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Old 11-16-2019, 09:16 AM   #1
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Battery Monitors

I've nearly completed my upgrade to my Solar System(Pics coming when I'm done). Thinking(after the fact of course)that I should have considered a Battery Monitor in the upgrade, or at least preparations for such an install.

I know very little about battery monitors except that most experienced boon dockers with solar recommend them. I don't see any reason to try and take a low rent route to get this done and end up with an iffy unit that works her and there or not at all.

I hear the Morning Star unit is kind of the standard. I also hear some pretty good things about Victron.

So:
1. I assume a shunt needs to be installed some where on the positive near the battery bank. I am "Parroting" this term "shunt" , as I really don't know what the term "Shunt" means. I've seen the pic's of one and it looks pretty straight forward to install. Is the shunt the only thing that needs to be installed for the monitor to gather info? How would I size the shunt? We only use 12v. No inverters. The only high draw item we have is the furnace. How close or far from the batteries is acceptable to install the shunt. Should it be very easily accessible? Meaning, is there a reason to view it regularly?

2. I have Samlex PWM 30a controller, will a Victron or Morning Star work with that controller? I looked in some installation info and reading material and that info doesn't seem be very forthwith as of course they are hoping one uses their charge controller.

3. In order to have Bluetooth connectability for monitoring does there have to be a "base unit hardwired somewhere that the iPhone can snag the signal?
Is that what I'd be doing by installing a shunt with the wiring going to the hard wired battery monitor?

4. Maybe there is a good link to send me to that has "battery monitors 101"?

Thanks!
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Old 11-17-2019, 12:26 AM   #2
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Maybe describe the rest of your system: type and amount of batteries, panels, your charge controller, etc?

The Cadillac answer is a Victron monitor, whose shunt goes on the negative battery terminal and all negative loads go into the shunt.....which is connected to a brain who has a display but also lets you see all the details via Bluetooth on your phone. This may be complete overkill for your system.
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:00 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Natty View Post
Maybe describe the rest of your system: type and amount of batteries, panels, your charge controller, etc?

The Cadillac answer is a Victron monitor, whose shunt goes on the negative battery terminal and all negative loads go into the shunt.....which is connected to a brain who has a display but also lets you see all the details via Bluetooth on your phone. This may be complete overkill for your system.
X2 on the Victron Smart (Bluetooth) BMS!
I installed one last year and it's the best thing for managing your battery usage, charging and forecasting when boondocking.
The Bluetooth phone app is great and even let's you see how long your batteries will last based upon your current usage and set alarms based on low battery settings you program.
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:09 AM   #4
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X3 on the Victron, no wires to run into coach. Left monitor in battery bay and use my bluetooth and my phone.
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:17 AM   #5
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Here is an impressive "low rent" $99 monitor. It may do everything you want. Read the manual available on the site for a better understanding of how it and other good monitors work.


I don't have one, but am considering getting it for my simple system. I already have a shunt installed on a cheap $20 one that helps a lot, but is not really good enough.
https://www.thornwave.com/products/b...dc-power-meter
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:27 PM   #6
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Maybe describe the rest of your system: type and amount of batteries, panels, your charge controller, etc?

The Cadillac answer is a Victron monitor, whose shunt goes on the negative battery terminal and all negative loads go into the shunt.....which is connected to a brain who has a display but also lets you see all the details via Bluetooth on your phone. This may be complete overkill for your system.
I have little in the way of load. Most of my load is the use of the furnace on those 10-30 degree nights when I need to keep the coach at 55-60 degrees. No in inverters. Donít use the tv. Just lights and the water pump. All lights are LED. Four six volt GC batteries. 30a samlex pwm charge controller with 450 watts of solar. I would only fire up a generator in at a desperate time. Never as a rule Thatís about it.
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Old 11-22-2019, 08:02 AM   #7
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Regarding the Victron, I'm a little unsure the "hard wire" connections. I understand the shunt on negative side of the battery to gather info. Is the actual little round readout gauge hard wired or blue toothed? I looked it the manual and it's not super apparent to me.

thanks,
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Old 11-22-2019, 04:35 PM   #8
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The round unit connects to the shunt with a rj45 patch cable if I recall correctly. Super easy to install. Everything can be inside your pass thru. I can check the battery state from about 40' away with my smart phone. I also have the Victron solar charger and I can see what my panels are doing with the same app. I just checked my batteries while I wrote this and I'm inside the house.
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Old 11-22-2019, 11:52 PM   #9
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True and I learned the hard way that that wire between shunt and control module is NOT a telephone cable!
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Old 11-23-2019, 12:17 AM   #10
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True and I learned the hard way that that wire between shunt and control module is NOT a telephone cable!
Same here on learning that it’s not a telephone cable! I removed my Victron BMV 712 from my previous trailer and installed it on my ORV 250 RKS about a week ago. I was not able to salvage the cable from the previous trailer. I tried a standard RJ-11 phone cable and it did not work. After a little investigation I realized that the phone cable only used two pair of wires and the Victron was a three pair RJ 12, not 11. All working now and I still love it!
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