I took advantage of a lazy Saturday morning yesterday and got into reading canal world forum specifically about battery condition monitoring. I have been concerned for some while about how long to run the engine when we have a weekend on the boat, the 3 leisure batteries seem to cope but it all feels a bit hit and miss. I have occasionally taken readings using my multimeter but to be honest they mean little.
So having read the thread on battery monitoring I bit the bullet and drove over to Beaston Marina this morning and parted with £150 and left with a small box of electrics that is seemingly well recommended and is known as a smartgauge. This little (and it is small) gadget will tell me what the voltage readings are for my leisure batteries as well as the starter. It will also tell me what % of charge my leisure batteries are at. This is what I wanted and it will give me the info I need to allow me to correctly charge the leisure batteries up and monitor usage.
So this afternoon I went to the boat and spent a couple of hours fitting it. The actual wiring up is simple (part of the attraction) getting the wires to where I wanted to mount it took the time.
I wanted it inside the boat so I could check the readings without going into the cold - plus I was not 100% sure it was weather tight. In the end I got it in installed on the side of the small wardrobe at the end of the bed, just near the rear door.
It was working straight away and giving the following readings
As installed with the engine running
Leisure - 13.90v
Starter - 14.15v
After 15 mins and the engine off
Leisure - 12.60v
Starter - 13.35v
No doubt the leisure was down as I was using the lights.
The % charged on the leisure batteries was 74% but this will not be accurate until a few cycles of charge and use have taken place.
Another nice little job done and the benefit will be gained over the coming year.