Winter boat, with help from Victron, Maretron, and FloatHub

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.

19 Responses

  1. Christopher says:

    Ben, you are not the only one 😉 who uses the same system, mine also gets stuck with Victron, FloadHub and Maretron, they all also work online :-).
    I love our electronic toys on boats.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Good to hear, Christopher. Are you using Maretron’s SMS100 text module to get data and alerts off your boat, and if so, which cellular sim card is working for you?

      I’ll also note that one benefit of having Gizmo at the Camden Public Landing this winter is getting somewhat acquainted with the gentleman who built that pinky schooner across the dock. He’s been living aboard for years without electricity and only pea coal in a Shipmate cookstove for heat. Apparently he bakes and reads (by oil lamp) a lot and he seems quite sane, cheery actually. Different strokes for different folks!

  2. DT says:

    Hi Ben. Can you get diesel at Wayfarer L-M in winter or do you fill from a jug?

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      DT, I’m pretty sure that LM could pump diesel most any weekday, or I could go to Journey’s End in Rockland. However, I did in fact pour two 5 gallon jugs into Gizmo last week, and it felt silly old school. But the river current has Gizmo fairly pinned to the dock much of the time, intricate frozen dock line setup, etc. Not that the little Webasto TSL17 uses much fuel the way I’m using it, but I let the tanks get quite low last fall anticipating the haulout that didn’t happen. My rough guess is 35-45 gallons used for heating this winter.

  3. Good Morning, Ben! That same front blew through here last night and it’s a bit chilly here in Riviera Beach, too – 57 air temp (that’s “below freezing” for Florida) but the 73 water temp means no cocktail ice floating around like Camden. That picture is spectacular in its own way.. 🙂 (Kinda like your dockmate!)
    I’d love to have that sort of monitoring capability, but it’ll probably have to be my next boat. I note Gadget isn’t aboard – do you take her home for the season?

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Righto. Gadget is in a shed, possibly serving as a mouse house. But I did manage to freeze a large shot of rainwater in her bilge before putting her away in late November. My abusive testing regime is highly disciplined.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Victron just updated the VRM site and now I can make the data part public:

    You can’t access my Remote Console or configure anything, but it’s way better than screenshots for understanding what the Venus and VRM can do.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      For anyone checking Gizmo’s public VRM site: The boiler is currently shut off (during a warm spell) and the constant house load — two AIS transceivers, NMEA 2000 network, etc. — is about 4 amps. You can see in the Advanced section that the charger is turned off and if the 12v current draw is less than 4a, that means the solar panels have kicked in, which also affects voltage. Note too that I have uploaded relevant photos that are shared.

  5. Christopher says:

    Ben, do not use the Maretron’s SMS 100 module, I send data from Maretron devices online using iKomunicate.
    My Victron

  6. Christopher says:

    I launched the VRM site exactly on 2017-02-22 13:32:24 .
    It was visible from the very beginning.

  7. jan-kees says:

    I am a bit surprised you need to use the floathub system for your bilge pumps. The Victron Venus can do the same ( PLUS it is FREE …NO monthly fee).
    You have 5 digital inputs… you can add 5 bilge pumps or fire alerts, or burglar alerts
    The Venus can also monitor and send out alerts with either of the two temperature inputs.
    And you have to ability to set a Geo-fence….so you know when your boat is adrift, or ‘borrowed’

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Thanks, Jan-Kees, but my initial impression is that so far some Venus extra features like the digital inputs, temp and tank sensors are underdeveloped. For instance, if I attached the same wire to the plus side of my aft bilge pump, could VRM graph accumulated pump use time and use counts? Could I custom name the pump and have that name carry over to the alerts? Could I design alerts like “If pump goes on more than 1 time in an hour, text xxx-xxx-xxxxx?”

      I think it’s great that Venus has the potential to do much more than power monitoring, but FloatHub is only $99 a year and that includes some cell service if you get that hardware option. It’s also forwarding my boat’s AIS data to Marine Traffic (over WiFi) which earns an MT subscription level that costs more than the FH sub. And it’s putting NMEA 2000 data like wind speed/dir and water temp on my FH cloud site, which has been darn useful this winter.

  8. Bill Kearney Bill Kearney says:

    What android app are you using to show that info? And is it coming from the local network connection or through their cloud service?

  1. April 20, 2019

    […] 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. […]

  2. December 6, 2019

    […] range page. And if you’re not familiar with what a GX device can do, you might appreciate my first Venus GX testing entry last winter, and then what I saw as the MFD glass bridge integration feature underwent beta […]

  3. February 2, 2020

    […] WiFi was critical to getting alerts about the boat’s batteries, bilge pumps, and more via Victron VRM and FloatHub. In fact, right now the Reach is leaning against a pilothouse window still maintaining a monitoring […]

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