New Balmar SmartGuage experience - Page 22 - SailNet Community
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post #211 of 272 Old 3 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Re: New Balmar SmartGuage experience

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Did it get powered down / disconnected so that it started its learning all over?

If you reset it at 100% Full, see how it goes.

If not, maybe it's broken, that can happen of course. Call Balmar CS they may be able to help.

Maybe sell you the SG-200 at a deep discount?

Sorry for your troubles
It's not been powered down, since I started it back up two months ago. I left the boat this morning for three days. I'm going to see what it says when I return, before trying the manual reset. That will be my next move. I should be off the grid again for a few days over next weekend, so we'll see.

I suppose it could be defective. While it caused me to debug a bunch of house bank issues, I'm plumb out of believing there is anything left on my end. The bank is accepting virtually no amperage in Float and I can't think of any other condition, other than Full, that would represent. The SG reads in the 80s. Geesh.

I bought it from @Maine Sail and would be interested if he's ever come across a defective unit.

Another curiosity is whether this unit works as well, if plugged into shore for lengthy periods of time. The first month it was reinstalled, was at the dock commissioning. I wonder if that perpetually topped up condition screws up it's brains.


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Last edited by Minnewaska; 3 Weeks Ago at 06:27 AM.
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Re: New Balmar SmartGuage experience

Can't imagine how, it's just not learning anything useful while the bank's not being cycled.
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Re: New Balmar SmartGuage experience

I was away from the boat for a few days and when I return, the SG still reads mid 80s and the shunt is showing 0.0-0.2 amps accepting in Float. That should be a sign of Full. We head off the slip and run the batteries up and down at anchor for a couple of days. The day we left the slip, we had to motor quite a bit. When we arrived at anchor a few hours later, the SG now read low 90s. That made no sense.

Back to the slip last night and plugged in. This morning, shes in Float, accepting 0.2 amps and the SG reads 83%.

Next move is to manually reset the SG to 100% and see what happens, next we leave the slip. Not impressed. I still wonder if its just not as good at Gel profiles.


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Re: New Balmar SmartGuage experience

How did I avoid all the concern about state of charge and fretting about it? I suppose it's because of both the banks capacity relative to use... constant small regulated solar, high output alternator w/ smart regulation and an accurate volt meter - link20. I simply ignore all the other readings which never make sense. Boat is on a mooring and voltage reads over 13v when the sun in shining. When a few small loads are on voltage is usually 12.80 +/-. Refer is engine drive.. so when I do cool the box I am ADDING amps to the bank. Since I am not using a lot of amps typically I don't see that bank voltage drop very much and it's of no concern. Windlass is a high draw but that only used with engine. No need for a generator. No microwave or electric coffee maker. All lamping/lights changed to LEDs. Don't leave plotters on when we are not sailings. AP is very low draw. I suspect if bank is rarely deeply discharged... the state of charge is not a worry.

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Re: New Balmar SmartGuage experience

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Next move is to manually reset the SG to 100% and see what happens, next we leave the slip.
I suggest you do so just after verifying that charging

at Absorb voltage

with high amps available

has tapered down to the endAmps value that actually defines Full for your bank.

Following that, make sure the next dozen or two cycles go between

that point and below 30-40% DoD.
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Re: New Balmar SmartGuage experience

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How did I avoid all the concern about state of charge and fretting about it? I suppose it's because of both the banks capacity relative to use.........
No doubt, that's it. If you overbuild the bank, relative to your use, you get away with all sort of inefficiency.

Our bank is probably undersized for the amount of electronic devices (3 electric heads, for example) at only 400 Ahrs. The battery compartment will not fit more, so cabling to a nearby place would be the next step. I'd rather make the best of what I have, for now, and upgrade to Lithium next time. That should allow me the capacity in the same space I have available now.


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Re: New Balmar SmartGuage experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
I suggest you do so just after verifying that charging

at Absorb voltage

with high amps available

has tapered down to the endAmps value that actually defines Full for your bank.

Following that, make sure the next dozen or two cycles go between

that point and below 30-40% DoD.
I've already set and confirmed voltage for Absorb and Float and the switch to Float happens at acceptance amps of 0.5%C (ie 2 amps on a 400 amp bank). Then Float remains on permanently and the acceptance declines to near zero. At this point, this morning, I manually adjusted the SG to 100%.

I also wonder if the SG get confused by a boat that is plugged in for several days per week and remains on Float voltage permanently. ????

While a typical sail would get me to that level of DoD, over the day, it's a bit hard to manage, if the engine is running alot to make a long passage. This happened this weekend, as one leg required 3 hours of motoring in zero wind.


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Re: New Balmar SmartGuage experience

I think the goal now is enough deep cycles in a row for learning.

Let them carry the loads without charge input until well depleted, then reconnect manually.

Not saying any of this is needed in practice for your apparent use case.

But to get the SG tuned in, trying to get meaningful SoC numbers must require some "exercising"
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Re: New Balmar SmartGuage experience

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
No doubt, that's it. If you overbuild the bank, relative to your use, you get away with all sort of inefficiency.

Our bank is probably undersized for the amount of electronic devices (3 electric heads, for example) at only 400 Ahrs. The battery compartment will not fit more, so cabling to a nearby place would be the next step. I'd rather make the best of what I have, for now, and upgrade to Lithium next time. That should allow me the capacity in the same space I have available now.
Minni you clearly have a lot of electric devices so you are placing a lot of demands on your bank. While your box may be too small... AGMs for example can be placed in any orientation and it seems that in a boat of your volume you can find a location for more and larger batteries. That you can't seems odd.

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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Re: New Balmar SmartGuage experience

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
....But to get the SG tuned in, trying to get meaningful SoC numbers must require some "exercising"
Understood. I've cycled down to 12.4 volts or what it thinks has been in the 50-60 SOC range at least a half dozen times already. Maybe a dozen or so more times to various other SOC, before plugging back in. Has me wondering if I have a slow learner.

While an amp hour counter does nothing for me, my charger remote has one. Counting amps has never seen below 70% SOC. Although, I often make a pot of coffee in the morning, which draws roughly 100 amps DC, so the peukert impact on the counter has it wrong, for sure. Not to mention, it's fairly common for us to draw more than the 20 hr rate. It stands to reason the bank would really be in the 50s, withe counter thinking the 70s.


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