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Old 04-27-2014
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SmartGuage Review

Panbo has an interesting post on the Balmar SmartGauge, referencing a recent write up on the product by Maine Sail. Cool stuff!

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: Smartgauge battery monitor, RC proclaims "paradigm shift"!
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Old 04-27-2014
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Re: SmartGuage Review

Makes me regret buying that Victron 600 a few months ago! Sounds like this is a pretty amazing leap ahead for battery monitors. I know after several months with my Victron I am still not very confident in what it is telling me.
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Old 04-27-2014
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Re: SmartGuage Review

The SmartGauge is an interesting product and I have ordered some for the store I work in. I may try one myself. Currently I have a Link 10.

There should not be any reason to not be confident of the Victron though. As long as it knows the bank size in AH, has the correct Peukert programmed, and is reset when you know the batteries are fully charged it should be very accurate. The failing of the Victron and others like it is that they become less accurate unless synchronized regularly.

Here is the link to Maine's review of the SmartGauge:
Smart Gauge Battery Monitoring Unit Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com
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Old 04-27-2014
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Re: SmartGuage Review

Ah counters can count Ah's with very good accuracy, how that lines up with the bank they are counting is where they get tripped up. The Smart Gauge is pretty ool and very simple which suit most boaters very well...
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Old 04-29-2014
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Re: SmartGuage Review

Interesting writeup here which describes using the Smartguage in conjunction with an AH counter like the Victron 600 (which I have also). Basically, the AH counter is programmed with Peukert = 1.0, charge efficiency = 100%, etc., and is simply used as a straightforward ammeter and AH consumption counter (where it excels), while leaving all the SOC calcs to the Smartguage (where it excels).
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Re: SmartGuage Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
The SmartGauge is an interesting product and I have ordered some for the store I work in. I may try one myself. Currently I have a Link 10.

There should not be any reason to not be confident of the Victron though. As long as it knows the bank size in AH, has the correct Peukert programmed, and is reset when you know the batteries are fully charged it should be very accurate. The failing of the Victron and others like it is that they become less accurate unless synchronized regularly.

Here is the link to Maine's review of the SmartGauge:
Smart Gauge Battery Monitoring Unit Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com
Another great article by Main Sail.

I too have a Link 10. I would probably have more confidence in it if I followed the instructions and periodically re-synced it when I knew the battery banks are fully charged. Problem is I believe that batteries need to "settle" for a period in order to get an accurate read on their charged state. Usually, after a long motor, when I feel confident that the batteries are fully charged you start putting on the juice, radio lights, water pump, etc.

The SmartGuage seems to be a much simpler option. It looks like the SmartGuage can also operate a relay. I would like to be able to run my Espar heater without the concern of running down the house bank. I'm thinking it might be fairly easy to swap out the Link 10 for the SmartGuage given that it appears that Link has more lines run to the batteries and shunts than appears to be needed for the SmartGuage. Maybe some reconfiguration and elimination of unneeded wires.

I'm smart enough to know there is a lot I don't know but not smart enough to know what I don't know.

Last edited by LinekinBayCD; 04-30-2014 at 01:43 PM.
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Re: SmartGuage Review

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Originally Posted by LinekinBayCD View Post
Another great article by Main Sail.

I too have a Link 10. I would probably have more confidence in it if I followed the instructions and periodically re-synced it when I knew the battery banks are fully charged. Problem is I believe that batteries need to "settle" for a period in order to get an accurate read on their charged state. Usually, after a long motor, when I feel confident that the batteries are fully charged you start putting on the juice, radio lights, water pump, etc.

The SmartGuage seems to be a much simpler option. It looks like the SmartGuage can also operate a relay. I would like to be able to run my Espar heater without the concern of running down the house bank. I'm thinking it might be fairly easy to swap out the Link 10 for the SmartGuage given that it appears that Link has more lines run to the batteries and shunts than appears to be needed for the SmartGuage. Maybe some reconfiguration and elimination of unneeded wires.

I'm smart enough to know there is a lot I don't know but not smart enough to know what I don't know.
No need to get rid of the Link. Keep it and use it for monitoring current, charging or loads. Ignore the % charged and Ah screens and use the Smart Gauge for that...

For an Ah counter to be accurate for SOC is much harder than most folks are willing to work for...

At a bare minimum they need to know:

Bank capacity = ACTUAL not THEORETICAL (CWA)
Battery Temp = Or a known "ballpark"
Charge Efficiency = Can't even begin to be accurate without this. (CWA)
Peukert = If this is wrong there is no way it can even get close. (CWA)

*CWA= Changes With Age

On most boats auto-synch should simply be disabled and "known full re-sets used.

To properly use an Ah counter the bank should ideally be 20 hour capacity tested once per year. This can be done two ways:

Method #1 (at a battery temp of 75F - 80F):

#1 Apply a load of C/20 to a FULLY CHARGED battery and start a stop watch. C/20 is the 20 hour Ah rating divided by 20. So a 125Ah battery would get a load of 6.25A for 20 hours before hitting 10.5V.

#2 Connect a DVM to the battery terminals.

#3 Adjust the load/current as voltage falls to maintain the C/20 rate as precisely as possible.

#4 Monitor battery & load until terminal voltage hits 10.5V then hit the stop watch and record the hours & minutes.

#5 Determine what % of the 20 hours it was able to deliver the 20 hour rate.

Method #2

Replace the stop watch with an Ah counter such as the Victron BMV-600 and count the actual Ah's delivered before hitting 10.5V. What percentage of the rated Ah capacity did you get? Use this as your new Ah capacity and you will be much closer in accuracy. You can also use the Victron to drive a relay and cut the "load" at 10.5V.


*In both methods the "load" needs to remain as constant as possible and requires human intervention to keep it steady as the voltage decays.


*After any discharge capacity test you must immediately recharge the battery bank!


Or just use a Smart Gauge and let it do its thing... The best readings for a Smart Gauge are in the am when there is no charging and the bank has been discharging all night.. You really don't need to know SOC more than once ever 24 hours....
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 04-30-2014 at 04:49 PM.
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Re: SmartGuage Review

If I get the SmartGauge I would keep the Link 10 as well.
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Re: SmartGuage Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
No need to get rid of the Link. Keep it and use it for monitoring current, charging or loads. Ignore the % charged and Ah screens and use the Smart Gauge for that...

.
Main Sail

Both the Link 10 and SmartGuage can be used to operate a relay, correct? If that is correct would the SmartGuage be a better option than the Link 10 to turn off an Espar heater?
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Old 05-02-2014
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Re: SmartGuage Review

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Originally Posted by LinekinBayCD View Post
Main Sail

Both the Link 10 and SmartGuage can be used to operate a relay, correct? If that is correct would the SmartGuage be a better option than the Link 10 to turn off an Espar heater?
You can't just cut + to an Espar without allowing it to run through the proper shut down procedure. Doing so can potentially damage the heater... Best to use the SG to drive an audible alarm so you can manually shut it down at the control panel..
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