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Remote battery monitoring

JeffCox

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2019
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I am looking for a way to remotely monitor the charge on both my starter and house batteries. The boat has a solar charger, but I never know until I get out to where I store it, how much charge is in the batteries. I would need something that has a cellular connection to send low voltage messages, as well as allow me to check the charge proactively. Any ideas?
 

marcham

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How much is this worth to you? Victron has monitors that can be remotely accesses through wifi / 4G lte .... but it's expensive. Best guess would be $500-$1000... that's probably overkill.



How often do you boat? Is it in the water? Is there a bilge pump that draws the battery down? If the boat is dry docked, then 30 days without running should not be a problem.

A battery booster pack might be better insurance so that when you get to the boat, you have an easy way to jump it.


Maybe there's a cheap Chinese solution to this??
 

marcham

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I got curious and did some googling .... found this:


It uses a (optional) USB dongle for 3G/LTE data

100% Wireless Remote Monitoring & Interactive System for your boat with
NO MONTHLY FEE or SUBSCRIPTIONS
Send SMS and App notifications for:

Battery voltage – Bilge flood – Intrusion & Video surveillance – Movements – Smoke alarm – Heat alarm – Shore power shortage
 

JeffCox

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How much is this worth to you? Victron has monitors that can be remotely accesses through wifi / 4G lte .... but it's expensive. Best guess would be $500-$1000... that's probably overkill.



How often do you boat? Is it in the water? Is there a bilge pump that draws the battery down? If the boat is dry docked, then 30 days without running should not be a problem.

A battery booster pack might be better insurance so that when you get to the boat, you have an easy way to jump it.


Maybe there's a cheap Chinese solution to this??
Thx for answering, I probably wouldn’t spend that much. I was just hoping there would be an answer someone with a boat or RV had already found. The boat has solar charger built into the Bimini,and I have it in covered storage. But , there is some light that gets into the facility through some screening at the top of the building. The dealer told me to put it up and not worry about it; any indirect sun light would charge it. But, I worry about it all the time. We run the stereo most alll day when we have it out, so I am going to need the house battery to get a charge somehow. I just don’t know how to know , until I show up, if it has been charged by the solar panel.
 

JeffCox

Active Member
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I got curious and did some googling .... found this:


It uses a (optional) USB dongle for 3G/LTE data

100% Wireless Remote Monitoring & Interactive System for your boat with
NO MONTHLY FEE or SUBSCRIPTIONS
Send SMS and App notifications for:

Battery voltage – Bilge flood – Intrusion & Video surveillance – Movements – Smoke alarm – Heat alarm – Shore power shortage
Thanks for the feedback, I will check it out.
 

mrcleanr6

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If your solar is mostly or even partially covered then its probably not doing anything or very little. If you have no way to plug on an on board charger then your best bet is to get real good quality batteries and jump up the size to a pair of group 27 or 31’s and also do more running around with the boat so they charge. Dont go out day after day for a 10 min trip and just sit all day long. My wife likes to sit and float but i will take her and the kids for a 1/2hr cruise before or after. Charges the batteries and keeps me from going crazy lol
 

marcham

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Most likely if you spend 8 hrs engines off with the stereo running, you'll need about 3-4hrs of engine run time to recharge the house battery. 100W or 1000W stereo will certainly make a difference.

If your engines are running then they'll probably keep up with the stereo power draw.

Is there any way you could install a solar panel on the storage roof to charge up on your off days?

Another option is using a lithium or good quality agm as the house battery. They can recharge very quickly, as long as the engine stator has excess capacity. You'd need a lithium battery with a built-in in bms that can compensate for the voltage regulator output which is tuned for flooded cells.

Each regulator can output about 400Watts.

The boat probably only uses half of that to run. So you have about 400 Watts to spare (2 stators/regulators). 400W / 14V = 29A charge current. If you run the stereo at 200W for 5 hrs that's about 85A Hrs. There are efficiency losses during recharge so you'd need about 3.5 hrs of engine run time to recharge. Flooded batteries typically only accept 10-15% of their rated capacity as a charge current. AGMs and lithium an accept up to 100%.

So a 200Ah flooded deep cycle house battery could recharge at about 20-30Amps.

....this is why most people use a 120V charger to top off the house battery after a full day on the water.

Next time you go out, turn everything off for 30 minutes after your outing. Turn on the stereo for 3 or 4 minutes to remove the surface charge and then measure the battery voltage (with a multimeter, measured at the battery). That will tell you if the ride back to the dock charged things back up. You'll want 12.65V. Any higher and there is still a surface charge. Lower and the house battery could use more electrons....
 
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JeffCox

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Most likely if you spend 8 hrs engines off with the stereo running, you'll need about 3-4hrs of engine run time to recharge the house battery. 100W or 1000W stereo will certainly make a difference.

If your engines are running then they'll probably keep up with the stereo power draw.

Is there any way you could install a solar panel on the storage roof to charge up on your off days?

Another option is using a lithium or good quality agm as the house battery. They can recharge very quickly, as long as the engine stator has excess capacity. You'd need a lithium battery with a built-in in bms that can compensate for the voltage regulator output which is tuned for flooded cells.

Each regulator can output about 400Watts.

The boat probably only uses half of that to run. So you have about 400 Watts to spare (2 stators/regulators). 400W / 14V = 29A charge current. If you run the stereo at 200W for 5 hrs that's about 85A Hrs. There are efficiency losses during recharge so you'd need about 3.5 hrs of engine run time to recharge. Flooded batteries typically only accept 10-15% of their rated capacity as a charge current. AGMs and lithium an accept up to 100%.

So a 200Ah flooded deep cycle house battery could recharge at about 20-30Amps.

....this is why most people use a 120V charger to top off the house battery after a full day on the water.

Next time you go out, turn everything off for 30 minutes after your outing. Turn on the stereo for 3 or 4 minutes to remove the surface charge and then measure the battery voltage (with a multimeter, measured at the battery). That will tell you if the ride back to the dock charged things back up. You'll want 12.65V. Any higher and there is still a surface charge. Lower and the house battery could use more electrons....
Thnks for the thoughtful reply. I think I can put a solar charger on the storage facility. I donot usually have a very long ride from where we use the boat to ramp, so i won’t usually get the house battery charged Enough. I am just not sure, since this boat already has one solar charger built into the Bimini, if there are any issues with adding another charge source while it is sitting in the storage unit. I cant find any info yet on that. I have asked the dealers service Dept for help and they’re supposedly trying to find more tech info on that solar charger.
 

marcham

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Should not be an issue. A 100-150W solar panel , if you are away for a few days, would get the battery back to full charge.

Then you also need a charge controller. Having 2 charging sources in parallel is not an issue. It could be as simple as alligator clips from the charge controller to the deep cycle battery. Assuming you'll have 30 feet of wiring, pay attention to wire size. 30 feet = 60 feet round trip for the electrons. I personnaly aim for 2 to 3% voltage drop. 60 feet at 14V at 3% for a 100W panel would probably require 8-10AWG wiring.

 

JeffCox

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Should not be an issue. A 100-150W solar panel , if you are away for a few days, would get the battery back to full charge.

Then you also need a charge controller. Having 2 charging sources in parallel is not an issue. It could be as simple as alligator clips from the charge controller to the deep cycle battery. Assuming you'll have 30 feet of wiring, pay attention to wire size. 30 feet = 60 feet round trip for the electrons. I personnaly aim for 2 to 3% voltage drop. 60 feet at 14V at 3% for a 100W panel would probably require 8-10AWG wiring.

Thanks again for your input on this. I think that is going to probably be my answer. Having the charge controller will allow me to not worry about the house battery , but also know after a week of sitting, it will be ready to go when I get back. putting this together, and getting it mounted in the facility will give me something to tinker with the rest of the winter while I am waiting on spring!
 

Beachbummer

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And you are going solar because you have no power outlet accessible where you store the boat right? If you had access to power it would be easier to just plug in a charger and not have to deal with the expense of the Solar panels. Just confirming. Best of Luck however you proceed.
 

JeffCox

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2019
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And you are going solar because you have no power outlet accessible where you store the boat right? If you had access to power it would be easier to just plug in a charger and not have to deal with the expense of the Solar panels. Just confirming. Best of Luck however you proceed.
Yes, no power accessible
 
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