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  #1  
Old 04-20-2010
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Looking for battery monitor suggestions

Hi All...

In another thread people suggested I go with a battery monitor instead of just voltage and current meters. I had never heard of battery monitors, but after a little reading the look like a great thing to have.

But which one? It seems there are many but two or three that are mostly used.

The BVM 600S or 602S

BMV-600 and BMV-602 - Victron Energy

The Xantrex LinkLITE

Xantrex Technology Inc. - Boats - LinkLITE Battery Monitor - Product Information

The NASA Maring BM-1

BMN-1 Battery | Nasa Marine Instruments

The BVM 602S will do full monitoring of a house battery and basic (voltage and such) monitoring of a starter battery. It seems to have a wealth of information it can produce and looks to be easy to install. The down side is that the display is not great and only seems to give one bit of information at a time.

The BM-1 has a very nice display, but I can't get much more information because the PDF files on the manufacturers web site look broken and I can't get them to display. Anyone know anything about this device? All I can see is that it comes with a 100AMP shunt (others have much bigger shunts) and that it specifficially says it monitors "lead acid" batteries.

The Xantrex seems to be the most popular, and the most expensive, and like the BVM 602 will do basic monitoring of a second battery. Its display seems nicer than the BVM 602 but not as big as the BM-1. Still, it will display a few things at once. Of course the Xantrex web site seems to be down at the moment, so I can't get much more information.

Any info and/or recomendations people have about these or others is appreciated, thanks!
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Old 04-20-2010
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We have a Xantrex battery monitor and love it. I'm not sure of the model though. It fits in the panel where the old analog meter used to be. It shows volts, current amps, state of charge percentage, ah used, time until needing charged (useless), and history data.
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I use a BM-1 and reckon it is a well designed bit of kit. By monitoring charge in and out of the battery it can actually give you a useful idea of the state of the battery. The pdf is broken but I have the printed manual in my hand. It contains notes on installation, setup and use. Main points are lead-acid batteries up to 600Ah, display of volts, amps (in/out), amp-hours (in/out) %capacity and remaining time to charge or discharge. Nice clear display with dim red back light (switched), quiescent current < 3mA.
I've used it for a few months now and am begining to trust it.
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Old 04-20-2010
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If you want to display more information, I have been happy with the BlueSea VSM422 (just installed last month). This price is a bit more than the others, but it monitors bilge pump cycles and tanks aswell... all with alarms.
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Old 04-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomfondle View Post
Main points are lead-acid batteries up to 600Ah,
So it only works with lead acid batteries? Does it have the ability to do any monitoring on a second battery?
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Old 04-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarcher View Post
So it only works with lead acid batteries? Does it have the ability to do any monitoring on a second battery?
What other kind of battery would you be using, ni-cad?

Do you really need to monitor a second battery or just need to keep an eye on the voltage?
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Old 04-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remetau View Post
What other kind of battery would you be using, ni-cad?
Gel, AGM...

Quote:
Do you really need to monitor a second battery or just need to keep an eye on the voltage?
The starter battery just needs to report its voltage and basic stuff. The other two units do that.
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No. It just monitors one battery or a bank of batteries as if they were a single battery (if that makes sense).
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Old 04-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funjohnson View Post
...I have been happy with the BlueSea VSM422 (just installed last month)...
I didn't know that device existed and it sounds great! I have a Link10 which I use a lot but wanted to monitor starting (plus bowthruster/windlass) batteries as well and think I'll go for the BlueSea VSM422 instead of the Xantrex or Victron units. Do you have the ultrasonic sensors as well and do they work accurately (enough)?
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by remetau
What other kind of battery would you be using, ni-cad?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jarcher View Post
Gel, AGM...
Those ARE lead-acid batteries.

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