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View Poll Results: What Battery Monitor system do you run?
Basic Amp and Volt gauges 41 20.00%
Link 10 29 14.15%
Link 20 22 10.73%
Link 1000 11 5.37%
Link 2000 29 14.15%
Trimetric 2020 8 3.90%
DOC Wattson model R102 0 0%
Victron BMV 602 21 10.24%
CruzPro VAH-35 4 1.95%
Clipper Battery Monitor BM-1 11 5.37%
Other - please add info to thread! 29 14.15%
Voters: 205. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 16-03-2009, 16:21   #76
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Most monitors Amps being used / charged real time and amps hours left as well as amp hours used. Once you have that information you can make pretty good decisions. The precision of all this is good but it's not perfect nor does it need to be. I don't know of any meters that register watt hours. Home power meters only measure watts (kilowatts). Many monitors will also tell you hours remaining (Link from Xantrex) at the present load. Once you have that data you can see clearly how your power usage is or isn't working.

For prolonged battery usage you need to develop the patterns of behavior that balance your usage and charging. No matter how large or small the bank is it still has to be balanced regularly. If you can get close you can be in good shape. Monitors are especially great for non alternator sources of power.

With an engine driven alternator you can develop a pattern of knowing it takes so much time running the engine, but solar / wind power is not the same everyday and it is handy to know how much of that you made. Tracking the temperature helps to develop a sense of how much the fridge will consume. Fridges are the number one power requirement.
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Old 16-03-2009, 18:09   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Extemp,

Why the need for Wh's... isn't Ah, which will have an almost linear relation to Wh, okay? These monitors don't show how much energy you used; they show how much is left in the batteries and Ah is okay for that.

cheers,
Nick.
I thought they indeed monitored energy used and then just subtracted that from amp capacity. Of course straighten me out if I'm wrong.
Having said that some of the issues might include:
  • It is the true energy measurement and the only way to properly measure and compare loads and hence what we really want to know.
  • Because it's possible.
  • More accurate and battery monitors need all the help they can get.
  • It should give consistent information regardless of the voltage of the battery (within limits).
  • If everyone was tracking watt-hours we could share some Very valuable information regarding energy capacity of battery types and brands.
Because we are usually talking about the relativity of the same battery bank it does not likely matter much. It would make some difference when comparing different battery banks in terms of total energy stored in a battery bank.
Now below this is as much a question as it is a statement.
There may be some small differences in tracking energy. If you compare a 400watt load on the same battery bank, at 100% and then at 40% there is over 2amps difference which is over 6% difference in the amps, but if you used watt-hours it would be the same.
Perhaps most battery monitors do use watt-hours behind the scenes and if they do then I'd like to see it.
If they don't, this must contribute to inaccuracies in an already dynamic and less then perfect system.

Also, perhaps the system self corrects with regard to temperature, but I do know that temperature effects voltage and so must come into play as far as accurately measuring energy in and out.

Extemp.
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Old 16-03-2009, 18:31   #78
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A good thread with abundant information.... however as electrical monitoring systems are my least knowledgeable area and as no one as yet has asked the really dumb question.... Can I present one.

Which system (if any) can tell me....

A: The current level of charge of my batteries (two house one starter)
B: The charge supplied by my Air generator and solar panel (actual at that moment and preferably within a defined time frame IE daily)
C Current usage in AH
D How long it will last in hours at current usage.
E What charge is need to replenish to full


Is the unit/s availabe? what its name? Is it easy to install? How much is it and where do I buy it?

Best regards

Alan
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Old 16-03-2009, 18:53   #79
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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
I don't know of any meters that register watt hours. Home power meters only measure watts (kilowatts).
The Link 10, 1000 and 2000 measure Watt-hours in and out of the battery.
The Link 10 was also sold with a temperature sensor as an option. The temperature sensor is not available anymore. I've read on other sites that other temperature sensors have been tried (with the Link 10) without success.
Other battery monitor brands monitor temperature but not watt-hours.

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Old 16-03-2009, 19:07   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anglooff View Post
A good thread with abundant information.... however as electrical monitoring systems are my least knowledgeable area and as no one as yet has asked the really dumb question.... Can I present one.

Which system (if any) can tell me....

A: The current level of charge of my batteries (two house one starter)
B: The charge supplied by my Air generator and solar panel (actual at that moment and preferably within a defined time frame IE daily)
C Current usage in AH
D How long it will last in hours at current usage.
E What charge is need to replenish to full


Is the unit/s availabe? what its name? Is it easy to install? How much is it and where do I buy it?

Best regards

Alan
Alan,
I can't tell you a model, but what you seek is out there (quite a few I think), so you will find it if you keep reading.

Sorry I can't point you to the exact one.
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Old 16-03-2009, 22:30   #81
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Extemp: your reasoning is flawed ;-) I know that you mean that the differing battery-voltage means that the amps will change too for the same load in watts. But that is not important (irrelevant I should say as a Trekkie). If you put a bigger load on the battery, it will supply less Wh than the same battery at the same state of charge, with a smaller load. This is why the capacity of a deep-cycle battery is stated in Ah for a 20h discharge. The capacity will change much when you discharge it in shorter or longer timeframes. The whole bloody thing is flawed, but we have to live with it! :-)

What the monitors calculate is how many Ah are left in the battery. Anything coming out is substracted and anything going in is added to this value, with some tinkering for dealing with losses. It doesn't "remember" how much came in or went out but better ones could do that (I'm talking link2000 now) As the monitor knows the total capacity, it can also show a percentage of charge left etc.

I'm looking at my link2000 right next to me and it will not show me Wh. It shows me Ah only, plus real-time amps, volts and temperature of the batteries. I don't think it will use temp for calculating charge-state; I think that sensor is just for charging as the thing also controls the inverter/charger. It won't even tell me how much % is left or how long I can sustain the current discharge. I can't recommend the link2000 and I think it's the top-model. Better go with the Ample Power or that Dutch one, what is it, Victron?

Paul: the meter at homes, shows Wh or kWh, not W or kW. The thing is meant for registering how much energy you consumed and that equals to power multiplied by time-period (W x h)

Alan: current usage can't be expressed in Ah, it's expressed in A. If you see 10A and keep that load on for two hours, it's gonna take 20Ah out of the battery.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 17-03-2009, 02:31   #82
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Here is a charge regulator from Sunware that has a lot of functions
SunWare: Regulators, Displays
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Old 17-03-2009, 20:21   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Extemp: your reasoning is flawed ;-)
Nick.
No need to be like that Nick. Oh wait, your not the first to say that.....
Maybe there's something to it. Oh well, more counseling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Extemp: But that is not important (irrelevant I should say as a Trekkie).
Nick.
I'll buy that unless your trying to compare to other types and models of batteries. Of course you wouldn't be changing the batteries just to compare watt-hours of two different battery sets but if everyone used monitors that measured watt-hours, it might help (somewhat) consumers evaluate batteries prior to purchase.
At the end of all that, I do understand that for most (me included) it may not add much besides being a more proper measurement of energy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
If you put a bigger load on the battery, it will supply less Wh than the same battery at the same state of charge, with a smaller load. This is why the capacity of a deep-cycle battery is stated in Ah for a 20h discharge. The capacity will change much when you discharge it in shorter or longer timeframes. The whole bloody thing is flawed, but we have to live with it! :-)
Nick.
I get that. It's one of the things that confuse me when I hear some say to size your battery bank just large enough to support your load (Ah's used per 24hrs X 2). Assuming you want to replenish to 100% + - every 24hrs. I'm not saying to triple your bat bank size, but the slower you can pull the power out of your batteries the more overall energy you will get out of them per charge. When one considers that you have to put 110% + - back into them to start at 100% again. It's hard to take losing it at both ends. The first is something you can do something about, the second (with current battery tech.) you can't.
Of course there are many consideration when sizing bat banks (size, money, weight, space, charging sys. and more) and so this is what I'm thinking. Please let me know if my logic is flawed (bet I didn't have to say that ).
Get the largest battery bank that I can afford and find a place for. I would then figure out the largest 48hr Ah usage (only want to recharge every 2 days) and make sure bat bank is at least twice that Ah size. I figure that what comes out must go back in regardless of battery bank size. Of course I'll stop adding batteries when I have to put them in my dingy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I'm looking at my link2000 right next to me and it will not show me Wh. It shows me Ah only,
Nick.
See http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/83/docserve.aspx (page 12)
This one will show kilowatt-hours also. RV & Marine Battery Monitor

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I don't think it will use temp for calculating charge-state; I think that sensor is just for charging as the thing also controls the inverter/charger. It won't even tell me how much % is left or how long I can sustain the current discharge.
Nick.
I know at least one that "uses" temperature, or says it does. http://www.barden-uk.com/SBM-Page1.pdf
Look under "Accurate and reliable". Under standard Information it also tells you time to go a current discharge rate.

Cheers,
Extemp.
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Old 17-03-2009, 21:01   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I'm looking at my link2000 right next to me and it will not show me Wh. It shows me Ah only,
Setup value F04 allows you to toggle between Ah and Kwh for the display.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
plus real-time amps, volts and temperature of the batteries. I don't think it will use temp for calculating charge-state; I think that sensor is just for charging as the thing also controls the inverter/charger.
According to the manual, temperature enters the equation for both charging and discharge. As far as calculating charge-state, the manual is not clear about that, but not clear on exactly what you mean. Note that Freedom chargers with serial #'s prior to 100000 are limited, according to the manual.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
It won't even tell me how much % is left or how long I can sustain the current discharge.
% Discharge, yeah - though it's not hard to compute that from Ah consumed if you know the Ah capacity of your bank. The "Time" button tells you how long you can sustain current discharge - the filtering on what this means depends on proper and various setup values - like the Ah capacity of your bank.

Overall our Link 2000 seems to function pretty well, with a fair amount of time spent on configuring it properly. It definitely works best when linked to the Freedom series chargers...
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Old 17-03-2009, 21:37   #85
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The Link 10 manual that I've seen says that it is good for flooded and gel batteries.
Does anyone know if it is also good for AGM's?

Thanks,
Extemp.
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Old 18-03-2009, 00:03   #86
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What do you know... it seems my logic is flawed as I just found that Time button on my link2000 too ;-) It's quite big actually...

And when I set F04 to ON, it starts cycling showing me two values, one of which is my normal Ah read-out and the 2nd would rather nicely fit the corresponding kWh value! Seems that Extemp and Scotte have me beat, come and collect your beers ;-)

Yes, I have a Freedom 3kW inverter/charger connected to it and even though I spent some serious $$$ on it 4 years ago, I don't like the kit and will be doing away with it when it bubbles to the top of The List. So, this post on my blog needs a follow-up. The Freedom also blew a diode recently, making the battery charger unusable.
The reasons I don't like it are:

- it shouldn't blow a diode
- Xantrex never answered my email
- the buttons on the Link2000 are sticky... charger or inverter switches on sometimes without fingers touching the buttons.
- the electronics are a bit outdated, slow, heavy, gray, ready for museum.
- ugly modified sine
- major RF interference even when just charging
- Did I say it was dated? It's 80's tech.

I have another charger and two more inverters and these don't have the negatives listed above, or much less in case of the RF interference. I will need a new monitor and it's gonna be a Victron, or something as up to date as this one, I'm open to suggestions :-)
The mastervolt one also looks promising... another Dutch product! There must be others making good and modern ones? Ample Power stopped selling theirs I see...

Wasn't there a version that used a clamp-on sensor instead of shunt? Anyone like that one?

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 18-03-2009, 07:12   #87
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We have two completely separate battery banks.
House = four (4) T105 6volt and one (1) 12volt starter battery, all charged by engine alternator and 150 watts solar.

Windlass and refrigeration = five (5) 100amp agm's charged by 260 watts solar.

Two questions:
1) Altho it is not recommended we would like to use two of the 6v batterys to start the engine and eliminate the 12v starting battery as it is shot and takes up too much room as well as weight.
2) What would be your recommendation for a battery monitor?
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Old 18-03-2009, 11:00   #88
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Most of my boats used one of the house banks for engine starting. No issues whatsoever. The only downside is some electronics might reset if they are on the same bank as the heavy draw starter due to the momentary voltage drop so you need to work around that.
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Old 18-03-2009, 11:03   #89
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Boy this thread is still going huh! Now if you all just had a simple voltmeter you could have been doing something else! ;>) (That ought to get it going for another 6 pages!)
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Old 30-03-2009, 21:06   #90
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Quote:
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I've looked at Xantrex (only one I found was link 10 which is discontinued). Some others, nope.
I'm hoping 2 requirements can be fulfilled.
  • Monitors watt-hours.
  • Utilizes temperature (via actual sensor) to calculate energy input and output.
If you know one that does both, PLEASE let me know.

And Thanks,
Extemp.
Anyone??
Still Looking.
Surely there is one out there.

Extemp.
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