Boating NZ : FREE TO READ February 2014
An ideal solution is a digital battery monitoring system. BATTERY MONITORING Even if you have a thorough understanding of the mystical relationship between volts, amps, alternators, CCAs and amp-hours, quite a bit of maths is involved in trying to assimilate an accurate representation of your electrical system’s health. “The good news is that a battery monitoring system does all the maths for you,” says Jennings, “whirring away quietly to deliver all the important parameters – volts, amps coming in, amps going out, remaining amp hours – in clear, easy-to-understand graphics. Furthermore, they not only provide the electrical information but, depending on the model, can also be used to monitor water, fuel and grey water tank levels.” There’s also a more practical motivation for installing a battery monitoring system. It’s typically a single meter equipped with buttons for scrolling through menus for different information. Compared to an array of volt and amp meters, it demands relatively little space on your dashboard. Aesthetically, that’s a big plus, but the smaller footprint also means space for a bigger chartplotter. As always, every solution has a drawback. Battery monitoring systems have two – depending on your skill set and the size of your wallet: installation and price. “Unless you have fairly extensive skills,” says Jennings, “installing a battery monitoring system is not really a DIY job – it requires introducing a shunt into the system." Don’t ask. "I’d recommend using a marine electrician.” Battery monitoring systems are available from a variety of manufacturers. New Zealand company Cruz Pro produces the fully featured VAH 110. VAH stands for Volts, Amps, Hours – while BEP Marine produces the DCSM 600, which retails for $814. Both are excellent examples of modern battery monitor systems. Jennings says that it’s important to recalibrate the battery monitor systems every three months or so, requiring you to hit the meter’s reset button. “It’s another of the mysteries of marine electrics. For whatever reason the meter’s calibration gets out of whack and needs to be reset. It’s a simple job, but you should make a point of doing it regularly to make sure the readings are always accurate.” Modern, maintenance-free batteries are pricey items and it’s worth investing in appropriate technology to extract the best possible performance from them. Nothing illustrates that point more effectively than the dull ‘click’ of a flat battery when you turn the key. A battery monitor is an excellent way to keep track of your battery's health NZ company Cruz Pro produces the fully featured VAH110 for Volts, Amps, Hours • evo 3900 Marine Kit from $3,799 • evo 5500 Marine Kit from $4,199 • Extend your summer cruising at 2000 Marine Kit from $2,699 usually $3,099 water and cabin heating Talk to us about sales service and installation on your vessel. HMB Marine Electrical NZ authorised service agents for Webasto Heating systems. webasto therMo top c diesel Marine Kit from $3,499 Visit our website for great deals: www.hmbe.co.nz Call SJ (09) 537 0502 diesel cabin heater 021481021499 Do you need windows and doors for your boat? • Bulk Head Water tight & Engine Room doors • Windscreens • Windows • Doors email email@example.com www.seamac.co.nz 11 Finlayson St. Whangarei. Ph 09 438 6884 Fax 09 438 6852 There’s no safer place to put your money in today’s economic climate than a quality boat. It’ll be worth more when the storm passes and you get to enjoy it in the meantime. Support the NZ Boat Building Industry. 021498 46 Boating New Zealand February 2014 PBoating_volt metres_Feb14.indd 46 21/01/2014 4:43:11 p.m.
FREE TO READ March 2014