Battery monitors are like the gas gauge in you car, they tell you the state of charge, how much power you have left an... Leave it to say that they do a lot more than a gas gauge! An amp-hour meter is great real-time indicator of your systemís condition. As you use power, the meter counts how many amp-hours are used. As the battery is charged, the meter goes backwards, toward zero. When the battery is full, the meter reads zero.
A battery monitor is only at accurate as its programming. Prior to inputting data readings should be cross checked with accurate voltage meter and accurate hydrometer readings. Once programmed Battery monitor accuracy should be verified monthly against hydrometer readings.
Why a battery monitor?
Because almost half your investment is tied up in batteries, how well you care for your batteries is directly reflected in how long they will last (or not!).
It is absolutely critical that you provide a battery monitor with the proper information read our information about battery testing.
The features differ, some competitive models are shown at the left side of this page.
About Battery Shunts
A shunt is necessary in order to measure amps and amp-hours with battery monitors. A shunt is a very low resistance accurate resistor which is placed "in line" with the wire carrying the current to be measured. Because there are frequently several taps driving power in and out of the positive battery post it is best to place the shunt on the common negative lead so that all charging and discharging current must pass through the shunt. The shunt must be placed near the battery array because these wires carry very high currents the wires from the batteries must be kept short to minimize electrical losses.
How a battery shunt works
As current flows through the shunt, a small voltage is developed across the shunt which is proportional to the current flow. The battery monitor measures this very low voltage and converts it to the Ampere reading on the meter. A shunt is rated by the maximum current that can safely flow through it. The higher the current that flows through it the greater the temperature rise of the shunt. Using too small a shunt will cause permanent damage by changing the resistance properties of the shunt or even fire if the current is excessive.
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