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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  #1  
Old 11-30-2010
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Best battery monitor for the buck

I'm planning to upgrade the electrical system on an 'about to be acquired' 34 foot sailboat. I want to keep it simple. So far the system will consist of 4 golf cart batteries, an Air Breeze wind generator, and a battery monitor. Of course, I will also have the stock alternator available on the 27HP Westerbeke. Based upon price and my minimal requirements I have narrowed my choice down to the Bogart Engineering TM-2025RV TriMetric Meter for $173 including shunt and the Victron BMV 600 for $158 including shunt and cabling. I'm favoring the Victron since it has a factor of 10 better resolution measuring amps (ie, 0.01 vs 0.1 amps), much lower parasitic current draw (ie, 4 vs 30 mA), and clean professional look. The one feature I will give up is the ability to measure Voltage of the start battery that the TriMetric offers. I suppose for the price difference I could purchase a standalone Volt meter. I'm interested in receiving opinions about these two meters or any alternatives. Thanks
Pete
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get the Victron. Have you priced marine signal cable recently???
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Old 11-30-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
get the Victron. Have you priced marine signal cable recently???
Ditto! That and a $10.00 DVM from Wal*Mart will tell you volts on the start battery..
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Old 11-30-2010
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I just installed the Victron this year based on recommendations here on Sailnet and I'm very happy with it. Easy installation and operation, makes me wonder how I got along without it all these years.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Ditto! That and a $10.00 DVM from Wal*Mart will tell you volts on the start battery..

Or for an extra $50 you can get the BMV 602 that monitors two banks. I've not used either of the Victrons, but I know they are well regarded and will probably be installing one next year.
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Just curious, what is the start battery or are you splitting the four GC batteries into two banks. If you're planning on the latter, I wouldn't recommend it. If a single battery fails you'll lose either bank, since you need TWO 6V GC batteries to make a 12 VDC house bank.

BTW, if you price the Tri-metric battery monitor and the cost of the wiring needed to connect it, you're coming pretty close to the price of the BMV 602 SVCarolena mentions.
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Not to hijack the thread, but I've got 3 battery banks on the boat: engine start, windlass, and house. Since about all I can find is dual battery bank units, and knowing that the house has to be on the monitor, which would you suggest putting on the other?
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CruzPro makes a couple of models that can monitor voltage for three banks and actual amp-hours on one... so will the Microlog series of battery monitors. BlueSea's VSM422 will do three bank voltage, one bank amp-hours...but will also monitor three tanks IIRC.

Don't know of any that will do amp-hours on three banks.
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Old 12-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Just curious, what is the start battery or are you splitting the four GC batteries into two banks. If you're planning on the latter, I wouldn't recommend it. If a single battery fails you'll lose either bank, since you need TWO 6V GC batteries to make a 12 VDC house bank.
I will leave the existing 12 V start battery as is. The 4 golf cart batteries will be in a single bank. Since I'm not at the boat, I can't say the make and model of existing start battery. The big uncertainty now is where to locate the 4 golf cart batteries and how to construct a secure box for them. Suggestions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
BTW, if you price the Tri-metric battery monitor and the cost of the wiring needed to connect it, you're coming pretty close to the price of the BMV 602 SVCarolena mentions.
Yup, it is tempting!
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Are the batteries AGM or wet cell. If they are AGM all you need to do is cover the terminals and strap the batteries down securely, since there is no liquid electrolyte (primarily acid) to worry about. If they are wet cell, you'll want a battery box to contain the acid in case a battery leaks or the boat is knocked down severely.

Without knowing where the batteries are being installed, it is hard to say how to box them in.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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