Victron Venus GX MFD integration, nice Simrad & Garmin surprises so far
Behold the Victron “app” now running on the Simrad NSS7 evo2 that I’ve been long testing on Gizmo. Now I can see all sorts of power data on a bright MFDs at the helms, and I can even use the integration to control the boat’s Victron Multi charger/inverter or configure many of the power system components. And this valuable feature only required some software updates and an Ethernet adapter cable.
In fact, I’m running a beta version Victron Venus software, and I don’t usually write about beta testing, but this one seems to be working beyond expectation — it’s not even listed as working with NSS evo2, for instance — and thus seems close to public release. There are several Victron GX monitoring products that run Venus software, and you may recall my enthusiastic February entry about Gizmo’s new Venus GX system.
My enthusiasm about Victron’s free VRM off-boat monitoring has actually increased, because it’s been rock-solid reliable and also because the data got immensely richer when I recently installed their SmartSolar charge controller. That’s why real-time solar panel production is shown on the NSS16 screen above, though the really valuable info is the hourly/daily DC consumption and solar generation counts now available even on the public side of Gizmo’s VRM site.
In March I wrote about how nicely the Victron Connect app works with the Bluetooth radio built into the SmartSolar and many other Victron components (including Gizmo’s BMV 712 Smart). It was great when installing the SmartSolar as I could check that it was working well the moment it powered up, and the VC app will also be useful for configuration modifications and firmware updates.
But I’ve yet to haul my phone out just to see what the solar panels are doing because I got so many better ways to monitor solar (and more) once the SmartSolar was connected to the Venus GX (using a V.E. Direct cable). VRM is terrific off the boat and even when onboard if I’m still online. Or I can use my phone or ipad via boat router LAN to directly access the Venus GX Remote Console that duplicates all the functionality of the Color Control GX (that began Venus GX family development back in 2014).
Now I can see and run the Remote Console on relatively old Simrad NSS evo2 MFDs, and all it took was the beta v2.30~43 Venus software update, the latest v18.2 evo2 update, and a Navico Ethernet to RJ45 adapter cable to connect the Simrad network to Gizmo’s router. Bada bing, the Victron app icon appeared on the NSS evo2 home screens and they worked (with just one beta formatting error that I reported). And there’s more…
I didn’t think that I could test Victron MFD integration with Gizmo’s older Garmin GPSMap 742 and 7612 because they do not support OneHelm as specified by Victron. So it was neat to see the Victron app icon show up as a “Boat App” within the ActiveCaptain app running on my iPad, and it runs fine when the iPad is WiFi connected to that same boat router.
By the way, I prefer this info display and MultiPlus Inverter/Charger control to the Remote Console — which is still available — because it fits the bigger iPad and NSS screens better and seems faster (perhaps because it’s an HTML5 “app” being served by the Venus GX). And there are more ways to monitor boat power and manage Victron components coming, including better NMEA 2000 compatibility.
As is, I’ll know much more about Gizmo’s power situation this coming season than ever before, and the component costs were reasonable. But I will caution that it’s challenging to set up a system like this, perhaps especially during this period of rapid Venus GX development. But then again, many professional marine installers are Victron adept, or getting there, and the results could be even better.