When it comes to choosing a remote monitoring system for your solar setup, Renogy offers two convenient ways to stay connected. Even when it's down to just two options it can still be difficult debating which one is better for your needs. In this blog, you'll find information about the similarities and differences between the BT-1 Bluetooth Module and the DM-1 Data Module to help you make an informed decision.
The BT-1 Bluetooth Module and the DM-1 Data Module both function as add-ons that can transmit real-time system data directly to your mobile device through the corresponding app. You can find the smartphone apps for free in the App Store and Play Store. Using the Renogy BT or Renogy 4G app will also allow you to adjust your controller's parameters straight from your phone. While the two modules are similar in functionality, their differences lie in their signal range, connectivity technology, and pricing. Keep in mind that your monitoring habits and system proximity should be taken into consideration when determining which module best suits your needs.
Is your charge controller mounted somewhere inconvenient such as below a bench or at the back of your vehicle? If so, consider investing in the BT-1 Bluetooth Module. With Bluetooth technology capable of sending information up to 50 feet away, you won't have to get up or move things around to check your controller's LCD screen. Instead, you'll be able to monitor your system through your app from the comfort of wherever you are--within 50 feet that is. For a vanlifer or someone who plans on being around their system often, this is an ideal option as it has a shorter connectivity range at a more cost-effective price point. The BT-1 can be purchased with a compatible controller or separately for $39.99.
On the other hand, for those who wish to to check their system's status beyond 50 feet, the DM-1 is the better option. Available anywhere 4G LTE network service is, the DM-1 allows for greater monitoring distance for solar users who like to check on their system and are not always close by. While the BT-1 uses Bluetooth to transmit information, the DM-1 Data Module requires a data plan to work.
For users who want to add the DM-1 to their existing phone plan (currently only available on T-Mobile and AT&T), they can purchase the DM-1 separately. However, at $199.99 (currently on sale for $129.99 until August 22nd) for the unit and an additional $99.99 for a one-year prepaid service plan through T-Mobile, the cost of your build could be a deciding factor when considering the DM-1. Whether purchased with or without the prepaid plan, another major factor to consider when choosing a remote monitoring module is that unlike the one-time purchase of the BT-1, the DM-1 will require recurring data payments over the years.
To sum it up, both units provide real-time performance data and allow you to make adjustments without having to leave your seat. The BT-1 Bluetooth Module's signal spans a limited distance of 50 feet but at an affordable one-time purchase cost. However, for someone that needs to be able to monitor their system from further away, the DM-1's convenience in range and connectivity comes at a higher upfront cost and annual charges.
Before purchasing either module, please make sure that you own a compatible charge controller. Currently, they can pair with the 30A Wanderer-Li, 30A Adventurer-Li, all Rover-Li models, and newer versions of the 20A and 40A Rover Charge Controllers. For any additional questions regarding this product, please call us at 1 (909) 287-7111 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.