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Victron & Pylontech: a Robust Inverter-Battery Combination for Off-grid Energy Systems

Victron & Pylontech: a Robust Inverter-Battery Combination for Off-grid Energy Systems

Can you use any battery with a Victron Energy system? Technically, yes. But here's what we recommend and why.

A sound battery-inverter system is kind of like a happy marriage, based on good communication and responding efficiently to each other's needs. And the union needs to last for a very, very long time (which is one reason why we like Pylontech's 16+ year battery life expectation and 10-year manufacturer's warranty.)  

There is certainly no shortage of lithium-ion battery manufacturers to choose from in today's market. Victron has published a long list of batteries that are compatible with their inverters, a few of which are available to us in the United States. Within that shorter list of options, let's talk about the best integrations and why they provide exceptional value. 

Different companies, same goal 

Victron Energy is a research and development-focused company driven by continual improvement. Although Victron sells its own Smart Lithium Battery, there are other intelligent lithium batteries that collaborate with Victron equipment to take system functionality to the next level.

Pylontech, which raked the #1 ESS provider worldwide in S&P's 2022 Global Commodity Insights, is known for its self-manufactured cells and BMS, rigorous 3rd party testing, and extremely low failure rates. Recently, Pylontech actually increased the expected cycle life of the US3000 and US5000 from 6,000 to 8,000 cycles at 95% depth of discharge (DOD). Few lithium manufacturers can make anywhere near this claim with confidence (and have the data to back it up). 

Pylontech and Victron's R&D teams came together to establish thorough compatibility reports. As a result, Pylontech lithium batteries are certified to work with Victron inverters in off-grid, battery backup, and Energy Storage Systems (ESS). Over the past eight years, Pylontech batteries have become an increasingly popular choice for professional Victron installers across Europe, Australia, Africa, and, increasingly, the United States. 

As we continue to explore the impressive capabilities of Victron inverter/chargers, our appreciation for Pylontech also grows. It's become our go-to choice when designing robust, flexible inverter-battery systems. 

Here are the key selling points for us:

Full integration and seamless communication: 

The Pylontech US5000C, a 48 Volt, 4.8kWh rack-mount lithium battery, communicates with Victron's Cerbo GX via the BMS type A cable. When connected, the battery is recognized as a Victron-compatible device and populates on the device list as a Pylontech battery.

The CAN bus connection via the GX device communicates the keep-alive signal, charge and discharge limits, error codes, and state of charge (SOC) between the batteries and the system.

The GX device also enables Distributed Voltage and Current Control (DVCC). DVCC turns the GX device into an active controller and will take over charge control of the inverter/charger and MPPT solar chargers and then coordinate the two charging sources to optimally deliver power to the battery without exceeding the limits specified by the Pylontech battery. If there happen to be any faults detected or if the installer makes a mistake, the batteries will beep and disconnect to prevent any damage.

Victron-Pylontech battery integration as seen on Cerbo GX display

Reliable and flexible enough for the most demanding environments

The Pylontech US5000 has been a staple for our off-grid solar installers. The footprint saves space and makes for a very compact, high-power 48V bank. Over the past 3 years, we have sold over 700 Pylontech US3000C and US5000 batteries and have had 2 warranty issues.

Many of these systems are in rugged conditions where the Pylontech durability is continually put to the test. Many have been installed by first-time installers, some of whom made mistakes, causing the batteries to overload and protect themselves. Even so, every battery has survived and is 100% functional. We stock replacement BMS boards in the event that we do have an issue, but so far, we have not touched them.  

This year, Pylontech released the Pelio-L-5.12 48V, 5.12Kwh lithium, which has a very slim, self-contained design using internal plug connections (no racking needed), and the UP2500, a 24V 2.84kWh rack-mount, ideal for system requiring 24V DC power.

Pylontech Pelio and UP2500 LiFePO4 batteries

We also sell a lot of Pylontech's RT12100G31 model, an exceptionally durable 12.8V 100Ah drop-in lithium battery. The RT12100 is UL-listed and IP67-rated. This battery also has a built-in cold-resistance heater. Planning on camping out in your Sprinter van during the middle of winter? This battery is your best bet. Our customers have primarily used this battery for 12 Volt RV/mobile applications, but the RT12100G31 can be expanded up to 4 series and 4 parallel for 48V 400 Amp hours. Although much smaller than the US3000C or Pelio, this model has the same internal BMS monitor that integrates seamlessly with Victron and coordinates a safe user experience. 

Pylontech RT12100G31

Fantastic battery management system (BMS)

Victron inverters are designed to work better with more intelligent battery management systems, such as Pylontech and BYD Battery Box. Pylontech's BMS is so good that it's actually become the benchmark for other battery assemblers. It's not uncommon for other manufacturers to say, "our BMS is just like Pylontech's." You know you're doing something right when people mimic your technology. 

Our customers have been pleased with the closed-loop integration of their Pylontech-Victron systems, which enables the battery to protect itself and to maintain itself better than is possible with isolated batteries. The integration is as simple as it gets and has some nice features you won't find on less integrated batteries.

Again, all you do is plug in the communications cable, and the Cerbo GX will recognize the battery and ensure that all the Victron products' charge parameters align with the battery's requests. No programming is required to achieve this; it just happens.

It's always wise to have stand-alone settings in your inverters and solar controllers to ensure that the system will continue to function if communication is lost for some reason (the Cerbo failed or a wire was unplugged, for example.) 

Very large and in-charge manufacturer

Pylontech is not a small, here-today-gone-tomorrow company. These products are very reliable, and their global consumer base is fast-growing, having reached 1 million installations in over 80 countries. 

It's also important to us that they manufacture their own battery cells, which is becoming less and less common these days. If we’re talking about passion for quality control and a reputation for reliable, affordable battery products, Pylontech is leading the way. 

One important feature that speaks to the company's commitment to building quality, long-lasting batteries, is the fact that many Pylontech batteries are designed to be backward compatible. This means that new battery modules can be added to a battery bank in the future to expand capacity in a way that is user-friendly for installers. 

After overseeing hundreds of Victron-Pylontech installs, it's very straightforward for us to advise you on the initial setup of power systems, and thanks to Victron's remote monitoring system (VRM), we can provide that technical support from literally anywhere in the world.

 >>> Related Reading: Wilderness adventure in Montana...with all the comforts of home

Sugarloaf Pylontech Rack batteries

What battery is best for my system?

Ask us for guidance on battery options for residential, mobile, and marine applications. We're happy to share whatever information we can to help you get the most intelligent and reliable system possible.

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Marty and Leslie live off-grid in Montana. They use Victron Energy equipment to power their house as well as a 3-phase system for a timber equipment business. Marty uses He uses his excess solar power to heat underground water-fed pipes in his greenhouse to grow fruit and vegetables year-round.