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Old 12-26-2022, 11:49 PM   #1
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Equipment needed for battery monitoring

Looking to upgrade my batteries to lithium soon. Want to be making sure I KNOW what they are doing constantly.

I currently only have my inverter control panel/display to measure battery bank voltage. Doesn't tell me anything else.

What pieces of equipment do I need to get to successfully monitor my batteries? Just a shunt? Just a cerbo? Cerbo, shunt, and cerbo display screen?

Cheaper and wifi connectivity (when really far from bus) are both pluses.



Also, what are differences between Victron shunt vs cerbo? What do they do differently?

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Old 12-27-2022, 10:25 AM   #2
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Sounds like you're already leaning towards victron. If that's the case, then any of their shunt products are enough for basic monitoring (smart shunt, bmv 712, lynx shunt, maybe others?). They all have either Bluetooth, a display, or both so you can monitor things from within the bus or nearby.

Cerbo is a computer that acts as as a brain and central hub for your victron system. It adds some functionality like remote monitoring and a few other nifty features, but isn't necessary by any means. The whole victron ecosystem is pretty modular - you don't need any one component (like the cerbo) to run any other component. They'll all work fine in their own.

If you do opt for the Cerbo (or another GX "brain" like a Cerbo clone running on raspberry pi), I found that a dedicated touchscreen is worth it. My GX Touch 70 screen has some weird glitches now and then, but it's vastly superior to using a phone or tablet to control everything.
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Old 12-27-2022, 02:03 PM   #3
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Not sure how you can get WiFi connectivity unless Cerbo has some way of connecting to the Internet.

A shunt of any kind will give you history, current state etc. The Victron Smartshunt is pretty darn good at tracking history and giving the most important measure: consumed amps.

Here's why you need a shunt: LiFePo batteries do not have a linear relationship between state of charge and voltage like a lead acid battery. This means you cannot directly measure remaining amps by looking at the voltage-instead, you need to look at consumed amps, and that's what the shunt can do.

When a LiFePo battery has a charge from about 15% to 85% the voltage stays about the same. For my battery, that voltage is about 13.3vdc. So the only way I can tell where the state of charge is when the voltage reads 13.3 is from the shunt, that acts like an odometer for amps and tells me consumed amps.

Since I did a full charge-discharge cycle on my battery I know it's amp capacity, and set both the capacity and state of charge in the shunt software. From there, the shunt calculates state of charge by measuring the consumed amps and give me an SOC reading.

My Victron Smartshunt bluetooth has a range of about twenty feet. It might be the way I have the little antenna set up, not sure. I have no way of checking state of charge unless I'm within physical proximity to the bus.
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Old 12-31-2022, 11:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwest364 View Post
... sure I KNOW what they are doing constantly...

Gad-zooks!
.
Our AGM bank was new nearly two decades ago, two decades of full-time live-aboard while boondocking exclusively.
Honestly truly, I think about our bank a couple times annually.
.
Although I encourage builders to go any direction in their components and design, we are waiting for the industry to mature before investigating LiFePo4.
.
.
An aside:
Are you seeing the documentaries of the open-pit mines in Afrika?
Apparently, in just one example, some cobalt pits have tens of thousands of miners in the dust and sun, scraping by hand without tools, in deplorable conditions.
.
https://youtube.com/shorts/nMafI9SdGyo?feature=share
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Old 01-01-2023, 02:40 AM   #5
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pardon me

Quote:
Originally Posted by LargeMargeInBaja View Post
Gad-zooks!
.
Our AGM bank was new nearly two decades ago, two decades of full-time live-aboard while boondocking exclusively.
Honestly truly, I think about our bank a couple times annually.
.
Although I encourage builders to go any direction in their components and design, we are waiting for the industry to mature before investigating LiFePo4.
.
.
An aside:
Are you seeing the documentaries of the open-pit mines in Afrika?
Apparently, in just one example, some cobalt pits have tens of thousands of miners in the dust and sun, scraping by hand without tools, in deplorable conditions.
.
https://youtube.com/shorts/nMafI9SdGyo?feature=share
Not sure if you were conflating the two, but just in case you didn't realize this - Lithium iron phosphate batteries aka LiFePo4 contain no cobalt (or nickel).

Rejoice. I can sleep well knowing my battery bank didn't contribute to the issue with mining you were highlighting here.

EV batteries? that's another story
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