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Vintage465

Prunedale CA.

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Posted: 11/16/19 08:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've nearly completed my upgrade to my Solar System(Pics coming when I'm done). Thinking(after the fact of course)that I should have considered a Battery Monitor in the upgrade, or at least preparations for such an install.

I know very little about battery monitors except that most experienced boon dockers with solar recommend them. I don't see any reason to try and take a low rent route to get this done and end up with an iffy unit that works her and there or not at all.

I hear the Morning Star unit is kind of the standard. I also hear some pretty good things about Victron.

So:
1. I assume a shunt needs to be installed some where on the positive near the battery bank. I am "Parroting" this term "shunt" , as I really don't know what the term "Shunt" means. I've seen the pic's of one and it looks pretty straight forward to install. Is the shunt the only thing that needs to be installed for the monitor to gather info? How would I size the shunt? We only use 12v. No inverters. The only high draw item we have is the furnace. How close or far from the batteries is acceptable to install the shunt. Should it be very easily accessible? Meaning, is there a reason to view it regularly?

2. I have Samlex PWM 30a controller, will a Victron or Morning Star work with that controller? I looked in some installation info and reading material and that info doesn't seem be very forthwith as of course they are hoping one uses their charge controller.

3. In order to have Bluetooth connectability for monitoring does there have to be a "base unit hardwired somewhere that the iPhone can snag the signal?
Is that what I'd be doing by installing a shunt with the wiring going to the hard wired battery monitor?

4. Maybe there is a good link to send me to that has "battery monitors 101"?

Thanks!


V-465
2013 GMC 2500HD Duramax Denali. 2015 CreekSide 20fq w/450 watts solar and 465 amp/hour of batteries. Retiring in 2021, then look-out road, here we come!

cooldavidt

Vancouver

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Posted: 11/16/19 09:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

what are you looking to get from the monitor that the controller doesn't show you?

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 11/16/19 09:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

cooldavidt wrote:

what are you looking to get from the monitor that the controller doesn't show you?


Controller output amps do not all go to the battery, some go to loads. Monitor shows battery only.


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MDKMDK

Canada

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Posted: 11/16/19 09:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like he wants a "fuel gauge" type of monitor for his battery bank.
I'm fine with my charge controller's system status indicator, plus the One Place guesstimate of the chassis and coach battery states of charge. I guess some prefer a more precise solution, but that depends on calibrating the gauge when the bank is fully charged, which is what you're trying to determine, by installing the fuel gauge in the first place?


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RLS7201

Beautyful Downtown Gladstone, MO

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Posted: 11/16/19 10:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A shunt is just another device to get corroded and cause a bad connections.
Meters with hall effect sensors are the way to go for monitoring batteries now days.

All the goodies

Richard

* This post was last edited 11/16/19 11:50am by RLS7201 *   View edit history


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BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 11/16/19 10:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

MDKMDK wrote:

Sounds like he wants a "fuel gauge" type of monitor for his battery bank.
I'm fine with my charge controller's system status indicator, plus the One Place guesstimate of the chassis and coach battery states of charge. I guess some prefer a more precise solution, but that depends on calibrating the gauge when the bank is fully charged, which is what you're trying to determine, by installing the fuel gauge in the first place?


You tell when your batts are truly full by other means, and then reset the AH counter on the monitor.

Wets--by SG at baseline SG for full, say 1.290 or whatever
AGMs-by when tapering amps at 14.x volts fall to 0.5a/100AH of bank.

The monitor will have an ammeter to it, so you can use that to tell when you get down to the full mark for AGMs.

You do have to reset the AH counter like that fairly often because they get out of whack from recharging counts with not having quite the right allowance for charging efficiency.

Not a good idea to believe the monitor for saying the batts are full by its AH count or by how it gets to a voltage/amps combo magic system and comes up with a percentage SOC based on setting of bank AH size. That bank size is always changing for one thing.

Fact of life with monitors is to determine true full as above, reset the monitor, and use it as a rough indication where you are at until the next time you can get to true full and measure it properly. That still leaves the monitor as useful thing to have.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 11/16/19 02:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The very best is called 'smartgauge'. It becomes more accurate with use, unlike all the others which drift out of the sweet spot as components (mainly batteries) age. Unfortunately it doesn't work with LI technologies

http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/index.html

https://ca.binnacle.com/p11264/Balmar-44........ery-Monitor-Smartgauge/product_info.html

A distant 2nd place is the Victron Gauge. It attempts to use a Peukert calculation to give better accuracy.

I don't want a shunt in my system.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

CA Traveler

The Western States

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Posted: 11/16/19 02:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Typical shunts are 100A and 500A. Sounds like 100A will be adequate for the OP. They are installed on the negative cable, just follow the wiring instructions.


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theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 11/16/19 02:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A "shunt" is a device that is used to measure how much electricity flows through it, so it can measure the amount of electricity flowing "into" a battery bank or "out of" a battery bank. It is typically mounted very near the battery. Some are connected on the positive side of the battery and some on the negative, it depends on the meter. Any decent meter will ship WITH a shunt and instructions on where to install it.

The Victron BMV-700 is nice.

time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 11/16/19 02:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As long as you have a voltmeter give the solar a chance to just take care of it.
Can always add a monitor if you feel you need it.


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