Midnite and Victron: striking difference in software updates

rhino

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Jun 6, 2020
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Location
Minnesota
This was brought up in another thread recently but I went to look closer at what these two companies are doing as far as providing application/firmware/monitoring updates for existing customers and is quite striking. (For the record I currently use Midnite hardware):

Midnite Solar
- No comprehensive list of changes in app/firmware. You have to search through their message forum to figure out what was changed.
- Last firmware update from Feb of 2018
- Unknown when last time the monitoring software was updated but appears to be years ago
- Can view your limited metrics via a web page but even then iOS devices have trouble using it
- "Local app" built on Adobe AIR which requires you to install the Adobe AIR runtime on your computer (uses some shared code from Adobe Flash :rolleyes:)
- No official support for any Apple products relating to using the "Local App" to monitor your system or updating firmware
- Firmware updates require a windows computer hardwired to the charge controller
- Does provide documentation on protocol to talk to their hardware

Victron
- Extensive detailed list of updates with each version, see https://www.victronenergy.com/live/victronconnect:beta
- Frequent software/firmware updates with last one being last week. And not only are these bug fixes but frequently add substantial improvements.. i.e. reducing power usage of smaller controllers by 70% at night, entirely new "networking" between products with VE.Smart, UI improvements, etc.
- Updates can be setup to automatically update from the device itself. No need for a computer to update.
- Professionally looking website for monitoring your system with extensive data available https://vrm.victronenergy.com/landingpage if you wish to send this data to the web.
- REAL apps available in Google Play and App Store and even the macOS App Store. These apps don't just allow monitoring but also configuring your system.
- Provides extensive documentation and software on how others can interact with their system and open-sourcing a lot of it. This includes an image to install the same OS running the Victron monitoring/configuring hardware onto a Raspberry Pi. There are 3rd party drivers for Chargery BMS and other non-Victron equipment to monitor/control so that you can view/control all within the same Victron monitoring application.

This mostly just looks at the software side. There are plenty of differences with hardware as well.
 

bgflyguy

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Jul 8, 2020
Messages
115
I was really unhappy when victron locked me out of the settings until I did an update. But other than that, I haven't had issues.
 

Hedges

I See Electromagnetic Fields!
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Mar 28, 2020
Messages
8,396
SMA has some software updates, especially for Sunny Island (new Lithium features, I think)
Sunny Island would sweep updates from master to slaves.

I have older Sunny Data Control, recognizes some of my older Sunny Boy inverters but not some less old ones.
Software update notes don't indicate addition of support for new models. Even though Sunny Data Control is listed in a table as being able to work with those inverters.

So far I haven't done any updates. I would for Sunny Data Control if notes indicated it would let me do what I want. Instead, I used Sunny Explorer and Ethernet router (with a different interface installed in Sunny Boy) to change parameters.

Have never found older updates on SMA site, even though support said it was there. Support then said they can provide it to you. Be sure to back up and save old revisions you might want to revert to.

Sunny Explorer software, only latest revision seems to be available. It imposes password restrictions more restrictive than previous, (may?) require you to update a password and not allow entry of previous valid password, so you have to use "personal unlocking key". Which did work for me.

I wish they made all updates/revisions, old and new, available for all products.

I generally figure "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and avoid anything web/internet based, because that changes faster than I change PCs, and orders of magnitude faster than I change electrical equipment.

SMA does provide full web access, and they will monitor and notify customers/installers of performance issues at no charge for duration of warranty.

(I don't want to be the target of a STUXNET or other SHTF situation)
 

rhino

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Messages
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Location
Minnesota
@Hedges Thanks for the info on SMA! This info seems like it would be really valuable to people who want to know if the product they purchase will be "supported" in the future. I realize some will never care about this ability and are happy with whatever they have now but I ASSUMED all the manufactures were more-or-less not caring much after the fact. That was until I saw what Victron was doing which was a real eye-opener and how I wish all the manufacturers were operating.
 

Hedges

I See Electromagnetic Fields!
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
8,396
SMA did give me advice and support on the older equipment. No new software updates, but they recommended a parameter setting for work-around. That was after their guys read the source code to understand and confirm what it could do.

My equipment ranges from 17 years old/obsolete to a few years old and still on the market.
Of course they have even newer equipment on the US market now, and products in Europe which may show up here later.

What I was doing was adding battery backup and communication interfaced with older grid-tie inverters.
SMA has a list of which units play together. I told them some things they didn't know.
 

gnubie

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
3,853
The extensive and detailed information freely available from Victron for their device's control interface is great.

When I bought my Victron SCC I didn't even imagine I'd ever be at the stage where I wanted to be able to interact with it to integrate my own weird and wonderful things, but a year down the track here I am, able to easily send commands to the Victron to poke it and prod it as my needs dictate. Not everyone may need this level of access, but it does it for me so I'm glad I bought Victron rather than another quality reputable brand that makes you sign NDAs etc and hides everything in a safe.

They keep adding features to it too, at some stage they've added a low temperature charge rate current option to avoid damaging certain chemistries with high charge currents. That's nice.
 

Darkstar

Rain Wrangler
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
327
This was brought up in another thread recently but I went to look closer at what these two companies are doing as far as providing application/firmware/monitoring updates for existing customers and is quite striking. (For the record I currently use Midnite hardware):

Midnite Solar
- No comprehensive list of changes in app/firmware. You have to search through their message forum to figure out what was changed.
- Last firmware update from Feb of 2018
- Unknown when last time the monitoring software was updated but appears to be years ago
- Can view your limited metrics via a web page but even then iOS devices have trouble using it
- "Local app" built on Adobe AIR which requires you to install the Adobe AIR runtime on your computer (uses some shared code from Adobe Flash :rolleyes:)
- No official support for any Apple products relating to using the "Local App" to monitor your system or updating firmware
- Firmware updates require a windows computer hardwired to the charge controller
- Does provide documentation on protocol to talk to their hardware

Victron
- Extensive detailed list of updates with each version, see https://www.victronenergy.com/live/victronconnect:beta
- Frequent software/firmware updates with last one being last week. And not only are these bug fixes but frequently add substantial improvements.. i.e. reducing power usage of smaller controllers by 70% at night, entirely new "networking" between products with VE.Smart, UI improvements, etc.
- Updates can be setup to automatically update from the device itself. No need for a computer to update.
- Professionally looking website for monitoring your system with extensive data available https://vrm.victronenergy.com/landingpage if you wish to send this data to the web.
- REAL apps available in Google Play and App Store and even the macOS App Store. These apps don't just allow monitoring but also configuring your system.
- Provides extensive documentation and software on how others can interact with their system and open-sourcing a lot of it. This includes an image to install the same OS running the Victron monitoring/configuring hardware onto a Raspberry Pi. There are 3rd party drivers for Chargery BMS and other non-Victron equipment to monitor/control so that you can view/control all within the same Victron monitoring application.

This mostly just looks at the software side. There are plenty of differences with hardware as well.

Could you point me to the third party Chargery <> Victron drivers?

Thanks.
 

Hedges

I See Electromagnetic Fields!
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
8,396
No, but I can point you to third-party SMA drivers!


(Yea, I'm an SMA fanboy. Probably someone else can show you what you need.)
 

rhino

Solar Addict
Joined
Jun 6, 2020
Messages
490
Location
Minnesota
No, but I can point you to third-party SMA drivers!


(Yea, I'm an SMA fanboy. Probably someone else can show you what you need.)
I think this is different then what I am referring to. Unless I'm missing something that link only provides info on how to interface with SMA and you still have to write a lot of code to have anything useful. The "driver" for the Victron/Chargery is ready to use software that you install and enables you to view the Chargery data right on the Victron interface/hardware
chargerybmsvoltages.png

It's currently not as streamlined as it could be. User has to re-install this "driver" after any Venus OS update.
 
Last edited:

Dzl

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Do you know what OS VenusOS is based on? Is it linux based?
 

Darkstar

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Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Messages
327
Do you know what OS VenusOS is based on? Is it linux based?
Yes, it is. If you have any linux experience it is pretty easy to work with. You can SSH to the Venus OS machine for standard linux command line work. It also works surprisingly well on cheap Raspberry PI 3 or 4 SBC's.
 
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Pappion

Retired Engineer Tech
Joined
Nov 26, 2020
Messages
263
I like my Victron Smart Shunt and Smart Solar 100/50.
I don't like being forced to do updates, by making settings unavailable. OOPS your password can only be changed under settings. Fail to do update? They want you to disconnect blue tooth. Better have PW written down somewhere.
Updates failed when using Motorola E5 PLay, Android 8.0.0. Smart Solar stalled at 27%, and App warns "don't leave". Smart Shunt went the distance and threw an error code.
Web search advice: try another phone. My old Samsung tablet SM-T377V, Android 7.1.1 did the job.
 
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