (on the order of 0.001 to 0.200 volts)...

    If the meter is "stuck"--One of several things. Bad "meter" connection from shut to Battery Monitor. Take wires off, clean, re-torque. You should only be using copper wire for shunt meter connections. If you have something strange (aluminum, iron, etc.), you can get offset voltages (thermocouple effect).

    Disconnect the meter wire from the shunt. Does the Battery Monitor still show 15 amps (or >> zero amps)? If so, disconnect meter wire from Meter itself (you still need to leave the +/- wires connected). If back to near zero amps, recheck wiring/shunt/connections.

    If meter still reads >> zero amps... Some meters have a "zero adjust"--you can try playing with that. If the meter still has a fixed/wrong display--Then it is probably a trip back to the factory (or you open up and look for dirt/corrosion, check for cracked solder connections.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • samuelsamuel Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    Easy fix:

    There was a bad connection with the 6-pin Ethernet cable. I checked each connection point to no effect until the last one, inside the cabin, right at the back of the meter. The ethernet cable I used is solid core, RF-shielded, waterproof (in other words hard to work with). I needed to wiggle the ethernet connection (I made my own cables and crimped on the connectors back during install) in order to fix the problem.

    All set and working fine. No need to recrimp - just needed to pull on the cable a bit to get a better seat between the wire strands and the plug.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,640 admin
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    You might want to bring some extra RJ plugs and a crimping tool. You may not have a long term reliable connection until properly addressed.

    -Billl
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • samuelsamuel Solar Expert Posts: 80 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Victron BMV 600s battery monitor

    That's a perk of doing it yourself - the inevitable spare parts drawer ;-)
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