Alpha Release for Testing

Questions and feedback on the new Open Source product to monitor batteries and solar panel performance REMOTELY. For use with NASA BM1 and Epever MPPT Controllers.
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penny
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:02 pm

Alpha Release for Testing

Post by penny » Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:56 pm

Battery WatchDog is a new FREE Open Source product for the Raspberry Pi which allows those with certain battery monitors and MTTP controllers to monitor the condition of their batteries and the performance of their solar panels REMOTELY using Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet.

This product will shortly be available (as a tarred ISO) for download from the Skipper's Mate web site. At the moment it supports the NASA BM1 battery monitor (version with NO screen but with Bluetooth LE capability) and the latest generation of Epever MPPT controllers. Other products may be added - please ask on this forum if you would like to be involved in testing other devices.

This product is currently at the stage of Alpha release and we would be most grateful for any constructive feedback. We will also attempt to answer any questions posted here.

As soon as the download is available the link will be posted here, with the instructions on equipment required and how to get going. Free access, for the purposes of testing this product, is available to any tester on request.

Penny

penny
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:02 pm

How to get going

Post by penny » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:10 pm

Battery WatchDog from Project Computers Ltd.
Version 0.60 4 January 2020


This Alpha version (0.60) requires you to be able to burn an ISO and to use the command line. The text editor joe is installed on this ISO. You can log in with the standard login (pi / raspberry) and use sudo as required.

1. Equipment Required
In order to use this software you will require the following :

a) Raspberry Pi - this can be any version from the Zero upwards. In order to communicate with the outside world your Pi will need Wi-Fi so you can either use a model which has built-if Wi-Fi or add a Wi-Fi dongle.

b) Either a router or Mi-Fi which can communicate with the outside world.

And then you will need one or both of the following :

c) NASA BM1 - the model which has Bluetooth LE capability and NO screen.
To communicate with the BM1 you will need either a Raspberry Pi with built-in BTLE capability or to add a BTLE dongle.

d) Epever MPPT Solar Controller e.g. EPSolar MPPT Solar Charge Controller Ultra Fast Power Point Tracking EPEver [20A Tracer 2210AN]. You should ensure that the Epever model has the capability to run the MT50 remote meter. This meter is not required but it ensures the correct protocols are present. Most current Epever models have this capability.

(i) Cat53 network cable to USB To RS485 Converter Adapter, Support Win7, Win8, Win10, EPSOLAR / EPEVER. These adapters are readily available on eBay for 3-4GBP. Note : the commercially available RS485 cables do not use the wires required for this so you will need to make up your own cable - take a Cat5e network cable, cut off one end and attach 2 wires to the converter as described in Section 2 below.

(ii) if you wish to monitor the temperature of your batteries you will need a Epever temperature sensor (Temperature Sensor Cable around 5 GBP from eBay)


2. How to put it together

a) To utilise the software you will need to download and burn the ISO to a card for your Raspberry Pi.

b) To monitor your battery bank via the NASA BM1 you will need to run :

hcitool lescan (to obtain the Bluetooth Device Address (MAC)

and then edit /var/www/html/pcl/bm1mon/batparms/macaddr to put the MAC address of your BM1 device

c) To monitor your solar panels and battery bank via the Epever MPPT Controller you will need to :

(i) take a standard Cat5e network cable (using the 568B standard where 3 is green+white and 5 is blue+white. Cut off one end and attach 2 wires to the converter - colour blue+white(5) to A and colour green+white(3) to B. Insert into Raspberry Pi USB port.


3. Configuration/Comms

You will need to set up the communications as follows :

a) Contact us via PM on this forum for the details of our VPN server to get you going. These are free for Alpha testers. You are also free, if you have your own web server and VPN server, to use the software without access to our VPN.

b) To default the Wi-Fi connection to your router/Mi-Fi you will need to go to the command line and
edit /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant-wlan0.conf Change SSID to your wireless router/Mi-Fi SSID and the PSK to your password. Note that the quotes are mandatory. You may need to change your protocol and key management but the file is already set to the most common configuration.


4. Comments

We would be most grateful to receive feedback and will attempt to answer here any questions which you may have here on the forum. TIA

popeyesfx
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 3:07 pm

Re: Alpha Release for Testing

Post by popeyesfx » Sat Dec 19, 2020 3:40 pm

Hi
Is the source available for the battery watchdog, I would like to have a look possible.

cheers

popeyesfx
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 3:07 pm

Re: Alpha Release for Testing

Post by popeyesfx » Sun Dec 20, 2020 12:29 pm

Hi
I have tried to connect to my BM1 by putting the Mac address in the stated file and then rebooting the pi, but still unable to connect.

Is there something else I should be doing.

cheers

crb
Site Admin
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:08 pm

Re: Alpha Release for Testing

Post by crb » Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:36 am

popeyesfx wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 3:40 pm
Hi
Is the source available for the battery watchdog, I would like to have a look possible.

cheers
Hi,
It's not downloadable at the moment, but I can make it so if you're interested.

crb
Site Admin
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:08 pm

Re: Alpha Release for Testing

Post by crb » Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:46 am

popeyesfx wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 12:29 pm
Hi
I have tried to connect to my BM1 by putting the Mac address in the stated file and then rebooting the pi, but still unable to connect.

Is there something else I should be doing.

cheers
HI,
Try looking at /mnt/ramdisk/bm1errs and bm1data (may not be present if connect failed). You could also try issuing the command "systemctl status tinybread".

Which version of the Raspberry are you using? We've tested with the Zero wireless, a 2 with a bluetooth dongle and a 3.

Answers may be a little slow over the festive? period.

Cheers,
Colin

popeyesfx
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 3:07 pm

Re: Alpha Release for Testing

Post by popeyesfx » Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:56 pm

Hi

Thanks for the reply, I am using a pi zero w. I have managed to get the pi to connect ok now was a typo in the file (missed a blank space, rocky error ). Have also managed to get the pi to connect via a vpn to my home one, so I can check data from home.

I have built a hub for my boat, using a pi 3 b+ to which I have a couple of camera's attached and some temp/humidity sensors attached. These are all running in docker containers so I can update and deploy easily.

I am hoping to do the same with the BM1 but so far have not been able to get ay sort of blue working in a docker container. Would like to know how you get the pi to connect to the bm1 via ble and see if I can build that into a container.

thanks

crb
Site Admin
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:08 pm

Re: Alpha Release for Testing

Post by crb » Tue Dec 22, 2020 9:32 am

Hi,

Sorry, have no experience of Docker so can't help there. Connection to by is made by use of the library "tinyb". The source code to the bt module is in "/home/cb/bm1mon/tinybread/main.cpp". I've p.m'd the ssh user name and password. to you. Let me know how you get on.

Cheers,
Colin

popeyesfx
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2020 3:07 pm

Re: Alpha Release for Testing

Post by popeyesfx » Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:06 pm

Thanks for the reply, would seem we are working towards the same thing, I have been messing about with docker to try and make remote management easier. I have a small cluster that I am experimenting with which I hope will become my boats (Katy May) brain.

thanks agains

jack

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