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;
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.
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..
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.