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Old 10-14-2011, 09:05 PM   #1
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Opinions about this battery monitor

I am in Springfield, OR where on Monday, AM Solar will make my 272 watt solar panel array functional. I bought this kit last Spring http://www.amazon.com/Battery-batter...d_rhf_dp_p_t_2

The ad stated "easy to install" and well, the panels are a cinch to install, but there are no instructions for making it work and the fact that you need to add extra parts was not in the ad when I bought it.

Anyway, the delightful folks at AM Solar will remedy that for me on Monday. My question for y'all is about a battery monitoring display for inside the coach. AM Solar is recommending one, but the extra $335 is just not in my budget right now.

I found this one (below) online and want to know if anyone has any experience with it. For $25 and DIY hook-up this could make it's way on my budget.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...9ZJJB7VE0WMW63
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:24 PM   #2
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battery controller

Quote:
Originally Posted by okmunky View Post
I am in Springfield, OR where on Monday, AM Solar will make my 272 watt solar panel array functional. I bought this kit last Spring Amazon.com: 272 Watts Solar Battery Charger Kit for 12V batteries. Flexible Solar Panels PV Laminate, Charge Controller & MC Cables: Patio, Lawn & Garden

The ad stated "easy to install" and well, the panels are a cinch to install, but there are no instructions for making it work and the fact that you need to add extra parts was not in the ad when I bought it.

Anyway, the delightful folks at AM Solar will remedy that for me on Monday. My question for y'all is about a battery monitoring display for inside the coach. AM Solar is recommending one, but the extra $335 is just not in my budget right now.

I found this one (below) online and want to know if anyone has any experience with it. For $25 and DIY hook-up this could make it's way on my budget.
Amazon.com: Progressive Dynamics PD9105V Lead Acid Battery Charge Wizard: Automotive
for the low price try it,
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:38 AM   #3
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The Amazon charge wizard is a battery charger/maintainer, not a monitor.

A monitor is the equivalent of a fuel gauge for your batteries. By having one and using it, you will know the state of charge of your batteries.

Go up the "Boondocking" section of the forum and spend some time reading the thread "Solar That Really Works." In the beginning, the thread might seem a little intimidating with all the new terminology, but stick with it. By the end you will have a decent grasp of solar.
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Old 10-15-2011, 07:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happycarz View Post
The Amazon charge wizard is a battery charger/maintainer, not a monitor.

A monitor is the equivalent of a fuel gauge for your batteries. By having one and using it, you will know the state of charge of your batteries.

Go up the "Boondocking" section of the forum and spend some time reading the thread "Solar That Really Works." In the beginning, the thread might seem a little intimidating with all the new terminology, but stick with it. By the end you will have a decent grasp of solar.
I knew it was too good to be true. Found this as a result of a Google search for "rv battery monitor". I've tried reading the solar that really works and quickly gottotally lost. Honestly, this is all Greek to me, but I guess I need to study up if I'm going to have a functioning solar system.

Thanks for the reality check. Once again this group has saved me.
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:31 AM   #5
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Probably the best battery monitor for the money is

Bogart Engineering Trimetric Monitor

More expensive are the

Xantrex Link Lite

and

Xantrex Link Pro

The least expensive would be a digital voltmeter than runs on 12 VDC or internal battery connected as close as possible to the batteries.
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:32 PM   #6
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John is right. I would love to have one of those monitors. But because I don't have the money right now, I ended up purchasing one that plugs into a 12 volt outlet. It's digital and also has some idiot lights on it. Green is good, yellow is low, and red is bad. I only use it to give me an idea of what state my battery is one before I need to fire up the generator. One of these days I'll go solar, but as for now my generator is the ticket when boondocking.
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:42 PM   #7
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as for the charge wizard that is a nice feature to purchase for your convertor if it is compatible with it. It plugs right into it. Again it will list the convertors it is intended for. I bought one for my previous 2001 Fleetwood. It has diffenent modes you can set such as when you are storing your RV for some time. It just makes your convertor smarter for charging the batteries. A lot of convertors now have this wizard or similar device installed in them already.
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Old 10-24-2011, 08:03 PM   #8
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I had the Bogart in my 5er. Way too complicated. It had at least 13 display functions ranging from last time fully charged to last time equalized. It did have some nice functions, but most are not needed. It was nice to see your current amp draw and/or charge amps/volts.

I would like to put a cheap ampmeter in my MH though.
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Old 10-24-2011, 08:59 PM   #9
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Have you tried to talk to the mfg of your system, SoldonSUN (Solar Panels, LED Lights, 12 Volt Bulbs, Micro inverters), to see if you could possibly upgrade (swapping upgrade) to their SS25L-12V Sunsaver 12 Volt Dual Battery Charge Controller? (http://www.soldonsun.com/files/SunSaverDuo.pdf) That will give you the correct controller with a remote monitor to boot.

The SS-20L controller (http://www.soldonsun.com/files/SunSaver2.pdf) you got with your system is not really the one you want. It is supposed to interface to the system loads where the SS25L-12V is designed just for battery charging.

If you are stuck with what you have, the poorman's solution is:
For monitoring the whole coach system: http://www.ebay.com/itm/250663733925...84.m1423.l2649

For monitoring just the solar system: http://www.ebay.com/itm/20V-50A-DC-D...item3a5cbb371b

Pleae note that both of the poorman's meters do require a seperate 9VDC battery for power. You cannot connect the power for them directly to the same battery they are monitoring.

Dave
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:48 PM   #10
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Dave, I don't see where it says they have to be powered by a 9 volt battery. Maybe I missed it, but I do see: "Power Supply : I < 70mA, DC 6-24V"
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:11 PM   #11
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Functional is the word here. I use a cigar plug in unit to see the volts in the chassis battery. The MH came with an LED state of charge for the house batteries, colored lights.

I just bought a meter that plugs into the 110v outlet so I can see what the input volts are. Stays in the 'green' zone....all is well.

I made up a little jumper set to tie together the coach & chassis battery so the on-board charger keeps ALL batts topped up. This also tells me the voltage of ALL the batts.

KISS method is best approach for average RV user in an average RV. All those fancy ($$$$) monitors are just fine....for the really fancy & more complicated RVs. And those RVs should already come with those monitors.
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:21 PM   #12
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Dunner,
The key is the part that says:
Power Supply : I < 70mA, DC 6-24V (I also supply DC 5V, please add a note in the PayPal when you pay for it if you need 5V DC power supply, thanks);

I have reseached these meters a lot. Hooking power leads to the battery being measured results in a ground loop. You have to use an isolated power source. You can use a standard 9VDC battery or the isolated source mentioned in his listing. He has many versions of volt, amp, or combo meters in several colors. Just select his store front to see all the stuff he has.

Dave
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:01 PM   #13
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I saw the other options. A 9 volt battery would be no problem, I just did/don't see it in any of the adds for this type of amp/volt meter. I'll check the adds further. Thx.
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:17 PM   #14
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What about this one Dave? I already have an on-board voltmeter for the chassis and house batteries.
I want to know my amps in and out and also my small solar panel input amps.

Amp Meter
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