Whether you have a camper van, RV or solar panel system on an off-grid house, your battery bank is the heart of your PV system. It is always necessary to know the state of charge of your battery bank and how much current is flowing into or out of your batteries.
In this article, we will discuss battery monitors, one of the essentials for your solar system and help you find the best monitoring system among all different brands and models.
What is a battery Monitor?
Regardless of the size of your battery bank, using more battery power than the alternator or solar panels can provide will eventually result in flat batteries. Additionally, if the battery is over-discharged, its life may be shortened, and costly replacements may be required sooner than necessary.
You must carefully monitor your leisure battery bank if you want to live off the grid in a camper van or RV. This means you need to constantly check your battery's state and make sure it is in good condition.
A battery monitor is very beneficial in educating you on the electrical usage of your various devices as well as the charging potential of your solar array. An ideal battery monitor makes it simpler to comprehend and keep track of how your battery is being used.
What factors should we consider when choosing a battery monitor?
Over the past few years, battery monitoring technologies have seen significant development. The most popular models offer Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as relatively contemporary screens. Even their firmware receives regular updates via a mobile app.
All battery monitoring solutions initially require a method to gauge the energy entering and leaving your battery. An effective battery monitor will use these measurements to generate and display meaningful battery parameters.
In this article, we will review the factors you should be aware of when you want to buy a battery monitor.
Providing Important Battery Information
First and foremost, you need to ensure the battery monitor you choose will provide essential information about your battery bank. Here are some key features and critical metrics you should be able to see in real time on your battery monitor.
- The amount of energy enters your batteries (charging) and leaves them (consumption) at any time.
- The amount of time it takes for your battery to fully charge or run out (based on current electrical usage).
- The percentage of your battery capacity that is still usable (like your smartphone's battery gauge).
- Power (measured in Watts) and current (measured as a unit of energy in Amps)
When it comes to choosing the battery monitor, besides checking the basics of your battery status, it needs to be able to support various battery banks. In other words, you must be able to set the system voltage (12V, 24V or 48V) and the battery capacity in Amp-hours on your battery monitor. Furthermore, It might also be essential to set the chemistry of your batteries, such as LiFePO4, Flooded or AGM batteries.
Being Firmware upgradeable
It is crucial to apply software updates and fixes as soon as they are made available by the producer. Modern computer-controlled equipment like this should be as future-proof as possible because technology is advancing quickly.
Generally speaking, spending money today on an expensive computer-controlled component that can't be upgraded and programmed over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi doesn't make sense.
The success of businesses like Victron Energy may be mainly attributable to this. Their technology is modular and capable of communication and data sharing. You may improve system usability and convenience of use by including mobile device compatibility.
There are many more features to be considered depending on your needs, like efficiently interpreting information from the battery monitor, being able to share information with other equipment and the ability to monitor more than one battery bank.
Best Battery monitors
Victron batteries are among our most highly recommended off-grid and small business storage options.
A variety of battery monitors are produced by Victron for both local and remote system displays. These gadgets can measure battery life, charge level, and temperature with extreme precision. Victron's display panels give users a crystal-clear visual representation of performance, which is useful for business monitoring. You can connect to your device remotely using the Victron app or online portal when using a smart monitor or dongle.
Through a rather simple user interface, the VictronConnect app (which is available on Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac computers) enables you to remotely monitor, control, and upgrade your battery.
Among RV, boat and Van owners, the Victron Energy battery monitor BMV-712 smart is quite famous. As it smoothly connects with Victron Smart System's setup, it is particularly well-liked when utilized with those installed items.
The Victron smartphone app is a major plus as well. If you don't have other Victron Energy equipment, you should know that this fantastic product at a reasonable price is compatible with equipment from other brands as well.
Here are some features of this Battery Monitor, which has been tested many times by our experts in Volts Energies:
- Built-in Bluetooth
- Very Low current (0.7 amp-hours per month) drawn from the battery
- High measurement resolution with 10mA accuracy
- Easy Installation
It is worth mentioning to say that there are other models of this battery monitor series, like BMV-702, which is less expensive and doesn't have the Bluetooth option.
Victron Energy Cerbo GX & Touch 50 Monitor
The Cerbo GX communication centre maximizes the functionality of your system and gives you permanent, hands-free access to it from anywhere. Simply connect using the Victron Remote Management (VRM) site, or access directly using the standalone GX Touch 50, an MFD, or the VictronConnect app because it now has Bluetooth functionality.
All of your connected equipment can be easily controlled and monitored by the Cerbo GX and Touch 50. Inverters, Multis, Quattros, MPPT 150/70, Lynx Shunt VE.Can, Lynx Distributor, and smart shunt are examples of equipment that can be connected to the powerful product.
Here are some key features of this Battery Monitor kit that our technical team has tested:
- Panels and system monitoring
- Perfect monitoring & control
- Maximize your system performance
- Simple mounting and configuration
- Outsmart any power challenge
If you want to live and travel worry-free with your Rv or travel trailers or live in an off-grid house with solar panels system, you should consider investing in a high-quality battery bank. Victron Energy products have better quality, performance, reliability, and price than other manufacturers of Battery Monitors, such as Renogy or Simarine. Victron Energy products have been rigorously tested by Volts Energies in Canada.