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Old 23-04-2015, 09:06   #16
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

I have a somewhat similar setup that has worked well for several years. I have 3-12v batteries(each battery is 2-T-105 Trojan 6-v), with an individual on/off sw connected to a common bus, then a system on/off switch to a house fuse, and to the load. Then I added a 4th battery as a dedicated start battery. I monitor each of the 4 "batteries" by using 2 Xantrax Link 20's (ea monitors 2 "batteries"). The Xantrax allows me to monitor each battery's current health, including amps in/out, charge state, time remaining, etc. I have 4-80w solar panels, combined into a single input and monitored with a digital amp meter, and controlled by a Victron Solar Regulator. And I added a Rutland 914i windgen, working through a Marlec HDMi Wind regulator and monitored via a seperate digital amp meter. I can tell at a glance my current solar and wind input, and can monitor each of my 4 batteries. The system works very well, and has now for over 5 years. ps....I charge the start battery via a Balmar Duo charge off the house bank as well as the genset alternator; the house bank is recharged via the main eng alternator or a Pro-Mariner 50-3 charger.
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Old 23-04-2015, 09:08   #17
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

For what it's worth I use a TriMetric battery monitor from Bogardus Engineering. It gives voltage, amps going in or out, and percent charge for one battery bank and voltage only for a second. It is easy to install and seems to be accurate.
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Old 23-04-2015, 09:12   #18
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amytom View Post
I just replaced my four T105's and want to keep better track of their health.

I have 700w of solar along with a Kiss windgen and an Iota 55a charger (which doesn't see much use). The solar is fed through a BlueSky 3024 controller. I was considering upgrading the 3024 with the dual option for a diversion load to temper the Kiss and the 6a charge from each of the Yamaha 9.9's.

The natural choice then would be the IPNpro with the shunt.

Does this sound like a good setup? Is there a better battery monitor or diversion load that I should look at instead?

Thanks for any advice.

Tom

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Hey Tom,

Another thought is: if you have an inverter, you might consider using a monitor from the same company. That is what we decided to do. This spring we will replace our old modified sine wave inverter/charger (~20+ years old and showing signs of failing...) with a new unit (already purchased) from Maxum USA. They also make a monitor that has numerous controls for the inverter/charger and generator auto-start functionality.

I realize this thinking won't apply to all situations, and that not all inverter manufacturers make controllers/monitors.

Cheers!
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Old 23-04-2015, 09:27   #19
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

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Do you miss not being able to read what kind of current each device is pumping out or do you still have other (analog?) gauges for that?

I have never found the need to know that information from a battery monitor.

When we did our energy budget, we researched the loads from various devices from reputable sources (WM Advisors, books, internet sources).

I found that the published data on nearly every single item was just about right. (Fridge: 5 amps when on, cycles do matter of course; stereo radio 1-2 amps, etc.) Therefore, the only thing that mattered was the amount of TIME that each device was ON determined its daily ah impact.

What is the really CRITICAL INFORMATION with any "coulomb counter" is how CHARGING is working: how much is going back in. Because of battery acceptance, this is not a linear issue.

So, the charging is the most important reason that battery monitors, and now the Smart Gauge, are helpful.

And if you still want to know what is going out with a Smart Gauge, add an ammeter to your distribution panel.
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Old 23-04-2015, 11:56   #20
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

[QUOTE=Stu Jackson;1808046]I have never found the need to know that information from a battery monitor.QUOTE]

Stu - I loke to be able to read the amount of current going into or out of the battery. Sure, a separate hand held clamp on ammeter would give the information and I do use such an instrument at times to actually locate a problem. But the first thing I do when something doesn't operate is to see if the current from the battery changes when I flip on the switch controlling that circuit going to that piece of equipment. That can quickly identify a short or open circuit - or often a corroded area somewhere in the circuit allowing some electricity through, but not sufficient to operate that equipment. It's easier than getting out the VOM and rigging the probes.
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Old 23-04-2015, 13:05   #21
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

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Originally Posted by secrabtree View Post
Stu - I loke to be able to read the amount of current going into or out of the battery. Sure, a separate hand held clamp on ammeter would give the information and I do use such an instrument at times to actually locate a problem. But the first thing I do when something doesn't operate is to see if the current from the battery changes when I flip on the switch controlling that circuit going to that piece of equipment. That can quickly identify a short or open circuit - or often a corroded area somewhere in the circuit allowing some electricity through, but not sufficient to operate that equipment. It's easier than getting out the VOM and rigging the probes.
Same here. Having quick access to the old style battery monitor with volts and amps gives me several helpful bits of information without having to dig out a meter.

- Voltage at batteries when charger is on so I get a double check on what stage it's in and confirmation of the charger voltage.
- Can confirm the compressor speed of the Danfos which varies by its smart controller and box temp.
- Check voltage when I've been away from the boat for a few days before I turn on the charger.
- At this stage I'm still reconnecting old gear and adding new so I can easily find out what every gadget is pulling.
- Puts another fancy looking digital readout on my electric panel which will surely increase the boats resale value if I ever.
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Old 23-04-2015, 17:36   #22
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

Looks like the Smart Gauge is the way to go.
Still curious if I left the analog gauges in place (they're already there) does that affect the charge profile at all?
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Old 23-04-2015, 18:37   #23
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

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Originally Posted by amytom View Post
Looks like the Smart Gauge is the way to go.
Still curious if I left the analog gauges in place (they're already there) does that affect the charge profile at all?
No it does not.
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Old 23-04-2015, 19:05   #24
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

I used the BlueSky 3024i with E-Meter (Link 10) for four years with 790 AH off AGM L16 batteries and 400 Watts of solar panels. It was a fantastic set up and I was quite happy & proud of it. The 3024 works very well with SLA batteries of this type. Went to bed after watching movies on 12V with 12.8-9V on the meter and woke up with 12.7 V or more most mornings and the day started all over again. I had a KISS w/g and it was unregulated feeding the distribution bar just like the 3024i.
AH usage readings were included and that part was all fine as well. Couldn't have been happier.
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Old 23-04-2015, 19:57   #25
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

Bottom line - how much do we really save by going with the Smart Gauge compared to (a) eyeballing the usage based on estimates and hours used or (b) using a amp-hour counter? I get that my 300Ah battery bank may not be 300Ah. Per the referenced SmartGauge (Smart Gauge Battery Monitoring Unit Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com) articles you can reduce the capacity by 3%-5% each year is probably good enough. Do we add a year to the batttery bank's life or are we splitting hairs here?

For the record,for the first few years we owned the boat, I guestimated the Ah used based on usage (24 hours refer, 6 hours autopilot,....). I also watched the voltage and recharged when it seemed right. I installed the Victron Electronics BMV and have been happy with monitoring Ah in / out, and total used. I feel I have pretty good idea the state of my batteries and charge.

I probably will reduce the total capacity by 10% just to be safe.

Does any of this really matter in the life expectancy of the battery?

Don
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Old 23-04-2015, 20:57   #26
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

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Originally Posted by Capt.Don View Post
Bottom line - how much do we really save by going with the Smart Gauge compared to (a) eyeballing the usage based on estimates and hours used or (b) using a amp-hour counter? I get that my 300Ah battery bank may not be 300Ah. Per the referenced SmartGauge (Smart Gauge Battery Monitoring Unit Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com) articles you can reduce the capacity by 3%-5% each year is probably good enough. Do we add a year to the batttery bank's life or are we splitting hairs here?

For the record,for the first few years we owned the boat, I guestimated the Ah used based on usage (24 hours refer, 6 hours autopilot,....). I also watched the voltage and recharged when it seemed right. I installed the Victron Electronics BMV and have been happy with monitoring Ah in / out, and total used. I feel I have pretty good idea the state of my batteries and charge.

I probably will reduce the total capacity by 10% just to be safe.

Does any of this really matter in the life expectancy of the battery?

Don
I'm not sure that is the question... its pretty well established that coulomb counters are "fragile". I bought a "top of the line" one from Mastervolt and while the amps are correct, it reads the voltage incorrectly (or displays it incorrectly - have not determined) and does not get the capacity right either.

My smartguard doesn't have a amp counter but it does get the voltage and capcity right... and its much cheaper (an apparently more reliable) than a mastervolt display with a mastervolt shunt.
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Old 24-04-2015, 11:14   #27
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

[QUOTE=secrabtree;1808178]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
I have never found the need to know that information from a battery monitor.QUOTE]

Stu - I loke to be able to read the amount of current going into or out of the battery. Sure, a separate hand held clamp on ammeter would give the information and I do use such an instrument at times to actually locate a problem. But the first thing I do when something doesn't operate is to see if the current from the battery changes when I flip on the switch controlling that circuit going to that piece of equipment. That can quickly identify a short or open circuit - or often a corroded area somewhere in the circuit allowing some electricity through, but not sufficient to operate that equipment. It's easier than getting out the VOM and rigging the probes.
sea,

That's a very good DIAGNOSTIC tool and a great idea. I do that, too. However, it is different than what my point is about USE vs. INPUT.

And one doesn't need a clamp on ammeter, no probes... I meant a permanently installed one usually in the + between the switch and the distribution panel. A simple 0-25 or 0-50 A ammeter with a built-in shunt would suffice, since most of our boat's DC loads are less than 30A even if everything was running. Of course, if your DC loads exceeded that, you'd need one with a remote shunt, but still, no a big deal, and useful for exactly the purpose you suggest. Now available in digital, too.

For example, if my Link 2000 is showing volts, I don't have to switch it to amps, I just look at my ammeter and if it's reading 5A I know the fridge is running. Then I go catch it!
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Old 24-04-2015, 11:18   #28
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

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I'm not sure that is the question... its pretty well established that coulomb counters are "fragile". I bought a "top of the line" one from Mastervolt and while the amps are correct, it reads the voltage incorrectly (or displays it incorrectly - have not determined) and does not get the capacity right either.

My smartguard doesn't have a amp counter but it does get the voltage and capcity right... and its much cheaper (an apparently more reliable) than a mastervolt display with a mastervolt shunt.
You might want to check Maine Sail's website for his tutorials on programming a monitor. Also do a search on Gotcha, I've written and posted that many times, explains the hows & whys of doing it right.

Good luck.

Oh, what the heck, here it is:

For everyone installing a battery monitor: The "Gotcha Algorithm" thread, a "MUST READ"

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4922.0.html

DEFAULTS are factory settings that are made to be modified to suit your setup.
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Old 24-04-2015, 11:29   #29
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
You might want to check Maine Sail's website for his tutorials on programming a monitor. Also do a search on Gotcha, I've written and posted that many times, explains the hows & whys of doing it right.
The link to my article on Installing A Battery Monitor was shared earlier, and is important for accurate results, but by far the more important article, and the one the vast majority of pro's and DIY's alike screw up the worst on is:

Programming A Battery Monitor


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Old 24-04-2015, 15:47   #30
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Re: Which battery monitor for this setup?

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
You might want to check Maine Sail's website for his tutorials on programming a monitor. Also do a search on Gotcha, I've written and posted that many times, explains the hows & whys of doing it right.

Good luck.

Oh, what the heck, here it is:

For everyone installing a battery monitor: The "Gotcha Algorithm" thread, a "MUST READ"

Link-series Charging Algorithms -- The "Gotcha" Factor!

DEFAULTS are factory settings that are made to be modified to suit your setup.
Been there done that. I gave up - they simply do not work. Mine gets the amps correct only because it automatically resets itself when the voltage and amps going in meet the right values. Anyhow, the Smartguard is much much more accurate and useful AND I don't have to play with it.
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