Balmar MC-618 regulator with SmartLink integration, first look

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

8 Responses

  1. Richard West says:

    Can you tell me if the MC-618 regulator and the Bluetooth gateway can be used together, without the smart shunt and SG200 battery monitor? I’m really happy with the battery monitoring I have now (Victron BMV-712) but would love to be a be able to monitor and set my alternator regulator with my phone.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Sorry, Richard, there has to be a SmartShunt on the system to power the Bluetooth Gateway (or SG200 gauges). You can see in the photos that all components link with four wires — including a red/black power pair — except the MC-618, which only uses the data pair.

      I was going to suggest that you could work around this by powering the Gateway separately but my multimeter suggests that the SmartShunt outputs 4.6v to the SmartLink network, not 12v, and so that idea seems dicey. But Balmar does offer a shunt/gateway kit — https://www.hodgesmarine.com/balsg205-balmar-sg205-battery-monitor-kit-wbluetooth-gat.html — and you’d end up with a second opinion to your BMV-712.

  2. Grant Jenkins says:

    Ben, thanks for the update on the MC-618. On a somewhat related note- it’s been mentioned here and in other posts that you’re replacing your Firefly housebank with a new system. I think the other Ben may have mentioned you have been less than happy with the Fireflys. As I have recommended these to several others, and am getting ready to buy my own set, can we expect an in-depth analysis of what you experienced at some point? I’ve really not heard anything negative elsewhere…. Thanks!

  3. Wolfgang says:

    Nice to see more and more (boat parts) manufacturers realize a dynamo should be an integrated part of an energy system.
    I am over 20 years satisfied with Mastervolt Alpha regulators (Masterbus versions not available at that time) and switching to a complete Mastervolt installation (including updated Alpha regulators).
    Unfortunately Masterbus is a fairly closed system (everything need to be Mastervolt or something from their group), whereas Victron is more open minded.
    Anyway, regardless which choice you make, ensure the dynamo charges your house battery directly with proper sized gauge wire and is connected to the energy monitoring system for power management.

  4. Larry Olson says:

    Just got off the phone with Balmar, and I’m putting on two new alternators/ 618s, Centerfielder to combine them and a monitor.
    They suggested the SG 210 over the SG 200 in that the 210 can be updated and the 200 not so. However, I’ll call back and see the NMEA schedule .. that would be better yet and probably worth waiting for if not too long.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Hi Larry, At first your post confused me, but then I realized that Balmar is simply suggesting having a SG200 (aka SG2-0300) Bluetooth Gateway on your new SmartLink network. Their SG200 kit is just the SG2-0200 gauge and SG2-0100 smartshunt while the SG210 adds the gateway. (But each can be purchased separately.)

      At any rate, I think that all those components are available and also that they gave you good advice. Besides firmware updates, you’ll get complete MC-618 configuration and troubleshooting with the gateway and Balmar’s app.

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