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Old 02-12-2018, 04:51 PM   #1
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Where to mount a battery charge monitor?

I plan to install a Trimetric battery monitor in my new (tomorrow) Black Rock 23BKS. I requested that the dealer install it for me, but they have advised me that they don't think it's a good idea to run the wiring to my preferred location.

Here's the rest of the story ... I am also planning to replace the Zamp solar charge controller with a Bogart Engineering SC-2030. Based on another forum member's post, I was thinking to mount the new charge controller in the junction box behind the a-frame to get it as close to the batteries as possible. I thought that I'd then put the battery monitor in the space where the Zamp controller was (in the cabinetry above the bed). The dealer advises me that there isn't a way for them to run the wiring from the battery to that location.

Any suggestions?
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:42 PM   #2
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In our GP fifth, I installed the meter on the reefer wall near the countertop area.
That way I can see it and monitor it all of the time. If you use a fish tape, its an easy job.
The shunt is the only thing that needs to be near the batteries. Todd at ORV offered this suggestion.

Have fun on your project!
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Old 02-12-2018, 11:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaseCamper View Post
I plan to install a Trimetric battery monitor in my new (tomorrow) Black Rock 23BKS. I requested that the dealer install it for me, but they have advised me that they don't think it's a good idea to run the wiring to my preferred location.

Here's the rest of the story ... I am also planning to replace the Zamp solar charge controller with a Bogart Engineering SC-2030. Based on another forum member's post, I was thinking to mount the new charge controller in the junction box behind the a-frame to get it as close to the batteries as possible. I thought that I'd then put the battery monitor in the space where the Zamp controller was (in the cabinetry above the bed). The dealer advises me that there isn't a way for them to run the wiring from the battery to that location.

Any suggestions?
We did something similar, but it was a Magnum inverter with a battery monitor.

The shunt is in the junction box as mentioned and works well there. I don't see why your charge controller couldn't be in there as well, if would just take a little effort to find space and mount it.

I translate what the dealer said as, "...there isn't an 'easy' way to run the wiring...". Wiring from the junction box to the batteries is pretty simple. Getting the wire back to the remote monitor will take some work with fish tape or other creative method.

Also be aware that for the battery monitor to measure all current in or out of your batteries, all ground connections (including the solar charger output) need to be connected to the load side of the shunt. So when it is finished, there should only be one negative (-) cable running from your battery bank. This is pretty basic, but assumes the dealer knows how to properly wire the shunt.
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Old 02-12-2018, 11:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon Joe View Post
We did something similar, but it was a Magnum inverter with a battery monitor.

The shunt is in the junction box as mentioned and works well there. I don't see why your charge controller couldn't be in there as well, if would just take a little effort to find space and mount it.

I translate what the dealer said as, "...there isn't an 'easy' way to run the wiring...". Wiring from the junction box to the batteries is pretty simple. Getting the wire back to the remote monitor will take some work with fish tape or other creative method.
I purposely didn't request that they install the charge controller because I assumed it would be relatively straightforward with the Zamp wiring if, like you said, there is enough space for it in the junction box. It's the wiring for the monitor that I wasn't sure that I wanted to attempt myself. Now I have a better understanding what the obstacles are. It's nice to know that installation of the monitor's shunt should be rather easy. I'll probably consult with someone at the factory for suggestions.
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Old 02-13-2018, 12:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaseCamper View Post
I purposely didn't request that they install the charge controller because I assumed it would be relatively straightforward with the Zamp wiring if, like you said, there is enough space for it in the junction box. It's the wiring for the monitor that I wasn't sure that I wanted to attempt myself. Now I have a better understanding what the obstacles are. It's nice to know that installation of the monitor's shunt should be rather easy. I'll probably consult with someone at the factory for suggestions.
Good idea getting advice from the factory.

I was able to screw in the shunt and the small battery monitor box that Magnum uses fairly easily. I expect the charge control is a little larger. So you might need to move things around a little or mount it on standoffs. There are several connection blocks, self resetting breakers, etc. in there.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture before sealing it back up
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:08 AM   #6
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The Technical Manual suggests how the SC2030 should be mounted, I don't think the junction box meets the requirements stated in step 4.4 of the manual.:

" The black heat sink fins should be vertical not horizontal, which means the printing of "SOLAR" or "BATTERY" will be right side up or upside down (not sideways)." I have the same trimetric combination that I will be installing once the snow recedes and I can get my TT out of storage. My plan is to install the sc2030 in the pass through by the battery switch and the shunt and new busbars in the junction box. Hopefully, I can route wires through the ceiling from either the bathroom wall by the thermostat or at the power center. I purchased a 5m endoscope / boroscope to assist with this process. Good luck with your install, keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:46 AM   #7
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I have attached the Trimetric install instructions for you.
Please note the shunt connects to the negative battery side, and loads to the other. See figure 1 in the instructions.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf TM-2030Install Instructions.pdf (128.1 KB, 10 views)
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Old 02-13-2018, 03:48 PM   #8
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Heat sinks are more efficient when the fins are vertical so the chimney effect can draw cool air up through the gap in the fins. If mounted sideways or flat a small fan can perform that function.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grump010 View Post
The Technical Manual suggests how the SC2030 should be mounted, I don't think the junction box meets the requirements stated in step 4.4 of the manual.:

" The black heat sink fins should be vertical not horizontal, which means the printing of "SOLAR" or "BATTERY" will be right side up or upside down (not sideways)." I have the same trimetric combination that I will be installing once the snow recedes and I can get my TT out of storage. My plan is to install the sc2030 in the pass through by the battery switch and the shunt and new busbars in the junction box. Hopefully, I can route wires through the ceiling from either the bathroom wall by the thermostat or at the power center. I purchased a 5m endoscope / boroscope to assist with this process. Good luck with your install, keep us posted on your progress.
Do you know if yours has the factory Zamp solar pre-wiring?

When you are ready to install it will be worth taking a look at the junction box for the SC2030. If the junction box is similar to mine, I'm guessing maybe 6 inches deep so you can possibly mount it vertically.
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Old 02-14-2018, 09:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Do you know if yours has the factory Zamp solar pre-wiring?

When you are ready to install it will be worth taking a look at the junction box for the SC2030. If the junction box is similar to mine, I'm guessing maybe 6 inches deep so you can possibly mount it vertically.
Yes, the 240RKS has the Zamp prep package. I would prefer the SC2030 to be accessible and I don't think the the A frame junction box is that accessible. I will be mounting either beside the battery switch or in separate junction box beside the batteries for the best air flow over the heat sinks. I work in the telecom industry and heat is the enemy, so I have a tendency to air (see what I did there) on the side of caution. As mentioned earlier though a a thermister control fan would possibly work in the A frame junction box but then if there is a problem or concern the diagnostic leds on the SC2030 and pretty inaccessible.
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Old 02-14-2018, 11:28 PM   #11
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Yes, the 240RKS has the Zamp prep package. I would prefer the SC2030 to be accessible and I don't think the the A frame junction box is that accessible. I will be mounting either beside the battery switch or in separate junction box beside the batteries for the best air flow over the heat sinks. I work in the telecom industry and heat is the enemy, so I have a tendency to air (see what I did there) on the side of caution. As mentioned earlier though a a thermister control fan would possibly work in the A frame junction box but then if there is a problem or concern the diagnostic leds on the SC2030 and pretty inaccessible.
Agreed - the junction box is not very easily accessible. Sounds like you have a good approach

I did the shunt down there as you are planning and the Magnum battery monitor controller that is used to sense the shunt current and battery voltage. It really doesn't create much heat like a charge controller though.

Hopefully you can take advantage of some of the wiring you have up to the roof. On ours the factory solar wires from the roof were 8 AWG. They run from the roof to the center of the cabinet above the bed then from there down through the junction box.
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