Ammeter and Voltmeter in Casita - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-10-2018, 05:59 PM   #1
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Casita
Ohio
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Ammeter and Voltmeter in Casita

Hi all, long time member not often poster. So we mostly boondock and have solar, but I really found myself wanting a way to check the battery status and my power usage while inside. My solar is modular/Portable so I could just go outside and look at the readout on the charge controller but that is a bit of a hassle and only gives me volts. I decided to install an analog voltmeter and ammeter from Blue Sea Systems. In just a short time after the install I learned some things about my power usage that I didnít know and also confirmed some other suspicions. I think this will really help me get the most out of my batteries and I like having the info. Anyway, I gave a lot of thought on where/how to install it and just couldnít bring myself to cut into fiberglass so I put it on the mdf panel. Iíll admit the way I routed the wire in wire hide and a nema box is not the best looking but my thoughts were if I ever go in a different direction I can replace that panel. I attached two pictures and here is a video of the specifics of the mod.

https://youtu.be/bOchfYAYT-A
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:13 PM   #2
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Sure looks clean to me. Nice install.
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:54 PM   #3
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Casita
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Thank you!
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Old 04-11-2018, 05:01 PM   #4
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Name: Barb
Trailer: Trillium Outback 2004
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DC Voltmeter & Ammeter Costs

Just had a look at the Blue Seas unit mentioned. Boy, are they expensive.

What is this?: https://www.amazon.ca/MICTUNING-Disp...HPJYYS3CBM35BF

I know nothing about electricity, but I would like to be able to monitor my two 12V batteries since I have a fridge that only operates on DC.

Any ideas, etc. most welcome.

Thanks..
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Old 04-11-2018, 05:26 PM   #5
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Originally Posted by BarbinBC View Post
Just had a look at the Blue Seas unit mentioned. Boy, are they expensive.

What is this?: https://www.amazon.ca/MICTUNING-Disp...HPJYYS3CBM35BF

I know nothing about electricity, but I would like to be able to monitor my two 12V batteries since I have a fridge that only operates on DC.

Any ideas, etc. most welcome.

Thanks..
See this thread:
Battery monitor trimetric 2030 VS Victron BMV700

I think either is a fine choice, and superior to a simple amp / volt meter.
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:04 PM   #6
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Name: Aaron
Trailer: 90 Scamp 16 layout 4 & 92 Vanagon
Idaho
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Originally Posted by BarbinBC View Post
Just had a look at the Blue Seas unit mentioned. Boy, are they expensive.

What is this?: https://www.amazon.ca/MICTUNING-Disp...HPJYYS3CBM35BF

I know nothing about electricity, but I would like to be able to monitor my two 12V batteries since I have a fridge that only operates on DC.

Any ideas, etc. most welcome.

Thanks..
That should work fine.

It just comes down to how accurate you want it to be. Typically the more expensive the more accurate they tend to be (of course this is not always true). And how much you want to geek out on it. If you just want to see what your usage is at a given time, then would work. The more expensive ones can track your usage, tell you how many hours you have left, keep a log of what your peak time usage, warn you when you are getting low, and stuff like that.
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:45 PM   #7
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Casita
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Originally Posted by BarbinBC View Post
Just had a look at the Blue Seas unit mentioned. Boy, are they expensive.

What is this?: https://www.amazon.ca/MICTUNING-Disp...HPJYYS3CBM35BF

I know nothing about electricity, but I would like to be able to monitor my two 12V batteries since I have a fridge that only operates on DC.

Any ideas, etc. most welcome.

Thanks..
Hey Barbin, I paid about $80 combined for the two meters. One of the things that’s nice is that the ammeter comes with a high quality external shunt which is about $35 alone. The meters are definitely higher quality than your typical eBay meter.

That one you linked should work fine, it’s just a less robust meter and shunt. You may find that it eventually fails, then again maybe not...

A high end digital meter will certainly be more functional than a simple analog meter. I specifically wanted the look of analog meters regardless of their limitations, which I readily acknowledge. Digital does much more neat stuff, data logging etc. If I were going to spend $150 on the victron though, I’d just get a Trimetric instead. A superior unit to the Victron IMO, unless you really want the dongle/smart phone aspect of the Victron.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:06 PM   #8
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Name: Gordon
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Originally Posted by Mike870 View Post
Hey Barbin, I paid about $80 combined for the two meters. One of the things thatís nice is that the ammeter comes with a high quality external shunt which is about $35 alone. The meters are definitely higher quality than your typical eBay meter.

That one you linked should work fine, itís just a less robust meter and shunt. You may find that it eventually fails, then again maybe not...

A high end digital meter will certainly be more functional than a simple analog meter. I specifically wanted the look of analog meters regardless of their limitations, which I readily acknowledge. Digital does much more neat stuff, data logging etc. If I were going to spend $150 on the victron though, Iíd just get a Trimetric instead. A superior unit to the Victron IMO, unless you really want the dongle/smart phone aspect of the Victron.

Interesting reply Mike. I just learned a lot more about you than I did from your first post in this thread. You do in fact know exactly what you are talking about, and better yet.. you know what you want. And now that you mention it.. the analog meters do have a certain appeal. Much like the glow from vacuum tubes But for me... I really do want cumulative measurement of my power usage.

And your comments about quality is spot on. You dont always get what you pay for, but you never get what you dont pay for. I have dealt with the folks at BOGART ENGINEERING (the manufactures of the Trimetric) a few times and been impressed with them.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:31 PM   #9
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Casita
Ohio
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Glad to hear that Gordon. Yea for my RV I can get by with less data. But I'm actually putting a Trimetric SC2030 in the cabin I'm building. I may supplement charging with an extra controller, which you can do with the Trimetric as long as the shunt measures the current from the second charge controller, which is a super neat capability IMO. Fun fact about the 2030, it's actually a 31 amp controller, (at least thats what they told me on the phone). Very impressed with Bogart, and the manual itself is excellent, which is one of the first things I do when considering a solar related purchase.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:54 PM   #10
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Originally Posted by Mike870 View Post
... I'm actually putting a Trimetric SC2030 in the cabin I'm building. ... Fun fact about the 2030, it's actually a 31 amp controller, (at least thats what they told me on the phone). Very impressed with Bogart...
I'm running the Trimetic and the companion solar charge controller in my Scamp. Yes, as Raz points out.. it really overkill for a small RV, but as Buggeee says, I am worth it.

I talked to Bogart about the requirements for ventilation for the solar controller and they were every helpful. I have probably never run more than 7 amps through it and with that lower power input, I could not even detect a warming on the heat sink with my fingers, so I am pretty sure that as they suggested, I could run it at nearly full capacity in the enclosed space where I mounted it (even though I am sure I never will).
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Old 05-25-2018, 10:17 AM   #11
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Name: Pete
Trailer: Casita
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lost instructions

Does anybody have the instruction manual (small piece of paper) for the ebay meter? I misplaced mine and I need to reset % charged.
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