BALMAR Smartgauge™ Battery Monitor

9 years 6 days ago #2002 by Gerry O'Donoghue
BALMAR Smartgauge™ Battery Monitor (Also posted on Facebook)

I have posted this before and I have not interest it it financial or otherwise, BUT, this is an item worth your consideration. I have installed it on four boats and seen it on at least two others. It is now a stock item at West Marine; WM # 16030900, and available on the Internets. If you have no other monitoring system on your house bank (a voltage meter doesn't count as it is worthless) this should be high on your priority list, IMHO.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jim Allaway

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8 years 11 months ago #2011 by George Myers
Hi Gerry! Just why do I need to know how many Amps have been or haven't been used as long as my batts are charged?????The volt meter and the Xantrex display tell a lot. Will this 'device' (all electrical stuff are devices) tell me if there is a bad cell somewhere in my 8-125Trojans house bank???

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8 years 11 months ago - 8 years 11 months ago #2013 by Gerry O'Donoghue
Hi George

Good question. What we all want to know is "what is the state of charge (SOC) of my batteries?", but how do we do that;

1. Look at the voltage; "Most people use battery voltage as an indicator as to the battery state of charge. This gives a broad indication, but is far from
accurate. For instance, a battery under little loads that measures 11.5 volts would be considered heavily discharged. However, a battery under heavy loads measuring 11.5 volts would rebound to a much higher voltage when the load turns off." Taken from the Zantrex web site.

2. Count the amps in and the amps out (using a shunt), add or subtract the results from the battery bank capacity and you can work out the SOC. The problem with this system is that your batteries loose capacity with age. You are therefore getting a progressively false reading of the SOC. (50 AH taken from a 100AH bank = 50% = OK. 50AH taken from a 80AH bank = 37.5% = Not OK.

3. Use the BALMAR Smartgauge. No shunt, this system pulses the voltage and gives you a state of charge. How does it do that? I have no friggin idea but the experts seem to like it, possibly witchcraft.

Re your second question, I don't know. but I think you might see your SOC being reduced faster that usual so the might be a warning sign.

Hope you are doing well, shipmate.


Last edit: 8 years 11 months ago by Gerry O'Donoghue.

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