Leisure Battery Voltage Indicator.

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by GeriatricWanderer, Jun 5, 2015.

  1. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    I have a 110ah leisure battery - fairly new.
    An onboard charger with a Zig CF8 with a green/red charge indicator.
    A compressor fridge with a cut out level of 11.7V.

    It's hot down here (Aude) at the moment so I reckon the fridge is doing overtime to keep up.
    When I put my multi meter on the battery it's showing 11.59 so no great surprise that the fridge has cut out but the Zig is still showing a healthy little green light. No problem, I've got a charger rigged up to get the battery up to where it should be.

    I have a nice little digi voltmeter for the engine battery which just plugs into the cigar lighter with a instant reading.
    I want to set up something similar for the leisure battery. Just a simple meter I can fix up somewhere.
    I can't do it before I get home in July but hopefully by then all you good electrical techies will have given me lots of links to EBay/Alibaba for suitable bits of kit and lots of advice how to, and not to, wire it all up.
    And as they say at the end of all good requests - thank you in hopeful anticipation.

    My apologies if I'm not able to respond instantly but I will as soon as I get a connection.
     
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  2. iceclimber

    iceclimber Funster

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    Hi, I looked into this as I wanted to do something quite simple for my Leisure batteries. However, in the end I plumbed for the Victron BMV 700 battery monitor which although expensive, is an excellent product and I now know exactly what is going 'in' and 'out' of the batteries at any time.
     
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  3. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    Got to agree.. Some sort of power management panel is the best way to go if you want to take the guess work out of knowing what state your batteries are in..

    Tony if you don't want to go to that bother and expense why not just another socket wired directly to your leisure battery and use the plug in device you have.
    Ta andy
     
  4. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    I agree the Victron monitoring system is excellent. I have had one in the past and it knocks the spots off anything else available.

    I now have a NASA BM-1 which is better than nothing.

    A voltage meter is next to useless on it's own if you have solar panels though. Also a compressor fridge when operating will pull the voltage down when operating also giving you misleading readings.
    With both a solar panel and a compressor fridge your voltage meter will be up and down like a yoyo and next to useless to be honest.
     
  5. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    I've added an Aldi 12v 3 x socket + 2 x USB extension block to one of my habitation area sockets and I stick a ciggie lighter voltmeter in one of those to keep tabs on the leisure battery voltage. On solar the charge controller keeps it at around 13.6v. On mains or alternator it reads 14.2v. Resting voltage with no solar input is around 12.8v (battery over 5 years old), so it seems reasonably accurate.
     
  6. KeithChesterfield

    KeithChesterfield Read Only Funster

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    I wired up a couple of Digital Voltmeters, one to the engine battery and one to the leisure batteries, and at less than £3 for meters and cable it shows the voltage at all times.


    They are positioned out of the way behind the drivers seat, fastened to the panelling by Velcro, but easy to check.

    Voltmeter 1.jpg
     
  7. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

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    Thanks guys.
    I don't have any fancy set up, no solar, just a comp fridge.
    I was think about going as Andy suggested but then thought if I'm going to get into wiring up something like that I may as well do what Keith has.
    I'm still learning how long my fridge will keep running without some form of charging - just lost a couple of pints of milk so far so not too bad.
     
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  8. Neilfg

    Neilfg Funster

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    I am experimenting (learning) with a seperate battery and Inverter setup for using a hairdryer and wanted a way of displaying the power usage, battery state and charge etc.., so have ordered one of these meters:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/171204358909

    I think it does a similar thing to the Victron or NASA device but at £22.50 this device fits my bill, I have used a smaller one before which worked fine but the above model comes with a shunt which should work nicely with the 2000w inverter.

    All this for a hairdryer!
     
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  9. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    That looks like great value, may have to order one to test out.
     
  10. andy63

    andy63 Funster

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    that does look like a very cheap power management panel... thanks for the link, and I may just get it to play with..the sterling pmp I have cost a lot more than that lol
    ta andy
     
  11. Jimbohorlicks

    Jimbohorlicks Funster

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    have you added a fan to the rear of the fridge cooling rack ?This may help to keep the fridge cooler using the same current-it only needs to be a pc type van. They work well in hot weather.Might be worth try
     
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  12. berni109

    berni109 Funster

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    Thanks for the eBay link. More ways to spend money!
    Question for the electrickery experts - does the 'shunt' go in the earth line? IE cut the wire between Electroblok and the negative terminal and insert 'shunt'?
     
  13. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    In theory, it could go anywhere in the circuit, so long as everything goes through it. In practice, putting it in the cable connected to the battery negative post is the best way to ensure that it gets ALL the circuit current flowing through it, as it's often the case that there are several separate wires connected to the positive post, but only a single common return to the negative.

    If, by chance, there is more than one wire to your battery negative, move ALL of them to one terminal on the shunt & then connect the other side direct to the battery negative.
     
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  14. Diabalo

    Diabalo Funster

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    How did this work out in the end?
     
  15. Neilfg

    Neilfg Funster

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    It does work, the trickiest element for me, was calibration of the Amps. To do this you have to setup an known large draw e.g.150 amps for a period.

    Had it in the van with the inverter and a separate battery for last 6 months. Just removed as to be honest we did not refer to it, the inverter remote has a separate monitor that is fine. Have decided to keep the seperate battery and inverter setup as it simple and does not affect main leisure setup. This device was overkill.
     
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  16. ludo

    ludo Funster Life Member

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    I have fitted 12v sockets in the rear seat panels/covers of the Fiat X250 with a voltage read out and button switches so that the read out circuit is open without the button pressed, saving any power drain however small.

    The sockets/voltage readouts are supplied with short fused direct connections. One to the two parallel connected hab batteries and the other to the vehicle battery.

    This provides 2 extra and easily accessible sockets and an instant readout, when pressing the button, of any situation, whether the batteries are under load or at rest.

    C Metered Socket (2).jpg
     
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  17. Bwatman

    Bwatman Funster

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    Looks great & seems a good monitoring solution.
    Could you provide details of the socket and where to purchase.
    Any details on how you wired it in would be useful.
     
  18. ludo

    ludo Funster Life Member

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    Loads here, some with 5v usb provision:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_o...TRS0&_nkw=12v+socket+with+volt+meter&_sacat=0

    Electrical

    Simple wiring, with suitable cable, from + - battery terminals, through suitable in line fuse, direct to the 12v socket. Then, a second short supply cable, from the terminals on the rear of the socket to the meter terminals but interrupted by the button switch. Keeping cables from batteries to device as short as possible.

    Mechanical

    The rear seat panels/covers are designed to be removed easily. When removed cut hole for the socket and bolt device neatly to the panel. Then, wire as above.

    Hope this is clear and helps.
     
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  19. ludo

    ludo Funster Life Member

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    Incidentally, this installation provides another very useful solution to another problem. We have 2 AGM Banner habitation batteries. We had them in our last van and they have been excellent, as far as we are concerned and we would choose them again when required.

    These batteries are served by an Electroblock 99 charging regime which is set to "GEL" as Schaudts recommend. This presents a problem since the vehicle battery is wet lead/acid and really needs to have an alternative suitable charging regime.

    In order to alleviate this difficulty, I have manufactured a lead with a "twist and grip" cigarette lighter plug through which I can connect my 10 stage charger directly to the vehicle battery through the "twist and grip" cigarette lighter socket now installed in the rear seat cover/panel. When charging the vehicle battery in this way, I do ensure that the EB99 is isolated.
     
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  20. Bwatman

    Bwatman Funster

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    Thanks Ludo.
    Excellent feedback.
    This will be my next job, now going shopping for the parts.
     
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