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Old 11-22-2018, 12:59 PM   #1
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Battery Monitor - Advice & Recommendations

I was reading a related thread on battery testers and wanted to switch the discussion to battery monitoring.

We have a house bank (8-6 volt series) and 2 starter banks (2-12 volt parallel) on our Cheoy Lee 46 Trawler. I recently changed all the batteries and want to install a monitoring system that will allow me to know the % of discharge, reserve and to monitor actual amp draw.

I would appreciate any advice or recommendations as anything having to do with electricity is like black magic to me.

Thanks,

Ron Hurd
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Old 11-22-2018, 01:02 PM   #2
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Try doing a search on this forum, there are many threads in which this is discussed. You may not get a complete set of answers here since it has been a repeated subject. Do you have an inverter? How are you charging these batteries?
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Old 11-22-2018, 01:18 PM   #3
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For SoC nothing is more accurate today than Merlin SmartGauge, supported in the NA market by Balmar.

Also by far the easiest to install configure and use, part of why so accurate. Only works with lead banks.

Out of the plethora of AH counting BMs, needed for LFP, my choice would be Victron 712-BMV.

Many owners install both, but if that seems nuts to you, a decent AH counter - not full BM quality - can be had from well under $100.

CMS uses a Xantrex LinkPRO.

Read these three articles at his site

https://www.google.com/search?q=site...attery+monitor
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Old 11-22-2018, 01:19 PM   #4
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For an in-depth look at this, I really recommend this article: https://marinehowto.com/smartgauge-b...nitoring-unit/
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Old 11-22-2018, 01:27 PM   #5
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There really isn't a need to monitor a starting bank, only a house bank. If set up with proper charging circuits a starting bank will never go below 99% SOC.


Pick one of the monitors discussed above and install it on your house bank.


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Old 11-22-2018, 02:05 PM   #6
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I agree with John61ct. I would use the Balmar Smart Gauge. I donít have one but will be installing one at some point. I have an amp counter, and it works fine, but doesnít give me as accurate SOC% for my house bank as the Smart Gauge would.
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Old 11-22-2018, 03:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
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There really isn't a need to monitor a starting bank, only a house bank
Almost all will show voltage (only) of the Starter batt, as well as the more detailed info wrt House.
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Old 11-22-2018, 03:42 PM   #8
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This year I installed a Blue Seas battery monitor. It will show all the things you want AND the voltage of up to 2 other batteries. It works well.

https://www.bluesea.com/products/1830/M2_DC_SoC_Monitor

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Old 11-22-2018, 04:11 PM   #9
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The problem of course is evaluating its ongoing accuracy. Trailing amps while charging is always the best way to benchmark 100% SoC, and for lead, 10.5V is zero. Just the points in between are rough, always a guesstimate as usage patterns and SoH (%residual AH capacity) change over time.

Would be great if one could rent a SmartGauge by the month to help calibrate the SoH, Charge Efficiency and Peukert adjustments periodically required by coulomb-counting BMs.
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Old 11-22-2018, 05:00 PM   #10
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https://www.panbo.com/balmar-sg200-a...r-gets-better/

Be sure to read all of the comments.
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Old 11-22-2018, 06:52 PM   #11
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Nothing to do with the Gibbo's original SmartGauge technology, except the fact Balmar's trying to duplicate / reverse-engineer it for that side of its operation.

Also **very** interesting integrating also with a coulomb-counter, especially trying to estimate SoC on the fly - that would be unique.

Note no AH display, even though used internally.

Definitely worth keeping an eye on, but way too early days yet to say whether they're succeeding or not,

but they are looking for alpha testers.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...or-209056.html

​Manual http://www.balmar.net/wp-content/upl...UP-0250_RS.pdf
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Old 11-23-2018, 06:14 AM   #12
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After reviewing what was available in 2015, I went with the Victron SOC guage. While it offers a number of features, I primarily use the amps in / out display, and percentage of full charge. The gauge appears to be extremely accurate and has a self zeroing feature. After there is essentially no flow of amps in at full charge for a number of minutes, it resets the gauge valve to 100%. I would guess I have in excess of 300 cruising days since 2016 where the house bank was discharged between 5 and 25% and then recharged the next day. The Victron gauge has tracked it flawlessly. If it quit tomorrow, I'd buy another one.

Ted
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Old 11-23-2018, 07:11 AM   #13
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The simplest way to monitor Start batts is to have a volt meter that goes on with the key.

When cranking there will be a usual volt drop , as the start gets older and weaker the cranking voltage will be seen lower.

For house batts while supreme accuracy might have some advantage sometime , to someone, simply being close will save the batts from too much discharge .

Weather you drop to 55% SOC or 45% SOC is meaningless , that you recharge soon and fully is what counts.
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Old 11-23-2018, 07:24 AM   #14
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It is very easy with AH counters for the inaccuracy to quickly drift a **lot** more than 10%. Most owners do not know, must guess their bank SoH % as it ages.

The 100% resets should be very frequent, and

usually should be done manually, or

at least periodically verify that the automatic reset feature continues to be accurate, corresponding with the mfg endAmps spec.

It is very common for charge sources to drop to Float (stop charging) prematurely.
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Old 11-23-2018, 10:30 AM   #15
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It is very common for charge sources to drop to Float (stop charging) prematurely.
Are you referring to a standard engine alternator? Or are you implying that multi stage externally regulated engine alternators and multi stage shore power battery chargers do that?

If the latter, could you link a reference showing that it's "very common ".

Ted
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Old 11-23-2018, 12:50 PM   #16
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Yes, please..... And don't stop with one random test....
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Old 11-23-2018, 01:06 PM   #17
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The simplest way to monitor Start batts is to have a volt meter that goes on with the key.
I think the simplest way to monitor all batteries on your boat is to install a Low cost SOC in each battery circuit. (On Amazon for about $9 each.) Simply walking through your boat will tell you the SOC at a glance. (12.7v is fully charged.)

House, Engines & Genny
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Old 11-23-2018, 03:51 PM   #18
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Most of the coulomb counting monitors work pretty well for a few cycles and are in my mind preferable to voltage only monitors. That being said they all drift. Consult the manual from the manufacturer of your battery bank for an indication of fully charged. Usually .005C in amps. Once you hit that with your charger you should be fully charged. Iíve run three of he mentioned meters in this thread and my current preference is the victron but the new BMI 760. The Bluetooth interface actually allows you check and set almost everything with your iPhone from most anywhere onboard the boat. I usually do a capacity test every fall just to keep everyone honest. This year I found a liar.
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Old 11-23-2018, 05:10 PM   #19
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Yes, please..... And don't stop with one random test....
And please do find a publication to regurgitate....
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Old 11-23-2018, 05:40 PM   #20
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I think the simplest way to monitor all batteries on your boat is to install a Low cost SOC in each battery circuit. (On Amazon for about $9 each.) Simply walking through your boat will tell you the SOC at a glance. (12.7v is fully charged.)

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