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Old 02-27-2017, 04:02 PM   #1
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Installing a Magnum Energy BMK to a 2017 DSDP

Same disclaimer as prior message. Tried several searches but couldn't find any threads on this. Operator error?

My 2017 DSDP has a nice Magnum Energy monitor console but did not come with a battery monitor device (BMK) to actually monitor the condition of the batteries in the coach. (Come on Newmar, this thing is only a few bucks and produces the reading for the big monitor you already installed.) Oh well, so I want to put one in. I actually want to know the status of my batteries and their condition and percent of charge. We don't do a lot of boondocking but want to be able to and if so will need to know battery status. Installation instructions seem straight forward and I'm ready to pull the trigger on purchase and install. Anyone put one of these in and if so do you have any tips, traps or suggestions for my coach or in general?

Thanks again for the input and assistance.
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Old 02-27-2017, 07:47 PM   #2
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Doesn't the battery voltage tell you what you need to know? I.e. 12.0 volts = 50% charge?
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Old 02-27-2017, 07:58 PM   #3
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Installing a Magnum Energy BMK to a 2017 DSDP

I can't quite find it, but I know there have been posts on the BMK. Messes up the AGS system, but I also seem to remember someone figured a fix.
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:04 PM   #4
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Neg of the Magnum is connected to Frame ground.
Battery neg is tied to the BMK, other side of BMK is tied to frame ground.
Inside the BMK book are diagrams.
And no BMK cost more then a few bucks more around $150.

AND here is another one, how are your batteries combined ?
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:06 PM   #5
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Not with any accuracy.

Checking battery capacity by voltage is only accurate after the battery is at rest for an hour or so. It is absolutely inaccurate during charging.

A monitor tell you the AH used, remaining, and replenished during charging.

I live on batteries fulltime and my monitor is my the most important instrument I use.
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:44 PM   #6
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Do you need to use the ARC to use the Soc for starting generator
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:45 PM   #7
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Check your Magnums inverter/charger manual which lists the required firmware versions for using the BMK, AGS, and RC-50 so the parts play nicely together. In 2012 my manual called for the ARC-50 controller in order to use the advanced features.
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Old 02-28-2017, 10:12 AM   #8
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Thanks for the tips everyone. Gatorcq I don't understand what you are telling me. Can I change the ground and make the BMK work or is it a no go and I should just use a separate battery monitor system? Sure seems Newmar wouldn't include a Magnum Energy RC remote monitor if other ME products couldn't connect to it. Sorry if I've totally missed the point, electricity has never been a strong suit of mine.
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Old 02-28-2017, 12:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eggman1950 View Post
...I actually want to know the status of my batteries and their condition and percent of charge. We don't do a lot of boondocking but want to be able to and if so will need to know battery status. Installation instructions seem straight forward and I'm ready to pull the trigger on purchase and install. Anyone put one of these in and if so do you have any tips, traps or suggestions for my coach or in general?.
eggman - We are in the process of upgrading our 2015 DSDP to include the BMK and ARC-50, along with new Lifeline batteries. I'm no expert here, but have condensed what others have recommended.

We chose to add the BMK for the same reason you reference (and twinboat's perspective) - which is to accurately monitor our battery bank's State Of Charge. The battery gurus out there recommend managing your batteries by SOC, rather than VDC, because it's not practical to disconnect batteries for 1+ hour to measure their resting voltage. The BMK measures the amount of current out of, and back into, the battery bank, and manages accordingly.

So here's where we're at. We replaced our 8 Discover AGM batteries, installed but have not connected the BMK, and replaced and reset most options on the new ARC-50 monitor. Our Discover AGM batteries failed after just 20 months. (topic of another thread). We purchased 8 new Lifeline GPL-6CT batteries (1200 AH total), and installed them Sunday (with help from NormMac!). Norm and I also installed the BMK in the back of the battery bay, and reconfigured the battery wiring. Owing thanks to CapuTech, we optimized the battery wiring configuration, as Newmar's wiring - while not wrong - was not optimized. In fact, it's downright inefficient.

To your questions, here is the logic and procedure we followed. I'm assuming you have the MS2812 inverter, all electric, 8 batteries, etc. If not, your config may vary...

1. Agree with your decision to add BMK, and manage battery charging via SOC.
2. We added the ARC-50 to improve monitoring / control over charging and the AGS. This was highly recommended by both Magnum and CapuTech.
3. While not directly related to your quest, I'd recommend a battery run-down test. That is, measure voltages on each battery, pull your shore power, measure each battery again, and every 30 minutes for a few hours. This should give you an idea of how long they'll last when boondocking, and identify any bad batteries. This is how we discovered we only had 3 hours of battery life and found 2 failing Discover AGM batteries. IF you find any batteries that decline VDC faster than the others - take action now. If you exceed the 12 month warranty period - expect no relief from Discover. And, they'll recommend you purchase 8 new batteries. Yes.
4. Label all your battery cables and take "before" photos.
5. Pull all batteries out of the tray, to give you less restrictive access to the back of the battery bay.
6. Install the BMK on the vertical support rail at the back of the battery bay.
7. Connect the BMK per Magnum's recommendation.
8. (disclaimer - this is how WE wired our battery bank. Seek professional guidance if you decide to follow this).
a. Wire a single very large 4/0 cable from lower left negative post of battery bank to the battery side of the BMK shunt.
b. Wire all 3 large negative cables to the load side of the BMK shunt (Frame ground, Inverter ground, House DC ground)
- purchase a longer bolt for this side of the shunt. Too many lugs make the connection very hard with the included bolt. CapuTech recommended a bronze 1" x 3/8" - 16 UNC threaded bolt - don't mix dissimilar metals).
c. Wire all 3 large positive cables to the upper right positive post of the battery bank. (House DC+, Inverter +, and BIRD).
d. Wire the BMK's power + wire to the upper right positive post, and BMK's ground wire to the lower right negative post (effectively across a single 12 volt battery - the BMK draws very little power).
- you'll need to provide this power / ground cable and 3 amp in-line fuse, to power the BMK - it's not included in the BMK kit.
9. Replace the RC-50 with the ARC-50 - up to you. There are benefits and more granular / accurate battery management. It's not cheap ($240), but neither were the Lifelines.
10. Purchase a phone cable splitter with a short cable. There's a splitter included with the BMK, but there's no room on the Magnum MS2812 network port to use the splitter. You need a splitter with a short single cable - sort of a Y cable. Short RJ14 cable plugs into network port on inverter, and other end gives you 2 sockets - for the AGS and BMK inputs. (there's no room at the network port, because Newmar installs the Precision Circuits AC power management device, which shares the same "monitor port" as the RC-50. Hence, it's plugged into a splitter on the Monitor port, preventing another splitter on the network port.)
11. Before plugging in the BMK, fully charge your battery bank.
12. Plug in BMK to inverter and reconfigure the (A)RC-50. I called Magnum for guidance on settings, before and after the installation. This is how you optimize battery management, using SOC for charging and AGS parameters.

This got to be a lot more long-winded than I expected, but the devil is always in the details. If I left anything out or unclear - let me know. Again - this is how we solved our battery configuration issue, and many thanks to NormMac for his hands on assistance, and CapuTech for technical guidance.

Oh yeah - how does it work? Don't know! Haven't pulled shore power yet. Waiting to connect and optimize the BMK.

Attached battery wiring diagram courtesy of CapuTech.
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Old 02-28-2017, 12:31 PM   #10
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The BMK is designed to run on the negative terminal, that is where all the Amps out of and into the house battery bank are counted. The whole Magnum setup with BMK , AGM, and ARC-50 will require enough knowledge of the system to program it so it will perform at it's max capabilities. The AGM can also be connected to the thermostat so when the temp setting calls for cooling the AGS starts the generator which runs the A/Cs. Otherwise, the temp sensor can be set for gen start temp. The Magnum web site has the manuals you can browse, read for content, or download and you will get accurate information for the 2017 products and how they work together. If you want plug and play have it professionally installed and then programed by an experienced tech who can explain the programming while you film it.

Mine took some study but, it will even run the generator an hour before quite time to boost the batteries so by morning they will not be to low if you are watching TV, working on your computer, etc. Nearby campers have been bewildered how my system can start at 8:00 AM and shut down at 9:40 AM when I am away. It is a great system and you get out of it what you are willing to invest in time to understand and install properly.
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Old 02-28-2017, 01:01 PM   #11
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Zalaska, congratulations on the revised battery and Magnum system. I didn't see any mention of a 300 or 350 amp fuse before splitting the positive cables from the battery bank. My 2012 manual called for that safety, NEC Code item.
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Old 02-28-2017, 03:49 PM   #12
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joes2901 - I made no changes to the positive cable side of the original Newmar battery configuration. Whether its 300 or 350 or other, I'm not sure. But since we had 8 AGMs in there from Newmar, and we didn't increase the battery count, just their capacity, we felt that was adequately set up.
As for the positive cable configuration, we just moved the attachment points from 2 different battery locations to the single connection on the battery bank. This configuration allows for an even use of all batteries in the bank, unlike how it was originally wired. Hopefully, we'll get a significant increase in inverter time!
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Old 02-28-2017, 08:45 PM   #13
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- The RC-50 to ARC-50 is a plug compatible upgrade, takes about 5 minutes.
- The BMK Shunt attaches in the negative ground cable to frame ground, as others have indicated
- Their is a BMK controller about the size of pack of cigarettes, similar to the AGS, which gets mounted near the inverter as it connects to inverter with phonelike plug cord.
- The last piece is running a twisted pair wire from the shunt, and a positive power wire, to the BMK controller.

I've had it for two years now, and it works great. Much easier to manage power w/SOC.

The analogy I give is it works similar to a gas gauge, shows % of battery capacity. I set up my AGS to trigger on at 60% and off at 85%. Well worth the upgrade.
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Old 02-28-2017, 09:50 PM   #14
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The BMK is one of my most favorite additions as we dry dock a lot. I agree this should be standard on an RV listing for ~400K.

You only need to upgrade to the ARC-50 to take advantage of solar charging with the PT-100 unit. This should be standard too, given it is only a few bucks more than the RC-50.
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