Victron MultiPlus Software Update & First Lithium Charge

Victron MultiPlus Software Update & First Lithium Charge

Hi there, thanks very much for watching. Welcome to Snowmageddon! Mmm, probably not. Some areas of the United Kingdom have had
half a meter of snow but certainly not here. The ice has stopped me moving though. I knew the ice was coming. I knew the temperatures were going to go down, as most people that live on narrowboats do, they sort of keep an eye on the weather. So I moored up here, got the car close by. The ice is probably about six centimetres
thick at the moment. Over the last few days, about four days ago, it started icing over and the first night was really noisy. There’s nothing you can do because as the ice froze and you move in the boat, or the wind moves the boat back and forward, there was scratching and crunching and all sorts.
It was a bit of a restless night that was but as the ice got thicker, now Alice is rock solid in the ice, regardless of how
much you move around in the boat. It’s like actually living on land again. The ice is solid around it, although it is starting to melt already. I can sort of hear crunching noises again, so it won’t be long, probably in the middle of the next week that I will carry on moving towards the Shropshire Union Canal but for now I have been working inside. I’ve been building the electrics cupboard that I’m going to be putting all this equipment in. I’ve had the
Victron lithium batteries for just over a week now, very, very different. I haven’t needed to charge the batteries using the generator. I haven’t needed to charge the batteries using the engine and the alternator, at all. Solar has done it all. Now considering many days, a bit like this, dull are overcast, not much sun, the solar has been coping really, really well. The other bonus is the fact that I’ve got my fridge back on inside. On 24/7 no problems whatsoever. Yesterday, when building the electrics cupboard, I was cutting using a jigsaw, mains jigsaw from the inverter. 700 watt jigsaw no problems whatsoever. No engine running nothing needed, lithium batteries ‘like yeah, whatever’. The actual voltage didn’t change at all and after about an hour, an hour and a half of me on and off using it, the percentage hadn’t changed even 1%, which is fantastic. So what have I been doing whilst the ice has stopped me from going anywhere. Well I’ve been cracking on with the cupboard inside, that’s where all my electrics are going to go and it’s been quite tough because the the boat tapers in at that point, so I’ve had to chop the back of the cupboard off and bring the rear of the actual cupboard in as well as add vents and things so let’s see how I’ve been getting on.
I’ve decided to use a normal 1 metre wide kitchen cabinet as I wanted it to blend in
with the rest of the kitchen. It’s at the far end of the port side of Alice. Below the
cupboard, I lifted a section of the floor and removed some of the brick ballast. Not
only do I need to counter balance the additional weight this area will hold, but I also wanted
to create a void area within the bilge. The base plate of the boat is here and this section
of the boat is a good depth below the water level. It’s always cool and I wanted to
use this to my advantage. The cupboard will house my batteries, inverter
and solar charge controller. All these items can get warm. So, I have created additional
ventilation in the cupboard. On the bulkhead to the engine bay there is
a hole. It’s normally used to route cables and pipework. It’s big enough for me to
also include a ventilation duct between the cupboard and the engine bay where there is
plenty of external ventilation. In the engine bay, I will be fitting an inline blower. On
the command of a temperature switch, this will suck warm air from the cupboard outside.
In turn this will pull cool air up from the bilge below the cupboard. This not only replaces
hot air with cool but it also keeps the bilge nicely ventilated. As the boat tapers in here, I’ve needed
to reduce the cupboards depth. Using battens along the cupboards sides, I’ve fitted a
thick sheet of plywood for strength. And then to that the standard, relatively thin rear
board, mainly to keep the cupboard clean and looking the same. The three lithium batteries are positioned
to the left of the cupboard and to the right the Victron MultiPlus inverter and charger.
This has lots of good ventilation all around it. Plus as this is the item that gets the
hottest, the cool bilge air vent is right in front of it. After watching my last video, a really helpful
guy from Victron got in contact and highlighted there were some changes regarding the temperature
environment. The latest datasheet from Victron for my lithium
batteries has been updated to recommend charging from 5 degrees Celsius and above. I expect
this has to been changed to avoid confusion and to lengthen the lifespan of the batteries.
But it just goes to show, lithium’s don’t like being charged at low temperatures. Talking of charge, it was time to complete
my initial lithium battery charge. The manual states they come approximately
50% charged and as they are smart batteries, I could see, via Bluetooth and the Victron
Connect app on my phone, the voltage of each of the batteries cells and the battery temperature.
That was before they even came out of their boxes. I could see each battery required a firmware
update. This was all done using the app. As my batteries will be used in parallel I
could charge all three at once but to avoid one of the cells reaching the over voltage
faster than another from a different battery, I charged each battery for its initial charge,
separately. I used the MultiPlus to complete this initial
full charge and supplied its power from my generator. Before I do that however, I needed to update
the Firmware of the MultiPlus’s VE Bus. This adds functionality to work with my lithium
batteries. This is not for the faint of heart and needs
a thorough understanding of what you are doing. If in any doubt, I’d strongly recommend
you ask a Victron Engineer to complete this next stage for you. The firmware will reset your MultiPlus back
to its default settings and if you use the wrong firmware version, you can damage the
MultiPlus. But in the true spirit of Journey with Jono, here is how I did it. I downloaded and installed the latest VE Flash
software version from the Victron website. I’ve included links in the description below. It is suitable for windows computers only
so I, using a Mac, ran windows via Parallels. When you remove the front cover of the MultiPlus
you will see the main circuit board. On the front of the large chip to the top left of
the board there is a sticker with a 7-digit number. As you can see, mine starts with 2609. Write
that number down. At the bottom right of the MultiPlus there is a label with the serial
number, it starts with HQ. Contact your Victron representative with both numbers and ask for
the correct Firmware file. I made sure there were no other items connected
to the MultiPlus. I downloaded and ran the VE Flash software and chose ‘Update the
firmware’. I followed the software commands and selected the correct firmware version.
It’s important to ensure the first 4 digits of the firmware file are the same as the first
4 digits of the label on the chip. In my case, it was 2609. I auto selected the port that the USB communicates
on and turned the MultiPlus off. I connected a network cable to one of the
MultiPlus’s network ports. Using a Victron MK2 to USB interface I connected it to the
network cable from the MultiPlus and plugged the MK2 into the computers USB port. I then switched the MultiPlus on and the software
recognised it and started to upload the firmware file to the chip.
After a few nail biting moments, the firmware was fully updated. Phew, time for some nice
snow scene shots to lower the stress levels! I then downloaded and installed VE Configure.
The purpose of this software is to communicate with the MultiPlus, tell it, I now have Lithium
batteries and also add a small programme to it, called an assistant. After running the VE Configure and connecting
to the MultiPlus I navigated to the Charger tab. As you can see the MultiPlus was configured
for flooded deep discharge batteries. Clicking the Battery Type button, I selected Lithium
Ion Phosphate. It updates the MultiPlus to the following
settings. As this was the first time I was charging
the batteries, Victron recommend you charge at a low rate of C/20 or less. Or 5% of a
100Ah battery which is 5 Amps in my case. So, I changed the charge current to 5. It’s also recommended to give the batteries
an absorption voltage of 14.2 volts for several hours to initially fully balance the cells.
So, I changed the absorption time from 1 to 3. Next I clicked on the Assistants Tab.
I clicked the Add Assistant button and selected VE.Bus BMS from the dropdown menu.
Once it was installed I clicked the Start Assistant button. The Battery management system from Victron
communicates with the MultiPlus and in a low battery voltage situation it changes the MultiPlus
from inverting to charger only. In a high battery voltage situation, it regulates the
charge voltage to allow for the cells to fully balance. The VE Bus BMS assistant was then fully installed. That’s all the settings I needed to change
so I clicked the send settings button to the left of the main area. Selected modified settings
and the changes and new BMS assistant were sent to the MultiPlus. I connected one battery at a time to the MultiPlus
and started the charging. I purposely moored up away from other boats and houses. As the
charge amperage was only 5 amps I knew I would need to run my generator a long time. Each
of the batteries were luckily about 60% full to start with but it did take a good 8-9 hours
for each battery to increase in voltage and charge. I kept a close eye on each of their
charges using the Bluetooth Victron Connect App. The charge seemed to go up to around
14.17 volts and around 3.6 volts for each cell. They stabilised and then started to
drop. I knew then that the batteries were full. Two days later I connected them in parallel
to my Victron Power In panels which I am using as covered bus bars. I’ll be discussing
those and my new battery monitor in the next episode. Until then, see ya later.

100 thoughts to “Victron MultiPlus Software Update & First Lithium Charge”

  1. Well Jono stage one is done nice one and to top it all it works, still you knew what you were doing as if I'm correct you do the homework before you try to do a serious or any task, all I can say is good on you mate, by the way your not the only one to have snow we had about nearly 2 foot due to the strong winds (Snow drifts), well mate very informative video for others who are thinking of changing their power like yourself. Safe travels when you get free from the ice also great shot of Molly enjoying the snow.

  2. Sounds complex but I’m sure reading all the information gives a step by step guide. Good job and well explained

  3. As a tech geek I fully appreciate the detail in this vlog but my attention is drawn to the foot prints in the snow (1 min 30) crossing the canal, sad I know but if it was a rabbit then I hope it can swim back when the thaw kicks in

  4. Very interesting! Looking forward to the next episode. Your projects are well thought out and performed with great attention to detail.

  5. Hi Jono, am I right in thinking then, with this minimum temp for charging, that it’s no good fitting the lithium batteries in their usual place in the engine bay on top of the swims?

  6. As a fellow geek I think you will find some interesting things on the youtube channel of Robert Murray Smith – he's doing some very interesting things with battery development. Probably not of direct interest when it comes to your set up, but geekiness doesn't demand it needs to be.

  7. Loved the video, though myself not a Canal Chugger or a Techno. Your the first of the CC's to actually show how cold and snowy it is on any of the canals that I have seen. I think the next problem your going to have is the flooding of the canals with the thaw that is sure to come. Look after you and Molly.

  8. hi thank for video showing like outside fridge run 5C and 0C the temperature outside need is metal box and have a lot ice have fridge need to stock up on supply and usa build boat must have ventilation like one you show

  9. If any one can turn what would usually be a boring subject into compelling viewing it’s you Jono! Fascinating viewing, thank you!

  10. Cool, this is the future. After you fit gull wing doors towards the stern you'll have a floating Tesla model X mate 🙂

  11. Cracking video Jono. Well done in making what many would consider either boring or confusing into a great informative short video. Keep warm bud, nice touch with the ventilation and temp control too!

  12. Bit of effort but well worth it by the sounds of it. Real informative video bro i'm sure it will help plenty out. ATB

  13. Wow! that Victron appears to be a snazzy piece of kit Jono, looking forward to future updates, thank you.

  14. Hey Jono great video as always you got some great looking tech there no more power issues for you buddy looking forward to the next instalment . keep em coming happy boating. S C.

  15. Hi Jono, very interesting to learn about the Lithium Batteries and their prefered temperature surroundings. Never gave it a thought before. Maybe I should check the temperature in the workshop where all the nifty battery tools get charged, as the majority of them runs on lithiums.

  16. God morning Jono

    Very nice Snow Pictures.
    And a very interesting Video?

    Guten Morgen Jono

    Sehr schöne Schnee Bilder.
    Und ein sehr interessantes Video.

  17. I guess in the future victron will make this process so much easier like dji batteries. I think the need of programming will put people off. best make it automatic for us none tech tipes

  18. Excellent video again Jono. I really laughed when you described a Lithium battery as saying "yeah whatever" when you connected some load to it…hilarious! Molly looks like she's enjoying the snow? our old black Lab used to love it too. Stay well.

  19. Ahoi, Jono, Molly und Alice, Dein technisches Verständnis wächst mit den Aufgaben. Einfach toll mit welcher Leichtigkeit Du die Dinge handhabst. Und Molly zeigt ihre Lebensfreude über die gelungene Installation und Änderung. Jono, die Ballaststeine in der Bilge, sind das Betonteile oder richtige Ziegelsteine? Wenn es Ziegelsteine wären, könnte man über eine Fußbodenheizung nachdenken. Denn Ziegelsteine (die normalgebrannten) speichern für Stunden die Wärme und geben sie langsam ab. Ich hoffe, das Übersetzungsprogramm übersetzt alles richtig. Gruß Leo

  20. Great video, well explained… you make a complex geek subject understandable and enjoyable. Am amazed 300 Ah is holding its charge so well with just solar replenishing – what wattage are the panels? and are you using a separate MPPT regulator or does the Multiplus have one built in?

  21. Great update and as you say not for the faint hearted but the potential benefits are staggering. Thanks Jono.

  22. Very good Jono , new Lithium batteries and their own cupboard and charged by very little solar , way to go . Frozen canal looks like a road , must be hard for Molly not to jump onto the ice 🙂

  23. This is part two of the great Lithium adventure…and is once again very very serious stuff…but my goodness Jono you are a techno wizard! My fave doggy carer and history buff has become an Appollo astronaut … but how smooth. ..the detail and significance of this for anyone thinking of Lithium ( Sulphate ) update could not be overstressed.
    Brilliant and brain stretching stuff.
    Wow…even a certain black dog was excited by it all!
    Bon Chance in your new electric world. .it'll be good to hear how it works out over the next few months. ..
    But finally. ..and tsch tsch ..
    Dear Jono…Isn't time to get your nice boat fitted out too…It's worrying to think of you in The Beast from the East in an unfitted out craft…
    Do take care of you…
    Kindest thoughts always..ML

  24. Good video, as always. Are you at all concerned with CO coming through the vent from your engine bay? Is that fan always going to be running, or does the vent seal well when the fan isn't running? Cheers! Keep warm!

  25. Thank you for yet another superb video,
    It completely lost me who knew there is so much to learn about batteries? Do you have a degree in computing or just enjoy the challenge?

  26. Hey Jono – i absolutely love your content!
    But i have a non-narrowboat related question for you:
    What kind of video equipment do you use for your superb videos?
    Oh, and what about the awesome drone shots? A DJI or something like that?
    Greeting from a cold boat just outside of Copenhagen 🙂

  27. Very good video Jono it looks to complicated for me so I presume I can get the suppliers Victron fit and set up if I was to buy them

  28. A whole lot more complicated than household mains electricity. I see more of this sort of thing coming for us land lubbers.

  29. total 'gobbledygook' mate – but with your perfectly timed stills inserts it actually made sense – great job, thanks

  30. Will the charge halt charging if the temp is below 5 deg C? What does the assistant do? Nice setup. Victron is good stuff but expensive.

  31. Hiya, thanks for another tech-y video. A bit superfluous for my own lifestyle (🤫psst! I don’t have a Narrowboat) but I’m so glad the lithium batteries are making your life easier. Keep warm and carry on boating. 🛶

  32. Thanks Jono, for the most comprehensive report on the solar/lithium question. The initial survey, decision, purchase, installation and,most important, the charge and use of the system.
    Nicely done. Thank you.

  33. Very interesting Jono the old story read the manual first, over the years I have seen all sorts of problems with people "lets crank this thing up" without even looking at the instructions only to end in tears and a large hole in the bank balance.Hope you get moving next week while you guys freeze we need to cool down just had the hottest Feb on record here in New Zealand.

  34. Hi Jono. You mentioned keeping your car nearby. How do you find safe parking at various points along your routes? What sort of parking is available for boaters on the move?

  35. Hello Jono: I found this earlier and thought in the interest of efficiency, I thought you might be interested in this.

  36. I may have missed it, but do you use your older lead battery for your started and have the Lith. for liesure only

  37. Maybe a little off topic but I am considering a lithium battery for the starter battery in my motorcycle, I wasn't aware off the temperature sensitivity on charging, but think it won't be an issue as I am unlikely to be riding and therefore charging while below -5*

  38. OK they are Interesting battery's bank has a bms built into them (with Bluetooth as well that's very cool) guess that's why they are quite expensive but this type of system should have near 0 maintenance and we'll likely a warranty as well (seems like a plug in and play and forget system after the first time battery conditioning and setup)

    This is a 12v system norm Used to seeing 48v ones due to issues with low voltage and high watts/amps can give issues with cables warming up or inverter fails (I guess you would just use them in 4 parallel to get 48v and rated inverter/charger)

    Just looking at website they do support 4x parallel to get 48v,, as your system is in series (keeping 12v system) if you find your using to much you can just add one at a time (assuming same 100ah capacity per battery)

    I was looking for this company as some one in oz land I believe was using this system 4kw solar on roof but with grid tie backup if batteries got to low (going to have a look see what they do) looked and they do have it

  39. I see you're really doing a lot of upgrades to the battery storage with the demands of the lithium. Interestingly lead acid performs much better between 70F-80F. You lose around 15% capacity for every 15 degrees below 80F with lead acid. I think you would have had a better time with with the lead acid batteries and a longer life span with this new heated and vented battery box. Charging them would take a lot of effort in the cold also as the resistance goes way up in the cold with lead acid. However you got those expensive lithium batteries now so good luck!

  40. im sorry but this is way above my head.
    i can skip next batterie topic.
    Lithium is for people who are great with computers and stuf.
    I still own a reccord player and sometimes read a book.
    sorry old scool here.
    succes with your Lithium 😀
    love the snow B.T.W.
    Greetings,, Kitty.

  41. I am doing basically the same you are . power wise. in a house. off grid. completely. I have a 24v system. I think it's very interesting what you have done with the power. I also plan to use a engine to supplement the solar when needed. I built a 100+ ah. lithium bank. and plan on much more. I would like to run my home for a week without sun. I can get about 1.5a when cloudy.and nearly 30a when in OK sun. I am going to try using the lead acid along with the lithium ion. using the lead as a backup for los lithiun voltage. it's all about funds. I am doing it slowly. keep up the videos

  42. There's firmware and apps for even just batteries now? Flippin 'eck! Thought it would go through the BMS or something, though the actual battery? Can these things even safely be used in an automotive application?

  43. I'm more surprised that they're still using though-hole construction with a 40 pin DIP PIC Microcontroller and 74HC00 series discrete logic and discrete transistors. That has a date code of 2017!? That board is right out of the 80s. It's not even double a double sided PCB meaning they went as cheap as possible.

  44. Thank you for this. I love the Victron solar charge controllers ( I have two), and am considering the Victron inverters as they are split phase capable and stackable.

  45. Clever devil you, I bet you’re so relieved. Do you need a laptop to update the firmware or can it be done using an iPad?

  46. Bloody freezing here in FNQ Australia got down to 9C (46F) last night, please give me summer at 35C (95F) a nice day and not hot.

  47. Hi Jono
    As a fellow narrowboat owner I'm very interested in the possibilities of LFP batteries and well aware of the low temperature charging problems. It's certainly an idea to keep the batteries in the boat cabin, but I can see two drawbacks – one is the amount of extra and heavy gauge wiring that would certainly be needed in my boat, but the second thing that would concern me would be the BSS certificate. Isn't it the case that there are strict rules governing the housing of batteries which are not in the engine compartment, i.e in the living area?

  48. Do any of your marinas use bubbling machines to protect the hulls and docks from ice clinging to the boat hulls? (Thawline Bubbler Devices)

  49. Hi Jono, At 11:11 the battery you showed charging was showing cell 4 continually reading low compared to cells 1,2&3. Is that a problem with cell 4 or does the management system adjust that and leave all the cells with the exact same voltage when it finishes with the battery. Cheers.

  50. It was all a bit over my head until you got to the firmware upgrade, then I felt more at home. But what a wonderful tutorial!

  51. can you give us an update on the battery pack and how is doing? since you have log on the victrons can you post or make a new video on how they are now? how many cycles you have now on them? did you make a test on the remaining capacity after a year?

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