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Old 10-08-2019, 06:28 PM   #1
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Battery monitor recommendations?

I have a Link 10 (now made by Xantrex, if made at all; mine was before Xantrex bought them). It seems to have broken (keeps showing like 2.x or 6.x volts when connected; previously showed correct voltage and amps).

So any recommendations? I've been looking and seen some really cheap monitors, like $25 ones that either work with a shunt or a Hall sensor (like a DC amperage clamp meter). Not sure I want or need battery capacity measuring, as that always seemed iffy. Current and voltage, accurately, are pretty nice though. Figuring state of charge of my new LFP batteries is tough, but I may be able to guesstimate close enough by just voltage.
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:42 PM   #2
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I just bought one from Relion. That is the same brand batteries I chose to use. In the next couple weeks I will have it installed and tested.

https://relionbattery.com/products/l...tery-indicator
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:25 PM   #3
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I put in a Victron battery monitor with a xantrex inverter....many of the up fitters these days are using the Victron goodies, has Bluetooth capability to monitor from your smartphone
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:49 AM   #4
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My current go to monitor is the Balmar SG200. It is one of the most accurate monitors, and easy to use monitors, it also supports LFP.

-greg
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:15 PM   #5
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I considered the Victron but went with the $43 Ali 350amp version. It's cheap and so am I

Doesn't have the memory functions of the Victron but I get a lot of that data from my Bluetooth equipped Victron 100/30 MPPT solar controller.

https://www.amazon.com/AiLi-Battery-...dp/B07FGFFHC6/

After watching this video I decided to give it a try, does everything I wanted.

https://youtu.be/E6O76Okmt08


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Old 10-09-2019, 04:27 PM   #6
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I have the Victron.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:24 PM   #7
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I have a Victron. The percent capacity measurement actually works pretty well, but it is dependent on you accurately telling it your battery's capacity; all it does is measure current in and out and then integrate to determine amp-hours. The "hours remaining" feature is pretty useless, though, because averaging time is too short to account for something like the refrigerator cycling.

The actual unit is well built and VERY thoroughly documented. It was pretty easy to install and set up. The hardest part was finding a spot for the shunt; my house battery is in the engine bay and there wasn't a lot of space. All the wiring is done at the shunt, and the gauge unit connects to it with a single multiconductor cable.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orv View Post
I have a Victron. The percent capacity measurement actually works pretty well, but it is dependent on you accurately telling it your battery's capacity;
I have owned a Xantrex, and am currently running a Bogart Engineering Pentametric , they also make the Trimetric such as the TM-2030-RV. I also have a Magnum Inverter so I have the Magnum BMK installed. I also would not hesitate to use one of the Victron units, or just about anything Victron makes.

All of these are good units, but they all use the same principle to calculate SOC. Because as your battery ages your capacity decreases, it is hard at times to keep up with an coulomb counter battery monitor. Imagine you put 210 amp-hrs in for the capacity of your new 4D battery. You diligently watch your usage and never let it drop below 50%. Now fast forward 2 years, do you think the capacity of the battery is still 210 amp -hrs (if it really was in the beginning).

Let's say it's 200 amp-hr capacity now , the 105 amp number that would give you 50% SOC is now really giving you 47.5% SOC. All the while you think your doing a good job managing your battery, you could actually be speeding up the degradation.

The Smart-Gauge battery changed that, it doesn't count amps to develop its SOC calculations. The how it works is proprietary and beyond my math skills, but is has proven to be vary accurate across multiple battery chemistries. The Balmar SG200 takes the original Smart-Gauge and adds a shunt to do the amp counting. This allows you to monitor the current devices use and the charge that is being put into your batteries. It does not display amp-hrs although you could roughly calculate using time remaining.

The feature other monitors don't have is a state of health calculation. Because that have now added the shunt they can calculate how many amps were put back into the battery during the charging process. They can now measure that do the expected capacity and give you a health indicator.

-greg
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:39 PM   #9
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Yeah, that's true, battery aging is a weak point for the type of monitor I have. I can get some sense of it by comparing the percentage charge estimate to the resting terminal voltage, but that's obviously not a direct measurement.


Because I'm using a cheap marine battery I don't really sweat the difference between 50% and 47% charge all that much -- I'm mostly just interested in "will the battery make it through the night?" -- but if you've got an expensive bank of traction batteries you use for long-term boondocking you have a lot more to lose by over-discharging.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:05 PM   #10
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I've been looking at monitors for my Transit build. I don't know if it's what you want, but after digging through all that I could find I settled on Simarine: https://www.simarine.net/ I like the versatility (multiple shunts plus more sensors than you'd want), bluetooth capability, and the fact that the display is surface mounted (and capable of multiple displays if you wanted that).

My second choice was Balmar, either their SG200 (standard hole mounted style), or their new SG2-0300 bluetooth module, which can be used together or just on the app.
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