Energy tracking achieved

I’ve been struggling to understand the inner workings of the life of a battery. When it’s charging per instance. How much is too much? In what amount? How often? And more.

Being that battery banks are one of the most expensive parts of most off-grid systems, you better take care and know how to treat them. Come to realize that the information coming out of the Xantrex control panel is just showing the power IT’s using, not what the batteries have. I use both AC and DC electricity so I need to track ALL power leaving the battery bank. Slight distinction maybe, but a big one if you want your batteries to last.

 

 

Trimetric and shunt ready to install
Trimetric and shunt ready to install

So I’ve added a Trimetric battery monitor by Bogart¬†engineering. To start with, you just gotta love that name. Also, it gives me every bit of information possible. How many amps the bank has left, how many are being drawn, and voltage, just to name a few. There is also the Pentametric which is way more advanced and has the capability of being hooked up to a computer for continuous monitoring and can keep track of multiple charging sources. More than I need for my little start up system. Also I’m not willing pay the difference and also have a computer on all the time, not just yet.

 

 

Looking around tight places
Looking around tight places

This is my “clever” way to see around tight spots, AKA behind the inverter, so I could reconfigure the cables for the shunt that needs to be installed.

 

the shunt all hooked up
the shunt all hooked up

This is said shunt. What it does is separate all the negative cables from the batteries and measures the slightest differences from one side to the other. The left is where the battery cable goes, the right has all the other negative cables connected to it. Also you might notice the cables coming out of the middle. Those go to the Trimetric’s panel.

 

Trimetric at work showing the current amp draw
Trimetric at work showing the current amp draw

The brain of the operation. Loosing 8.6 amps. I love this puppy! So much detailed info. Now I can’t go wrong…. right?

Next steps. Finally try to see why the Xantrex won’t charge. Clean up the installation. Then to solar panels!