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I agree, but the NASA's big display of volts and amps at the same time, readable from across the cabin, makes it better for me.

I discounted the NASA due to the size of the shunt, although I think the BM2 comes with a 200A shunt

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Are any of the battery monitors any good?

 

From the many posts on here about them I'm not so sure I will be in any great hurry to buy any of them when we are fitting out our next boat.

 

Might just stick with the analogue volt and amp meters we have now, which when tested when we had charging issues were not all that inaccurate anyway rolleyes.gif

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Are any of the battery monitors any good?

 

From the many posts on here about them I'm not so sure I will be in any great hurry to buy any of them when we are fitting out our next boat.

 

Might just stick with the analogue volt and amp meters we have now, which when tested when we had charging issues were not all that inaccurate anyway rolleyes.gif

 

I think the best thing about them is they are good on volts and amps and are accurate on those scales. While I am happy with an ammeter and voltmeter (digital) for someone without experience I would suggest an ammeter to know when to stop charging and a Smartguage to know when to start.

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Are any of the battery monitors any good?

 

From the many posts on here about them I'm not so sure I will be in any great hurry to buy any of them when we are fitting out our next boat.

 

Might just stick with the analogue volt and amp meters we have now, which when tested when we had charging issues were not all that inaccurate anyway rolleyes.gif

I have had a Smartgauge for years and find it most useful.

 

Having recently installed a battery monitor, I find the combination gives me a lot of information regarding charging and maintaining my batteries. I think, given time, the two meters will pay for themselves, although suspect you could, with practice, use an ammeter and voltmeter with similar results.

Edited by rusty69
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Is this thread still on topic?

 

Do you have one of those gauge things in your cockpit thingy?

 

Give it some welly twice a day ( seems what most folks do)

 

No body cares about my needs sad.png

Lets talk about it in private! Im a good listener!! icecream.gif

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I'm a newbie too and have found this thread very interesting. We are mooring the boat in a marina for the winter months. I was assuming that the shoreline connection would do the work in charging the batteries. Please correct me if i've got this wrong.

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I'm a newbie too and have found this thread very interesting. We are mooring the boat in a marina for the winter months. I was assuming that the shoreline connection would do the work in charging the batteries. Please correct me if i've got this wrong.

If your shoreline is powering the battery charger,and is correctly attached to the batteries, then yes.

 

It also helps if the charger is putting in more than you are taking out of the batteries (plus a bit for losses).

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I'm a newbie too and have found this thread very interesting. We are mooring the boat in a marina for the winter months. I was assuming that the shoreline connection would do the work in charging the batteries. Please correct me if i've got this wrong.

 

It depends wether you have a battery charger switched on? or maybe a combination inverter/charger. There are many versions some will come on automaticaly on plug in of shoreline others will not. As said a Nasa bm2 is the way to go, big easy to read figures, waterproof if you want to mount it outside and a 200 amp shunt. Victron is good but tiny unless you have 12 year old eyes. Smartgauge is good but doesnt give you any in/out figures as you use stuff on the boat or tell you how many amps at any given time are being put into the batteries and for how long etc etc. If money is no problem then a combination of Nasa and smartgauge is as good as you will get. If money for only one I would always go the Nasa/victron way it tells me everything but each to their own.

 

Tim

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If your shoreline is powering the battery charger,and is correctly attached to the batteries, then yes.

 

It also helps if the charger is putting in more than you are taking out of the batteries (plus a bit for losses).

 

 

 

It depends wether you have a battery charger switched on? or maybe a combination inverter/charger. There are many versions some will come on automaticaly on plug in of shoreline others will not. As said a Nasa bm2 is the way to go, big easy to read figures, waterproof if you want to mount it outside and a 200 amp shunt. Victron is good but tiny unless you have 12 year old eyes. Smartgauge is good but doesnt give you any in/out figures as you use stuff on the boat or tell you how many amps at any given time are being put into the batteries and for how long etc etc. If money is no problem then a combination of Nasa and smartgauge is as good as you will get. If money for only one I would always go the Nasa/victron way it tells me everything but each to their own.

 

Tim

 

Thanks for this advice. We've only just bought the boat and are unfamiliar with the equipment onboard, but it does have a Victron inverter/charger as per the slideshow here:

http://www.narrowboatbrokers.com/boats-info.asp?id=109

(Note: the above link will fail once the broker removes the advert).

 

We will have spent a considerable amount of money on making things right on this boat over the course of this coming week and won't be in a position for many additional costs for a while. I guess solar panels would be something we'd look at in the longer term. It seems to me, as a novice of course, that if an average boat engine has a life expectancy of say 8-13k hours then having to run the engine for about 25 hours a week means an engine won't last much beyond about ten years. Given our engine is about twelve years old that's a bit of cause for concern. I know these are simplistic figures but perhaps we should be prepared for more considerable expense in the not too distant future. I think one thing i'll be looking at when i next step aboard is the charging capacity of the accessory alternator.

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Thanks for this advice. We've only just bought the boat and are unfamiliar with the equipment onboard, but it does have a Victron inverter/charger as per the slideshow here:

http://www.narrowboatbrokers.com/boats-info.asp?id=109

(Note: the above link will fail once the broker removes the advert).

 

We will have spent a considerable amount of money on making things right on this boat over the course of this coming week and won't be in a position for many additional costs for a while. I guess solar panels would be something we'd look at in the longer term. It seems to me, as a novice of course, that if an average boat engine has a life expectancy of say 8-13k hours then having to run the engine for about 25 hours a week means an engine won't last much beyond about ten years. Given our engine is about twelve years old that's a bit of cause for concern. I know these are simplistic figures but perhaps we should be prepared for more considerable expense in the not too distant future. I think one thing i'll be looking at when i next step aboard is the charging capacity of the accessory alternator.

 

Hi

 

The victron inverter/charger will keep your batts topped up but ask someone on here with one how to ensure it is on the correct setting if it is adjustable. I dont have victron. Engines last many thousands of hours if oil changed correctly. As a for instance I was skipper of a large twin engined trip boat until last year. The engines have done over 35 thousand hours and still without problem.

 

Tim

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Hi

 

The victron inverter/charger will keep your batts topped up but ask someone on here with one how to ensure it is on the correct setting if it is adjustable. I dont have victron. Engines last many thousands of hours if oil changed correctly. As a for instance I was skipper of a large twin engined trip boat until last year. The engines have done over 35 thousand hours and still without problem.

 

Tim

 

That's reassuring, Tim, but when i made an enquiry a few weeks ago to Beta Marine they stated a service life of approx. 13,000 hours. Our boat has a Barrus Shire but i would have thought service life would be similar, although obviously variable due to factors such as maintenance, engine size etc. If the average narrowboat engine has a much longer service life than 13k then i'll be very happy. When we're next on the boat we'll be giving it a good clean and then i'm going to be settling down with a good cuppa (or a beer depending on what time of day it is) and reading through some of the manuals, and hopefully i'll learn a bit more about the Victron and how it's set up. From what i can deduce from the photograph and from memory the charger circuit has to be switched manually, but i guess that's no big issue.

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I'm not dissing Beta Marine but i suspect they have chosen a number on the low side of service life. If they say 20,000 and your engine packs up at 15,000 your going to have an arguement with them. What do they mean by "Service Life" anyway? I doubt they mean the engine is finished, maybe they mean it needs an extensive service or a rebuild. I'm not familiar with Barrus Shire but i had a Beta 38 in my last narrowboat and after 24 years it had 5,500 hours on it and it still ran very sweetly and had had nothing done to it apart from oil and filter changes as per the manufacturers recommendations. I'm sure others have older engines with many more hours on them that still run fine. I think you are worrying over nothing.

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If your shoreline is powering the battery charger,and is correctly attached to the batteries, then yes.

 

It also helps if the charger is putting in more than you are taking out of the batteries (plus a bit for losses).

Which is normally quite small, 5 Amps continuously connected for 24 hrs a day would give 120 Ah which is probably more than most boaters use.

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Interesting thread this, and hopefully I'm taking stuff away from it, but the term shunt keeps.popping up and I have no idea what it means?

A big resistor used for calculating current. from ohms law I=V/R.So if you can measure the voltage drop across a known resistance, it will allow the current flow through the resistor(shunt) to be calculated. That is one of the things any decent battery monitor should display.

 

Edited to add drop

Edited by rusty69
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A big resistor used for calculating current.

A very low resistance big one normally in the negative line to the battery so that all the current in and out of the battery flows through it.

Edit to add

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunt_(electrical)

Edited by ditchcrawler
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I had to discount the NASA as it doesn't work on 24v systems.

 

Would have preferred it as the BM2 display is too small to read from a distance. The display is tiny.

Um, the BM2 is the NASA. Did you mean the Victron?

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I'm not dissing Beta Marine but i suspect they have chosen a number on the low side of service life. If they say 20,000 and your engine packs up at 15,000 your going to have an arguement with them. What do they mean by "Service Life" anyway? I doubt they mean the engine is finished, maybe they mean it needs an extensive service or a rebuild. I'm not familiar with Barrus Shire but i had a Beta 38 in my last narrowboat and after 24 years it had 5,500 hours on it and it still ran very sweetly and had had nothing done to it apart from oil and filter changes as per the manufacturers recommendations. I'm sure others have older engines with many more hours on them that still run fine. I think you are worrying over nothing.

 

You may have a point, but as the previous owners continuously cruised for several years before a couple of years in a marina, the chances are they clocked up far more than your 5.5k which is well within the service life of an engine.

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I had to discount the NASA as it doesn't work on 24v systems.

 

Would have preferred it as the BM2 display is too small to read from a distance. The display is tiny.

I ended up with a xantrex, which also has a small display.

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I'm not dissing Beta Marine but i suspect they have chosen a number on the low side of service life. If they say 20,000 and your engine packs up at 15,000 your going to have an arguement with them. What do they mean by "Service Life" anyway? I doubt they mean the engine is finished, maybe they mean it needs an extensive service or a rebuild. I'm not familiar with Barrus Shire but i had a Beta 38 in my last narrowboat and after 24 years it had 5,500 hours on it and it still ran very sweetly and had had nothing done to it apart from oil and filter changes as per the manufacturers recommendations. I'm sure others have older engines with many more hours on them that still run fine. I think you are worrying over nothing.

We had this discussion with the Nanni diesel guys on their stand at the boat show.

 

Their smaller engines were stamped with a service life of 10,000 hours. When we queried this with them they reckon that 10,000 hours on the low side and they would generally expect them to last double that in the hire fleets where they are well maintained without any serious work being required. The 10,000 hours is a safety net for the very reason you have stated above.

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That's reassuring, Tim, but when i made an enquiry a few weeks ago to Beta Marine they stated a service life of approx. 13,000 hours. Our boat has a Barrus Shire but i would have thought service life would be similar, although obviously variable due to factors such as maintenance, engine size etc. If the average narrowboat engine has a much longer service life than 13k then i'll be very happy. When we're next on the boat we'll be giving it a good clean and then i'm going to be settling down with a good cuppa (or a beer depending on what time of day it is) and reading through some of the manuals, and hopefully i'll learn a bit more about the Victron and how it's set up. From what i can deduce from the photograph and from memory the charger circuit has to be switched manually, but i guess that's no big issue.

 

It will/should be automatic, when the Victron combi senses 240v ac supply shoreline/generator, it automatically switches the boats 240v ac direct via the shoreline and effectively turns the inverter OFF and turns the charger ON.

 

Leave the switch at the combi ON, the charger only position is almost redundant.

  • Greenie 1
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It will/should be automatic, when the Victron combi senses 240v ac supply shoreline/generator, it automatically switches the boats 240v ac direct via the shoreline and effectively turns the inverter OFF and turns the charger ON.

 

Leave the switch at the combi ON, the charger only position is almost redundant.

The charger only position comes into its own when leaving the boat unattended on shoreline with, say, an oil filled rad set up to provide a bit of heat on cold nights, on a frost setting, maybe. If the shoreline fails, on normal setting the inverter will power the AC main from the batteries, running them down to, say, 10.5V if the rad is on, not at all good.

 

Similarly if you are running a washing machine on the shoreline, set to charger only in case the supply fails.

  • Greenie 2
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