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 > Simplest battery monitor and shunt? Advice for non-expert

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3 tons

NV.

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Posted: 12/15/21 12:59pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2oldman wrote:

What I find strange about my Victron unit is that either it or my Android phone insists location service be turned on.


I suspect it may be the Android, only because I’ve never got that or a similar message over two generations of iphones, though I get that this is just anecdotal…

3 tons

Skibane

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Posted: 12/15/21 01:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Boon Docker wrote:

This monitor is the one I have. It is an awesome little unit.


For the features, that is a screaming deal.

PerryB67

Lanesboro, Minnesota

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Posted: 12/15/21 03:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

StirCrazy wrote:

I'll second this one. a generic version of the Victron that works just as well at 1/5 the price, just doesnt have bluetooth. very simple install remove your negitive patery cable, run a new short one from the battery to this, then your old cable you tookoff on to the other end of the shunt. run a tiny power wire to the shunt, then find a place to dril the small hole run the wire and your done. inital setting you just enter how many AH your battery is and your off.
Sorry, not even close to the information/history the Victron 712 shunt's have. A friend has one and it's just a realtime meter, with no history. It's the history that told me our WFCO delivered 21 volts to ruin our batteries. No telling how many batteries would have been ruined before realizing it was the WFCO.

You get what you pay for.

Enjoy,

Perry


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profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 12/15/21 05:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very thought-provoking discussion! Yes, to be clear, I am hoping to get more than a real-time voltage reading and then just infer state of charge from the voltage. I have often used my multi-meter to read voltage, and the readings vary a lot depending on whether I have let the battery "rest" sufficiently before taking a reading.

In order to get a proper resting reading (with no distortions due to the various items that draw juice), I have to disconnect the battery and wait at least 15 minutes before taking the reading. (Some folks say you have to wait a half hour, but I have done experiments, and the readings level off after about 15 minutes).

And it is a hassle to sit there and wait 15 minutes on a daily basis -- we've got other things to do!

So that is why I am leaning toward a device that will give me a reasonably accurate measurement of how much juice is really in the battery at any given time. That's especially true since we use a portable solar panel. Since we are away from the trailer almost all day, every day, there is no way to know how much juice the panel has jammed into the battery during the day -- were there clouds during the day? Did I misalign the panel?

(Pro tip -- use the compass on your phone to find South so that the panel gets the best possible solar exposure. Don't just guess where South is. Please don't ask how I learned this.)

The solar panel, by the way, adds to the uncertainty of a simple multi-meter or volt-meter. Because the solar panel charges my battery at around 14 volts or so, the battery is often "hyped up" by the juice flowing from the panel. So allowing a sufficient rest period is doubly important, because the high inflow from the panel distorts the true baseline voltage.

(I'm sure I am mangling all of the technical lingo, but you get my point -- looking at voltage may not really tell the whole story.)

I'm going to have to review the various suggestions made above, to see which monitoring unit will do an adequate job for my limited needs.


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time2roll

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Posted: 12/15/21 06:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I spent the monitor money on a larger battery. The need to monitor fell away to about nothing. (voltmeter)
The monitor does not give any additional power.


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Ivylog

Blairsville, GA and WPB, FL.

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Posted: 12/15/21 07:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The second reply…Aili for $41 is the best suggestion. With only one battery you do not need the 350A size. I’m using one and it tells you everything you need to know and easy enough to install.


This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
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punomatic

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Posted: 12/16/21 07:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I put this one on my trailer. Inexpensive, easy to install, it works great and you can turn off the back light so you are not using battery to light the screen when you don't need to see it. I added a DPDT switch so I can monitor charging OR discharging with a flip of the switch.


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PerryB67

Lanesboro, Minnesota

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Posted: 12/16/21 09:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ivylog wrote:

The second reply…Aili for $41 is the best suggestion. With only one battery you do not need the 350A size. I’m using one and it tells you everything you need to know and easy enough to install.
The Aili only tells you in realtime what is going on. That's great if everything is working properly. It's only slightly better than a cigarette plug voltage meter. I want to know the net amp use overnight, or if there was a voltage spike that ruined, or about to ruin, my batteries. BTDT! A monitor with history will do that. Unless Aili recently came out with a new meter that stores some history it's merely a realtime meter. You'll understand what I'm talking about when you have a problem, but the cheap Ali is just that, cheap.

If all you want is a simple realtime meter then the Aili is decent, but very limited. However, if you really want to monitor what's happening with your system over time then the $130 for the Victron SmartShunt is a far superior choice.

Plus the Aili is harder to install than the SmartShunt .

Enjoy,

Perry

* This post was edited 12/16/21 09:40am by PerryB67 *

2oldman

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Posted: 12/16/21 09:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

PerryB67 wrote:

You'll understand what I'm talking about when you have a problem, but the cheap Aili is just that, cheap.
Money wins.

FWC

The Wilderness

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Posted: 12/16/21 09:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Money is only one factor out of several. In terms of functionality the order is:
Victron BMV-712 > Victron Smart Shunt > AiLi > Voltmeter > dummy lights > nothing.

In terms of cost, it is exactly the opposite.

If you are truly budget limited then pick what ever fits your budget.

However, for most of us with $20K - 500K campers, $100 is in the noise and having a better idea how things are working is probably worth the cost. Particularly with lead acid batteries who boondock, it is important to know that your batteries are actually getting fully charged, which a meter with history will tell you.

* This post was edited 12/16/21 10:43am by FWC *

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