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    AC And DC power monitoring

    The past while I’ve been working on upgrading my AC panel to include brighter LED indicator lights and more accurate digital guages instead of the original analog ones to better monitor my consumption and such. Instead of just measuring the voltage and current of my main system power input legs (L1 and L2) I’ve been able to set up the system so I can directly monitor the input voltages, currents and wattage and the individual current consumption loads in the various AC sections of my panel such as the Inverter, direct 120v and 220v loads, etc. it seems to work great as it helps me know exactly where my loads are and how much current is going where, which is helpful when I’m on a 30amp service.

    As I worked on the AC panel I was thinking of various ideas for monitoring my batteries and started to wonder what others have or have thought about. I was originally thinking of building a simple digital meter set up to measure the various banks (12v, 24v starter and 24v House bank), but started to think the value of that is not much more than I already have on the analog guages on the panel. It doesn’t really tell me the condition of each of my batteries like I would like to know. As such, I thought I’d start working on a design that monitors each individual battery’s internal capacitance, voltage and current input and outputs to have a better handle on thier condition, etc.

    Has anyone come up with a system that monitors each battery’s condition, etc.? I’d like to be able to monitor the battery’s conditon, level or discharge rate, etc, etc... any ideas? I’ve seen several systems that monitor a bank and such, but they don’t break things down to individual batteries like I would like, unless I want to spend a couple hundred dollars on each battery. My house batteries are 6v Trojans, and as there are 12 of them, not to mention the 4 main d8 starter batteries, I’d go broke at that rate, if you know what I mean.

    Anyhow, I look forward to hearing what ideas are out there...
    BJ
    OMEGA
    5788

    #2
    Thats easy, use a state of charge meter. I use one for my house bank and love it.

    I do not monitor the engine batteries except for voltage. Yes I could but since the charge level does not really vary on them I only monitor the house bank.

    KEVIN SANDERS
    4788 LISAS WAY
    SEWARD, ALASKA

    Comment


      #3
      I use the Blue Seas OLED Battery Monitoring system. It's very finicky to set up, but thereafter, it will do everything you are asking for on a simple clear display.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKAqh307NjY
      Last edited by MerlinV; 01-15-2018, 10:52 PM. Reason: incorrect web address
      Rob
      Bayliner 5788
      'Merlin V'
      Vancouver BC

      Comment


        #4
        I’ve seen th OLED units, but didn’t thought they gave bank information, and not the condition of each individual battery. I guess I will have to dig into that unit further,,, thank you Rob.

        I Appreciate the idea of state of charge. I use a capacitive battery condition meter and it seem to work well. That’s where I found differences in my batteries that I would like to be able to monitor them independently. What type of state of charge meter do you use, Kevin?
        BJ
        OMEGA
        5788

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by igiftmon View Post
          I’ve seen th OLED units, but didn’t thought they gave bank information, and not the condition of each individual battery. I guess I will have to dig into that unit further,,, thank you Rob.

          I Appreciate the idea of state of charge. I use a capacitive battery condition meter and it seem to work well. That’s where I found differences in my batteries that I would like to be able to monitor them independently. What type of state of charge meter do you use, Kevin?
          I use the Xantrex unit. The Blue Seas would probably be just as god, maybe better, but I’ve had the Xantrex units in boats for many many years.

          I like that I can see where the bank is charge wise. That gives me the ability to make good decisions regarding when to run the generator.
          I also like the alarming function which I use to trigger an alarm when I’m not on the boat. That way I know if the battery charger is on the blink.

          I’ve never seen a capacitive unit, except on battery test sets I used as a telecom and substation tech. Those were much more robust than anything I want to pay attention to on the boat.


          KEVIN SANDERS
          4788 LISAS WAY
          SEWARD, ALASKA

          Comment


            #6
            BJ, sounds like you might wanna look at a Link 1000.

            http://www.xantrex.com/documents/Dis...5_Link1000.pdf
            Jim Gandee
            1989 3888
            Hino 175's
            Fire Escape
            Fyrflyer@ca.rr.com

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks Jim... I’ll take a look at it...
              BJ
              OMEGA
              5788

              Comment


                #8
                I monitor my house bank and port side engine start battery with a couple of these:

                https://www.maretron.com/products/dcm100.php

                I've found Maretron gear to be extremely useful and easy to set up. It's all NMEA2k based so it all integrates with modern chartplotters.
                Evan
                2001 Bayliner 4788 "Fifty / Fifty II"
                League City, TX

                Comment


                  #9
                  I use a BEP DC systems colour display. I have it set up to monitor 3 battery banks, bilge pump cycles, vessel status and holding tank capacity.


                  https://www.smartmarine.co.nz/produc...tanks/details/ Click image for larger version

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                  Ken

                  '94 4788 - "[FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=black][I]Crystal Voyager[/I][/COLOR][/FONT] "

                  If you can dream it, you can do it

                  Comment


                    #10
                    We installed a Link Pro to monitor our house bank and thruster. It has the ability to monitor two banks. It seems to do a good job and gives a lot of info for bank management. We use the stock analog meter for the starting batteries.
                    2000 4788 w Cummins 370's, underhulls, swim step hull extension
                    12' Rendova center console with 40HP Yamaha
                    MV Kia Orana
                    Currently Alameda CA

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I haven't seen Trimetric mentioned yet. I've had three of them now and love them. The Link system that came on Gray Hawk went overboard shortly afterward. Absolute crap once you have used a real battery monitor.
                      R.J.(Bob) Evans
                      Cierra 2755

                      Comment


                        #12
                        BJ, I believe all the solutions above are for monitoring battery banks, not your original request to monitor individual batteries. I expect you could wire them to monitor each battery but as you surmise that would be very expensive and I think overkill. We have had link monitors (with shunts) on our last three boats and they are great. If you anchor out a lot, like we do, I can't imagine trying to monitor your house bank state of charge without a shunt type monitor. I'm with Kevin on the engine start batteries - as they are only used for short periods of time, just monitoring voltage is fine
                        Mike
                        "Allante" Rayburn 75
                        Previous: '97 4788

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by bobofthenorth View Post
                          I haven't seen Trimetric mentioned yet. I've had three of them now and love them. The Link system that came on Gray Hawk went overboard shortly afterward. Absolute crap once you have used a real battery monitor.
                          If I can ask, having used the Link systems for years, what additional or better data does the Trimetric unit provide?
                          I’m always after a better mousetrap.

                          KEVIN SANDERS
                          4788 LISAS WAY
                          SEWARD, ALASKA

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I have just received (yesterday) a Balmar Smartgauge unit that West Marine is discontinuing offering . . . . I got it for a song considering their asking price before their sale . . . most of you probably got that email about their clearance sale - check under electronics, that's where I found it . . . thinking they were sold out but maybe not . . . $180 is cheap for one of those units and they're supposed to be pretty good.

                            https://www.westmarine.com/outlet?cm...mo-_-N/A-_-N/A
                            1998 Avanti 3685 - "Dad's Dream" w 454 Mercs - just a rockin' an'a rollin'
                            Former - "Home Aweigh" 2003 - 2452 Bayliner Cierra Classic Hardtop Cruiser
                            WQQM835 MMSI: 338147209
                            James H. Stradling

                            Comment


                              #15
                              The best DC monitoring, if looking for accuracy is by using a Shunt. Have a had a few systems over the years and just upgrade last year to a magnum inverter with the battery monitor which has a shunt. To do it right you have get all your ground on one side (we use a huge bus bar then the shunt and then the load side. This will monitor amps in and out. We also have Solar Charge Controller Remote that also has a shunt. So basically we see Solar in on both remotes, or just look at the Magnum and see amps in, amps out, total amp hours in or out, AC in & out. to the house batteries. Very cool amount info, under way we see what our alerntor is doing to recharge the house bank as well (again all runs through the same shunt/monitor.

                              Monitor/remote http://www.magnum-dimensions.com/me-arc-remote
                              Shunt http://www.magnum-dimensions.com/battery-monitor-kit

                              As a side note, upgrade our AC panels 3 or years back and did the digital gauges for volts and amps and very happy with that really shows what your shower power coming in and loads as well as when on genset. very handy.
                              Mark
                              USCG OUPV
                              1990 4588
                              Carlsbad, CA

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