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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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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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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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Have you looked at the British NASA Marine battery monitor?

Nasa Bm2-12 Battery Monitor (12Vdc): Amazon.co.uk: Sports & [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@515yZF0T8-L

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 & [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@515yZF0T8-L even with shipping.
 

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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
 

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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.....
 

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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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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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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?

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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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.
 

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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($)?
I have come to conclusion I need both. I replaced an old Link monitor a year or so ago with the Victron. The Victron is much easier to install with all the wires in 1 cable. The Balmar SmartGuage seems pretty easy to install as well.

The SmartGauge gives an accurate as possible SOC.
Are they fully charged or not ?
At the bottom of the charging/use cycle how low I am running the batteries - 70% of capacity, 50% of capacity (lowest recommend for my Trojan lead acid golf cart batteries), below 50%.
The Trojans have been cycled pretty hard a couple of times when loads were left on (refrigeration) and the 110V supply not reattached or shut off at some point (battery charger running off the 110V). How much capacity does my originally 400AH house bank actually have now ?


The Victron provides the desirable information on loads and sources.
How many amps is the alternator putting out ?
How many amps are the solar panels putting out thru the course the day ?
How many amps is the DC refrigeration unit using ?
How many amp-hours did I pull out of the batteries last night ?
What is reduction in the amp-hours the anchor light is using after the switch from the incandescent bulb to the Lopolight LED ?
....
....
....
The only issues seems to be is funds to purchase both and that if I ever make the switch to Lithium-Ferrics, the SmartGauge ceases to function.

Marc Hall
Crazy Fish, Crealock 37 Hull 207
 

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The latest innovation to my boat is a Xantrex Linklite battery monitor. OK, its a fourm so everyone may step in now to tell me how I just wasted $300 and should have bought brand Z... Or got mine for $10 on a website...

Anyway, its early days, but you can see in the following two photos the number of amp hours it is down (76 but it was down 97 this morning on a 500 amp hour battery bank), and in the other photo the number of amps comming in from the solar panels on the Blue Sky controller, and the net amps on the LinkLite. My wind generator (amp meter out of shot) is giving me about 2 amps. I have both a fridge and a freezer on so i am getting 2 amps net.

Today its cloudy and about 10 knots wind. Yesterday was worse and I was freezing meat so thats why the amp hours are down.





If you cant read the Blue Sky screen it says 6.6 amps. Now the cloud is gone its reading 15.5!!!

So it seems to provide what I want. I hope this helps.


Mark
 

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Its been about 18 months since I last asked, and now the time has come that I need to get a battery monitor as I move from a single 4D to 8 6-volt batteries.
I like the AC and DC monitoring the VSM-422 offers, and it does my tanks too.
Who has one, and do you like it or not?
 

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Its been about 18 months since I last asked, and now the time has come that I need to get a battery monitor as I move from a single 4D to 8 6-volt batteries.
I like the AC and DC monitoring the VSM-422 offers, and it does my tanks too.
Who has one, and do you like it or not?

If you want a do-all the VSM is an okay product. Unfortunately like any device that tries to track SOC by counting Ah's they are less than optimal, especially now that we have better options..

I have installed a number of VSM's but for an Ah counter the Victrom is a better deal. If you want simple, better accuracy for SOC and no continual reprogramming the Smart Gauge is the one to get..
 

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I nearly bought the link pro at the boat show. Glad I took a pass, as I see no one talking about it.

For an Ah counter the Link-Pro is pretty much the gold standard but it is over priced compared to the Victron...

I use a Link-Pro on my own boat but only because the Smart Gauge does not work on LiFeP04 batteries. If I had lead acid the Smart Gauge would be installed in a nanosecond...
 

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I nearly bought the link pro at the boat show. Glad I took a pass, as I see no one talking about it.
U.P. see the link below as it will explain what you ideally need to do to work an Ah counter well.

Programming A Battery Monitor

P.S. For those who own an Ah counter I apologize in advance for making your head spin with this article....;)
 

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Does the 702 monitor temperature, or compensate for temperature?
Yes, if you use the temp sensor, and select it in the menu, it is using temp in the SOC calculation. You can also adjust the slope if you can get a temp curve from your battery manufacturer. Depending upon who made your batteries, good luck getting a temp-curve...
 
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