Full-time battery read out display in Scamp - is this okay? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:24 PM   #1
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Name: Lisa
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Full-time battery read out display in Scamp - is this okay?

Is it okay to have a 24 hour meter attached to my 12 volt battery?
Should I install an on/off switch?
I want to keep track of my battery level and I came up with this arrangement. I don't know if I will keep it where it currently is.

Thoughts?

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I fed the black and red wire here.

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Here is a link to the meter, purchased from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 11-16-2017, 07:04 PM   #2
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I have a different brand but I leave mine connected and on all the time. That's because I'm always plugged into shore at home, the campground, or running solar to the batteries. I don't like my batteries to just sit there slowly discharging all alone by themselves. However, if I was to have my camper stored some place for 6 months or something like that I would probably have a switch that I could turn all the little things off cuz those microamps add up after many months. Looks like a cool monitor. My guess is that the screen will go to sleep after a bit of time?

Look at this setup you have now. Awesome.
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Buggeee View Post
Look at this setup you have now. Awesome.
Thank you Buggeee!
It's fun to work with wiring now that I've had a little taste of it. I'm not as scared to take on a project, well, a small project like hooking up that meter. It is still a thrill though to see something illuminate.

I bought a 30 amp Solar Charge controller today so I'm going to try my hand at some solar. My first venture into it was with the Goal Zero stuff. I like the simplicity of it, just plug and play. I am going to try delving into it a bit more, but maybe with some other brand that is less expensive.
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:55 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by lisantica View Post
Is it okay to have a 24 hour meter attached to my 12 volt battery?
Should I install an on/off switch?
i have a switch on mine. Its too bright at night for sleeping.

john

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Old 11-16-2017, 09:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by John Linck View Post
i have a switch on mine. Its too bright at night for sleeping.



john



Pic of lichens on tree

Agreed, just went out there and although it may not look bright in the photo, it makes a bright night light.
May I ask what kind of switch you used?
Thank you.

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Old 11-16-2017, 09:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisantica View Post
Is it okay to ...
Thoughts?
[/ATTACH]

Here is a link to the meter, purchased from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Thoughts...

#1: Adding modifications like this to one's second home can be very rewarding, especially when it involves learning more about how things work and how to make it work.
#2: #1 is only works when the modification is done safely. Note that I didn't say it only works when done to "code" or the way someone else thinks it should be done, because ultimately the only thing that is important is that it is safe.

So that is what I considered as I looked at your photos. IS IT SAFE?

But I was not able to determine that from the photos because of a lack of detail. Yes, a photo is worth a 1,000 words, but in the case of electrical work, a wiring diagram might be even more valuable. I might suggest that you diagram the addition, and include the wire type and gauge, fuse rating and location(s), any pertinent specs about the monitor, maybe details on connectors and wiring protection, and anything else that might be important. Don't worry about doing a "proper" electrical schematic with standard electrical engineering symbols

The biggest power draw with this monitor is no doubt the display, and if it automatically goes off or can be turned off, then that consideration is likely not an issue.

So back to your question:
Is it okay to have a 24 hour meter attached to my 12 volt battery?


I would say yes IF you charge the battery enough to compensate for the added load (which is not going to be very much), and IF IT IS INSTALLED SO THAT IS IT SAFE.
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Old 11-16-2017, 09:09 PM   #7
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wiring....

that unit came with a very good wiring diagram....did you follow it ?

looks to me like you just connected the incoming side....if that's right it will give you battery voltage...that's a good thing but the unit is designed/meant to do a lot more....(I have one of those units, not installed, and the instructions/diagram were very good)

if I am reading this right....you could have gotten by with just a three or four (better) digit panel meter....if battery voltage was all you were looking for....

have fun
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Old 11-16-2017, 09:10 PM   #8
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Awesome! camper has come a long way! Does it measure all usage? I have one like that, but don't have it hooked up yet. You are way ahead of me
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Old 11-16-2017, 09:10 PM   #9
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Gordon, good info. that you bring up. I appreciate you taking the time.
I did not fuse the positive cable, and now think I should have.
I will check and report back about the wire gauge in the morning.
I will put a fuse in the positive cable.
I also want to add a switch.
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Old 11-16-2017, 09:13 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Franswa View Post
if I am reading this right....you could have gotten by with just a three or four (better) digit panel meter....if battery voltage was all you were looking for....

have fun
That's true Franswa.
When I bought it I thought it would be better to have something that could do more even if I wasn't intending on using all of its features at first.

I had misplaced the box and didn't have the instructions, found them just now. I did briefly look them over when I bought the meter.
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Old 11-16-2017, 09:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricAllyn View Post
Awesome! camper has come a long way! Does it measure all usage? I have one like that, but don't have it hooked up yet. You are way ahead of me
That's a first! You're usually way ahead of me. I'm just trying to find ways to use that awesome wire I have!
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
I might suggest that you diagram the addition, and include the wire type and gauge, fuse rating and location(s), any pertinent specs about the monitor, maybe details on connectors and wiring protection, and anything else that might be important.
I am using Southwire E51583 AWG wire.
I am going to put an on/off switch since it stayed lit all night.
I'll also install a safety fuse on the positive wire.
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:01 AM   #13
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switch

lisa I switched mine ran a wire to the switch mounted in the kitchen cabinent. Since I had a switch there I wasn't using it was easy.

the meter put out too much light for us.

bob
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:40 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by lisantica View Post
I am using Southwire E51583 AWG wire.
I am going to put an on/off switch since it stayed lit all night.
I'll also install a safety fuse on the positive wire.
I can't find anything about that wire reference that assures me this install is safe. I especially do not see any reference to the wire gauge you used.

Fuses only help if the correct rating for what they are intended to protect and if in the proper location.

I am starting to get an uneasy feeling about this install. IMHO you should get one or more people with a good amount of RV wiring experience and knowledge to look it over in person.

As an alternative, a good wiring diagram posted here might help identify any unsafe conditions if they exist.

If you are only using this device for the instantaneous voltage readings, then it is way overkill (except that is it inexpensive), and voltage readings are really only a general guide to battery state of charge and only when not charging or under any load for a time.

If you are using it to track battery state of charge according to total power used, then you run all the power your camper uses (from the battery) through the device (or a shunt which I assume it has inside). A switch would then not only shut off the device, but all the power to the camper (from the battery). When used this way all the wiring and switch should be rated to the maximum current that your camper is designed for (on the 12 volt side) and protected by fuse(s).

I also have concerns about quality with it being so cheap, and after seeing in the reviews that at least one person had it go up in smoke even when well under the supposed max rating.
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:45 AM   #15
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With consideration to the concerns you bring up Gordon, I will disconnect it for now until I can get someone qualified to look at it.
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:31 AM   #16
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I had a voltmeter that plugged into a cigarette lighter socket.
It could be left "on" full time. Except for the back light in it there is no drain on the battery. A voltmeter is like a pressure gauge. There is no flow of electrons.
You could watch it as you turn on various appliances to see the drop in voltage.

Our 2000 Scamp 16 dlx had no 12v socket. I bought one and wired it to the 12v terminals at the back of the fridge. mounted the socket in the wood panel just inside the door, on the left.
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:34 AM   #17
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fuse first

I have a 20amp fuse running straight off the battery I doubt my usage will every approach 10amp but rather have it there.

I pickup 12v inside the kitchen cabinent to run to the switch then to the monitor, 12v plug in a such.

kiss principle for me everytime!!!

bob
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:46 AM   #18
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I dont think it pulls any significant power.
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:05 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
I dont think it pulls any significant power.
I don't either.

That's assuming it is only a voltmeter in operation.

But if it is being used as an amp-meter, that's different. I don't see any wires on the load side, but can't tell what she did without a wiring diagram.

If I had wired the shunt in my camper (for the Trimetic meter) with 16 gauge wire, that would not be good (I used 10 gauge).


The manual simply says
User is responsible for attaching connectors rated to handle the voltage and current expected in userís application. Qualified individuals should make sure any high current connections.

Yes the second sentence is an incomplete sentence with unclear meaning.
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:08 PM   #20
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pull on battery

I agree you are probably talking mini mini volts my setup has 2 lights on it one for the 12v plug the other on the meter itself.

I have had Stevie setting for a month it read 12.5v before and it still reads 12.5v.

not much to worry about or a need for an extra fancy circuit!

bob
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