Victron Energy Blue Smart IP67 12-Volt 17 Amp Battery Charger

We purchased the Victron Energy Blue Smart IP67 12-Volt 17 Amp Battery Charger from Amazon as part of our kit for testing LiFePO4 (LFP) batteries. We are using AC chargers to reduce the charging variability that is introduced with solar-based sources and the necessary Solar Charge Controllers go with that configuration. Originally we started with the HTRC P20 battery charger, but it has one major issue that hampers accurate data collection — there is no way to view total amp-hours pushed out to the battery once it reaches 100% state of charge (SoC) or “Ful” as the P20 tells us. In contract the Victron Energy Blue Smart IP67 12-Volt 17 Amp Battery Charger uses a mobile app to track charging that shows the total amp-hours sent to the battery when it finishes.

Victron Energy Blue Smart IP67 12-Volt 17 Amp Battery Charger Summary

Solid Construction

Overall the Victron Energy Blue Smart IP67 12-Volt 17 Amp Battery Charger has a solid feel to it. It is much heavier than other charge controllers I’ve used, both in the past in general (for automotive work) and for the Rally Creek USA solar projects. It “feels” well built and has well-constructed interfaces where the casing meets the AC input, DC output, and LED panel with no notable gaps — thus the IP67 intrusion protection rating. IP67 is up the scale, meaning dust tight (6 of 6) and water resistant (7 of 9). The rumor we heard is Victron focuses on the “big boats” (yachts) market so a marine-friendly rating makes sense.

Easy To Use

Using the product is simple, plug it in and connect it to the battery. It self-starts, self-regulates, and stops when done. If it stays connected for long term charging/storage it will go into storage mode and perform a weekly boost. We did not test that as we are only interested in our charge/discharger performance of the batteries.

Pairing the device to the mobile app was easy. As long as it has power it is ready to be discovered by the VictronConnect mobile app. Enter the PIN (default is 000000), go to the setting and select your battery type (change it to LFP / Lithium Ion for our testing) and you are ready to go.

It Runs Hot

Unlike other charge controllers which typically have open venting and fans, this one is sealed tight. Makes sense given the target “marine audience”, but if you are not going to leave this out in the rain you probably don’t care about an IP67 rating. The thing about no fans or vents — this thing gets SUPER HOT. As in over 105 degrees while charging. It is literally hot the the touch.

TheVictron Energy Blue Smart IP67 12-Volt 17 Amp Battery Charger runs hot.

You shouldn’t be putting charge controllers on/above batteries – though there is less risk with LFP than lead which can create volatile gasses… but this one you definitely do NOT want it resting on top of you LFP battery like we did. It is literally hot to the touch.

App and Data – Mixed Results

As far as the app and data go, we had mixed results.

The app is good at tracking individual charging sessions or “cycles” as they call it. We are still not sure what determines a cycle. It seems like maybe every time the Blue Smart IP67 is turned off and on again. Maybe. There is no documentation about it.

For each cycle it shows total time elapsed, how many Ah were pushed for charging and how many for maintaining. It also shows the start and end voltage during the cycle. A handy column-graph above the summary data shows the time and Ah for each stage of charging; for LFP batteries that is the Bulk, Absorption, Float, and Storage modes. In reality Float is basically “standby” for LFP. Recovery is not typically a thing so tracking that is useless for LFP. Since you should (must) set the battery type before using the charger the app SHOULD know you are in Lithium Ion and drop those stages that don’t really exist for that battery type. However that brings up another issue.

Fake Graphs – A Marketing Gimmick

The big lie… those lines, they don’t mean anything and are a static graphic. This only tells you the batery is in “absorption phase” where voltage remains constant throughout.

This one is a bit of a pet peeve here… one reason to jump on this purchase so quickly was the screen shots Victron shares of the mobile app with this device. A super cool graph showing the amps and volts over time for each stage of the battery charging cycle.

The problem is — those graphs are FAKE. They are literally a static graphic with lines on it that only serves to show what stage the battery is in at any given time — essentially it is nothing more than an overly-complex version of “Currently in Bulk charging mode” or “Currently in Absoprtion mode”. Literally something that could be done with plain text.

In fact they DO exactly that right below the fake graph, this is all you the information that “graph” actually provides”.

The only useful information the “graph” provides in the Victron Connect app.


Useless CSV Exports

This brings up another “peeve” about this product and another thing that made for the quick purchase — the promise of “data exports” and CSV files that you can use to analyze charging data.

The data export is USELESS. It literally only provides a single line in the CSV file that shows the summary of a completed charging session only. There is not 30-second or 1-minute interval data logging like more sophisticated load and charging testers provide. It also does not export ANYTHING for cycles that are not completed. In essence you get exactly the same data in the CSV file as you get from within the app by clicking on a column on the cycles graph.

The Cycles Graph In the Victron Connect App.

Rally Creek USA Rating: C

Overall I give this product a “C” on the traditional American-style grade-school rating system (A is great, B is ok, C is average, D is subpar, F is failing).

Why a C rating? For the premium price this charge controller commands – $140 for a 17 amp AC charger where most 20A chargers run less than HALF that price — it comes up short in the data logging and tracking. Data logging and tracking is the main reason we paid this $80 premium for a slightly-slower charger.

We also don’t like being “lied to” and we feel the marketing and images that go with it are at the very least deceptive whether that was intentional or not. For that I’d rate it a D, but the device does perform well and is well constructed. It does the primary job, if at a premium price.


Official Product Page: Victron Energy Blue Smart IP67 12-Volt 17 Amp Battery Charger

Intrusion Protection Ratings on Wikipedia

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