Battery monitors, are they worth the investment?

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

  1. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    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.

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    A simple voltmeter is all I use.
     
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  3. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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  4. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    A simple volt meter, and I use the charge controler
     
  5. Solo camper

    Solo camper Member

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    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.
     
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  6. hometownhiker

    hometownhiker Active Member

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    Same here, works well for me.
     
  7. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Active Member

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    I get that. But if you are going to rely on voltage at least it should be accurate.
     
  11. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    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

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    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

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    Are you saying the whole thing was $25, do you have a link to the product?
     
  14. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    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

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  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Do you have the link for where you got that one?
     
  17. rourky80

    rourky80 New Member

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  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

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    Thanks.
     
  19. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

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    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

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    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.
     

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