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Old 04-20-2014, 10:20 AM   #1
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Balmar Smartgauge: Replacement for Link 2000?

I am thinking of replacing my Link 2000 monitor with the Balmar Smartgauge. Does anyone on the forum have comments on the Balmar Smargauge. I read the review on the Compassmarine site and am thinking of going that route, as it seems it has technology that corrects for the capacity of the battery bank as it ages.

Smart Gauge Battery Monitoring Unit Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:25 AM   #2
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Insure the Balmar is compatible with your inverter/charger. I have a pair of similar design Magnum BMKs that mated up with the new Magnum inverter/charger easily.

Too bad the Balmar specific article did not test other's similar products.
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:42 AM   #3
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Looks interesting but there's no amp meter. The amps in and out is one parameter I look at a lot to see what the various draws are. Maybe keep the Link and add the Balmar.
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:00 PM   #4
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Yes, Larry. I think that is what I will do. I may contact Balmar. I emailed them on another topic and received a prompt reply.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:06 AM   #5
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Contact these folks too, to see if the claim is simple advertising smoke.

TriMetric Battery System | Bogart Engineering

www.bogartengineering.com/products/TriMetric‎
Bogart Engineering: manufacturer of the TriMetric and PentaMetric battery ... “Percent Full” (“State of charge”) of your batteries, so you can see if you need to ...
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:31 AM   #6
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Well I bought the BalMar shuntless battery condition meter. I haven't installed it yet to compare it to a Link2000 that I have on my Mainship. I found the link AH's used to be a relative number and it would go out of sync periodically. However I have alternative solar charging about 450 watts the output of the controller is wired through the shunt. I'm hoping the BalMar lives up to it's claim. You really can tell the condition or state of charge in a battery system by voltage alone. It takes very sophisticated math but the BalMar smartgauge claims to have the profiles in memory.
I'll be happy to report back in about a month after it's installed in my new to me Gulfstar trawler. It can monitor 2 battery banks it couldn't be easier to wire, basically you use the recommended gauge wire to the ground and then to each battery system in my case it will be starting and house.
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Old 09-11-2014, 04:17 PM   #7
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How is this unit performing?
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Old 09-11-2014, 05:59 PM   #8
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Yeah, Billy....we wanna know how this thing is working out. I've got a link 2000 that I also want to replace eventually.
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:24 PM   #9
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I'm interested...hooking mine up this week.

Hopefully will have good data by January, a month or so into my winter cruise.
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:53 PM   #10
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It certainly is "smart," Balmar will make a killing at those prices. Plus it's ugly - doesn't look like boat stuff. Why not make it fit a standard boat hole?
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:24 PM   #11
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Actually I sent them a question about why not producing it to fit a standard dash guage cutout, 2 1/16 diam hole. Could be dropped into many dashes where, even though fairly small, the rectangular panel may present a mounting problem.

As it is I would have difficulty fitting it. The 2 16" fit would be a direct replacement for my old ammeter or voltmenter.

Too bad but I guess mfgr. cost for two shapes is out of reach, at least for now.
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:52 AM   #12
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The latest thinking fro Trijan and other batt makers is a small overcharge (10%-15%) on each recharge.

Be syre your voltage regulator can be set for this and the SOC meter can understand whats happening.

Again the new Bogart system does what is required.
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Old 10-05-2014, 12:21 AM   #13
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I talked to Balmar directly about the smart gauge. I told them my situation with a single house bank with the batteries in two separate boxes but wired as one house bank. I mentioned that I was thinking of installing the Magnum Inverter charger and the Balmar tech was uncertain if the Smart Gauge can be wired in this instance (2 boxes) and provide the correct SOC. He suggested I go with the Magnum monitor (ME-BMK) and the ME-RC remote in this instance.


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Old 10-05-2014, 07:54 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDCAVE View Post
I talked to Balmar directly about the smart gauge. I told them my situation with a single house bank with the batteries in two separate boxes but wired as one house bank. I mentioned that I was thinking of installing the Magnum Inverter charger and the Balmar tech was uncertain if the Smart Gauge can be wired in this instance (2 boxes) and provide the correct SOC. He suggested I go with the Magnum monitor (ME-BMK) and the ME-RC remote in this instance.


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I am doing just that but really haven't had a chance to test how well it works.

How would the smartgauge really know the difference?

(their pic below is right from their manual)

I'm not sure the distance between batteries should matter and whether they are contained in one box or two.

I hope it doesn't matter or I guess there will be a used Smartgauge on the market soon.
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:35 AM   #15
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I have the Balmar SG hooked to my 3 8D's and it works just fine (so far)
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Old 10-05-2014, 09:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDCAVE View Post
I talked to Balmar directly about the smart gauge. I told them my situation with a single house bank with the batteries in two separate boxes but wired as one house bank. I mentioned that I was thinking of installing the Magnum Inverter charger and the Balmar tech was uncertain if the Smart Gauge can be wired in this instance (2 boxes) and provide the correct SOC. He suggested I go with the Magnum monitor (ME-BMK) and the ME-RC remote in this instance.


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You have described my battery setup and Magnum inverter/charger, BMK, remote and Magnum's recommended setup - and verified by the marine electrician who has set this system up for many PNW boaters. Can't say it is the best setup but can say it all has performed without issues for the past two years.
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Old 10-05-2014, 09:46 AM   #17
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Jim the major issue with the Belmar and I'll start by saying I have a new one in the box is it can not give an accurate reading while the batteries are being charged. Other than that I think it's a neat product and I did my research before purchasing it. It might be surplus to my needs I'll let you know if I am willing to sell it at a discount.
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Old 10-05-2014, 10:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
I am doing just that but really haven't had a chance to test how well it works.

How would the smartgauge really know the difference?

(their pic below is right from their manual)

I'm not sure the distance between batteries should matter and whether they are contained in one box or two.

I hope it doesn't matter or I guess there will be a used Smartgauge on the market soon.

That's what I thought, but I phoned the tech at Balmar and when I described my setup to the Tech, and that I was thinking of going with the Magnum 2800 inverter/charger, he advised instead to use the Magnum peripherals/accessories as discussed. I read through PBase's experiments with the gauge, which is what prompted me to consider the Smart Gauge to begin with. I have not yet replaced my charger but it is an important upgrade I will proceed with soon.


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Old 10-05-2014, 10:31 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDCAVE View Post
That's what I thought, but I phoned the tech at Balmar and when I described my setup to the Tech, and that I was thinking of going with the Magnum 2800 inverter/charger, he advised instead to use the Magnum peripherals/accessories as discussed. I read through PBase's experiments with the gauge, which is what prompted me to consider the Smart Gauge to begin with. I have not yet replaced my charger but it is an important upgrade I will proceed with soon.


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I think the tech might have misunderstood you....or wasn't sure about Magnum equipment and took the easy road.

Based on the pic above from their manual...it CAN'T possibly know that your batts are in separate boxes.

And I'll admit I may be overlooking something....but if this thing just records voltage and memorizes the changes in it to see a pattern of how your batts are being charged...unless you hook your batteries up with some pretty shakey small sized wiring...I don't think the thing would have a care in the world how your batts are wired.

My understanding is that if you wire batts in parallel, the equalization of the voltage between them is pretty darn quick unless they started off way apart which they shouldn't if in parallel. Plus if your setup never changes and the Balmar is looking for a pattern and if it's only measuring voltage at a specific point...even if there is a delay in voltage equalization...the rate should be consistent and the smarrtgauge shouldn't really care.

Granted that's the layman's EE view of the setup...any EE's out there or someone who has been through all this with one know why the Balmar tech would give advice diff than their install manual pic?
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Old 10-05-2014, 11:38 AM   #20
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Jim doesn't make it clear how far apart the house batteries are but if the boxes are side by side it doesn't matter. If on opposite sides of the boat then the voltage drop caused by the distance may well have some effect on proper charging. As someone else said the Balmar will just know what this bank is telling it. If you are going to get the Magnum inverter system, it makes total sense to go ahead and add the BMK; it's a slick integration and in my pretty extensive experience, tracks SOC very accurately over time.
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