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Old 03-25-2019, 09:05 AM   #1
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TriMetric install on a 17B

We ordered our 17B with the dual 6V batteries and solar option. I'll probably add a battery monitor after picking up the trailer. At this point I like the TriMetric.

We will have the permanent double bed install, so the "converter" will be moved, I believe to under the passengers side dinette seat. I assume the surge protector will also be installed there. The photographs I've seen of Escapes show the solar charger control in the upper cabinet above the galley. The two 6 V batteries will be on the rear bumper.

I assume there is a master battery power switch on these trailers. That would be the obvious place to me to install the shunt for a battery monitor. Any idea where they might install this in our build ?

It would be nice to be able to eye ball the battery monitor easily so if it were installed in an upper cabinet that would be best. Would it be easy to fish a wire from under the passengers dinette seat to the upper cabinet through the closet ?

Any advice ?

Bob
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Old 03-25-2019, 02:05 PM   #2
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I asked the above questions of Escape and they sent me a few pictures of the install.

The battery master switch, converter and surge protector move to the drivers side dinette seat the solar controller is in the upper cabinet above the galley.

The master switch appears to be a toggle, looks like an odd choice to mount below where someone will be sitting. I'll be changing that I think.

I hope the master switch does disconnect the solar controller. I've followed up with Escape to confirm this.

Here are the pictures supplied by Escape,
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:19 PM   #3
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The battery disconnect switch normally does not disconnect the solar charge controller from the battery, because it is intended as a storage switch (preventing unwanted power drain), not a master shutoff for safety. The solar system can keep the battery charged during storage (if it has sun exposure).

Even aside from the solar system, the disconnect switch is not a suitable location for a current measurement shunt. The shunt needs to intercept all current, and the way to do that is to install it in the negative cable at the battery.
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Old 03-25-2019, 08:53 PM   #4
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Bob:

I've run quite a few wires to the upper cabinets in our '19. I ran them behind the corner trim. Worked well for me. Not sure how similar the '17 corners are but might work.

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It would be nice to be able to eye ball the battery monitor easily so if it were installed in an upper cabinet that would be best. Would it be easy to fish a wire from under the passengers dinette seat to the upper cabinet through the closet ?

Bob
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Old 03-26-2019, 06:25 AM   #5
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Bob:

I've run quite a few wires to the upper cabinets in our '19. I ran them behind the corner trim. Worked well for me. Not sure how similar the '17 corners are but might work.
thanks, that's a good tip, I'll keep it in mind.
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Old 03-26-2019, 06:38 AM   #6
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I sent ETI the cabless for my Trimetric and had them run them, don't recall the price, if there was one. Don't have a 17, but I had them run from just inside the entry door, on yours it would be on the side of the wardrobe cabinet, to the batteries.

Just a guess, but I'd think the batteries run into the trailer at the converter. Depending on the distance of the cable, that's where I'd look to put the shunt. I replaced the negative battery cable with 0awg from the shunt to the battery/s.
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Old 03-26-2019, 06:46 AM   #7
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The battery disconnect switch normally does not disconnect the solar charge controller from the battery, because it is intended as a storage switch (preventing unwanted power drain), not a master shutoff for safety. The solar system can keep the battery charged during storage (if it has sun exposure).

Even aside from the solar system, the disconnect switch is not a suitable location for a current measurement shunt. The shunt needs to intercept all current, and the way to do that is to install it in the negative cable at the battery.
OK that makes sense. I think I'll be adding a Bluesea master disconnect switch, and a disconnect for the solar panel controller.
So I guess the negative battery terminal goes straight to the trailer frame as in an automobile. In that case the shunt then needs to be installed outside the trailer in a sealed box between the ground connection and the battery.

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Old 03-26-2019, 06:51 AM   #8
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I sent ETI the cabless for my Trimetric and had them run them, don't recall the price, if there was one. Don't have a 17, but I had them run from just inside the entry door, on yours it would be on the side of the wardrobe cabinet, to the batteries.

Just a guess, but I'd think the batteries run into the trailer at the converter. Depending on the distance of the cable, that's where I'd look to put the shunt. I replaced the negative battery cable with 0awg from the shunt to the battery/s.
thanks, yes originally I was thinking that both battery cables would run to the converter being a fiberglass trailer, but now I'm thinking they ground the negative cable to the trailer frame at the battery....I'll contact ETI and ask them about the options on this. I downloaded the owners manual but it does not provide any information about the electrics.
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Old 03-26-2019, 07:00 AM   #9
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looking at the photograph of the converter install there are both black and red cables, if the battery negative does run to the converter before being grounded then I could ask ETI to run the solar controller output to the converter instead of straight to the batteries.
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:56 AM   #10
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The TriMetric, due to the way it is wired, is not turned off via the master switch. The wiring harness from TriMetric, that Escape installed, has an inline fuse. This is the best method of disabling the TriMetric during winter storage. Just be sure that the fuse is easily accessible to facilitate that process. Mine ended up in the battery box making it necessary to open the box to access the fuse, something I easily rectified.
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Old 03-26-2019, 10:41 AM   #11
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I'm confused (happens far too often). If you have a permanent double bed installed by Escape, the only dinette seating would be the 2 person in the front of a 17b. The photograph shows a standard 17B with the 4 person dinette, which goes away with the permanent bed.

As to the wiring of the Trimetric shunt, as Brian noted, for it to properly monitor the batteries, it must be placed in the negative side of the battery wiring as close as possible to the batteries & must be the located so that all current in & out of the batteries goes through it.

Unless Escape has changed its wiring practices, all 12V wiring is run as pairs - they do not use the chassis as wiring & it is not directly connected to the negative battery post. They do run a frame ground from the converter case, and a 120V frame ground as required by the NEC.

In my case, I added an inverter to my 2011 17B before it was an option. I replaced all the battery wiring (including the cross over between the 6V batteries) with #0 wire. To avoid the weather, I placed the shunt under the driver's side seat, along with the inverter & EMS. A waterproof 200 amp fuse was located next to one of the battery cases on the rear bumper.

A last suggestion - look at the Victron battery monitor. The advantage over the Trimetric is it connects to your phone via bluetooth, providing more information in a more useful display. While I have the Trimetric, if I was starting over it would be the Victron.
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:11 AM   #12
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Thanks for the very useful information. It is a bit confusing. I'm getting the permanent bed but Escape only had a picture of the rear converter install so they sent me that.

So the -ve wire from the battery runs to the converter, then to ground. That would make installing the shunt easier. I'll ask Escape if they can move the solar controller to the overhead cabinet above the double dinette and wire it direct to the converter terminals.

As far as I know the shunt should work fine if its at the battery or at the converter as long as nothing is connected between the shunt and the battery so all the current has to pass through the shunt.

I am familiar with the older Victron monitor I installed one on my boat a few years ago and was pleased with it. After I installed it Balmar introduced their battery monitor and it seems to be much more useful. There is a good write up on the Balmar here
https://marinehowto.com/smartgauge-b...nitoring-unit/

The Balmar can calculate the actual Ah of a battery bank. I thought that was the problem using a battery monitor and believing it, the size of the bank is a moving target.

I was really using the Victron more for keeping an eye on loads and the output from the 500 W solar panel, and the 140 Amp alternator. We had a 5 cu ft fridge and 4 cu ft freezer they could be current hungry if some warm food was deposited in them. The solar controller was very smart and I could tell the state of charge of the battery bank just looking at what the solar controller was doing.

I'll look at the new Victron unit and compare it to the TriMetrik, thanks again.

Bob
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:23 AM   #13
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Though I am not as familar with the Victron as the TriMetric, I would emulate Jon and purchase the Victron next time. The TriMetric is stable and solid in performance but archaic in configuration. I would also like the ability to monitor on my phone.
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Old 03-26-2019, 12:42 PM   #14
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I think if I were going to have a trimetric monitor installed I would go with a trimetric charge controller installed instead of the go power and have it installed as close to the batteries as possible. Escape might not install a different controller in a different location but you could have them run the wires where you want.
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Old 03-26-2019, 01:06 PM   #15
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As far as I know the shunt should work fine if its at the battery or at the converter as long as nothing is connected between the shunt and the battery so all the current has to pass through the shunt.
Right, but if you ever add an inverter or anything else that is wired (positive and negative) directly to the battery (not through the DC fuse panel in the WFCO Power Center ("converter"), you will need the shunt at the battery to avoid bypassing it with those loads. Even in a stock installation without an inverter, some equipment (other than the solar charge controller already mentioned does not connect at the fuse panel, at least in some models.
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Old 03-26-2019, 01:52 PM   #16
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I third Jon and Paul’s sentiments re the Victron vs Trimetric. I have and like our Trimetric, and our neighbor has a Victron and I like it even better. Trimetric interface is archaic. Victron has a phone app. Both do their jobs perfectly when programmed correctly.

I will admit to being intrigued by the Balmar, however. It would be very interesting to see one running side by side with my Trimetric. If I had $300 sitting around with nothing better to be used on, I’d be tempted to do it.

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So the -ve wire from the battery runs to the converter, then to ground. That would make installing the shunt easier. I'll ask Escape if they can move the solar controller to the overhead cabinet above the double dinette and wire it direct to the converter terminals.



As far as I know the shunt should work fine if its at the battery or at the converter as long as nothing is connected between the shunt and the battery so all the current has to pass through the shunt.

You want both your battery monitor shunt and your solar controller to be as close to your batteries as possible. I’d put the shunt in a waterproof box on the bumper next to the batteries. The solar controller is trickier in a permanent bed 17B setup. Our controller was above the galley, which was a longer run to the batteries than I would have liked. You might consider getting a solar controller that has a remote option, so you could put the actual controller close to the batteries (eg in the same waterproof box as the shunt) and then have the remote someplace handy and visible, eg at eye level in the galley area. I believe Victron makes such solar controllers, and some or many of them can also interface and coordinate with Victron battery monitors so the two systems work even better together, synergistically. Spendy, but nice gear.
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Old 03-26-2019, 02:16 PM   #17
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You want both your battery monitor shunt and your solar controller to be as close to your batteries as possible.
...
You might consider getting a solar controller that has a remote option, so you could put the actual controller close to the batteries (eg in the same waterproof box as the shunt) and then have the remote someplace handy and visible, eg at eye level in the galley area.
That would work, but you don't need the controller to be close to the battery for ideal operation - you just need the controller to sense the voltage at the battery instead of at the other end of long wires carrying current. A solution is a controller with an input for voltage sense wires from the battery, separate from the wires carrying the charging current from the controller to the battery.
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Old 03-26-2019, 02:54 PM   #18
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You might consider getting a solar controller that has a remote option, so you could put the actual controller close to the batteries (eg in the same waterproof box as the shunt) and then have the remote someplace handy and visible, eg at eye level in the galley area.
Which is the case if one gets the Trimetric SC2030 to go with the TM2030 monitor. I have the controller right next to the batteries and the control panel/monitor out where I have easy access. I agree the controller/monitor is pretty involved setup wise, although Ralph at Bogart is pretty easy to work with if one needs help. You can tell this was designed by an engineer with a strong lean on troubleshooting issues. It stores historical data on a bunch of topics useful to those who just can't get enough. Most of which only come into play if you use it as a controller interface as well as a monitor.

When it came out there were not a lot of other player in the field, unlike now.
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Old 03-26-2019, 03:00 PM   #19
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Though I am not as familar with the Victron as the TriMetric, I would emulate Jon and purchase the Victron next time. The TriMetric is stable and solid in performance but archaic in configuration. I would also like the ability to monitor on my phone.
We have the Victron BMV 712 installed in our 2018 Escape 19'er. I asked, and for $100 CDN, ETI ran the wire for the Victron from our batteries (in the front box) to the upper dinette, passenger side cabinet where I mounted the meter at the end of the cabinet near the entry door. I mounted the shunt right next to the 2-6v batteries in the front box & covered it for protection.

I like the fact that the meter front is small yet easily readable. But best of all, the meter's info bluetooths over to my iPad and iPhone Victron app so I can read it anywhere in the trailer.

The Victron's manual says... "The BMV stores events which can be used at a later date to evaluate usage patterns and battery health". But I haven't figured out how that works yet.
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Old 03-26-2019, 03:02 PM   #20
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Which is the case if one gets the Trimetric SC2030 to go with the TM2030 monitor. I have the controller right next to the batteries and the control panel/monitor out where I have easy access. I agree the controller/monitor is pretty involved setup wise, although Ralph at Bogart is pretty easy to work with if one needs help. You can tell this was designed by an engineer with a strong lean on troubleshooting issues. It stores historical data on a bunch of topics useful to those who just can't get enough. Most of which only come into play if you use it as a controller interface as well as a monitor.

When it came out there were not a lot of other player in the field, unlike now.
Just an additional point - the Victron company also makes a solar controller that is also bluetooth programable.
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