Posted by Peter Kennedy on 7/12/2022 to System Integration
The Victron Connect program can be downloaded from the Victron website and operated in demo mode. If you like you can follow along with me in demo mode we can take it for a test run. Victron Connect can now be used for almost all programming of these Multi's and Quattros. At the time of writing (July 2022) there are still a few functions it can't do. If you need to use any of the advanced programming options called "Assistants" you will have to do that using another program called VE Configure.
Victron Connect can be used to program a MultiPlus or Quattro on a Mac or PC but VE Configure only works on a PC. Both programs require the use of the Mk3 USB interface to make the connection between the computer and the MultiPlus or Quattro. To get started with Victron Connect you will need to download the program to your computer and you will most likely also have to download the USB drivers so that your computer can recognise the Mk3 USB interface. The MultiPlus or Quattro has to be connected to a battery and must be turned on.
What follows is just my interpretation of how this all works, you might also like to consult the Victron Connect VE Bus Configuration Guide for Victrons own version.
Here is a checklist to get started:
- MultiPlus or Quattro connected to a battery and turned on
- All other remotes unplugged or disconnected
- Mk3 Interface connected to Multi or Quattro using a VE Bus cable
- Mk3 Interface connected to computer where Victron Connect has been installed, and if necessary the associated USB drivers.
- You will need the password for Victron Connect which is zzz
To follow along in demo mode here is where you select your model. In my example I am using the MultiPlus 12/3000 inverter charger. Before you do any programming you should first update the firmware to the latest version. I can't do screenshots of this in demo mode so instead I am going to give you the link on how to do it from the Victron Connect VE Bus Configuration guide
Here is the opening screen. This screen gives you a snapshot of what is happening at the moment. In the image below the Multi is connected to shore power and is giving very small amount of charge to the battery. I have circled the cog wheel icon which you click to get to the programming menu.
The cogwheel takes you to the programming menu. There are five tabs for different aspects of programming, there is also a link to help file and manuals. The Victron Connect program is very user friendly and throughout you will find icons that you can click to explain a particular setting.
The next screenshot below shows the General programming tab. You can select the system frequency to be 50 or 60 hz. Note that this selection only applies when the unit is in invert mode. When its connected to shore power or generator the frequency will always be the same as the incoming power. This tab allows you to set your shore power limit. If you have 30 amp shore power you would set it to 30 amps, if you have 50 amp shore power you would set it to 50. If you have a Quattro there is a separate space to set the generator limit. Then you can enable "overruled by remote" which will allow you to make adjustments on the fly using one of the various remote panel options.
If you click on the more... link for the Dynamic Current Limit you will get a good example at how good the program is at guiding you through programming, I won't repeat what it says there.
Do NOT enable the Battery Monitor. This has a specific application only if the MultiPlus or Quattro is the sole item connected to the battery. In that case it can act as a simplified battery monitor because it knows everything that goes into and out of the battery. In most systems this does not apply because there are multiple charge sources and multiple loads and the Multi has no way of knowing what is going on elsewhere.
The Grid tab shown below is prefilled with some defaults that can usually remain the way they. They allow quite a wide variation from the norms of grid power and would permit most generators to work with the unit even if the power they produce is a bit off spec. However there is one slider button that you might have to change if your generator is particularly small. The UPS Function slider, which is on by default, requires the Multi or Quattro to keep in sync with the generator so that it is ready to jump in at a moments notice and start inverting if the source power is interrupted. Sometimes if the generator is particularly out of spec this won't be possible. In that case unchecking the UPS slider will give the unit more flexibility to try and use the incoming power.
The Inverter tab shown below allows you to make an adjustment to the output voltage when inverting. This doesn't really apply in a 120 volt unit but if you have a 230 volt unit you will have the opportunity to change it to 240 volts. The Ground Relay is something you might need to use if you get the Autotransformer, for other installations leave it in the default ON position. The next group of settings are something you probably should adjust, By default the Multi or Quattro will run your battery way down. It would be preferable to set a higher voltage for the low voltage shutdown to avoid damaging your battery. Exactly what voltage to choose depends on the type of battery you are using but it in a 12 volt system it might perhaps be in the 11.5 to 12 volt range. If you change the low voltage shutdown point the other values should automatically adjust. If they dont you can adjust them manually. You want a spread between the shutdown voltage and the restart voltage because if they are too close together the unit will keep turning on and off repeatedly. The last section here is AES and allows you to decide if you want the inverter to stay on all the time in low power mode waiting to detect a load and then turning on automatically if it detects one. By default AES is off, if you turn it on there are more options to choose from.
The next tab, shown below, is the charger tab. This is where you will want to make the most adjustments because the settings vary with the kind of batteries you are using. The top of the list starts with enable charger, I can't think of any reason why you would want to disable it but they put the option in anyway. The next one is charge current. You will see that although this is a MultiPlus capable of 120 amps of charging they have reduced it to 90 amps by default. One reason you might want to reduce the maximum output is if you have smaller lithium batteries with a limited rate of charge allowed.
Next up you will have the opportunity to set absorption voltage, float voltage, absorption time etc. You should consult your battery manufacturer for recommendations concerning these. The default values are what you would use for wet cell batteries. Scroll down for some suggested values.
Here are some suggested settings for some common 12 volt batteries. Its best to consult your battery manufacturer for the latest recommendations.
All the above is just my interpretation of how this all works, you might also like to consult the Victron Connect VE Bus Configuration Guide for Victrons own version.
The video below shows the firmware update and programming for the MultiPlus Compact 12/2000