Should I, Shouldn't I Battery monitor

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Brakers, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. Brakers

    Brakers Funster Life Member

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    Well Kiddywinks I’ve been reading “Yes I know I shouldn’t” and it’s about the controversial, should I shouldn’t I battery monitors.

    I have a battery indication on my control panel which at the moment is showing my leisure battery 11.6v (Fair) but I’ve seen on another post that 11.75v is 30% charged and leaving it at that level would damage it. I think it was Techno member I saw it on. Now I’ve driven back from Birmingham about a week ago and not been out in the van since.

    So I’m a bit confused, the battery was put on new when I bought the vehicle about a month ago and I’ve only done the one run as I said to Birmingham and back.

    Should I rely on the control panel monitor or will I need a dedicated battery monitor like the Nasa Marine BM-2 battery monitor which is just over £100.

    I have a 100watt solar panel on the roof so I would have thought that the leisure battery by now should be nearly fully charged although I do realize that with inclement weather the solar panel will be producing very little to virtually no charge.
    Many Thanks Tony
     
  2. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    Interesting, my opinion is just that, I am probably the least technically able on here

    11.6V is not fair it is close to something far more crude beginning with the same letter though :(

    But I agree with you totally that the solar should have more or less kept up with any consumption, albeit early season fairly low sun etc

    Something is not right, it should not have gone so low, unless you have left something on, or something is wired incorrectly

    or the battery fitted was not new (cynical me again sorry)

    is the solar system also new?

    let the experts take over where I have started to confuse (y)
     
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  3. SMB

    SMB Funster

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    I have the Nasa BM1 compact fitted, not just so I can see the battery level but also it tells you the discharge rate amongst other things which I found handy when using different appliances. If there is a problem on your system it might highlight the problem ie rate of discharge when there is no solar power going in. I had a problem with the electrics in my van which buggered my leisure batteries so when I replaced them I had the BM-1 fitted at the same time and never let them drop below 80%. Hope this helps.
     
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  4. Brakers

    Brakers Funster Life Member

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    Hi David The motorhome I bought is 2008 and I assume the solar panel was installed when the vehicle was bought. The company who sold me the vehicle when they showed me the vehicle there was no battery on it and and they said they would put a new one on for me 110amp hr.
     
  5. Brakers

    Brakers Funster Life Member

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    Hi SMB I read another post which had a Nasa Marine BM-2 battery monitor fitted do you know what the difference is between your BM1 and the BM2.
    I can understand how helpfull seeying the discharge in Amps when using various items but how reliable and accurate are these meters compared to the ones the motorhome companies fit?
    Many Thanks Tony
     
  6. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Sounds like the battery has had it, if you are looking at the voltage during the day with no load on the battery and output from the solar panel I would expect 13.6 to 14.4 volts depending on the solar regulator.

    Battery voltages below are off load, to get a true reading you need to check it with the solar disconnected or in the dark.

    upload_2016-4-16_20-22-21.png
     
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  7. SMB

    SMB Funster

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    Hi Tony, the difference is the load and charge rating, the BM-1 is 100A and the BM-2 is ....200A! Just looked it up online and I'm hopeless with electrics (amongst other things) but I have 4 x 110A batteries fitted to mine so it mustn't relate to the batteries! The standard display in my van is just LED dots on a circular display, pretty crap really.
     
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  8. SMB

    SMB Funster

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  9. Brakers

    Brakers Funster Life Member

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    Hi SMB Join the Club I too am hopless with this sort of thing. Thanks you for finding the info on the battery monitors for me. I think I might have a problem with my system as some posts have indicated.
    Many Thanks Tony
     
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  10. SMB

    SMB Funster

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    I had a wiring problem in my Sargent ECU box which meant that two circuits were drawing 5A even when the fittings on the circuits were switched off. My batteries flattened on the Portsmouth to Bilbao crossing due to lack of solar power. If you do get a battery monitor and you notice a drain, I used this to diagnose which circuits were causing the trouble, then I just removed the fuses until I could get it fixed:

     
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  11. Brakers

    Brakers Funster Life Member

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    Hi SMB That looks a great bit of kit, am I correct in saying the two prongs plug in where the fuse goes with the fuse removed? If so I'll get one myself.
    Many Thanks Tony
     
  12. SMB

    SMB Funster

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    Yes, you remove the fuse, place it in the slot on the top of the circuit tester then plug the prongs into the ECU fuse slot. It then gives you a reading of how many amps are been drawn on the circuit. You can also get the standard size fuse tester for the base vehicles fusebox.
     
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  13. Brakers

    Brakers Funster Life Member

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    Hi SMB so the fuse I will be linking into to check if there is battery drain is the one directly at the battery, Is the link you provided the meter I need for that or the standard one?
     
  14. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    My opinion, FWIW.

    I don't have a battery monitor and don't want one. I pretty much know how long my batteries last. The solar ticks along and does its own thing. If I have the opportunity to plug in then I do so. Therefore having another bit of kit to tell me my batteries are flat would be a waste of time because there would be sod all I could do about it that I wasn't already doing.

    To me it's akin to going online for a weather forecast instead of looking out the window.
     
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  15. SMB

    SMB Funster

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    The previous link is for the mini-blade fuses which are used in the ECU box controlling the appliances in the living area. The standard fuse circuit tester for the base vehicle is this one or similar, there are a few on Amazon. I have both just in case!

     
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  16. SMB

    SMB Funster

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    But I like gadgets (y)
     
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  17. Brakers

    Brakers Funster Life Member

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    Sounds good to me SMB I'll buy both as well, By the way your more inteligent than you make out, I think you are a dark horse. lol. Thanks Tony
     
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  18. NickNic

    NickNic Funster Life Member

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    In that case could I interest you in my new patented motorhome rain detection device?
     
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  19. SMB

    SMB Funster

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    Oo
    Ooh yes please, how much is it and can I wire it directly to my leisure batteries...hang on, its not putting your hand out of the window is it :)
     
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  20. SMB

    SMB Funster

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    Ha ha thanks Tony but I was shown ho to do this by a fellow motorhomer who I met when I first found out I had an electrics problem! I'm always willing to learn though :)
     
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