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Old 08-06-2013, 09:36   #31
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

I use the Microlog DMM-1, excellent build quality, and has worked flawlessly so far.
Monitors voltage on two battery banks, low and high voltage alarms on both banks, tells me amps going in and amps going out - in short everything I need to know.



Forgot to mention not made in China.
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:47   #32
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

Question of the SmartGuage users - Does the SmartGuage have a means of telling if there is power going into or drawing from the batteries at any instant? For instance, I will only use the watermaker if I can operate it without using more power than I'm getting from the solar system. The Amp function of the Link 10 tells me that. If the number is negative when I turn the watermaker on I turn the watermaker off (and put off having a shower until the next sunny day).
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Old 08-06-2013, 09:57   #33
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

Funny enough there is a review in Practical Boat Owner magazine in the UK this month. Not a test though:

July 2013 | Pbo
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:24   #34
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

I love my Nasa Clipper BM-1. It works like a "fuel gauge," telling you how full your battery is, the voltage, and it has a shunt that measures amp draw. So you flip on the lights and can tell exactly how many amps they draw. It also tells you how many minutes or hours of battery power you have left, and has an alarm and a backlight. I have it on my house battery. I have a Voltminder on my starting battery, because for a starting battery all you really need to know is voltage (I guess).
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:30   #35
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

I was super happy with my link 10 right up until I wasn't.

It worked very well, and gave me good info. Then one day it started flashing all lights in sequence, like a Christmas tree.

Have used victoron on other boats, probably will go with that next.
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Old 09-06-2013, 04:03   #36
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

Quote:
Originally Posted by secrabtree View Post
Question of the SmartGuage users - Does the SmartGuage have a means of telling if there is power going into or drawing from the batteries at any instant? ...
As I said in my original posting you should buy an amp meter as well.

SmartGuage have been repeatedly ask to provide a shunt with the unit just to be able to measure current, but they know that most shunts - yes most - get installed incorrectly, or extra equipment gets added afterwards that bypasses the shunt. They say a shunt will not make it any more accurate.
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:55   #37
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

OUCH! I can't believe how much Practical Boat Owner charges for articles!!
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Old 09-06-2013, 06:34   #38
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

Here are some criteria that I find to be very important when buying an Ah counter type battery monitor..

If it does not have an adjustable Peukert, walk away.

Some manufactures have decided that they already know the "Peukert" of your batteries... Trust me they don't always know this.

When emailed and asked very technical questions surrounding how they internally calculate for Peukert they either simply don't reply or send you some gobeldy gook answer that means it will NOT be an accurate monitor unless you get very lucky and your bank has the same Peukert as the BM maker decided is the right one.

The Xantrex monitors (made by TBS Electronics) and the Victron monitors both allow for adjusting the Peukert. Philippi monitors also allow for this.

This is why a battery monitor without an adjustable Peukert will add up counting errors significantly faster. These are two banks I recently installed.

Bank #1 400Ah TPPL AGM - Peukert 1.11


Apply a 10A load for 8 hours / Peukert Corrected Load = 9.27A X 8 = 74 Ah's used



Bank #2 370Ah L16 Flooded Deep Cycle
- Peukert 1.55

Apply a 10A load for 8 hours / Peukert Corrected Load = 7.13A X 8 = 57Ah's used


You can easily see why a battery monitor with a one size fits all Peukert will not be very accurate.


As of yet my emails to Smart Gauge have gone unanswered as to whether this technology will work on LiFePO4. I would expect that it could but it instills little confidence when the company won't even answer an email with a simple yes or no answer.. Balmar, the US Importer, does not know the answer either...

With ANY Ah counting battery monitor proper programming and frequent manual resets when "known full" are the best way to keep them accurate.

How do you know when the bank is really full? Simple, fire up the motor, turn all loads OFF and set the BM to the amp screen. If the battery bank is taking less than 2% of its 20 hour capacity rating, at 14.2V+, it is full enough to do a manual reset.

Many BM's are tricked into resetting before the banks are actually full and solar and wind can cause this to happen. This creates counting errors which only get worse with time unless you manually reset often, when known full... They are only as smart as the person using & programming them allow them to be...

Here's an example. I was working on a boat last Wed with a Xantrex Link-Pro. The boat also has solar. The BM was blinking "FULL".. When I fired up the motor the 315Ah bank was accepting 25A - 28A of charge current. 2% would mean a charge acceptance of under 7A for this bank. The monitor had been tricked into resetting to full based on solar and it was not "FULL".... I see this quite frequently...

Ah counting BM's are NOT a fuel gauge. Fuel gauges are pretty fool proof, when sitting level. Battery monitors are more like looking at your fuel gauge when heeled. You need to be smart enough to know what you are seeing may not be true and smart enough to actually keep on top of it so it can be as accurate as possible..

I won't name brands (there are plenty of them who pray on unsuspecting boaters) but I will say to please avoid BM's that do not allow you to program your own Peukert #, if you actually care for your monitor to be as accurate as it can be...
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Old 09-06-2013, 07:11   #39
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

The Trimetric makes it easy to know where your batts are at.
1 amps or watts coming in or out
2 volts- 2 dif batts
3 state of charge
4 days sense last charge
5 days sense last equalized
6 amp hr or watts to be fully charged
7 as your batts age you can adjust the efficiency of state of charge( not sure about that but read it in the paperwork that came with it. )

Some of the things it does.
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Old 09-06-2013, 18:14   #40
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

I have a question that concerns all of us that I have never seen raised and this thread may be a good place for it.
It concerns syncronising our battery monitor displays with our batteries at "full charge".
Well, everytime we work on our electrial systems and disconnect power we are required to re-sync our battery monitors. After we charge the batteries we have to wait for what seems forever for our batteries to settle down to their true voltage.
So say you know your battery voltage to be at 12.8
So we stop charging our batteries and we want to get to business and re-sync.
The question is....
Can we watch the monitor's display till it comes down to 12.8 volts from maybe a load bringing it down and then pressing the buttons on the display to syncronise or to capture the moment when it reads your batteries voltage?

Assuming that your battery monitor only requires syncing solely for setting the batteries voltage. My Victron only requires 1 other bit of information and that is the batteries amp hours and these get entered manually.

edit; i just read the above post #38 (maine sail), I may be totally getting this wrong.
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Old 09-06-2013, 19:15   #41
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post

How do you know when the bank is really full? Simple, fire up the motor, turn all loads OFF and set the BM to the amp screen. If the battery bank is taking less than 2% of its 20 hour capacity rating, at 14.2V+, it is full enough to do a manual reset.

Many BM's are tricked into resetting before the banks are actually full and solar and wind can cause this to happen. This creates counting errors which only get worse with time unless you manually reset often, when known full... They are only as smart as the person using & programming them allow them to be...

Here's an example. I was working on a boat last Wed with a Xantrex Link-Pro. The boat also has solar. The BM was blinking "FULL".. When I fired up the motor the 315Ah bank was accepting 25A - 28A of charge current. 2% would mean a charge acceptance of under 7A for this bank. The monitor had been tricked into resetting to full based on solar and it was not "FULL".... I see this quite frequently...

Ah counting BM's are NOT a fuel gauge. Fuel gauges are pretty fool proof, when sitting level. Battery monitors are more like looking at your fuel gauge when heeled. You need to be smart enough to know what you are seeing may not be true and smart enough to actually keep on top of it so it can be as accurate as possible..

.
Thanks MainSail.

I think that was what was happening at the end of a couple of years on my (ex) Gemini. I could not figure out why the batts seemed to lose charge so quickly. The Link 10 showed the red bars before I thought they should, knowing what I was using and had used in the past.
And I am not smart enough to figure it all out.

I did like to see amps being used though. The Link did that for me.

But programming was a real pain. While stepping through the menu and then going to change a setting while reading the book was not possible. It said I had three seconds to "make a decision" and push a button before it automatically went back to "normal working state". It gave almost one second. The only way to get it done was to write all the "answers" down and have someone else read them as I went through all the menu choices.
Maybe I got some settings wrong?
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Old 09-06-2013, 19:55   #42
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

Best thing I ever did was trash my Xantrex Truecharge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caribsailors View Post
I have had a Link20 and have never trusted it, but maybe that was because the Xantrex Truecharge was killing my house bank. (Twice) by two difference chargers

I have replaced my battery monitor with a SMARTBank Controller and SMARTGuage Monitor SmartGauge Electronics - SmartGauge battery monitor
and my charger to a TrippLite inverter/charger, and I can say for the first time in 10 years my battery banks, are not at the front of my mind.

I did consider the Victron, but went with the Smartguage because of its combining capabilities.

Smartguages website has some excellent information, presented in a non-bias way.

Cheers
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Old 10-06-2013, 00:33   #43
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

Quote:
Originally Posted by endoftheroad View Post
After we charge the batteries we have to wait for what seems forever for our batteries to settle down to their true voltage.
You only need to re-sync the AHr counter. The voltage does not matter.

So as soon as the batteries are fully charged re-sync by changing the AHr counter to 0 (or the SOC to 100%). You don't have to wait for the surface charge voltage to drop.

Many will do this automatically. They will read +AHrs while charging but reset themselves to 0 when any discharge occurs, or just stop at 0 and never read +AHrs. They are smart enough to realise that the battery cannot be more than 100% full.
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Old 10-06-2013, 03:29   #44
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

Has anyone ever load tested & recalculated the peukert coefficient for an older battery bank?

Or just add a little.
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Old 10-06-2013, 04:49   #45
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Re: Battery monitor reviews wanted

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Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
Thanks MainSail.

But programming was a real pain. While stepping through the menu and then going to change a setting while reading the book was not possible. It said I had three seconds to "make a decision" and push a button before it automatically went back to "normal working state". It gave almost one second. The only way to get it done was to write all the "answers" down and have someone else read them as I went through all the menu choices.
Maybe I got some settings wrong?
Hahaha.. the interface is a pain in the ass. Programing those things sucks bigtime. Your comment made me laugh because I've been there too many times.

Thanks Maine Sail!

I think the AH counter feature is a waste of time... for me. My batts are being trickle charged by a couple of solar panels during the week. The engine is run with an high output alt driven by a Balmar 614 and we are conservative in the use of electricity. What matters to me is the system voltage. When it drops I need to pump in some amps. Balmar614 seems to take care of that. AH counter and time to discharge don't concern me.
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