Battery monitor

Hi everyone I'm after some information regarding checking battery levels when free camping,for example if your free camping for a week how do you check that your batteries need recharging .
Cheers
Chris
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Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 17:26

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 17:26
Chris for me I know my power drain so out of habit I check everyday by using my multi meter how many volts is left in the battery. When the time comes around I will get a meter build into my setup that is on a on/off switch but for now I take the 20 seconds and hook up a meter.
AnswerID: 484723

Reply By: Member - Trouper (NSW) - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 17:40

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 17:40
Humpback, Have a look at ABR Sidewinder, a sponsor of this site.

jeff
AnswerID: 484724

Follow Up By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 21:42

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 21:42
I will second the products ABR Sidewinder sell. I have purchased a dual battery system from Derek and the optional battery monitor for inside the cab. That little monitor will tell me the volts of either battery at the flick of a switch.

Further when I had left my headlights on and flattened my starting battery the monitor has a switch to change over and start of my second battery. Great - did not have to get out, pop the bonnet, grab the jump leads and jump off the other battery.

Serendipity


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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 18:04

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 18:04
Hi Chris,

A read through our Electricity for camping blog here may help to answer your question.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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AnswerID: 484733

Reply By: The Bantam - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 18:04

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 18:04
There are a number of battery monitors available, some better than others, in my view most ore overpriced.

I have a n LED digital voltmeter permanently connected to my second battery.......it was cheap enough from Jaycar.

I still don't understand why I can buy a fairly respectable whole multimeter cheaper than I can but a simple digital pannel meter.

Any half decent Digital meter should present no appreciable drain on the size battery involved.

OH

Forget the idea that any battery meter works like a fuel guage.

A battery is not a tank and how much energy is available varies and the voltage readings also with a number of things.

A battery guage is an indication only and not a difinitave guage of capacity.

cheers
AnswerID: 484734

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 18:07

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 18:07
All that said, an accurate voltmeter can tell you a great deal about what is going on with your batteries if you know how to read it.

cheers
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FollowupID: 759998

Reply By: olcoolone - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 18:09

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 18:09
Chris it's not a matter of if you need them charged if camping for a week it's a matter of how do I charge them.

If you can keep them charged up they will last longer and the more times a battery gets discharge and the lower it's discharge the lower the life expectancy.

Easiest way is to use a dedicated LED/LCD volt meter that is always wired up..... this way you can keep an eye on it and not let your batteries get low.

We try and not let our batteries get much below 12.5-12.6 volts but then again we have large axillary battery capacity and correct chargers.
AnswerID: 484735

Reply By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 18:29

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 18:29
Hi Chris, when we had a van I installed a simple volt meter which we purchased from Derek of ABR. As already mentioned he is an advertiser on this site and gives excellent service.

He currently is advertising the same as the one we had for $29.95, so they are cheap as chips & very simple to install.

We just wanted something simple, similar if you like to a fuel gauge in your vehicle!! Anyway it worked well for us as it took the worry out of how much battery capacity we had left.

We also had solar power, so depending on weather conditions, location etc a bit of charge usually got stuck back in next day which prolonged our stay on a non powered site. Good luck & cheers
AnswerID: 484739

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