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Old 06-10-2014, 12:15 PM   #1
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Battery Monitoring

Does anyone have a simple solution to monitoring battery voltage on an ongoing basis. maybe a simple meter directly from the battery terminals into the rig. I know I can go out with a meter but that is a PIA. Looking for some type of LCD display I can run into the rig. Something better than 4 idiot lights..

Thanks
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Old 06-10-2014, 06:20 PM   #2
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Don't have it on me but at West Marine I purchased a battery monitor and it shows how much volts/amps/% left, etc. it was on sale, small, about $100 new for $60. I'll try to remember to get info/pic soon.
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Old 06-10-2014, 06:31 PM   #3
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Here is a thread about battery meter...

Battery meter
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:01 PM   #4
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David...if you are looking to figure out how "much" battery you have left WHILE you are using your coach...then you need a monitor ...not a voltmeter which can ONLY tell you that either you are charging or dead. Any other readout is ficticious. ALWAYS.
What you really want to know is:
1. How many of my 214 amp hours in my battery bank are left.
2. At the rate I'm using amps...how long do I have before I need to recharge?
3. How many amp hours does my heater use? My coffeepot? How many AH's do I use when I think I'm not using any??!!
4. Are my batteries FULLY 100% recharged.

If you don't boondock...you don't need em... if you do...the the Trimetic or the Victron will save your batteries and pay for themselves.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:22 PM   #5
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Along those lines does anyone know how many volts I should see coming into my batts while plugged into shore power? My meter shows 13.37 but that seems low.
I can no longer run my Maxx Air fan, 4 lights and a 600 watt inverter at the same time. I have 2 12v #24 batts and last trip the gens had to run an inordinate amount of time to recharge them. I suspect dying batteries but these are only 2 years old. (But are the dealer batts) any suggestions??
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:05 PM   #6
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I made and installed a small panel at the entrance control panel It's just a voltmeter but it will show if the battery is being charged and will show battery voltage which can be used to identify if charge is needed. I just paralled off the awning switch +12 volt power wire (it's fused directly off the battery) and used a momentary push button switch for the meter. I think it will come in handy someday troubleshooting the electrical system. Any way it can't hurt.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCamper View Post
Along those lines does anyone know how many volts I should see coming into my batts while plugged into shore power? My meter shows 13.37 but that seems low.
I can no longer run my Maxx Air fan, 4 lights and a 600 watt inverter at the same time. I have 2 12v #24 batts and last trip the gens had to run an inordinate amount of time to recharge them. I suspect dying batteries but these are only 2 years old. (But are the dealer batts) any suggestions??
Mine charges at 13.5 volts....
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:58 PM   #8
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I use a Trimetric TM-2025RV battery monitoring system that displays voltage to the tenth of a volt and also displays Percent of Charge remaining as well as actual current in and out of the battery.

See my review here:

Trimetric 2025 Battery Monitor

Trimetric Battery Monitoring System
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCamper View Post
Along those lines does anyone know how many volts I should see coming into my batts while plugged into shore power? My meter shows 13.37 but that seems low.
I can no longer run my Maxx Air fan, 4 lights and a 600 watt inverter at the same time. I have 2 12v #24 batts and last trip the gens had to run an inordinate amount of time to recharge them. I suspect dying batteries but these are only 2 years old. (But are the dealer batts) any suggestions??
JCamp... you are seeing 13.3 as a Float voltage which means the batts have received 90+ to 100% of their charge. If you had just used them for a night...you should see a recharge Bulk voltage in the neighborhood of 14.5Volts for a few hours before it ramps down to float voltage.
You have a fan that takes maybe 4 amps at medium speed...a few bulbs and an inverter on standby which only uses a few amps...if your batts are going flat with that in short order they are really in bad shape.
Suggest you have murdered them by abuse since you don't appear to know much about them or have any way to monitor them.
Group 24 batts have about 75 amp hours each when new...a pair will have 150 amp hours OF WHICH YOU CAN USE 75 before recharging. If you don't know what you are using... and how much is left in your batts ... you end up killing them prematurely even if you're good about watering them.

Step one is to fully charge the batteries then pull the plug. Get a cheap turkey baster hydrometer at AutoZone and take a reading of EACH cell in EACH battery. My guess is you'll fine dead ones or close to dead...but at least you'll have the turkey baster for the future.
Assuming dead batts...IF you have room...get a couple of golf cart batteries at Sams or Costco...that will take you up to 220 amp hours or so which will give you 110AH before you need to recharge.
If you can't fit the golf cart batts...then get TRUE deep cycle 12V batteries ..not dual use... and get them in the largest sizes you can squeeze in...group 27 or 31 will give you slightly more or less than 200 amp hours compared to the group 24's ... but there's nothing wrong with 24's except your need to recharge more often.
Good luck!

If you want to avoid this situation in another 2 years... get one of these...
BMV-600S series - Victron Energy
or these:
Battery-Monitor-System

They will pay for themselves easily in battery life.
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Old 06-11-2014, 12:22 PM   #10
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Anyone help explain to me the difference between 20 amp hour rate and the Amp Hour?

Looking at 2 deep cycle 12v batteries...

Battery 1
20 Amp Hour Rate 140Ah
Amp Hour 66Ah
Res Cap 140 Min

Battery 2
20 Amp Hour Rate 68Ah
No Amp Hour listed
Res Cap 135 Min

Whats the difference here?
Comparing the Optima YellowTop Deep Cycle (Battery 1) to the Sears Die Hard Platinum Deep Cycle (Battery2)

I'm not ready to go 6v yet so please don't go down that road. Any other 12v batteries out there that anyone can recommend?

Should mention I only have room for 2 group 24
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