REC ACTIVE BMS vs Orion Jr for 4S4P 280Ah LiFePO4 system

jmole

New Member
Hi all - I'm trying to decide on a BMS for my sprinter van battery system.

I'm looking at the REC ACTIVE BMS and the Orion Jr.

I like that the REC is already set up for 4S, and seems like it has the ability to work with the WS500 regulator I'm using, as well as Victron equipment.

But the Orion seems like it is better engineered with better documentation. The big con with the Orion, of course, is that you're limited to 150mA of passive balancing current. They claim that this isn't a big deal, but I do wonder about it. I will have 4 very high capacity cells in series; the cells are matched, but they still will need to be kept in balance, and I worry that 150mA just isn't enough to cut it for 1120Ah.

The big feature that I'd like is the ability to tell the WS500 and the Victron Multiplus II and the solar panel controller to stop charging, without needing to close a contactor to accomplish it. It seems like I should be able to do this with both systems.

Would love to hear from anyone who has experience with either BMS, and what they like and don't like about it.
 

jmole

New Member
I got this response from Orion:

A 4P configuration with 280Ahr cells (>1000 Ahr total) would be pushing it for what we'd recommend in a single JR unit as far as balancing goes. Depending on what type of cells being used that may still be achievable, but lower quality LFP cells would probably require more balancing than that arrangement would afford. Still, this would be the most cost effective solution though, and there are ways to better optimize the balancing strategy depending on how frequently you have the opportunity to balance.

You could consider a 24 cell Orion 2 standard BMS which has greater balancing power, though this may be somewhat overkill for your specific needs here.

I'm still leaning towards the Orion, since I'm using matched cells, but it does give me pause.
 

HRTKD

Boondocker
But the Orion seems like it is better engineered with better documentation. The big con with the Orion, of course, is that you're limited to 150mA of passive balancing current. They claim that this isn't a big deal, but I do wonder about it. I will have 4 very high capacity cells in series; the cells are matched, but they still will need to be kept in balance, and I worry that 150mA just isn't enough to cut it for 1120Ah.

The big feature that I'd like is the ability to tell the WS500 and the Victron Multiplus II and the solar panel controller to stop charging, without needing to close a contactor to accomplish it. It seems like I should be able to do this with both systems.

I don't know what the balancing power is on my Overkill Solar 4s BMS, but it's working great on my EVE 280Ah cells.

If you have the BMS telling the solar charge controller to stop charging, if there is a load on the system that the PV output could normally handle without dipping into the battery, how would that work? So far, I don't see a need for the BMS to communicate, but my system is small with only two 4s batteries for 560Ah.
 

Ampster

Renewable Energy Hobbyist
I have been using Orion BMSs for the past six years. A year ago when I moved to a larger LFP pack I was having some issues at the top with larger cell deltas. I thought about an active balancer but never implemented it. It has taken time but when the cells are at the end of contant voltage charging they are within 0.04 volts. It reduces as they are discharging to 0.005 volts. One of the favorite things I like about the Orion is the Orion Connect which allows me to see various stats and trends remotely.
 

jwelter99

Solar Addict
Hi all - I'm trying to decide on a BMS for my sprinter van battery system.

I'm looking at the REC ACTIVE BMS and the Orion Jr.

I like that the REC is already set up for 4S, and seems like it has the ability to work with the WS500 regulator I'm using, as well as Victron equipment.

But the Orion seems like it is better engineered with better documentation. The big con with the Orion, of course, is that you're limited to 150mA of passive balancing current. They claim that this isn't a big deal, but I do wonder about it. I will have 4 very high capacity cells in series; the cells are matched, but they still will need to be kept in balance, and I worry that 150mA just isn't enough to cut it for 1120Ah.

The big feature that I'd like is the ability to tell the WS500 and the Victron Multiplus II and the solar panel controller to stop charging, without needing to close a contactor to accomplish it. It seems like I should be able to do this with both systems.

Would love to hear from anyone who has experience with either BMS, and what they like and don't like about it.

Several systems using the REC Active and zero issues. Anywhere from 200Ah to 1120Ah of capacity.

In most of the cases they use the REC contactor pre-charge module along with a BlueSea RBS-ML 500A contactor. We have the first install next week with the new WiFi management module which looks really interesting.

All of them are integrated into Victron systems and the canbus works well. With a Cerbo GX with the separate battery BMS bus it works really nicely out of the box; and you have the ve.can free for solar charge controllers and such. Victron also has a forum for REC BMS which is a plus; not official support but pretty close.

Several systems use wakespeed WS500 regulators like you plan; but Balmar is also very popular and a traditional choice.

Support is top notch - 24 hour or faster response time via email. And the support is engineering grade who knows the product inside out and not some front line support.

I personally use a Batrium but must say if needing to do it all over would go REC as it just works with zero fuss. For a hobbyist it's a bit boring of a product as not much to tinker with; but for people just wanting a well working system it's a great product.
 
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