This is my hands-on review of the Victron Energy BMV-712 Smart Battery Monitor.
I tested the BMV-712 for a couple months alongside other popular monitors from brands like Victron and Renogy. I installed them in a custom testing setup, performed charging and discharging cycles, and tested their Bluetooth range.
My takeaway is that the BMV-712 an excellent battery monitor, but, given the price, I think it’s overkill for most people. I think it’s best suited for people who want a monitor with both Bluetooth and a screen, or one with excellent Bluetooth range.
If neither of those is you, I’d suggest looking at the Victron SmartShunt which doesn’t have a screen or as impressive Bluetooth range, but does nearly everything else the BMV-712 does for a much more attractive price.
Victron Energy BMV-712 Smart
An excellent, but expensive, battery monitor
The BMV-712 is a great battery monitor that works with 12-48V lithium and lead acid batteries. It’s highly customizable and accurate and it has some nice extra features. But mainly what you’re paying for is the rare combo of a battery monitor that has both a screen and Bluetooth monitoring.
|Battery voltage range:||6.5-70V||Bluetooth?||Yes|
|Shunt current rating:||500A (500A shunt included, but 1000A, 2000A, 6000A shunts available for purchase)||Max battery capacity:||9,999Ah|
|Claimed accuracy:||± 0.01 A, ± 0.01 V, ± 0.1 Ah, ± 0.1% SoC||Operating temperature:||-40 to +50°C (-40 to +120°F)|
Victron BMV-712 Smart vs Top Battery Monitors
If you’d like to know how the BMV-712 compares to other top battery monitors — such as the Victron SmartShunt and the Renogy 500A Battery Monitor — check out my full review of the best battery monitors, or watch the following YouTube video I made of my testing.
Victron BMV-712 Smart Review
The Victron BMV-712 has 2 parts that require mounting: the shunt and the screen. Before installing, I recommend disconnecting everything from your battery and charging it to 100%. It’ll make installation and setup a lot easier.
To mount the shunt, you can tape it to a surface, such as the top of a battery, using double-sided mounting tape. Or you can use a drill and 2 screws to mount it to a wall.
The screen can be mounted in 3 ways, which gives flexibility compared to other battery monitors whose screens can only be mounted 1 way.
First, you can use a 2 1/8″ hole saw or slightly bigger to drill a hole in the wall and then screw the included mounting sleeve on the back to hold it in place. The drawback to this method is that it requires you to get your hand behind the wall, which isn’t always possible.
Second, you can use the included mounting plate and screws to mount the screen that way.
Lastly, if you can’t or don’t want to drill a hole in your wall, you can buy Victron’s wall-mounted enclosure, mount the enclosure to the wall, and then put the screen inside that.
Once everything is mounted, you connect the shunt terminal labeled “Battery Only” to your battery bank’s negative terminal. Then stick the red power cord into the shunt’s first battery port and connect the ring terminal to your battery bank’s positive terminal. Plug the screen in to the shunt and it should turn on.
At this point, your monitor is installed and it needs to be set up.
Now you need to tell the BMV-712 about your battery. What is its amp hour capacity? Its state of charge? Its charged voltage?
To do so, you can either use the BMV-712’s screen or the free VictronConnect app. It’s easier in the app, so that’s what I did. Open the app and follow its instructions to connect the BMV-712 to your phone.
Once connected, you’ll be taken to the “Status” screen that shows you your system’s real-time specs — things like battery percentage, voltage, current, and wattage. The percentage field may be empty because the monitor doesn’t know how charged your battery is. And, assuming nothing is connected to the battery other than the monitor, all the other values should read zero.
Tap the gear icon to go to the settings menu, then tap “Battery” to get to the battery settings. Here you’ll see a long list of settings you can adjust.
The battery settings can be a bit confusing at first, and I think some people’s initial instinct is to input the basics, like capacity and state of charge, and be done with it.
But there are lots of great resources out there to help you pick the right settings for your battery. The product manual is a little dense but a great starting point. There are also lots of good YouTube videos out there on how to set up this monitor.
Once you adjust a setting in the app, it will automatically sync with the monitor and its screen. So if you set your battery’s state of charge to 100%, then you should see the new percentage reflected on the screen.
Beyond using it to see your system’s status and adjust settings, the mobile app has History and Trends tabs with historical data. You can see cumulative totals for things like amp hours charged and discharged, and trends reports for things like current and wattage over time.
For advanced Victron users, the app is also where you can set up Victron’s VE.Smart Networking to connect the BMV-712 to your other Victron devices.
There are also options to adjust settings for the monitor’s additional features, such as the alarm and relay. But I’ll cover those later on.
Charging & Discharging
Once I’d set up the monitor for my 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 battery, I connected a 2000W inverter and started discharging the battery at a 0.2C rate (i.e. 20 amps). Then I set the BMV-712’s alarm to go off at 10% capacity.
I monitored the discharging with the app and screen. Both show all the specs of interest: battery voltage, battery amp hours, battery percentage, charging or discharging current and wattage. There is also a time remaining estimate which is helpful if the power draw is more or less stable.
The screen shows one spec at a time, but you can easily cycle forward or backward through them by pressing the plus or minus buttons. And you can even adjust what specs the screen has in its rotation in the app.
Once the battery hit 10%, the alarm’s buzzer went off and the screen started flashing. I also got an in-app alert telling me my battery was running low. The alarm is one feature the BMV-712 does better than the SmartShunt. The SmartShunt’s alarm is neither audible nor visual. It is merely the in-app alert.
Before the battery died (which would also cause the monitor to die, since it gets its power from the battery), I disconnected the inverter and connected a lithium battery charger to charge the battery. I also repeated the charging with a 300 watt solar array.
The monitor performed as expected during charging. The battery charged fully without issue, and I was able to monitor the progress just as easily as I had during discharging.
First, I measured the BMV-712’s uninterrupted Bluetooth range in a backyard. I walked a certain distance away and then saw if I could still connect to the monitor using the Victron app. If it connected, I walked a little further away and repeated the process.
I measured an uninterrupted range of at least 150 feet. I say “at least” because I actually ran out of room to walk, so it may still connected from even further away.
Next, I measured the BMV-712’s interrupted range by putting it in the battery compartment of my dad’s RV. I repeated the test and measured a distance of 100 feet before I could no longer connect to the monitor.
That’s plenty of distance to still connect to the monitor when you’re walking around outside your RV or campervan. It may even be enough to connect if your battery bank is in another building on your property, such as a shed.
By comparison, the Victron SmartShunt’s interrupted range was just 30 feet. I was surprised to see the BMV-712 outperform the SmartShunt so strongly in this test.
Beyond the programmable alarm, the BMV-712 has a programmable relay which can be triggered at certain capacities and voltages.
It can also do midpoint monitoring or monitor the voltage of a starter battery. I think midpoint monitoring is a useful feature for larger battery banks, since it helps you keep a closer eye on the health of individual batteries.
Lastly, if you buy Victron’s temperature sensor, it can monitor temperature.
These are all definitely nice-to-have features. The one I used most often during my testing was certainly the alarm. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether any of them sway the buying decision for you.
What I Like
- It has Bluetooth and a screen. That’s a rare combo in the world of battery monitors. The Bluetooth lets you do remote monitoring when you’re outside your vehicle or away from your battery bank. The screen makes it easy to check on your system at a glance when you’re nearby.
- The Bluetooth range is great. When the BMV-712 was in the battery compartment of my dad’s RV, I measured a Bluetooth range of 100 feet. For comparison, the Victron SmartShunt’s range in that scenario was just 30 feet.
- It’s highly customizable and comes with some nice extra features. You can adjust a high number of settings to customize it for your battery bank. You also get some nice-to-have features like a programmable audible and visual alarm, midpoint monitoring, starter battery monitoring, and programmable relay.
What I Don’t Like
- It’s expensive. It’s by far the most expensive battery monitor I’ve used.
- The screen is mediocre. It’s small and only shows one spec at a time. Compare that to the screen of the Renogy 500A Battery Monitor, which is much bigger and shows you all the main specs at once.
Who This Battery Monitor Is for
- You want a battery monitor with both a screen and Bluetooth. This is the only monitor I know of with both.
- You want a battery monitor with excellent Bluetooth range. When I tested the BMV-712’s interrupted range, I measured 100 feet. I was surprised to see how much better the BMV-712’s range was compared to the SmartShunt, which I measured at 30 feet. If you spend your time far away from your battery bank, then the BMV-712 has the best chance of reaching.
- You want the most feature-rich battery monitor and are willing to pay top dollar for it. The BMV-712 has the most features of any battery monitor I’ve used. Advanced users who plan on using it to its full potential will likely find it justifies the cost.
Who This Battery Monitor Isn’t for
- You don’t need a screen. Having a Bluetooth battery monitor means you can monitor everything from your phone, so the screen can become superfluous. If you don’t care much about a screen, then the obvious alternative is the Victron SmartShunt.
- You don’t need Bluetooth. Most monitors don’t have Bluetooth. It’s certainly not necessary. Victron makes a similar monitor called the Victron BMV-700 which doesn’t have Bluetooth and is much cheaper.
- You want a simple, cheap battery monitor. If you just want a basic battery monitor that tells you your battery percentage and other basic specs, consider the cheaper AiLi 350A Battery Monitor or Renogy 500A Battery Monitor.
- Victron SmartShunt. The SmartShunt costs quite a bit less and has most of the BMV-712’s features. You don’t get the screen, its Bluetooth range isn’t nearly as good, and it doesn’t have a relay or audible alarm. But for most people, I’d wager that the SmartShunt will still do everything they need from a battery monitor. For more, check out my full Victron SmartShunt review.
- Victron BMV-700. If you, instead, don’t need Bluetooth monitoring, then the BMV-700 is one to consider. I haven’t tested it personally, but it has a similar screen and virtually all the other features of the BMV-712, just no Bluetooth.
The Bottom Line
I like the Victron BMV-712. A lot. It’s a great battery monitor.
But it’s pricey, and, given the other options available to us, I don’t think it’s worth the price for most people. Most people will be perfectly happy with the Victron SmartShunt (which doesn’t have a screen) or the Victron BMV-700 (which doesn’t have Bluetooth), both of which are meaningfully cheaper.
If you do go with the BMV-712, you’ll be getting arguably the best battery monitor on the market. It has all the settings and features you could want, sports excellent Bluetooth range, and will play nicely with other Victron devices you may have in your system.
Sometimes it’s nice to own the best.
A small ask: If you found my Victron BMV-712 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! 🙏