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Old 09-29-2008, 01:23 PM   #1
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Looking for new/upgraded voltmeter

Hey gang I'm wondering if anyone has "upgraded" their voltmeter for the house battery from the little plug-in voltmeter that most everybody got with their van.

The one that came with the van (that plugs into one of the 12v plugs) just doesn't seem accurate. I'm never plugged in while on the road so I'm very sensitive to what level my house battery is at so I'm looking for a more accurate (and elegant) solution.

I found this online but I fear I'd only be solving the elegance solution and not the accuracy problem.

http://www.marteltesttools.com/products ... tail&id=69

Has anybody found a reliable, accurate and elegant surface mounted voltmeter they can use to monitor their house battery's health?
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:50 PM   #2
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Xantrex also make a battery monitor thats quite cheaper than the one shown in this image on the right which is a link-10. The link 10 is a multi purpose device that measures volts, amps, and a host of other things that may be over complicated for a SMB.
http://store.altenergystore.com/Meters- ... ce=froogle

http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/96/p/1/pt/5/product.asp

Not sure if that is what you're after.
Dave
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:47 PM   #3
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DaveB,

This is definately more like what I'm talking about. I noticed that the gauge itself pulls about 28Ma to power it as opposed to 3 or 5Ma I've seen on other (albeit cheaper) versions.

Is this something I should be concerned about do you think or am I overboard?

Also, the ideal place I was looking to mount it was on the panel near the display/panel for the airtronic/hydronic (passenger side upper panel above the couch). It looks like the Link 10 is a hole saw and wire it up type thing.

Is that your experience?
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Old 09-29-2008, 08:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb


Xantrex also make a battery monitor thats quite cheaper than the one shown in this image on the right which is a link-10. The link 10 is a multi purpose device that measures volts, amps, and a host of other things that may be over complicated for a SMB.
http://store.altenergystore.com/Meters- ... ce=froogle

http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/96/p/1/pt/5/product.asp

Not sure if that is what you're after.
Dave
From the specs that Xantrex Link 10 is a very good meter.

How do you like it?
I ordered one yesterday.

Mainly want to find out how many amps is going into the battery while charging, how much amp hour is left while on battery, and time remaining.. and more (volts).
I'll b replacing my old 2.5" Diameter Volts only LED meter; should fit perfectly.
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Old 09-29-2008, 09:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanlaws
DaveB,

This is definately more like what I'm talking about. I noticed that the gauge itself pulls about 28Ma to power it as opposed to 3 or 5Ma I've seen on other (albeit cheaper) versions.

Is this something I should be concerned about do you think or am I overboard?

Also, the ideal place I was looking to mount it was on the panel near the display/panel for the airtronic/hydronic (passenger side upper panel above the couch). It looks like the Link 10 is a hole saw and wire it up type thing.

Is that your experience?
Yes it does pull some juice but it's not a problem for me. The van never sits for long periods of time. The gauge is typical to most as far as mounting. I can grab it and turn it if needed but it has never spun on washboard roads. The harness that plugs into the back requires a very small screwdriver and is somewhat complicated but not bad. If you install the optional battery temp sensor it might make it more of a difficult install due to running stuff to the battery(s). Read the PDF file on Xantrax's web site. I was disappointed to find that you have to reset it after bringing the battery (or bank) to full charge. The link-10 counts down to how much left that is in the battery (bank) which is useful but not necessary. Input from any charge will throw it off (be advised I might not be using it correctly!). As an example if you have solar, the monitor it will not match what the potential that is being put by back in by the array. So on long trips the battery(s) will show a lower level than what is actually available. You have to understand how it works. I always wanted a simple gauge that shows how much "fuel" was left in the bank. I'm no expert on the link-10 even though I own one...just look at the PDF file and you will see why. The XBM monitor is way less complicated but the link-10 monitor has been of value when trouble shooting a problem. I don't know what the XBM can do. Bagertrek has a post about it and you might want to look at their web site.
Dave.
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:44 AM   #6
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DaveB,

Thanks again. Looks like I've got a little more research to do before I act.
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:28 AM   #7
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I view the XBM monitor or similar device a must have option. Here are the main items you can measure with the XBM.

Battery voltage (V). This readout is useful to
roughly estimate the battery’s state-of-charge. A 12 V battery is considered empty when it cannot maintain a voltage of 10.5 V under load conditions.


Current (A) represents the actual current flowing in or out of the battery. A discharge current is indicated as a negative value (current flowing out of the battery). If, for example, a DC to AC inverter draws 5 amps from the battery, it will be displayed as –5.0 A.


Consumed amp hours (Ah)
displays the amount of amp hours consumed from the battery. A fully charged battery sets this readout to 0.0 Ah (synchronized system). When a current of 12 amps is drawn from the battery for three hours, this readout shows –36.0 Ah.



State-of-charge (%). This is the best way to monitor the actual state of the battery. This readout represents the current amount of energy left in the battery. A fully charged battery sets this readout to 100.0% while a fully discharged battery is represented as 0.0%.


Time-to-go (h:m) is an estimation of how long the battery can support the present load before it needs recharging. This time will be represented in hours (above 100h) or in hh.mm format (under 100h). A time-to-go of 15 hours and 45 minutes will be represented as 15:45 h:m and a time-to-go of 120 hours will be represented as 120 h. When the battery is being charged the display will show ----h, which means that no time-to-go can be calculated.

Temperature (°C or °F) displays the present battery temperature. This readout is automatically activated
when Function F11 is set to AU and the optional temperature sensor is connected to the Xantrex Battery Monitor. When connection with the temperature sensor is lost, the display will show four dashes (- - - -). The temperature unit can be selected in Function F15.


I believe the supply current is only 8mA

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Old 09-30-2008, 12:22 PM   #8
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Greg,

You think the XBM is a better item than the Link 10 perhaps?
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:24 PM   #9
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I've got both, and like the XMB better. I just find it easier to use.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:38 PM   #10
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Crap, the XBM is discontinued by xantrex. I guess they have newer, more expensive models now. Ugh.
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