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post #1 of 70 Old 08-25-2014 Thread Starter
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Recommendations for Battery Monitor

I'm looking to monitor a two battery bank system. One bank for the house, and one for starting. I've been looking at the SmartGauge destibuted by Balmar, and another one by Victron. What I like about the SmartGauge is I don't have to calculate the aH my battery bank can currently hold. What I like about Victron monitors they tell me the draw on the battery and as well as how well my charging system is doing. What I don't like about SmartGauge is it doesn't tell my how much draw I'm currently using and how well my current charging is doing. What I don't like about the Victron monitors is I have to manually determine how much my aH are for my battery and need to re-sink the thing as the battery gets older. What I'd like is one that automatically can calculate the aH my batteries hold regardless of age, as well as provides me additional output like how much current is being drawn out of my batteries and how well my charging system is working, whether it is the alternator on the motor, solar panels, or wind generator. Is there a single meter that is easy to install correctly and does everything I need. Or do I need to buy the SmartGauge, and another monitor to show draw and charging of my batteries. What are others doing to monitor all there batteries without breaking the bank($)?
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post #2 of 70 Old 08-25-2014
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Re: Recommendations for Battery Monitor

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Originally Posted by DBASailor View Post
I'm looking to monitor a two battery bank system. One bank for the house, and one for starting. I've been looking at the SmartGauge destibuted by Balmar, and another one by Victron. What I like about the SmartGauge is I don't have to calculate the aH my battery bank can currently hold. What I like about Victron monitors they tell me the draw on the battery and as well as how well my charging system is doing. What I don't like about SmartGauge is it doesn't tell my how much draw I'm currently using and how well my current charging is doing. What I don't like about the Victron monitors is I have to manually determine how much my aH are for my battery and need to re-sink the thing as the battery gets older. What I'd like is one that automatically can calculate the aH my batteries hold regardless of age, as well as provides me additional output like how much current is being drawn out of my batteries and how well my charging system is working, whether it is the alternator on the motor, solar panels, or wind generator. Is there a single meter that is easy to install correctly and does everything I need. Or do I need to buy the SmartGauge, and another monitor to show draw and charging of my batteries. What are others doing to monitor all there batteries without breaking the bank($)?
If you want an ammeter you can get one from Blue Sea or other sources but in the end it will cost more than a Victron BMV-700.

All that matters to battery longevity is monitoring your SOC thus the Smart Gauge is the best choice to get the most life out of your bank.

Yes the Victron Ah counters give tons of information but it is considerably more complex and perhaps 99.8% of boaters DO NOT have them properly calibrated. Thus they become informational only tools. Still not bad but far from accurate in the vast majority of installations.

When your batts are new you do okay with this but as they age the BM can exacerbate the out of synch/lack of proper programing and actually accelerate the harm being done to your bank.

If you want the best battery monitor, and one that stays calibrated to YOUR BANK, then buy the Smart Gauge..

If you absolutely need an ammeter add a Victron but DO NOT try and compare the two for SOC as the Victron will almost always be wrong.

Your start battery needs nothing more than voltage monitoring and the Smart Gauge already offers that for a second bank.

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post #3 of 70 Old 08-25-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Recommendations for Battery Monitor

Thanks for the feedback read you article on the SmartGauge. Great stuff, really got me thinking how important it is to make sure the gauge always tells you the correct SOC. What I'm kind of wondering is how to also tell is the number of aH my batteries has left and how much of a draw the autopilot, or reefer, or inverter, or lights might be drawing my battery down. As how well my solar panel is charging, or the alternator. If I get the SmartGauge for the SOC, what should I do about monitoring these other things?
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post #4 of 70 Old 09-12-2014
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Re: Recommendations for Battery Monitor

Have you looked at the British NASA Marine battery monitor?

Nasa Bm2-12 Battery Monitor (12Vdc): Amazon.co.uk: Sports & Outdoors Nasa Bm2-12 Battery Monitor (12Vdc): Amazon.co.uk: Sports & Outdoors



This can monitor two battery banks - service and engine.

I have recently fitted the NASA BM1 Compact for one battery bank, and it does what it says on the box.

Cheaper if you buy it from a UK retailer than a USA retailer -
Amazon.com: Clipper BM-2 Battery Monitor w/Shunt - 200Amp: Sports & Outdoors Amazon.com: Clipper BM-2 Battery Monitor w/Shunt - 200Amp: Sports & Outdoors


even with shipping.

regards,
Philip.
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post #5 of 70 Old 01-24-2015
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Re: Recommendations for Battery Monitor

Thanks Phillip.

I'm wondering if anyone else has any experience with this Nasa BM-2 monitor.

NASA Marine BM1 Battery Monitor 12VDC | eBay

I am looking for a simple, but useful system, to keep me apprised of my battery charge/discharge state. I'd like to know (for example, in the evening), did I get enough solar charging during the day, or do I need to run the Yanmar engine for a little while before retiring. If so, how long, etc.

thx,

~markb

~markb

S/V "New Girl" on the dock

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post #6 of 70 Old 01-24-2015
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Re: Recommendations for Battery Monitor

Probably an odd, prejudicial, and personal reaction but anytime some new company names itself in a way confusingly--and apparently without other reason--similar to a government technology agency, I walk away.

What the BBC insists on calling "Nasa" is the US space agency N.A.S.A., or NASA.

Which of course has no correlation to the instruments.

Of course I'd change my mind (about merchants trying to bask in the glamour of the folks who landed man on the moon) in an instant if I found that Nasa was the Greek goddess of the lunar seas.....
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post #7 of 70 Old 01-24-2015
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Re: Recommendations for Battery Monitor

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Originally Posted by bratzcpa View Post
Thanks Phillip.

I'm wondering if anyone else has any experience with this Nasa BM-2 monitor.

NASA Marine BM1 Battery Monitor 12VDC | eBay

I am looking for a simple, but useful system, to keep me apprised of my battery charge/discharge state. I'd like to know (for example, in the evening), did I get enough solar charging during the day, or do I need to run the Yanmar engine for a little while before retiring. If so, how long, etc.

thx,

~markb
That product has no way to program a Peukerts constant. Consider the Victron BMV-700 if you want a Coulomb counter that allows for the best programing options.

If you want a product that is simple, requires no re-programing, gets more accurate as time goes on, and ensures simple operation, then consider a Balmar Smart Gauge.

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post #8 of 70 Old 01-24-2015
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Re: Recommendations for Battery Monitor

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Probably an odd, prejudicial, and personal reaction but anytime some new company names itself in a way confusingly--and apparently without other reason--similar to a government technology agency, I walk away.

What the BBC insists on calling "Nasa" is the US space agency N.A.S.A., or NASA.

Which of course has no correlation to the instruments.

Of course I'd change my mind (about merchants trying to bask in the glamour of the folks who landed man on the moon) in an instant if I found that Nasa was the Greek goddess of the lunar seas.....
And after owning may British cars, I would be cautious about British electronics! Heck I had one that the fuse box was below the brake master cylinder, that of course always leaked and started fires, and there solution was to provide every car with a fire extinguisher!
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post #9 of 70 Old 02-13-2015
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Re: Recommendations for Battery Monitor

I agree that the SmartGauge is the one to get, but I am bumping this thread as I am also interested in the questions below posted by DBASailor. Would we have to get the SmartGauge and the Victron?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DBASailor View Post
Thanks for the feedback read you article on the SmartGauge. Great stuff, really got me thinking how important it is to make sure the gauge always tells you the correct SOC. What I'm kind of wondering is how to also tell is the number of aH my batteries has left and how much of a draw the autopilot, or reefer, or inverter, or lights might be drawing my battery down. As how well my solar panel is charging, or the alternator. If I get the SmartGauge for the SOC, what should I do about monitoring these other things?
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post #10 of 70 Old 02-13-2015
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Re: Recommendations for Battery Monitor

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I agree that the SmartGauge is the one to get, but I am bumping this thread as I am also interested in the questions below posted by DBASailor. Would we have to get the SmartGauge and the Victron?
In short, if you want to see amps, you would want both.

I am going to try and break this down point by point;

Quote:
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What I'm kind of wondering is how to also tell is the number of aH my batteries has left
Unless you know the batteries current Peukerts constant, the actual battery temperature, its current Coloumbic efficiency and its current physical Ah capacity (Hint: NOT THE RATING ON THE BATTERY) you still have no clue how many Ah's you have left...

I have yet to see even ONE Ah counter within 10% of accurate or accurately programmed.. Perhaps less than .2% of sailors actually physically capacity test their batteries at the 20 hour rate and the capacity begins changing on day one. From day one on it is a steady and continual decline. I won't even go into improper programing other than to say Ah counters are a roulette wheel for most owners in terms of accuracy.... What they do is create awareness of your bank and this, not the Ah counting, is what is giving owners longer bank life.


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Originally Posted by DBASailor View Post
and how much of a draw the autopilot, or reefer, or inverter, or lights might be drawing my battery down.
"Might" would be the operative word there.... Again most boaters leave their Ah counters programmed for as new capacity, don't understand Peukert nor calculate for Coloumbic efficiency nor compensate for battery temp. If they look and see -50Ah's on a 100Ah battery they very incorrectly assume 50% SOC. What if this battery was now a 70Ah battery at -50Ah's? Instead of 50% SOC you are really now at approximately 29% SOC not the -50Ah that is wrongly assumed.

I don't just shoot from the hip on this stuff I get to see and test for it every day... This bank was still programmed for 100% of as new capacity yet the batteries were actually & physically at about 70% when tested under a BCI 20 hour capacity test..




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As how well my solar panel is charging, or the alternator. If I get the SmartGauge for the SOC, what should I do about monitoring these other things?
If you want to break those items out, to see them individually, it would require multiple shunts and ammeters. You can use a battery monitor for this to see the "net" but if you do I would strongly urge you to ignore Ah's or the SOC screen and just use the amps screen for load & charge performance monitoring. Focus on the Smart Gauge instead for your SOC......

If your banks capacity drops to 70%, as in the above photos, the SG will tell you when you are at 50% of that aged capacity. A battery monitor can only do this if you, the owner, manager & CEO of the monitor, properly program and reprogram it as capacity, Peukert, temp and charge efficiency change..

Is the Smart Gauge a perfect device for battery SOC, no, but it is by far the best & by a long shot easiest I have seen, hands down.

______
-Maine Sail / CS-36T


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