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Old 05-22-2018, 11:34 PM   #661
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Booster - did you end up using Hall Effect sensors to monitor alternator output? If so, maybe that is a good and not too invasive or difficult way for WingedRyno to know that he is fully utilizing the alternator. I get the impression that he is more concerned about effective charging than SOC. If the amps start to drop then turn on more modules.

Or, can alternator output be obtained from the Balmar unit?
This one https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...f733d8da5deaca with the enclosure is on my to do list. Got the enclosure from Hein. My plan is to monitor alternator charging. https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...74&postcount=7
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Old 05-22-2018, 11:47 PM   #662
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610 watts with one large panel wired into one charge controller and the other smaller panels wired into the other. Was told both charge controllers are wired into a terminal for all batteries.
Yes, these are EPSolar Tracer 3215BN(s).The reason you have two controllers is that the 3215BN will only support 540 watts. What should have been provided was a single Tracer 4215BN but since 600 watt solar is probably not ordered often, they probably don't stock the 4215 and just doubled up on the 3215BN.

You indicate that the the controller inputs address different panels which makes sense. However, RT indicates that the controller outputs are common to the batteries. If one of the controllers indicates it has completed charging while the other controller never indicates that it has, I wonder if perhaps they aren't identically programmed.

To get to the bottom of this you need some remote metering which is the MT50 panel meter. My guess is that RT hid the controller from view and neither provided the MT50 meter nor even a user manual because they were concerned that users might get into controller programming with potential adverse consequences to the batteries. But IMO, to fully understand what the status of the solar system is, this MT-50 meter (and in your case, two meters) is essential. They only cost about $25-30 and Google lists a number of suppliers. The meter plugs directly into the Telco RJ45 port on the 3215BN controller.

The PDF user manual for your controllers is attached.
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Old 05-22-2018, 11:59 PM   #663
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Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
Booster - did you end up using Hall Effect sensors to monitor alternator output? If so, maybe that is a good and not too invasive or difficult way for WingedRyno to know that he is fully utilizing the alternator. I get the impression that he is more concerned about effective charging than SOC. If the amps start to drop then turn on more modules.

Or, can alternator output be obtained from the Balmar unit?



I don't think there is any way with the Balmar, as it will only measure and control field %, I think.


I did get the inductive 300 amp capable setup for ours, first with just one pickup and than with two when we did the final upgrade. They are said to be by the manufacturer to be with an amp or two even at 5 amp reading, and it does seem to be less that one amp for us when compared to the two shunt based monitors. The display has two inputs for amps, one for voltage, so I read battery voltage at the batteries, alternator output to the coach at the manual separator, and amps to the batteries right at the batteries. The reading of amps to the batteries is redundant with two battery monitors for the solar and shore chargers, but I can't see them from the cockpit. I can watch the amps to the battery vs amps to the coach and tell when the solar is able to take over and when to force the alternators into float. It all works very well for us over the last couple of years with the new big system.


The good part of the inductive is that the pickups can go on the positive or negative cables, so no problems with shared ground paths or using the chassis as ground.



One of the things that I haven't looked at in detail because I didn't need it was the compatibility of the inductive pickup with a battery monitor like the Trimetric, Magnum, Blue Sky, etc. They tout them in the literature as a straight drop in for the shunts, so it is possible that only the pickup might be needed to use the positive cable for monitoring, along with a regular monitor.


The hard part with the inductives is getting good low amp accuracy and also be able to handle 300 amps like we need with the big charging systems.
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:17 AM   #664
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Originally Posted by GeorgeRa View Post
This one https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...f733d8da5deaca with the enclosure is on my to do list. Got the enclosure from Hein. My plan is to monitor alternator charging. https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...74&postcount=7
Isn't that current meter limited to 100amps? If the GU is putting out 200+ amps will you still be able to monitor what it's putting out?

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Originally Posted by cruising7388 View Post
Yes, these are EPSolar Tracer 3215BN(s).The reason you have two controllers is that the 3215BN will only support 540 watts. What should have been provided was a single Tracer 4215BN but since 600 watt solar is probably not ordered often, they probably don't stock the 4215 and just doubled up on the 3215BN.

You indicate that the the controller inputs address different panels which makes sense. However, RT indicates that the controller outputs are common to the batteries. If one of the controllers indicates it has completed charging while the other controller never indicates that it has, I wonder if perhaps they aren't identically programmed.

To get to the bottom of this you need some remote metering which is the MT50 panel meter. My guess is that RT hid the controller from view and neither provided the MT50 meter nor even a user manual because they were concerned that users might get into controller programming with potential adverse consequences to the batteries. But IMO, to fully understand what the status of the solar system is, this MT-50 meter (and in your case, two meters) is essential. They only cost about $25-30 and Google lists a number of suppliers. The meter plugs directly into the Telco RJ45 port on the 3215BN controller.

The PDF user manual for your controllers is attached.
Thanks very much for that. I will definitely buy those stat for our upcoming solar panel testing.
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Old 05-23-2018, 01:02 AM   #665
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In any case, an external shunt based monitor can not measure the internal power being used by the BMS and it’s associated electrical loads which can be significant for the Ecotrek modules.

You could also have a complication due to the fact that the individual Ecotrek modules can be offline and online, I would have to think about how that would effect a battery monitor measurement of SOC.

You might also need to have the capability to manually reset the battery monitor 100% SOC point which, as I recall, is sometimes triggered automatically when the monitor sees the charge current drop below a set value. Not sure if that feature is available or not.

And, if there is a way to have multiple grounds for the battery bank, Roadtrek probably did it...
I forgot that Ecotreck BMS need so much juice, measuring self-discharging batteries at high rate is not easy. “Interesting” design.
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Old 05-23-2018, 01:03 AM   #666
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Isn't that current meter limited to 100amps? If the GU is putting out 200+ amps will you still be able to monitor what it's putting out?



Thanks very much for that. I will definitely buy those stat for our upcoming solar panel testing.
100A is good for me, perhaps somone makes one for 200A.
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Old 05-23-2018, 01:12 AM   #667
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For the Nations GU, he will need a 300 amp unit, as it will run 250+ when cold and then drop to 150ish hot, then oscillate between 145-185 amps after that until the acceptance starts to taper. Running for 8 hours straight at full output is going to be pretty tough on the alternator and the Balmar thermal control parts, as there will be lots of hot cycling being done.
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Old 05-23-2018, 01:13 AM   #668
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I don't think there is any way with the Balmar, as it will only measure and control field %, I think.
I was thinking of connecting the field output of my Balmar to the second voltage input of my Trimetric. I assume that the voltage must be proportional to the alternator output. What the scale would be, I do not know.
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Old 05-23-2018, 01:26 AM   #669
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I was thinking of connecting the field output of my Balmar to the second voltage input of my Trimetric. I assume that the voltage must be proportional to the alternator output. What the scale would be, I do not know.

I think they do it the same as on our Ample Power regulator, with a pulsed full voltage output to control the field %. It will be consistent, but it won't be linear to actual output, and it also will be subject to changing over time with the heat and cooler. We have two levels of setback that are pot adjustable so I just cranked them with alternators somewhat warm but not hot until I got the output I wanted. I was able to read a stable voltage on the Fluke mulitmeter, so I will be able to repeat it later. At the same setting of the field % we see probably 25+% variation in output depending on the temp of the alternators, so not really very good to approximate actual alternator output, at least on ours. That is why we got the inductive pickups, so we could be more accurate on charge rates and float transitions.
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Old 05-23-2018, 05:26 PM   #670
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