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Old 11-10-2012, 08:40 PM   #1
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Default Battery Monitor Lights

KiB monitor panel
http://www.kibenterprises.com/troubleshoot/k_panel.pdf

C: CHARGED 12.7+ volts - green light (4th light lit) = Charged or Charging Battery = OK
G: GOOD 11.9+ volts - green light (3rd light lit) = more than 11.9 volts but less than 12.7 volts = between 1% and 60% discharged = Charge it soon!
F: FAIR 11.2+ volts - green light (2nd light lit) = more than 11.2 volts but less than 11.9 volts = between 60% discharged and 95% discharged = Charge it now!
L: LOW 6.0+ volts - red light (1st light lit) = between 95% discharged and dead = look in wallet for battery money!

Remember: Two lights, too low!

http://www.windsun.com/Batteries/Batter ... 20Voltages
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File Type: jpg state of charge.JPG (47.2 KB, 574 views)
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Old 08-18-2015, 02:42 PM   #2
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I think it is worth bumping this topic up.

KiB made or makes a lot of the monitor panels we see in RV's. These type of panels have lights that are meant to give you an idea of the charge state of the battery.

If you have one of these panels then it is a good idea to get an idea of what voltage range is indicated by the lights. You can do this with a multimeter. You can also look up the data in product manuals.

KiB K panel 1991 and prior:
Charge 14.5V+
Good 12.6V+
Fair 12V+
Low 6V+

KiB K panel Feb 1991 to Jan 1992:
Charge 13.3V+
Good 12.6V+
Fair 12V+
Low 6V+

KiB K panel later than 1992:
Charge 12.7V+
Good 11.9V+
Fair 11.2V+
Low 6V+

KiB M panel:
Charge 12.7V+
Good 12.1V+
Fair 11.6V+
Low 6V+

On the old panels - prior to 1992 - "good" was a great voltage. On the newer panels 11.9V or 12.1V for Good is a low voltage.

The AGM's in my van will measure 12.8V at rest so they would trigger the "Charge" light when fully charged even if the charger is unplugged.

K Panel:

kib k panel.JPG

M Panel:

kib m panel.JPG
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Old 08-18-2015, 03:19 PM   #3
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Great post, particularly the highly volatile voltage thresholds over time. We had some early on problems with tank sensors that were panel related, so I got a chance to call them about it. I also asked about the lights, that appeared to be saying the batteries were OK, when in fact they were nearly dead and buried. They were pretty open about it, and I think very correct, in saying they are constantly chasing a moving target because of load on the systems while checking. Many of us have also learned that hard lesson . In reality, there is no way to even remotely chose thresholds that are accurate when the load can change a bunch, the battery bank size can change, the battery type (wet, agm, etc), can change, the wiring can change, etc.

Bottom line is that the lights are pretty useless unless you turn everything off for an hour or more before checking, and then the current ones still don't tell you much because of the huge range in the middle. A cheap plug in voltmeter is a much better choice, or a small wire in. Of course, the best choice is always a shunt based battery monitor, but it is much more cost and work to install.

From what we have heard lately, the lights are the only monitoring system in some of the etrek type vehicles, which as Marko's numbers show, means that the owners are really flying blind on the condition of the batteries.
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Old 08-18-2015, 06:00 PM   #4
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I agree with Booster. The idiot lights in my Etrek are worse than useless, because they almost always show 3 of 4 on, regardless. I can't quite understand why they didn't install a proper voltage meter into the complex system for which I paid a boatload of cash.

The plug-in Innova meter discussed here often was a revelation to me.
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Old 08-18-2015, 06:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obgraham View Post
I agree with Booster. The idiot lights in my Etrek are worse than useless, because they almost always show 3 of 4 on, regardless. I can't quite understand why they didn't install a proper voltage meter into the complex system for which I paid a boatload of cash.

The plug-in Innova meter discussed here often was a revelation to me.
Maybe that is the "proprietary" part of the system they talk about so much. Make it so folks don't know that their very expensive batteries and control system aren't working well and that the batteries will fail early. Out of sight/out of mind.
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Old 08-18-2015, 07:37 PM   #6
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Many etreks seem seem to be split 12V & 24V. Two voltage meters would be needed, one for the 12v side & one for the 24v side.

Or, add an equalizer / balancer and measure only the 12v side.
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Old 08-18-2015, 07:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
Many etreks seem seem to be split 12V & 24V. Two voltage meters would be needed, one for the 12v side & one for the 24v side.

Or, add an equalizer / balancer and measure only the 12v side.
Very good point about the split systems needing two meters if they don't have some sort of balancer.

I have been doing a little bit of reading about balancers that are on the market, and they are often apparently very different from each other. The Victron only balances out the batteries on the recharge cycle, which would not be very good in the Roadtrek split voltage application. The Vanner does it the opposite, making sure the batteries stay balanced on as the battery bank supplies 12v power, which would make a lot more sense in the Roadtrek setup.
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Old 08-20-2015, 02:15 AM   #8
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Basic take off is that if you don't check the cells with a Hydrometer, you really have no idea what state the batteries are in. Lights and voltmeters only give the roughest idea.
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Old 08-20-2015, 02:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NLRevell View Post
Basic take off is that if you don't check the cells with a Hydrometer, you really have no idea what state the batteries are in. Lights and voltmeters only give the roughest idea.
How do you use a Hydrometer on a sealed AGM or on a Lithium?
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Old 08-20-2015, 02:28 AM   #10
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A Trimetric monitor or equivalent is the best investment you can make when it comes to power awareness. Not only will you know where you battery stands, but you will come to know exactly what each power consumer in your rig is costing you in amps.
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