Victron SmartSolar vs. BlueSolar Charge Controller
There are two main models under Victron's MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) product line. These two lines offer similar capabilities, but their primary difference appears when configuring, and when tracking the units' input/output history. This article will discuss key differences and when one might be preferable to the other.
Blue Solar MPPT
When you need a set-it-and-forget-it unit or you will be connecting multiple MPPT charge controllers in a single system, the Blue Solar MPPT is an excellent option. This unit features much of the same functionality as its compatriot but lacks the Bluetooth access options of the SmartSolar MPPT. ('Smart' in any Victron Energy product name means Bluetooth enabled). To access the same settings and control options, a Blue Solar MPPT requires a direct hardwired connection or must be connected to another unit via a Victron VE cable.
If you need a solar charge controller that can be adjusted from many devices (smartphone, iPad, laptop) and allows easy access to charge histories for that unit, the SmartSolar model is the way to go. The built-in Bluetooth connection on SmartSolar MPPTs is enabled via the free VictronConnect app. From the app (available on iPhone, Android, Mac, and PC) you can see how many Watts of power are being generated in real-time, trends in consumption, as well as current battery voltage and state of charge. You can also adjust settings directly from the app, such as adjusting the maximum charge current or selecting a battery chemistry for the ideal charge algorithm.
Pro Tip: Victron 'smart devices' are designed to communicate with each other and optimize your power system's performance. That built-in Bluetooth functionality is what allows two Smart Solar MPPTs to share the same battery information and to work together to bring a battery up to full charge. Once connected to the Internet, real-time performance data from that device is also available to the system's owner in one user-friendly dashboard called VRM. Another Victron smart device, the GlobalLink 520, enables wireless communication with up to 10 other smart devices. That means that GlobalLlink can continuously 'talk' to multiple SmartSolar MPPT charge controllers, a BMV-712 Smart battery monitor, or even a Ruuvi Bluetooth temperature sensor. By using the GlobalLink to connect a system to VRM, each device can remotely monitored from your phone or laptop, giving you better understanding and insight into system and and how you might optimize it's performance. (Pretty smart, right?)
Photo credit: Justin Pearce
You’ll notice that Intelligent Controls carries over 50 different models of Victron solar charge controllers. Why so many? Because there are many different solar modules on the market and even more applications where just the right controller is required to maximize value. Need help selecting the right solar charger for your system? You can reach out to me directly at email@example.com, send a message via our contact form or submit your questions the chat box.
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