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Old 04-08-2020, 08:48 AM   #1
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Battery Monitors - Victron BMV-712 or AiLi Battery Monitor?

Just saw this AiLi Battery Monitor over on the Fiberglass Forum.

We own a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor. At $210 it is vastly overpriced. I wanted it for 24 hour history, and despite my conversation with Victron it does not show 24 hour history. It does bluetooth, so we can watch the charge from my phone as were driving down the highway, but that's just a cute feature. However, sometimes I'm just lazy and don't want to get my fat a$$ up, so I fire up my phone to read the monitor.

We do get some history with our Victron Smartsolar 100/20 that was purchased for $160 and can also read the 100/20 as were driving down the road. Since I buried the controller in back underneath the rear bench, next to the batteries, the bluetooth is handy.

FYI, we have a 170 watt solar panel permanently mounted on the roof and a 100 watt portable, for those rare times the 170 watt isn't in adequate sun. The Escape provided GoPower controller is still used for the 170 watt panel and the Victron 100/20 controls the portable panel. I'll be switching their roles around when I get the chance (like I don't have free time at the moment!).

If I had it to do over again (don't we all wish we had 20/20 vision) I would have purchased the Victron Smartsolar 100/20 and continued to use our simple/cheap 12v, plug-in battery monitor and the 100/20's bluetooth.

OTOH, if you're not purchasing a new solar controller the AiLi Battery Monitor is the monitor I would purchase.

Two good videos on the AiLi Battery Monitor:
RV Habit Install Video

Will Prowse $200 Victron Solar Battery Monitor? Try this $30 Chinese one instead!

I don't think Will set it up correctly and that was questioned in the comments. I'd set it up like RV Habit set his up.

Oh yeah, I mounted the shunt using velcro instead of screws, making it easy to get out of the way. After over 15,000 miles, vibrating down the road, the shunt stays securely in its place, not where it was easy to mount with screws, but where I wanted it.

First, there was duck tape, then along came velcro. Don't leave home without both!

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 04-08-2020, 11:27 AM   #2
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Perry,
I have bought an AiLi monitor and planning an install. I just finished some dinette mods and now looking at sorting out wiring, switches, fuses ,etc. on my 2017 E19 (without solar or inverter). The Negative battery is wired to trailer frame at box and then frame to converter negative at dinette. Since monitor is to be with shunt on battery negative before loads, would it be better for me to install shunt inline at battery then run a wired negative lead to bus bar inside dinette box. From bus negative I go to converter and another lead down to frame? This creates a wired negative circuit without using frame as an inline conductor.
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Old 04-08-2020, 05:31 PM   #3
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I have the escape installed solar and inverter with go power remote.
If I were to install this Aili meter would I be able to leave in the go power remote so I could use it to turn on and off the inverter as I can now?
It is handy to not have to lift up the dinette seat to turn the inverter on and off.
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Old 04-08-2020, 05:48 PM   #4
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Perry,
I have bought an AiLi monitor and planning an install. I just finished some dinette mods and now looking at sorting out wiring, switches, fuses ,etc. on my 2017 E19 (without solar or inverter). The Negative battery is wired to trailer frame at box and then frame to converter negative at dinette. Since monitor is to be with shunt on battery negative before loads, would it be better for me to install shunt inline at battery then run a wired negative lead to bus bar inside dinette box. From bus negative I go to converter and another lead down to frame? This creates a wired negative circuit without using frame as an inline conductor.
Here is how I did the last rewire to install a battery shunt where the frame was being used as a current path.

The wire from converter negative buss terminal left connected to the frame.
Removed battery to frame ground wire.
New wire run from battery to shunt.
New wire ran from shunt to converter negative buss terminal.
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File Type: jpg Battery wiring - frame ground.jpg (15.7 KB, 54 views)
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Old 04-09-2020, 09:54 AM   #5
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Thanks for schematic! A couple of questions so I can wire the +ve and _ve DC. Hope you can also help?

-What wire length to sort out AWG sizing did you use?
-What fuse block did you wire inline for the 60amp at battery positive?
-Did you use the Escape 50 amp thermal breaker?
-For the wire running battery disconnect to converter terminal can or should it be upsized to 6 AWG and still get into +ve wire terminal block inside converter?
-Likewise should wire -ve converter buss to DC converter inside terminal be upsized 6AWG and fit?
-Did you resize the hole for electrical wire entry dinette to outside to handle all wires and use a watertight thru hull fitting? I thought I should pull all original wires out and then drill to diameter for wires/thru hull (including future solar)?
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Old 04-09-2020, 11:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ChuckBC View Post
Thanks for schematic! A couple of questions so I can wire the +ve and _ve DC. Hope you can also help?

-What wire length to sort out AWG sizing did you use?
-What fuse block did you wire inline for the 60amp at battery positive?
-Did you use the Escape 50 amp thermal breaker?
-For the wire running battery disconnect to converter terminal can or should it be upsized to 6 AWG and still get into +ve wire terminal block inside converter?
-Likewise should wire -ve converter buss to DC converter inside terminal be upsized 6AWG and fit?
-Did you resize the hole for electrical wire entry dinette to outside to handle all wires and use a watertight thru hull fitting? I thought I should pull all original wires out and then drill to diameter for wires/thru hull (including future solar)?
Not sure how much this helps but WFCO manual recommends 8AWG wiring for the 8955 model (NEG-), but from working on the unit I can tell you that the lugs are generous in size and should fit 6AWG no problem. In fact the 12V DC board is likely the same for the higher amp models and they recommend 6AWG for those.

The inline 60A fuse that I have seen recommended is linked below. I bought it but have not installed yet. It takes a MAXI fuse and wiring is 6AWG. It has been recommended by tdf-texas (who I respect regarding electrical) to keep the stock 50A thermal breaker inline (as his schematic shows).
https://www.amazon.com/Bussmann-HHX-.../dp/B000CZ2Z92

The photo shows my Progressive Dynamics PD4655LMBA WildKat replacement converter main board (bottom) just in case you are wondering why it looks different.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg WFCO 8955.jpg (256.3 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg WFCO manual excerpt.JPG (109.0 KB, 21 views)
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Old 04-09-2020, 05:18 PM   #7
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But why?

I'm just an occasional trailer user, not a full timer or huge boondocker or electrical user. No built-in solar, TV, etc.. I get it that battery condition may be very important to some.


Doesn't a 12V plug-in giving voltage read out and a voltage chart to show depth of discharge provide most of the important info?


Educate me, if you please.
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Old 04-09-2020, 07:15 PM   #8
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The voltmeter does all I need it to do. I think you can have too much information, raising anxiety level.
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Old 04-09-2020, 07:54 PM   #9
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Answers are in red below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckBC View Post
Thanks for schematic! A couple of questions so I can wire the +ve and _ve DC. Hope you can also help?

-What wire length to sort out AWG sizing did you use?
Here is a good chart - 12 Volt Wiring: Wire Gauge to Amps | Offroaders.com

-What fuse block did you wire inline for the 60amp at battery positive?
rubicon327 mentioned a good one to use - mount as close to the battery terminal as possible

-Did you use the Escape 50 amp thermal breaker?
Yes

-For the wire running battery disconnect to converter terminal can or should it be upsized to 6 AWG and still get into +ve wire terminal block inside converter?
-Likewise should wire -ve converter buss to DC converter inside terminal be upsized 6AWG and fit?
For short runs of wire, a smaller gauge is OK. See the wire gauge chart in the link above.

-Did you resize the hole for electrical wire entry dinette to outside to handle all wires and use a watertight thru hull fitting? I thought I should pull all original wires out and then drill to diameter for wires/thru hull (including future solar)?
I just used the existing hole and resealed the wires to the shell with Proflex sealant.
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Old 04-10-2020, 08:15 AM   #10
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The voltmeter does all I need it to do. I think you can have too much information, raising anxiety level.
I installed a Trimetric battery monitor in one of my early trailers and like you say Glenn, too much information. Now I just use the plug in and the stock units in the trailer. Ignorance is bliss.....
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Old 04-10-2020, 08:29 AM   #11
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Battery Monitors - Victron BMV-712 or AiLi Battery Monitor

Quote:
Originally Posted by HABBERDABBER View Post
I'm just an occasional trailer user, not a full timer or huge boondocker or electrical user. No built-in solar, TV, etc.. I get it that battery condition may be very important to some.


Doesn't a 12V plug-in giving voltage read out and a voltage chart to show depth of discharge provide most of the important info?


Educate me, if you please.

For your needs, the simple voltage-based battery readout on your battery/holding tank monitor panel is probably all you need.

For others, like us, we push the limits of our battery capacity regularly. Having a good battery monitor (we have a Bogart Trimetric in our trailer and a Victron BMV-712 in our boat - both good but Victron is way snazzier) reduces anxiety, rather than creates it, unlike Glennís take.

Hereís an analogy that I like. An amp-counting battery meter is essentially an accurate gas-gauge for your batteries. A voltage-based battery meter is imprecise at best, for numerous technical reasons, and is sort of like having an opaque gas can, where you have to guesstimate how full it is by shaking it and listening to the sound of how it sloshes. But the amp-counting monitor instead is a gas can thatís transparent so you can directly see how full it is.

For users who donít regularly run their tanks down near empty it doesnít really matter. But for those of us who do, itís important. If you run your batteries down below 50% too much it reduces their capacity permanently, and shortens their lifespan. That is the anxiety that a real battery monitor helps me avoid. YMMV.
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Old 04-10-2020, 08:54 AM   #12
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For your needs, the simple voltage-based battery readout on your battery/holding tank monitor panel is probably all you need.

For others, like us, we push the limits of our battery capacity regularly. Having a good battery monitor (we have a Bogart Trimetric in our trailer and a Victron BMV-712 in our boat - both good but Victron is way snazzier) reduces anxiety, rather than creates it, unlike Glennís take.

Hereís an analogy that I like. An amp-counting battery meter is essentially an accurate gas-gauge for your batteries. A voltage-based battery meter is imprecise at best, for numerous technical reasons, and is sort of like having an opaque gas can, where you have to guesstimate how full it is by shaking it and listening to the sound of how it sloshes. But the amp-counting monitor instead is a gas can thatís transparent so you can directly see how full it is.

For users who donít regularly run their tanks down near empty it doesnít really matter. But for those of us who do, itís important. If you run your batteries down below 50% too much it reduces their capacity permanently, and shortens their lifespan. That is the anxiety that a real battery monitor helps me avoid. YMMV.
2X. If you dry camp for days or weeks in a row, accurately knowing the status of your batteries reduces anxiety. While voltage alone (measured under the proper conditions) is accurate enough for most, not for all.
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Old 04-10-2020, 10:11 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by sclifrickson View Post
For your needs, the simple voltage-based battery readout on your battery/holding tank monitor panel is probably all you need.

For others, like us, we push the limits of our battery capacity regularly. Having a good battery monitor (we have a Bogart Trimetric in our trailer and a Victron BMV-712 in our boat - both good but Victron is way snazzier) reduces anxiety, rather than creates it, unlike Glenn’s take.

Here’s an analogy that I like. An amp-counting battery meter is essentially an accurate gas-gauge for your batteries. A voltage-based battery meter is imprecise at best, for numerous technical reasons, and is sort of like having an opaque gas can, where you have to guesstimate how full it is by shaking it and listening to the sound of how it sloshes. But the amp-counting monitor instead is a gas can that’s transparent so you can directly see how full it is.

For users who don’t regularly run their tanks down near empty it doesn’t really matter. But for those of us who do, it’s important. If you run your batteries down below 50% too much it reduces their capacity permanently, and shortens their lifespan. That is the anxiety that a real battery monitor helps me avoid. YMMV.
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
2X. If you dry camp for days or weeks in a row, accurately knowing the status of your batteries reduces anxiety. While voltage alone (measured under the proper conditions) is accurate enough for most, not for all.




We originally purchased the Victron 712 because of a faulty battery. By the time I installed the 712 we had already received two new batteries under warranty.

We've used a simple plug-in voltage readout monitor for years. It's around 15 years old. Before retirement we were only out for perhaps two weeks and a plug-in served us well. We now dry camp, so far up to 12 days, and I want to see whats eating our amps.

For example, when not using our furnace we'll use about 10-12 ah's a day. When in cold weather, <35 F, we'll use from 16-42 ah's a night. If we estimate it's too cloudy, or under tree cover, we now use our Martin catalytic heater overnight. Using the Martin we don't use the 20-30 ah's the furnace will need, that won't be replaced the next day because of the clouds or tree cover.

We have two AGM batteries and want them to last as long as possible.

We all have different needs and wants.

Enjoy,

Perr
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Old 04-10-2020, 10:37 AM   #14
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The photo shows my Progressive Dynamics PD4655LMBA WildKat replacement converter main board (bottom) just in case you are wondering why it looks different.
The +ve and -ve wires in your pic of converter are 6AWG? They seem to look smaller like 8AWG?
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Old 04-10-2020, 10:44 AM   #15
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Answers are in red below.
For the complete wired circuit for battery/60A fuse/50A thermal/main switch/converter buss/converter DC and likewise battery neg/converter DC shouldn't they be all same AWG? I wanted to up size to 6AWG so I thought I should maintain gauge right to converter DC positive and negative lug?
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Old 04-10-2020, 04:37 PM   #16
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For the complete wired circuit for battery/60A fuse/50A thermal/main switch/converter buss/converter DC and likewise battery neg/converter DC shouldn't they be all same AWG? I wanted to up size to 6AWG so I thought I should maintain gauge right to converter DC positive and negative lug?
It's great if all the wiring in the series are the same gauge but most important is to have the longer runs of wire a larger gauge to lower the resistance.

Also, sometimes you can't get a larger wire on a terminal - the stock toggle switch Escape used for the battery disconnect is only rated for 30 amps so putting larger gauge wire on it is like putting lipstick on a pig. (please change that &*% out if possible with a good marine battery switch)

The rule of thumb I use for a 60 amp circuit is 10 ft run or less - 6 gauge. More than 10 ft run - 4 gauge. Voltage drop due to large loads can drive you nuts.
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Old 04-10-2020, 04:54 PM   #17
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For example, when not using our furnace we'll use about 10-12 ah's a day. When in cold weather, <35 F, we'll use from 16-42 ah's a night. If we estimate it's too cloudy, or under tree cover, we now use our Martin catalytic heater overnight. Using the Martin we don't use the 20-30 ah's the furnace will need, that won't be replaced the next day because of the clouds or tree cover.
So what model of Martin heater do you use? CH3? Model 112? Do you find water vapor build up an issue in cold temps?
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Old 04-10-2020, 06:14 PM   #18
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So what model of Martin heater do you use? CH3? Model 112? Do you find water vapor build up an issue in cold temps?
We have the CH3. There is no water vapor buildup since we run it at 1,000 - 1,500 btu's. Zero, nada! A typical stove uses 3,000 btu's on simmer (low). This winter we probably used the Martin all night 20-25 times.

For the CO police, yes, we do crack the kitchen window 1/4" and the top vent another 1/4" whenever we use the Martin. We also have a second CO detector and it's never even registers CO with the Martin running. Can't say the same when Terry is cooking! Twice the CO detector went off this winter after Terry was cooking for at least a half hour. One time the Escape supplied CO detector also went off, along with the second detector we purchased.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 04-10-2020, 09:25 PM   #19
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The +ve and -ve wires in your pic of converter are 6AWG? They seem to look smaller like 8AWG?
No I think they are 8AWG. I was just showing a picture of the converter to emphasize how generous the lugs are on the 12V board. Should be able to accept 6AWG without an issue.
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Old 04-10-2020, 09:40 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by HABBERDABBER View Post
I'm just an occasional trailer user, not a full timer or huge boondocker or electrical user. No built-in solar, TV, etc.. I get it that battery condition may be very important to some.


Doesn't a 12V plug-in giving voltage read out and a voltage chart to show depth of discharge provide most of the important info?


Educate me, if you please.
the thing is, the voltage is hard to interpret. given, say, an 80% charged battery, the voltage varies with temperature and the load current. and if the battery is being charged, its even harder to know its charge state, if you don't know what the current is too.

these fancy battery monitors not only measure voltage, they also measure current via a shunt, and they integrate the charging or discharging current so they can accurately tell you how many amp*hours are left in the battery.
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