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Old 01-24-2017, 01:29 PM   #1
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Battery disconnect and Tri-Metric battery monitor

I have a Tri-Metric TM-2025 battery monitor that was installed in my Escape by AM Solar when I had additional solar panels installed on the trailer. If I disconnect my batteries at the negative terminal will this "reset" the monitor so that it no longer accurately displays the state of charge of the batteries?

I realize I could eventually figure this out for myself if I read the rather dense Tri-Metric manuals, but I thought someone here might know off the top of their head. I want to avoid the process of re-calibrating the monitor if possible.
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Old 01-24-2017, 01:43 PM   #2
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If I recall the Trimetric shunt was connected to the negative, so it will have to be reset. this was one of the issues I had with it in another trailer, every time I turned the master switch off. When I sold the trailer I never replaced it in later units.
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Old 01-24-2017, 03:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis View Post
I have a Tri-Metric TM-2025 battery monitor that was installed in my Escape by AM Solar when I had additional solar panels installed on the trailer. If I disconnect my batteries at the negative terminal will this "reset" the monitor so that it no longer accurately displays the state of charge of the batteries?

I realize I could eventually figure this out for myself if I read the rather dense Tri-Metric manuals, but I thought someone here might know off the top of their head. I want to avoid the process of re-calibrating the monitor if possible.
Even after reading the manual, I don't know how long the TriMetric holds settings with the battery disconnected, but it looks like it will cause a reset.

I'd check with the manufacturer of your controller to be sure disconnecting the battery without disconnecting the solar panels won't damage the controller. Some manufacturers require disconnecting the panels first, or covering them so there is no output.
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Old 01-24-2017, 04:57 PM   #4
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Yeah, that's what I was afraid of. I'd better leave everything connected up.

I asked because I intend to install a power line for a ham radio, which normally would go directly to the batteries. I know the negative wire will have to go to the shunt instead of directly to the negative battery terminal. Since the other end of this power line will end in a connector, I won't be completing a circuit when I connect the wires to the positive battery post and (negative) shunt, so I should be able to do it without disconnecting anything else.
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:06 PM   #5
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When I switched my battery from single to dual 6 volts, I did nothing to my solar, I merely disconnected the ables removed and reinstalled the battery and revoked up the cables. Was this wrong with the solar set up/ How does one remove the battery over the winter with solar? A whole new bunch of questions now?
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:33 PM   #6
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Mike, you mentioned you have the Bogart TM-2025 monitor, do you also have their controller, the SC-2030? or do you have a different brand. I ask as a non Bogart controller has no settings set in the monitor where as the SC-2030 does.

Having both Bogart products I seem to recall only a few settings were lost when dropping power. Don't know if the same is true for a monitor only install, I couldn't find any.

I'd just go thru the settings and write them all down then disconnect and see what happens. Can always give Bogart or AM a call.

FWIW, I've disconnected the batteries with the panel connected and with it not connected, no damage done but I don't know which way is the right way.
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:54 PM   #7
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I have only the Bogart battery monitor, not their solar controller. AM Solar offered to install a new solar controller as well, possibly the Bogart, but I declined due to budget. So I have the solar controller that came with the trailer.
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Old 01-24-2017, 08:38 PM   #8
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I do not recall having to reenter the settings into the Trimetric after disconnecting the battery. I thought the Trimetric was using an EEPROM to store the settings and therefore they would hold. Now that I say that I know that I wrote down the L1, L2 etc settings so maybe I am entering them in the spring when reconnecting. It can't take more than a few minutes to enter those few settings.

Coming out of storage in three weeks for a trip south, I will let you know for sure at that time.
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Old 01-25-2017, 04:08 PM   #9
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If I owned a Trimetric, I might add a separate switch from the +12 volt line to the Trimetric to be able to shut it off separately from main power.

Instead, I bought the Victron Energy BMV-700 battery monitor, which supposedly doesn't have this issue because it stores settings and history in non-volatile storage. I have yet to install the monitor, so I'm going off what a dealer told me when I asked, and Victron Energy's product information which lists the change in the newest version of their battery monitor. The 600 series battery monitors lost their settings.
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Old 01-26-2017, 08:44 AM   #10
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I contacted Bogart Engineering. I was told that when I disconnect power the "% full" reading will go away until the batteries are fully charged again, then it will come back and be accurate. Monitor setpoints P1 and P2 are involved:

P1 - charged setpoint voltage
P2 - charged setpoint amps

When the batteries are charged higher than the P1 voltage and the charging amps drop below P2, the monitor considers the batteries to be charged. Apparently the P1 and P2 settings do not go away when power is removed from the monitor.

I forgot to ask about the solar panels. I saw that the solar panel ground was connected to the same shunt terminal as the other ground wires. So it should be okay to disconnect them all at once, but I'll cover the solar panels first just to be safe.
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Old 01-26-2017, 02:03 PM   #11
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Thank you for confirming that the Trimetric holds its settings. Also for correcting my use of L1, L2 etc, it is correctly P1, P1 etc. For anyone with Interstate dual six volt batteries here is what I use for programmable data settings:
P1-15.28
P2-4.64
P3-232

One of my complaints of the Trimetric is the lack of a decimal point on some of the settings and the display.

I did my own solar install and accepted practices called for a kill switch when ever the panel was inaccessible, such as a roof mount of an Escape. I do not believe Escape installs such a device and there can be dangers when working with a live panel.

I do not have a roof mount, rather a portable panel and still choose to add a kill switch. Since the photo I have added instructions next to the PV Panel switch - On Last, Off First.
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Old 01-27-2017, 09:45 AM   #12
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You only need to cover part of the panel, a small piece of plywood works on mine.
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post

I did my own solar install and accepted practices called for a kill switch when ever the panel was inaccessible, such as a roof mount of an Escape. I do not believe Escape installs such a device and there can be dangers when working with a live panel.
I like the idea of having a solar disconnect switch, but I think these accepted practices pertain more towards residential solar which operates at higher voltages. This system operates at 18-ish volts max, and my understanding is that DC isn't lethally dangerous until above 40 volts.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an electrician. I do not understand what I am talking about. Do not follow my advice.
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Old 02-23-2017, 05:57 PM   #14
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I like the idea of having a solar disconnect switch, but I think these accepted practices pertain more towards residential solar which operates at higher voltages. This system operates at 18-ish volts max, and my understanding is that DC isn't lethally dangerous until above 40 volts.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an electrician. I do not understand what I am talking about. Do not follow my advice.
As a rule of thumb, any device that can source more than 0.05 amps at 50 volts is potentially dangerous. It's not the volts that will kill you. Also, DC is much more hazardous than AC of the same voltage. If you get shocked by DC, you may not let go of what you touch. AC will knock you away.

That said, two 18v panels in series = 36v - possible threat.
Three 18v panels in series = 54v - you should have some method of disconnecting the panels.

Here's some info from OSHA.

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/3075.html

6–25 milliamperes (women) Painful shock, loss of muscular control*
9–30 milliamperes (men) The freezing current or " let-go" range.* Individual cannot let go, but can be thrown away from the circuit if extensor muscles are stimulated.
50–150 milliamperes Extreme pain, respiratory arrest, severe muscular contractions. Death is possible.
1,000–4,300 milliamperes Rhythmic pumping action of the heart ceases. Muscular contraction and nerve damage occur; death likely.
10,000 milliamperes Cardiac arrest, severe burns; death probable
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:04 PM   #15
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It's not the volts that will kill you. Also, DC is much more hazardous than AC of the same voltage.
I must agree. I have been zapped by 120V AC dozens and dozens of times, nothing more than a fuzzy feeling. I have been HIT by 130V DV used to power electrical substation protection ONCE. Man, that hurt. It was like getting punched in every last muscle in my whole arm and beyond, all at once.

That said, I too have been pondering whether to do a disconnect switch. It sure can't hurt. I see that in some RVs, guys do one on the input to the controller, and one on the battery side.
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:28 PM   #16
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Remember the old televisions with a CRT picture tube? I've been hit by the capacitive charge on a tube that still had about 35k DC stored. It didn't kill me but I thought it had. Lots of volts - no current.

I have had to warn electricans that the battery banks for the electrical switchgear (10 12v batteries in series) could be lethal. Somehow lead acid batteries were deemed to be safe by most.
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:51 PM   #17
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These automotive disconnect/fuses are very convenient and inexpensive

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 02-24-2017, 01:27 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by tdf-texas View Post
As a rule of thumb, any device that can source more than 0.05 amps at 50 volts is potentially dangerous. It's not the volts that will kill you. Also, DC is much more hazardous than AC of the same voltage. If you get shocked by DC, you may not let go of what you touch. AC will knock you away.

That said, two 18v panels in series = 36v - possible threat.
Three 18v panels in series = 54v - you should have some method of disconnecting the panels.

Here's some info from OSHA.

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/3075.html

6–25 milliamperes (women) Painful shock, loss of muscular control*
9–30 milliamperes (men) The freezing current or " let-go" range.* Individual cannot let go, but can be thrown away from the circuit if extensor muscles are stimulated.
50–150 milliamperes Extreme pain, respiratory arrest, severe muscular contractions. Death is possible.
1,000–4,300 milliamperes Rhythmic pumping action of the heart ceases. Muscular contraction and nerve damage occur; death likely.
10,000 milliamperes Cardiac arrest, severe burns; death probable
UL says below 42 volts is safe. Above might not kill you, but it depends on the circumstances. That's why you don't need to be an electrician to work on 12 volt systems. Yes, amperage is what kills, but a typical human has a certain amount of resistance, and you need above 42 volts to generate the required amps.

Home solar panels are often grid connected and put in series which is why I'd be more concerned about them, and demand a switch for safety. 12 volt solar systems, which have a max unloaded voltage of about 18 volts, would typically be in parallel. They must be in parallel with the GoPower PWM charge controller, which is why I wouldn't ding ETI for not including a switch.
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