Battery monitors, are they worth the investment?

Discussion in 'Boondocking' started by BillyMc, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. BillyMc

    BillyMc Active Member

    274
    79
    Mar 25, 2018
    South Carolina
    Thinking of installing a battery monitor, but not sure if it worth the trouble and expense. I'm looking at a 30amp that the power use and charge goes through and a 50amp that samples with a shunt. There isn't a huge difference in price. The 50amp is a little more involved to install, but not really an issue. There is the issue of the monitor also using some battery power. I also have 12v power ports that I could just plug a volt meter in to check the voltage.
     
  2. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

    13,768
    871
    Oct 3, 2007
    Waterford, Ct
    A simple voltmeter is all I use.
     
    Adam H likes this.
  3. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    740
    499
    May 28, 2018
    California
  4. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

    3,450
    476
    Mar 16, 2011
    Elkins WV area
    A simple volt meter, and I use the charge controler
     
  5. Solo camper

    Solo camper Member

    66
    17
    Apr 23, 2018
    West virginia
    Best thing I did before my recent trip to Colorado was install digital volt meter with usb charging ports. I could tell exactly where I was on battery power. Even from my bed. I would recommend you do it.
     
    hometownhiker likes this.
  6. hometownhiker

    hometownhiker Active Member

    433
    28
    Oct 17, 2009
    Franklin, NC
    Same here, works well for me.
     
  7. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Active Member

    255
    83
    Aug 1, 2014
    Thousand Oaks CA
    A simple volt meter won't give you an accurate picture of your SOC, bit it will put you in the ballpark.
    I've spent a ton on my solar/battery monitor ( Trimetric SC 2030 and TM 2030RV), and I wouldn't be without them.
     
  8. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

    4,636
    497
    Sep 1, 2012
    Northwestern New Jersey
    Any voltage monitor should have and accuracy of at least .01 volts. SOC is measured in tenths of volts. The meter should be capable of 1/10 of that. Many of those cheap plug in meters can't do that.
     
  9. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Active Member

    255
    83
    Aug 1, 2014
    Thousand Oaks CA
    I'm not saying the meter can't measure the voltage correctly.
    What I am saying is that measuring the voltage is not an accurate
    gauge of a battery's state of charge.
     
  10. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

    4,636
    497
    Sep 1, 2012
    Northwestern New Jersey
    I get that. But if you are going to rely on voltage at least it should be accurate.
     
  11. BillyMc

    BillyMc Active Member

    274
    79
    Mar 25, 2018
    South Carolina
    Well I check power demand for everything except the water pump and the total load is under 10amp. I have decided to go with the 30amp monitor.
     
  12. rourky80

    rourky80 New Member

    17
    4
    Sep 13, 2016
    Upstate NY
    wireless head unit with shunt. I power the head unit with an old usb battery bank or usb inside the pup if i want.
    i also sit with it outside on table next to me during the day and watch the charging from my solar panels if i'm so inclined. Shows voltage, amps in and out, watts in and out and amp-hours, so that you have an accurate battery charge level (if you clear it when full). amphours go up and down based on usage and charging. If you reset it when battery is full, you can set the battery amphour size (which i set to my 50% level) and then the battery picture is relative to how much juice i have left before i hurt the battery. in the picture, the shunt and wireless is in the waterproof outdoor gang box attached at the back of the battery box. Was only $25 and fun to tinker with....

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  13. lostboy

    lostboy Active Member

    170
    38
    Nov 13, 2016
    Lakeville, MN
    Are you saying the whole thing was $25, do you have a link to the product?
     
  14. BillyMc

    BillyMc Active Member

    274
    79
    Mar 25, 2018
    South Carolina
    They aren't very expensive. The 30amp I ordered is $19.50. The 50amp and higher use a shunt and start at $29.50 for the 50amp version.
     
  15. rourky80

    rourky80 New Member

    17
    4
    Sep 13, 2016
    Upstate NY
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

    1,893
    281
    Jun 5, 2014
    Franklin, MA
    Do you have the link for where you got that one?
     
  17. rourky80

    rourky80 New Member

    17
    4
    Sep 13, 2016
    Upstate NY
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

    1,893
    281
    Jun 5, 2014
    Franklin, MA
    Thanks.
     
  19. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

    2,801
    165
    Jul 18, 2013
    Thornville, OH
    It all about what you need or toys to play with. We've been camping with campers for 30+ I have installed cheap voltmeters with monetary switch on the battery box and one with a momentary switch inside. It seems to do what we need for our extended dry camping. Inside I don't have to go outside to see what my charge is. On the battery box I can check the status of the battery when stored in the garage and know when to turn on the charger.

    A few years ago when I got a solar panel, I bought a monitor only for the solar panel. Kinda a toy to see how it's charging and adjust the angle to max it out.
     
  20. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

    5,398
    1,803
    Oct 15, 2006
    Graceville, Florida
    I used a free multi meter from HF and took an old extension cord with the plug still attached,
    and soldered the leads from the meter to the cord I just set the meter upright and plug it in to the wall, works fine for me and cost nothing.
     

Share This Page