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Old 02-25-2014, 01:08 PM   #1
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Is Xantrex battery monitor best solution for watching loads?

I'm gearing up to have the 60k service done on the van and wanted to do some preventative maintenance on the charging system while i'm at it. Based on what I have extracted from this forum and advice from admin, I will be upgrading the alternator to a 250/270 XP from DC Power, replacing the Surepower separator with a Blue Sea 7622 relay and upgrading the ageing solar system with a new panel or 2 and possibly a new controller.

As it is now, the house batteries drop about a volt/day with no apparent load (fuses pulled, breakers off and solar off) so I will also look for shorts and intend to replace the house batteries once everything else is sorted. My question is regarding monitoring the batteries. I've read that the Xantrex is the way to go, but is it that much more accurate or useful? I currently have 3 devices that read battery states (scanguage, Magnum inverter and solar controller) and they usually agree with each other - though only the solar controller reads both banks. Will the Xantrex have better info? Not really trying to save the $, just the hassle of one more set of wires to the batteries and finding somewhere to put another display. Already going to have to cut a new hole for the 7622 remote switch.

Also, any opinions on using the "Linklite" model vs the "Linkpro" would be helpful. Thanks,

Eric
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:00 PM   #2
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Re: Is Xantrex battery monitor best solution for watching lo

Are all your current monitoring devices reading volts only? I am a big fan of a monitor that will tell me current amp draw as well as cumulative amp-hours used. This information combined with a volt meter lets me know if I actually have a load being imposed or if a low battery reading is from a power draw or simply just reading a tenth or two low due to being cold.
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:14 PM   #3
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Re: Is Xantrex battery monitor best solution for watching lo

The current versions of linklite & linkpro are pretty similar now except you get battery temp with the pro (accessory) the pro also gives you a time to go reading, which I don't think is compelling to move to the pro. Also the pro will let you connect the communications kit so you can attach to computer.

I would look at http://evolveelectrics.com/E-Xpert%20Pro.html
I am pretty sure tbs OEM's the Xantrex unit, I have found that the prices are generally better than the Xantrex models. I have the Xantrex XBM ( predecessor to Linkpro) and highly recommend a battery monitor. Also you may want to look at the TriMetric monitory from http://www.bogartengineering.com/products/TriMetric

Since you have the Magnum Energy Inverter you may want to go with the ME-BMK
http://magnumenergy.com/battery-monitor-kit-me-bmk/

-greg
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Old 02-25-2014, 02:21 PM   #4
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Re: Is Xantrex battery monitor best solution for watching lo

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Originally Posted by Scalf77
Also you may want to look at the TriMetric monitory from http://www.bogartengineering.com/products/TriMetric

-greg
I have an older/basic model of the trimetric and have been very happy with it.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:54 PM   #5
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Re: Is Xantrex battery monitor best solution for watching lo

Thanks for the mention of the Magnum ME-BMK, Greg. Today I was scheduled to visit a local solar installer (AM Solar) for a fresh panel or two, they happen to stock Magnum product and had a monitor so I asked if we could install it. After a bit of trouble-shooting, a couple of calls to Magnum and temporarily installing the latest remote control to change some settings, turns out my battery temp sensor wires had failed. The PO had used a phone jack under the van to splice wire together and get it to the inverter. Nice...

In the 3 months of owning the van I often wondered and worried that the Magnum charger would only float the batteries at 12.4 while the spec for AGM was 13.1 (which the solar controller held just fine), but never got beyond checking that the settings were correct. I now appreciate battery temp.

The gist of all this is that the house batteries haven't been properly charged (or equalized) in a while, maybe irreversibly long. I did a brief equalization cycle today for an hour or so, but cut it short as I had to leave. Looks like the surepower 1315 wants to equalize both banks (that thing gets really hot). Is this ok? I don't know what type the starter batteries are yet and don't want to over-cook them.

BTW that's a nice looking retro panel Josh, I envy the easy access to the back you've enabled with your build.

Eric
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:15 AM   #6
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Re: Is Xantrex battery monitor best solution for watching lo

Eric,
When you go to equalize I would pull the ground on 1315 to disable it so that you only equalize your House Battery, I would also check your battery manufacturer and see what their prescribed equalization parameters are, and if that is inline with what the your using to equalize. Glad you got the temp sensor figured out, yes that will make a big difference.

If you need some help installing the 7622 I am not to far away.
-greg
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:35 AM   #7
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Re: Is Xantrex battery monitor best solution for watching lo

If I ever get another van, I want Greg to design and install the entire electrical system! Look up his posts on his carputer installation some time.

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Old 02-28-2014, 10:43 AM   #8
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Re: Is Xantrex battery monitor best solution for watching lo

Quote:
If I ever get another van, I want Greg to design and install the entire electrical system! Look up his posts on his carputer installation some time.
No Kidding!!! In the last 3 months of searching the forum, reading and re-reading both Greg's and DaveB's posts, I've learned more about auto-electrical than I ever thought I'd need or want. I was actually able to almost follow the conversations at the solar installer shop yesterday. That was huge, and I'm grateful for this resource.

And that's a very generous offer of help, thanks Greg. I've actually wondered what I could come up with to entice you to visit Corvallis... civil war tickets. Maybe I could pull that off in a poor season. I've got a few more resources here to call upon, but def will keep the offer in mind.

As for equalizing the AGMs, AM Solar owner was comfortable with initiating the cycle based on conversations he's had with his contacts at Concorde/Lifeline. Though, I may wait to get the 7622 installed before trying to equalize again, mostly just so I can avoid "pulling the ground on the 1315". How lame is that?
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