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Old 07-29-2015, 11:11 AM   #11
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I thought the same thing in my last trailer. I tapped into the porch light (which comes from the panel) and compared the voltage readings from the newly installed lcd voltmeter and a handheld unit connected directly to the battery. Readings were the same. It's best to have it installed on something with a low draw like a propane detector. This will give the most accurate reading. For convenience sake I want it installed under my control center so I need to find the best place to tap in.
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Old 07-29-2015, 11:15 AM   #12
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redwolf, One other thing.... These digital meters are usually very accurate (better than 1%), but the best thing to do after install: Make sure your batt(s) are completely charged. Then with no other loads applied turn on a few internal lights for 4 or 5 mins. Then turn the lights off and check your reading on the meter. It should be 12.73. Some of these meters have a small pot for adjustment. If so, adjust to that voltage. If not, just keep in mind the variation. A voltage variation of .1 can be more than 10% of battery life.
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Old 07-29-2015, 11:17 AM   #13
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Great tip Jim! thks
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Old 07-29-2015, 11:20 AM   #14
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Redwolf, I would not use either of those wires, since I suspect they are both not hot unless the items they are powering are on. Plus, if that is the case you will be sampling power from a line that is loaded and may be down .1 or .2 volts from what the battery condition actually is. .2 Volts is a large percentage of battery life. You should try to find a 12 Volt supply line that goes directly to the control panel from the battery. There is definitely one in the control panel. It will probably be the largest (gauge) red wire under the panel. Black or White will be the corresponding minus side.
Never thought of that. Makes sense that they wouldn't be hot. So do you think the larger purple/white wire would be the main power supply to the panel?

Another thought. Will pulling the battery disconnect be safe enough to do the work or should I disconnect the battery cables?
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:16 PM   #15
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So do you think the larger purple/white wire would be the main power supply to the panel?
Guessing here, but probably yes.

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Another thought. Will pulling the battery disconnect be safe enough to do the work or should I disconnect the battery cables?
Guessing some more.. Probably yes, I would disconnect the positive side of the battery first. I would hate to see you weld your wedding ring to the side of the RV...
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:20 PM   #16
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Guessing here, but probably yes.



Guessing some more.. Probably yes, I would disconnect the positive side of the battery first. I would hate to see you weld your wedding ring to the side of the RV...
Enough said..lol I was going to anyway
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Old 07-29-2015, 02:20 PM   #17
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My control panel is above my breaker/fuse center. I used an unused fuse holder and ran a wire to the input of the voltmeter installed above. The fuse center is fed by a no 6 wire from the battery and should have little voltage drop. I also put the voltmeter supply voltage on a switch as this becomes just another parasitic load when dry camping. As other have stated the voltmeter tells you a lot about the state of charge of your battery and will prevent you from over discharge and damage to the battery.
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Old 07-29-2015, 04:23 PM   #18
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A voltmeter tells you nothing useful about the state of your batteries IN USE except if they are flat dead or presently charging. if it reads 12.4 or such then you have no idea what the ACTUAL state of charge is unless it is reading after the batt has been disconnected from everything for 24 hours...even more importantly is cannot tell you when you have charged to100% ...and that is how batts get killed before their time.
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Old 07-29-2015, 04:36 PM   #19
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ok camaraderie educate me. Would a voltmeter that read 11.2v after boondocking a while and not charged and not currently under heavy load indicate to you. To me it says start the generator.
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Old 07-29-2015, 04:46 PM   #20
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I have a volt meter that I use to keep a close eye on them. Having it installed and available all of the time would be great!
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