Really frustrating Batrium experience!

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Pine Marten

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Hello,

I have been trying to get some information about the Watchmon from Batrium with little success. If I send an email with three short questions, generally one is acknowledged but not answered well/fully, the remaining two questions are ignored entirely. I send a reply trying to get more information on the poorly answered question and include the ignored questions again, which are then ignored again. The person I am dealing with (accounts, shipping, logistics)has so far refused to forward my questions on to one of the tech support people despite my requests that she do so...it's a very frustrating experience. I am trying not let my experience with this one person taint my view of the company as a whole and its products, but it is difficult.

In any case, my hope is to build a 24V mobile power system using either a DIY 18650 battery or a Tesla module (6s74p) or two. At first I was looking at the upcoming Watchmon5 as it is advertised as being compatiblewith Tesla modules, but then I noticed that it is only compatible with 9 -15 cells in series, so the only configuration thatwould work would be two modules (no more, no less) and only in series to make a 48V 12s battery. This would not work for me, nor is it very versatile. So I asked Batrium if the Watchmon4 would work with a Tesla module so long as I avoid Tesla's balance wires and instead attach the Longmon leads directly to the battery busbars at 0V, 4V, 8V, 12V...etc. The person I have been dealing with at Batrium has not/will notanswer this question, but it seems like it should work fine?

I hope to use the Watchmon4 to control Victron chargers via the Venus GX and its CAN-Bus connection. Batrium's instructions include the use of an ESS assistant, which according to Victron should only be used in grid-tied applications and not used for marine, off-grid or mobile applications. Has anyone tried controlling a Multiplus or Mppt charger without the ESS assistant? It seem like enabling DVCC (tried to include link, but was not allowed)would be beneficial, but again, I don't know if the Batrium-Victron interface is transmitting all the information needed to make this work. Anyone tried it?

It seems like the Watchmon4 has the potential to work well for my application, but I would like a little more information before investing a lot of money in this system.


Thank you all for your time and for sharing so much useful information on this forum!
 

LithiumSolar

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Here is the Longmon information, including a link to the Longmon spec sheet
https://www.batrium.com/pages/longmon

I don't know much about Tesla modules myself, but aren't they just regular 3.7v 18650 cells? The longmons will work anywhere from 2.2V to 5.4V. The important part is you cannot have shared wires, the longmon cables need to attach directly to the battery - which you noted above. So yes, it should work fine for your Tesla modules.

I'm not sure on the charger question.
 

daromer

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Hi

First of all sounds like bad experience and I will forward your information here directly to them and hopefully get you the feedback you want. That is though NO EXCUSE that you have not gotten the experience you wanted. On other hand I don't have any input on the conversations so I will leave that alone and so should commenting on it be. Everyone that DO have had this experience you either take it in mail to them and if you think its not forwarded let me know and il help out!

Regarding your actual technical question.

WM4 works perfectly fine with ANY battery as long as each longmon wires have their own connection to its cell and as long as you bypass the shared loom. If you do that it will work just fine. I have done that on all my 4s prebuilt LiFePo4 packs that had a shared loom from start.

WM5 is created based on the current user-base out there. Its a small company and they have limited time to do all configurations and have a set of prioritizes to go by

Your Victron question i cant answer since I don't have any information there.

Im one of the guys that have been using Batrium for quite some time. Many have and have been very satisfied. I have 3 systems running in total. With that said its important to understand that it is a small company! You can browse around on the forum for more information.
 

Batrium

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Hi Pine Marten,

Maxine has replied to several of your requests advising you that neither Watchmon5/6 are not available yet as well as other questions. If you want to chat then book a teamviewer session so that we can discuss the specifics.
https://www.batrium.com/pages/support-how-to-help-us-to-help-you

Both Watchmon 5/6 were designed based on the repeated requests for nominal 48v battery packs where people were planning/attempting to connect using our existing product and trying using the shared wiring harness. In time we will look at other options but it takes time to design, test and refine a product ready for market. Moving from individual cell monitors to a central system needs the time to refine the typical 48v (14S) configuration and fabrications processes before we consider cutting it down to a 24v (5-8S ) scenario likely to happen just not immediately.

Working with repurposed Tesla cells that are in 2x6S format will in time be achievable. Our timeline is early next year so if you project has to happen now then this product is not suitable.

cheers Jaron
 

Redpacket

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+ 1 you have to connect the cell mon's wires directly to the cells not via a shared loom.
Reason is when a module is bypassing, it affects the adjacent cells voltage readings because of voltage drop on the shared wires.

Others on this forum have used Tesla battery modules with Batrium gear & it works fine after they fixed the shared wire issue.

Any reason you're looking at 6s vs 7s for your 24V pack? 7s is the better 24V fit....

I have Victron gear with Batrium but have elected not to integrate the CAN Bus side. I have the chargers set to right voltage limits directly & the inverter also set to cut off at pack low voltage.
This might not be ideal but it's robust.
Maybe you could also look at prismatic LiFePo4 for simplicity of build.
 

gregoinc

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Redpacket said:
Maybe you could also look at prismatic LiFePo4 for simplicity of build.

There's also the Mitsubishi EV LEV40 and LEV50 batteries which could make your life easier. Also, consider reaching out to Carel in the Netherlands as he's doing some interesting things with Tesla batteries and Batrium BMS.
 

Pine Marten

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Thank you to all, I really appreciate your input. My plan is, assuming I can remove the top and bottom plastic covers without damage, is to drill and tap small holes in the busbars at 0V, ~4V, ~8V, ~12V...etc, being very careful not to contact any of the cells. Then I would attach the Longmon leads in the usual manner/order using brass machine screws. It should work, as mentioned they are just 18650 cells like most DIY. In some ways I would prefer to go DIY and would make it 7s for ease of compatibility, butwhen I do the math, adding the cost of high capacity cells, a spot welder,miscellaneous aluminum+copper plates, fuses, screws and HDPE plastic, it ends up costing more than a lightly used Tesla module. I'm relatively confident that my Tesla+Watchmon4 approach would work and be more configurable and scalable than the Watchmon5 would be.

The big question for me is CAN-Buscontrol of the chargers. This thread and this thread suggest that maybe Batrium CAN-Bus control is not working as expectedcurrently? Perhaps Jaron can provide more information? Also, Jaron, doyou know if ESS is a requirement for Venus GX control, I have read about other CAN-Bus BMS/battery systems than work without and allow for the use of DVCC.

Perhaps I am making this overly complicated and should just give up on CAN-Bus control and just go with simple relay (allow/don't allow charge and allow/don't discharge) control? Sounds like something similar is working well for Redpacket.

Again, thanks!
 

Sean

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Currently there are numberous ex EV cells available that are a lot easier to use than Tesla modules, your plan to drill and tap is fraught.

If you compare the cost/kWh you might see another advantage of not using anything with Tesla branding on it.


Batrium CANbus control is functional, I have identified why it is not reliable for my application (using Eltek chargers) and will document that elsewhere at some point. A simple standalone CANbus controller is now in use and is fully functional, and totally reliable. You may well find that for your application WM control is reliable enough - at some point we will see if the GX can be productivity implemented, but currently I can't comment on your direct requirement- have you seen this ?

https://community.victronenergy.com...re-3-issue-with-victron-485000-batrium-b.html
 

Pine Marten

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Sean, this is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you! Obviously there could be issues as there hasn't been extensive testing, but it seems this system(Batrium BMS connected to Venus GX controlling chargers/inverters without ESS and with DVCC) mightwork well already.

As far as cells go, I'm not totally committed to Tesla. I was looking for high energy in the least volume and mass, as I will have limited space and payload, but perhaps other cells have similar energy/mass andenergy/volumeatlower cost. Recently I was looking at Nissan Leaf cells, they are generally less expensive, but I'm pretty sure they are heavier per kWh. I willalsocheckoutMitsubishi cells as suggested by Gregoinc.

This forum is really great! My originalquestions have been answered by writingtwo posts! "Our productisnot suitable. cheers" is basically all I could get out of Batrium after 17 emails (sent+received)spanning 28 days! Obviouslynot helpful and also appears to be incorrect. However,manyseem to behaving success with Batrium products and support, so I will not rule them out.
 

jds686868

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PineMarten said:
Hello,

I have been trying to get some information about the Watchmon from Batrium with little success.
Same experience here - just not very helpful when all you are trying to do is to purchase a not inexpensive system.
 

Sean

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jds686868 said:
PineMarten said:
Hello,

I have been trying to get some information about the Watchmon from Batrium with little success.
Same experience here - just not very helpful when all you are trying to do is to purchase a not inexpensive system.

To be fair, they have reorganised their website into some semblanceof logic recently, it's getting better.

What have you been enquiring about ?
 

Redpacket

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Also to be fair, there's a bunch of factors in the picture:
- this is a highly technical product,
- being used in many different ways,
- in DIY situations,
- they are/have been developing several new units,
- they are/have been developing interactions with multiple other system interfaces.
& they are a small company.
That said, it does seem they need to expand a bit!
 

daromer

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Pine martin: what was your question you didnt get answers on?
 

bugeye

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I have purchased a batrium setup a few months back and had the exact same mind numbing experiences from a Maxine. After 3 emails I gave up on contacting them and have been relying on users on the web to attempt to get info.

I guess it works well for them seeing as this person on their team prevents them from having to give actual support. And in doing so, some schmucks will actually pay their extortion racket (tutorial fee).

For a thousand dollars, I expect a user manual at minimum.....

I would never recommend the company even though the system itself seems very good.
 

daromer

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It is a "DIY" product so what was your questions you did ask and did not get answer on? Its always possible to pay them for advanced help.
 

bugeye

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daromer said:
It is a "DIY" product so what was your questions you did ask and did not get answer on? Its always possible to pay them for advanced help.

AKA an extortion racket.

Diy does not mean no information readily available. The website is a joke and is not downloadable. AKA if you are building the system off grid, you have to assemble it where power and internet is available, Disassemble it and reassemble it on site. All this bs could be avoided with a manual of collated information instead of online only. Even a pdf would be useful. Going backwards and forwards trying to follow links and looking up nomenclature is confusing.

I purchased several DIY 3d Printers and they all came with instructions and specifications. (and videos on how to assemble as well as links to youtubes on how to modify them.)

If this is a DIY product, then so are almost all large tools that you have to assemble from bunnings.. But they all come with manuals. A thousand dollars and not a single piece of paper is greedy shenanigans.

Calling it a DIY project is a cop out. It is a complete battery management system with software and kits for standard setups.

If you accept this greedy stuff, thats all you will ever get.

As an example of poor service, they have an online image of standard cellmon setup. I asked for a larger non blurry version and was told it is not available in anything better than a 437 x 480 image (connect to battery images on this page: https://support.batrium.com/article/58-how-do-i-connect-blockmons-battery-pack-chain)




 

Wolf

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Hm This thread has me a little worried as I am budgeting a Batrium BMS in the near future for my 14s200p system.

I certainly don't mind the DIY part but as bugeye says some sort of written and or downloadable PDF of the rudimentary setup procedures should be included. After all most everything we buy from a vendor has some kind of documentation that comes with it even if its only:
"Thank you for buying our product here is our website for instructions. Other than that you are on your own."

Even a $25.00 Buck/Boost PS has instructions although sometimes in barely decipherable Chinglish but nevertheless it is there. At least an attempt was made.
I have watched many Youtube videos on the Batriumand do like it but sometimes a printed manual just sinks into the brain better.

How difficult would it be to take the websites support section and make a PDFfrom it?
I understand that info changesin a rapid manner and sometimes day to day but the basics are still the same.

Just saying

Wolf
 

daromer

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bugeye: Perhaps return it if you arent satisfied?


I have not had issues with documentation that exist nor the answers i have gotten but on other side I may have a general knowledge from start that allow me to skip that part. So regarding that I leave that as is. Personally I have internet where ever I am via phone and stuff so I don't relate to it.
 

Sean

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Daniel, did you pay the full retail price (as per the Batrium website) for all of the apparently numerous Batrium products currently in your possession?
 
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