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Battery Monitoring Systems

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Hi Looking at the collection of battery monitoring kit out there.

Firstly do they offer much more than a good voltmeter and an understanding of what is a good, bad or ugly value?

I have a analogy meter that you can guess the last 0.3-0.4 volts or there about. Also have a simple 2 battery system, start and house, charged by the alternator.

As I have hole on the electric panel the Victron, Master Volt and Enerdrive units look a simple solution as they should go in the existing hole or do I just go for good digital meter to replace the analogy one.  Then there is the BEP DC monitor, Votronic LCD, the Renogy (recently flagged as not a good electronic supplier-although they appear popular in reviews) and the real flash PICO by Pimarine. There are also a few 'Ali' brands out of China.

What are the common practices and experiences out there in this space.



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Volts are not a good indication of state of charge, unless the battery has been at rest (no charge or discharge) for 10 hours. That is unrealistic.

Battery monitors can be good or bad. Even the same models. Depending on setup and understanding of the user.

Apart from the new balmar SG 200, which is quite clever, and learns the battery over a few cycles, the others all must be setup properly, or won't tell the truth!

I like the Victron BMV-712 - smart. It has a shunt to measure amps in/out, but you must program actual capacity, Peukerts number, fully charged volts and tail current to make them accurate. Your battery manufacturer should be able to provide this info.  Once done, they are a great asset, as they can easily tell you battery %, voltage, and current in and out, including to an app on your ph via bluetooth, showing historical data etc. I have used this data several times to get batts replaced under warranty for customers.

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14 hours ago, Island Time said:

Volts are not a good indication of state of charge, unless the battery has been at rest (no charge or discharge) for 10 hours. That is unrealistic.


I'd they're good enough provided you know what the number means for your battery and it's limitations.


With the way things are going, I'd assume everything to be bluetooth before much longer and just keep a cheap tablet onboard.

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If you have a lot of different loads and/or different chemistries and/or large or complex battery and charging systems, knock yourself out with an all singing all dancing battery monitor.

But for a simple lead acid same chem/same construction system, an ammeter and voltmeter should provide all the info you need.  

In both cases, knowing what you are looking at is more important than how much information it can deliver.


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