Victron BlueSolar vs SmartSolar
Victron Energy is a leading producer of solar equipment, including two popular types of MPPT charge controllers. Both the Victron BlueSolar and SmartSolar MPPT charge controllers have a variety of sizes and features to choose from, and they have a lot in common. But there is one major difference that solar users should be aware of when choosing between these two products. Keep reading to learn what it is and how it impacts your solar power system.
The Key Difference: Bluetooth
The one major difference between BlueSolar and SmartSolar charge controllers is the built-in Bluetooth capability. This is only built into SmartSolar models. Bluetooth capabilities are extremely convenient if you want to use the Victron Solar app to monitor your system’s power production. Bluetooth allows the charge controller to communicate directly with the app on your smartphone so that you can view real-time data and statistics regarding energy output and usage.
But what if you already have a BlueSolar MPPT charge controller, and you really want to be able to use the Victron Energy app on your phone? The good news is that there is a simple solution.
Retrofitting Your BlueSolar Charge Controller
If you’ve already installed a BlueSolar charge controller, and are only just realizing that this doesn’t allow the system to connect to your phone’s Bluetooth, don’t panic; you don’t have to change out the entire charge controller for a SmartSolar model. Instead, you can retrofit the BlueSolar charge controller with a simple dongle attachment that will enable Bluetooth capabilities on your device. The VE.Direct Bluetooth Smart dongle can be plugged directly into the BlueSolar charge controller, quickly providing you with that valuable Bluetooth functionality.
Disabling Bluetooth on Both Models
What if you want to turn off Bluetooth capabilities? While convenient, active Bluetooth connectivity does allow anyone with the VictronConnect app, which is within range of your charge controller, to access your data. So, if you’re going to be away from your home for a while, you might want to shut off Bluetooth capabilities while you’re gone to ensure nobody is fiddling with your system.
For the BlueSolar charge controller, all you have to do is disconnect the VE.Direct Bluetooth Smart dongle mentioned above. This will automatically shut off any Bluetooth connectivity. If you have a SmartSolar charge controller with built-in Bluetooth connectivity, you’ll have to disable the Bluetooth capability in the Victron app. Open the VictronConnect app and select the charge controller in your list of devices. Then, select the gear icon on the top right corner to access the settings page. Select the three dots in the upper right corner, and tap on “product info.” This will take you to an options menu that will allow you to disable Bluetooth.
Bear in mind that when Bluetooth is disabled, you won’t be able to view your energy production and other power stats. You’ll need to reactivate it via the app or plug the dongle back in, then reconnect your phone’s app to the device before this information is available.
What They Have in Common
Now that we’ve discussed the key difference between these two charge controllers let’s talk about what they have in common. Both models come with a variety of load output options ranging from 1A to 20A and battery voltage ranges that include 12V, 24V, 36V, and 48V. So, whether you have a BlueSolar or SmartSolar MPPT charge controller, you shouldn’t have any problems finding a model that fits your system’s requirements.
Both charge controllers also offer remote on-off and programmable relays on certain models, so if this is a feature you’re looking for in your charge controller, both BlueSolar and SmartSolar can provide it. They’re also both compatible with a variety of Victron Energy accessories, including the following:
- VictronConnect application (when Bluetooth capabilities are enabled)
- Wire boxes to cover and protect terminals
- Control and display panels, including MPPT control and SmartSolar control (both BlueSolar and SmartSolar offer models that are compatible with both types of panels)
- GX monitoring devices (CCGX, Venus GX, Octo GX, and Cerbo GX)
- Data cables (VE.Direct cable, RJ45 cable, and USB-VE.Direct interface)
- External control cables (TX cable and non-inverting cable)
If you want to add any of these accessories to your charge controller, it shouldn’t matter whether you have a BlueSolar or SmartSolar controller; just make sure the exact model you have is compatible with the accessory you want, as both types of charge controllers have some variety in regards to accessory compatibility.
If you’re looking for a charge controller for your solar power system, both the Victron SmartSolar and BlueSolar MPPT charge controllers are excellent options. They’re efficient, reliable, and can be accessorized and retrofitted to meet your exact usage needs. You can find these charge controllers and many of the accessories mentioned above here at The PowerStore, Inc.
Victron BlueSolar Vs SmartSolar – Which is Better?
Victron BlueSolar and SmartSolar charge controllers are two high-quality, dependable solutions that can properly regulate the charging process of your battery.
By Olivia Bolt April 25, 2023 Review
Among the leading solar brands, Victron Energy stands out for its two well-known versions of MPPT charge controllers; BlueSolar and SmartSolar. Although both have similar functions, when it comes to choosing between Victron BlueSolar vs SmartSolar charge controllers, it ultimately depends on the specific requirements of your solar power system. Let us dive deeper and learn about Victron BlueSolar vs SmartSolar specs, price range, and warranty to determine which is a better choice.
Victron BlueSolar Vs SmartSolar – Which is Better?
SmartSolar and BlueSolar are models of solar charge controllers manufactured by Victron Energy. BlueSolar series is a basic, affordable solution with an efficient charging mechanism. On the other hand, SmartSolar provides extra features which include more control and monitoring capabilities. Before you get to know about their differences, take a look at their key features:
Victron BlueSolar Charge Controller
BlueSolar charge controller is the MPPT charge controller manufactured by Victron Energy. It gathers the sunlight from the solar panel and uses it to charge the batteries attached to the solar system. It is the older model of the charge controller that uses MPPT technology to maintain the balance of the charging and helps in supplying a constant voltage.
They also have a feature of connecting an external dongle to allow Bluetooth connectivity. It would enable the customer to use the Victron connect, maximizing the potential of the MPPT and the charge controller device.
Victron SmartSolar Charge Controller
SmartSolar is the newer model of charge controller released by Victron Energy. It comes with an array of improvements over its predecessors which accumulate to make it a better package. It helps in maintaining battery health and durability by ensuring a constant supply of energy. This SmartsSolar model is based on advanced MPPT technology which helps in increasing efficiency by generating the maximum solar energy.
SmartSolar also comes with an inbuilt Bluetooth sensor which helps in connecting devices via VictronConnect. It further aids with increased efficiency by constant monitoring and maximizing the use of MPPT technology.
Since you have a basic understanding of Victron BlueSolar vs SmartSolar charge controllers, do you know how they differ from one another:
- The biggest difference between the two models is the option of connectivityavailable in them. SmartSolar comes with a built-in Bluetooth option which allows more remote and easy connectivity when compared to BlueSolar.
- The second major difference is the efficiency of the two models as SmartSolar is comparatively more efficient. This allows it to convert more solar energy into electricity when compared to BlueSolar.
- SmartSolar also has a built-in MPPT tracker, unlike BlueSolar which gives it a bigger edge when it comes to efficiency.
What are the Victron BlueSolar Vs SmartSolar Specs?
Talking about Victron BlueSolar vs SmartSolar specs, both of them are two widely used charge controllers in solar panels manufactured by Victron Energy. Both of these models are highly popular due to their good quality and dependable performance but there is a sizeable gap between the specifications of the two models. The specifications of Victron BlueSolar vs SmartSolar are as follows:
- SmartSolar is the advanced model of the two as it has an inbuilt MPPT tracker which increases the efficiency of the charge controller as this is missing in the BlueSolar.
- SmartSolar is available in 12, 24, 36, and 48-volt variants whereas BlueSolar is available only in 12, 24, and 48-volt models.
- Wireless connectivity through inbuilt Bluetooth is the biggest differentiator between the two models as the BlueSolar misses this feature making the SmartSolar a more easy-to-use model.
What is Victron BlueSolar Vs SmartSolar Price Range?
People often compare Victron BlueSolar vs SmartSolar price ranges before buying them. The price of a Smart Solar can range from anywhere between 50 for a basic 10amp model up to 700 for higher-end variants with more capacity and features like Bluetooth. Smart Solar is a newer model of Victron Energy as it offers the latest features and better efficiency through adding an MPPT tracker and inbuilt Bluetooth support.
The price for the older BlueSolar model is comparatively lower. They lack the premium features of the SmartSolar models as they start from 30 for the basic variant and go up to a few hundred dollars based on their capacity and features.
Price is one of the deciding factors when it comes to buying a charge controller for a solar panel as the majority of people are price sensitive and tend to find the best value for their money. Victron BlueSolar vs SmartSolar price is a widely considered criterion as both of these are good quality charge controllers which offer a different set of features according to individual needs.
Note: The price mentioned could vary depending on the model and location, the mentioned information is based solely on market research.
What is Victron BlueSolar vs SmartSolar Warranty Period?
BlueSolar and SmartSolar are charge controllers manufactured by Victron Energy which is known for delivering good quality products to its customers. They are well-known for their after-sales services, which include offering consumers a defect and inefficiency-free guarantee period, replacements, and repairs based on the customer’s demands and the terms and conditions.
BlueSolar and SmartSolar even though are very distinct in terms of features and efficiency, offer the same warranty of 5 years for the majority of the parts in the charge controller. However, the batteries are covered under a two-year warranty and lithium-ion batteries are covered under a three-year warranty.
The warranty is only applicable if a certain set of terms and conditions are met, and the warranty would be considered void if they are found to be violated and they are:
- The first condition is that a warranty is not given for products that have suffered any kind of physical damage or have been tampered with by authorized personnel.
- Any damage suffered due to factors like inadequate power supply, the reverse of battery polarity, damage due to lightning or overheating, or insufficient tightening of screws will not be covered under the warranty and the replacement or repair cost will have to be borne by the customer.
Note: The replacement and repair can vary based on the terms and conditions provided for a product.
Victron BlueSolar vs SmartSolar becomes a necessary comparison in order to find the best deal with the best value. If you need a charge controller for your solar power system, both the Victron BlueSolar and SmartSolar are MPPT charge controllers. In conclusion, note that SmartSolar is a better package with improved efficiency, connectivity, and features. However, it is significantly more expensive when compared to BlueSolar. BlueSolar is a reliable option for solar charge controllers but lacks the additional features provided by SmartSolar.
Hence, they are excellent choices because they are efficient, reliable, and retrofitted to meet your specific usage requirements. Nevertheless, when comparing Victron BlueSolar vs SmartSolar price range, you should keep in mind that it varies depending on model and capacity. You can be confident that Victron Energy’s products, whichever option you select, are manufactured to the highest standards. They ensure the high performance and lifespan of your off-grid solar power system.
Olivia is committed to green energy and works to help ensure our planet’s long-term habitability. She takes part in environmental conservation by recycling and avoiding single-use plastic.
Victron MPPT Charge Controller Review
Just so you know, this page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one, at no extra cost to you I may earn a small commission.
This is my hands-on review of the Victron SmartSolar MPPT Charge Controller.
I spent a total of 3 weeks testing it on its own as well as alongside other top MPPT charge controllers. I installed it in a solar power system and tested its ease of use, power output and voltage accuracy.
After all that, I think the Victron SmartSolar MPPT is the best MPPT charge controller on the market. It’s pricey, but it’s built-in Bluetooth, free mobile app and ease of setup make it the most plug-and-play MPPT I tested. For experienced users, it’s also got plenty of customization and advanced features.
The best MPPT solar charge controller
The Victron SmartSolar MPPT was the most “plug-and-play” MPPT I tested. It has plenty of battery presets for all the most common solar batteries. And the built-in Bluetooth lets you use Victron’s free mobile app to remotely monitor your solar power system from your phone.
|Rated charge current:||30A||Max. PV open circuit voltage (Voc):||100V|
|Battery voltage:||12/24V||Battery types:||LiFePO4, sealed (AGM), gel, flooded, custom|
|Max. PV input power:||440W @ 12V, 880W @ 24V||Max. wire size:||6 AWG (16 mm2)|
|Bluetooth monitoring:||Yes (built-in)||Temperature sensor:||Yes (built-in)|
Victron SmartSolar MPPT Review
After taking it out of the box, I first noticed the Victron SmartSolar is small and light for an MPPT.
Beyond that, the controller doesn’t have a screen — just a few LED indicators to let you know what charging stage the controller is in.
Normally that’s limiting, but the Victron SmartSolar’s built-in Bluetooth gets rid of the need for a screen. With Bluetooth, you can easily monitor everything from your phone. I like that better because it gives you more information and enables remote monitoring. I could be in my kitchen and check on the status of my controller in my basement.
I immediately went to my basement to install the Victron in a test solar power system. Four screws are all you need to mount it.
After mounting, I connected the controller to a LiFePO4 battery and a 100 watt solar panel. The Victron’s wire terminals are just okay. The screws themselves feel strong and durable, but the terminals are a little too shallow and close together for my taste.
Once installed, though, I tend to forget about the wire terminals altogether. And I never had a problem with wires slipping out during setup or use.
Once you’ve connected your Victron to your battery and solar panels, the next thing you’ll want to do is download the VictronConnect app.
To pair your phone to your Victron, simply open the Victron app and select your charge controller from the devices list. Here’s a quick video of me doing it:
Note: You may need to enter a pin code the first time you pair your phone. The default Victron pin code is 000000 (six zeroes).
You don’t pair it by going to your phone’s Bluetooth settings. It’s a different process than most Bluetooth devices.
Now you can monitor your solar power system from your phone. The Victron app is powerful and gives you all sorts of information about how much energy your solar panels are producing as well as your battery voltage and charging current.
For instance, when I paired mine, it told me my 100 watt panel was producing around 45 watts (due to some mild Cloud coverage).
As a simple test of the Victron’s Bluetooth range, I went to the second story of my house and tested if the Bluetooth would still connect. I estimate I was about 30-35 feet from the Victron controller, and my phone still connected just fine. In fact, it showed up as having 2-3 bars of Bluetooth ‘service.’
After trying out the Victron by itself, I wanted to test it alongside other top MPPT charge controllers. In addition to testing usability and build quality, I tested each controller’s voltage accuracy against a multimeter connected to the battery terminals.
The Victron placed first in my test with an average voltage discrepancy of only 0.075 volts. Most of the other models had an average discrepancy of 0.1-0.2 volts.
Next, I tested the max power output of all the MPPTs when connected to a 200 watt solar array. I measured power output with the Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor.
The Victron placed first, by just a hair. It output a max of 146 watts. That was 1 watt more than the EPEver Tracer BN which came in second, and 4 watts more than the Renogy Rover which placed last.
I don’t put too much stock in these results because of the variables I couldn’t account for, such as fluctuations in solar irradiance and solar panel temperature. Regardless, it was nice to see a first-place finish from the Victron, given its price tag.
Note: These specs are for the model I tested, the SmartSolar MPPT 100/30. Victron has a whole SmartSolar product lineup with different PV voltage limits, charge current ratings and compatible battery voltages should you need a different size.
- Rated charge current: 30A
- Maximum PV open circuit voltage (Voc): 100V
- Battery voltage: 12/24V
- Battery types: LiFePO4, sealed (AGM), gel, flooded, custom
- Maximum PV input power: 440W @ 12V, 880W @ 24V
- Maximum wire size: 6 AWG (16 mm2)
- Bluetooth monitoring: Yes (built-in)
- Temperature sensor: Yes (built-in)
- Power consumption: 30mA @ 12V, 20mA @ 24V
- Operating temperature:.30 to 60°C (-22 to 140°F)
What I Don’t Like
Who This Charge Controller Isn’t for
Which Victron SmartSolar Model Is Right for You?
The SmartSolar MPPT product line has plenty of options of differing PV voltage and charge current ratings. Here’s a quick comparison table of some of the more popular models on Amazon:
|Max. PV Voltage||75V||100V||100V||100V|
|Rated Charge Current||15A||20A||30A||50A|
|Max. PV Input Power||220W @ 12V, 440W @ 24V||290W @ 12V, 580W @ 24V, 1160W @ 48V||440W @ 12V, 880W @ 24V||700W @ 12V, 1400W @ 24V|
|Buy Link||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
If the Victron SmartSolar MPPT isn’t right for you, here are my top alternatives:
- Victron BlueSolar MPPT 100/30. The Victron BlueSolar is like the Victron SmartSolar but without Bluetooth built in. As a result, it’s quite a bit cheaper. And you can always add Bluetooth later on by buying the Victron VE.Direct Smart Dongle.
- Renogy Rover 40A. I think the Rover 40A is the MPPT controller with the best bang for your buck. If you don’t want to pay top dollar for the Victron, this is the one I’d recommend next. It has presets for all the most common types of solar batteries and lets you create custom charging profiles. It doesn’t have Bluetooth built in, but you can add it by getting the Renogy BT-1 Bluetooth Module. Renogy’s mobile app was my second favorite. Read my full Renogy Rover MPPT Review.
- EPEver Tracer 4215BN. The Tracer BN had my favorite hardware of the MPPTs I tested. It’s built like a tank and has my favorite wire terminals of any solar controller I’ve ever used. It has presets for lead acid batteries, but not LiFePO4 batteries. It lets you create custom charging profiles, though, so it can work with lithium batteries if you spend a little time setting it up properly.
The Bottom Line
The Victron SmartSolar MPPT charge controller was my favorite of the 5 MPPTs I tested. It had the best voltage accuracy and power output.
Bluetooth comes built in to all Victron SmartSolar controllers. This lets you check on your system from your phone using the VictronConnect app. Pairing your phone takes all of 15 seconds and, once paired, you can monitor your system in real time and edit system settings such as battery type.
If you want an MPPT that’s easy to set up and works great out of the box, the Victron is the one I’d recommend.
The only real drawback to the Victron is its price. It’s a premium product and is priced like one. If you don’t want to spend all that money, look at a cheaper MPPT such as the Renogy Rover 40A.
A small ask: If you found my Victron SmartSolar MPPT review helpful and are planning to buy one, please consider buying through one of my affiliate links below — I’ll get a small commission which will help fund more reviews like this one. Thank you!
Victron SmartSolar MPPT 250/70-MC4 VE.Can
SCC125070521 A solar charger gathers energy from your solar panels, and stores it in your batteries. Using the latest, fastest technology, SmartSolar maximises this energy-harvest, driving it intelligently to achieve full charge in the shortest possible time. SmartSolar maintains battery health, extending its life.
MPPT: Ultra Fast Maximum Power Point Tracking
By constantly monitoring the voltage and current output of your solar (PV) panels, MPPT technology ensures that every drop of available power is rinsed out of your panels, and harvested for storage. The advantage of this is most noticeable when the sky is partially clouded, and light intensity is constantly changing.
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