Remote monitoring is key to fine tuning the system. The heart of the unit is the Victron Venus GX. This will gather data form the batteries and environment and send it to the VRM Portal where we can analyse how the system is performing.
When Puffin departs from Les Sables d’Olonne, France, in September 2022 we want her electrical system to be as good as it can possibly be. Whilst the emphasis in the design is ruggedness and reliability, ensuring that there is enough power is equally as important. Of course, we have done a power audit and on paper this always looks good, however the reality can be quite different. For example, we do not know how much power will come from solar, and hydro. There are no guarantees that the power consumed will equal that estimated. What effect will temperatures have on the system and hundreds of other variables.
We have just under two years before the start of the race and in that time Ian & Puffin will have to sail thousands of miles. This will of course test the design and reliability of the systems, but it will also give us hundreds of hours of data. So how does this work?
At the heart of the monitoring system is the Victron Venus GX. The Venus is part of the Victron GX devices, comprising a range of units including the Color Control and the amazing Cerbo GX. Whilst amazing the Cerbo has a touch screen which will display among other information GPS position. This sadly will not be allowed during the race, so we have chosen the Venus. Data from the battery monitors, temperature sensors, GPS, and MPPT controllers will be stored on an SD card within the unit. When ever the vessel is within reach of a 4G signal that data will be uploaded to the VRM Portal. We can then remotely access that data, allowing us to monitor the performance of the system. Armed with that information we can adjust the system.
The monitoring unit was built and installed in December 2020 and was used to monitor the performance of the system in the months leading up to the start of the race. This part of the system was removed just prior to the start of the race.