will find extra
hints and tips that are not included with the kit, and I'll keep adding
to this as I find time, or come upon specific problems.
down the page
you will find a repeat
of my own personal suggestions that are included with the kits I sell,
on how to
hook up and program these monitors, a quick set-up and start guide if
using this Battery Monitor to YOUR
these monitors are very easy to read and understand for most folks, I
have found that a few people sometimes don't utilise the
full potential of these Battery Monitors, and that would be a shame
because these monitors are such a great tool, and help make camping
much easer and LESS stressful.
folks give up trying to fully understand the monitor readings, mistakenly
thinking that they are way more complex than they really are!
with some basics.
you have only one monitor or dial to look at, and without
touching anything you always have visible in the lower half of the
dial a bar graph, showing from E (Empty) on the left to F (Full) on the
right, this will always be visible to you, so you can at any-time see
what you have available to you in your battery bank.
explain a little later an extra cool feature about this bar graph.
You have 3
buttons available to you across the bottom of the monitor.
If you press
the button on the left that says V, then in the upper half of the dial
it will show the battery voltage.
If you press
the button on the right that says %, then in the upper
half of the dial it will show the battery percentage of charge, with
100% meaning really really full!
meaning really really empty!
so far isn't it?
Now for the
middle button, now please don't freak out, cause this
button can be pressed twice to give two different results, a bit scary
two different readings, please let me explain these
different reading because I think this is where most of the confusion
comes from, and it really is very simple once you know and understand
One of the
readings will give a figure with two (or more) digits
followed by an 'A' like maybe “5.3A”, this means
is a total of 5.3 amps flowing into the
battery (the battery is being
charged, this could be either from a solar system, or battery charger,
or maybe the vehicles alternator.
reading is more likely to have a '-' (minus sign) in front
of it, like this “-5.3A”, and this means that this
that there is 5.3 amps being consumed, and flowing out of the
So in summary
if the digits have the '-' (minus sign) in front of them
then amps are being removed from the battery, and if not then amps are
being put into the battery.
Now for the
next reading, the next push on this middle button will
again bring up two (or more) digits followed by an 'Ah' this time, and
most of the time these digits will be preceded by the '-' (minus sign),
like maybe “-15.5Ah”, now what this means is that
been 15.5 amp-hours removed from the battery so far, and while-ever you
are drawing power from the batteries this will continue to count down.
But when you
recharge the battery, it will start to count back up again.
remember how many Amp-Hours your battery bank has don't you?
summarise all four selectable top half of the dial readings.....
A= Amps going
in or out.
removed from the battery bank.
percentage of battery bank charge.
I don't think
anyone should be too frightened of those 4 readings :-)
make it even simpler, when monitoring my batteries, all I
am really concerned about is the amps going in or out of the battery,
leave it on this setting to display this all the time, and I also watch
the lower bar graph that shows me how much I have in my batteries, the
fuel gauge or SOC (State Of Charge).
Now any time
I can just glance at the battery monitor and know exactly
what I have in my batteries, and what I'm drawing from them or charging
back into them in real time right now.
points that I would like to make, the first is about the bar graph.
It has a very
useful feature in that it's bottom or floor level can be
adjusted, in other words through the monitor settings we can put the
Empty level anywhere we like, and in the default case it is set at 50%.
think of it like this, you have a tank full of water, but you
do not want to take the tank down lower than half way (50%), so you
draw a line at the half way point and say this is now my new empty
line, and I will consider the tank full when it's over flowing or about
to, and empty when it's really only half empty.
hopefully you get my drift with the bar graph, and as ideally
you should not be taking your deep cycle batteries below 50% if you
want them to last for a long long time, then the bar graph set with a
floor at 50% is ideal, it does show that when the battery is Full it is
full, and when it is Empty it is as empty as you really want to go.
second point I want to make is about the “A”
reading, the amps in and amps out.
monitor is just that, a battery monitor, in that it is monitoring
exactly what is happening AT the battery.
is..... if you are running say a TV that consumes 5A, and at
the same time you have a solar system that is also putting 5A into the
battery, what do you think the battery monitor “A”
is going to say, now think about it?
'seeing' exactly what is happening AT the battery, and
should read “0.0A”, but you worked that out didn't
that flows on to the likes of if you were consuming 25A, and
the solar was putting in 10A, the monitor reading would be
“-15.0A”, I'm sure you have now nailed this one
too, but it
has caused some confusion in the past :-)
A little more information on how this super
smart Battery Monitor works with calculating amps in and out.
We need to
understand that each battery, battery type, and battery size
has different resistance values (i.e. how hard it is to push
around inside the battery), and that there are losses when we
a battery, and that the harder we draw from a battery, the ever
increasing exponentially the losses are, and then the same goes for
and fro-ing is endless, and it's a nightmare to try and keep
track of all these losses, and just measuring amps in and amps out is
really way off the mark, not even close to what's really happening, so
kind Mr Peukert (Peukert's
Law, the 'F07' setting) came
to the rescue many
many years ago, and came up with a formula that still works well to
this day on all lead acid batteries.
experience Peukert's is a valuable part of any good battery
monitor, the monitor will then do it's best work automatically
calculating continuously all charge and discharge occurrences, and when
set correctly for each battery type and size, it will help in giving
the closest to the true SOC that any battery monitor can give.
mind that no two batteries are exactly the same,
or have been worn down the same, but at least NOW because of Mr
Peukert we have a much
closer and more realistic SOC to work from.
Occasionally folks ask me why their monitor does not always
completely fully charged after charging the battery, and part
the answer may well be, that the monitor may only auto reset
0Ah once it has meet a few of it's own criteria set points, and has
determined that the battery really is fully charged,
and this normally does not happen until it has been fully charged, and
then you start using power from the battery.
battery monitor can monitor any number of batteries
that are connected together as one battery (parallel or serries, 12V or
Battery Monitor has a super smart on board CPU that does some
serious processing and number crunching, and it needs to take some very
precise and accurate measurements, hence the need for the 5 wires that
are connected to it.
pointed out in my help sheet that comes with monitor, you
have your basic positive and negative wires that power up the monitor.
Then you have
one more that comes directly from the positive
on the battery, and this is a battery voltage only sense wire that
tells the monitor exactly what voltage is in the battery without
interference from any other sources.
Then you have
two more wires (the Green and yellow twisted pair) that go to the
'shunt', and it is the 'shunt' and these wires that tell the monitor
what current is flowing in or out of the battery.
So here is a little more about
the 'shunt' and why it is so important to place and wire it up
helps to think of this shunt as basically a flow-meter for
electrical current, and in the case of our battery monitor, it is
placed in the negative flow path.
I like to
think that the Battery Monitor treats the batteries a bit
like a water tank, and monitors everything that flows in and out of the
battery, and then keeps a tally on how much water (amp-hours) the
battery has in it at all times.
So then all
current that flows in and out of a battery or batteries
must go through this shunt for it to 'see' and record what is actually
happening at the battery.
The wiring in
of this shunt is very easy if good battery wiring and
cabling practice has be used, and is still reasonably easy if it has
not been used!
thing to remember is that all earth returns that connect
directly to the battery (all, every single one of them) must flow
through the shunt.
So in a
correctly wired system all you need to do is lift any and all
of the earth wires/cables off the battery negative terminal, and put
them all on the 'off' (load) side of the shunt 'bolt'.
connect the shunts battery side 'bolt' directly to the battery
negative terminal, using either my battery 'link' (if practical) or a
lugged heavy cable.
** Note--- In
the case of parallel batteries, you have negative cables
linking each of the batteries together, now this cable that links all
the batteries together, where it terminates at the battery with the
shunt, it must remain on this battery, and stay on the 'battery' side
of the shunt.
Now if there
were any extra earth return cables connected to these
other batteries (sorry but poor wiring practice), these cables must
also be moved to the 'off' side of the shunt otherwise the shunt simply
can not see the current that these carry, this includes earth straps
down to the body or chassis! Remember, all earth returns must flow
through the shunt!
Sorry to keep
rabbiting on about this, but in the few cases where
customers have a problem with the battery monitor not reading
correctly, it's the placement of these earth return cables that are 99%
of the problems.
note that even when these earth returns are wired
incorrectly, it causes no harm to the system other than the monitor not
recording and reading correctly.
Mounting your monitor
requires a 52 - 54mm hole, that's 2 inches for us
below are my (exclusive to Fridge & Solar) help instructions
that I send out with each Monitor Kit.
read the manual and all instructions first, then use this page as a
It can be very confusing in the instructions where the manufacturer
is referring to “Main battery” and
our needs please accept that where quoted in the instructions &
diagrams, the “Main
means your auxiliary
or house battery,
and the mentioned “Auxiliary battery” is your
You can optionally
monitor the voltage
on the cranking/starting battery if practical.
note, the battery link comes pre-bent, often it will need a slight
adjustment to fit your individual requirements exactly, it can be
adjusted to suit with a vice and shifter, or pliers etc, please try
to only adjust just the once, as continued bending &
can fatigue the aluminium and make a weak point.
tighten nuts and bolts firmly, and if you can secure cables and/or
the shunt with zip-ties etc to stop them from moving, this will help
avoid nuts and bolts working themselves loose.
Note while easer and neater, it will not always be practical to mount
the shunt on top of the battery using the unique Fridge
innovation & supplied battery link. So if you need to mount the
shunt further away from the battery, then you will need to connect
the neg battery post to the shunt using a short length of heavy,
once only monitor programming.
suggested Function “F” settings.
read and follow the instillation manual, for fitting help please turn
over this page,
then you can use this page as a helping guide
with the settings etc.
the centre 'setup' key for 3 sec to access the setup menu, then use
the < & > keys change the value, and back to the
to go to the next setting, and so on.
Battery capacity. Here
you put your battery, or combined battery banks capacity, in Amp
hours (Ah). The default is 200Ah, and yours is =
Charger's float voltage (Auto-sync parameter). The
default is 13.2V,
change this to the float voltage of your battery charger, or solar
controller at whatever is the lowest of the two, if unsure leave it
at the default.
Charger's float current (Auto-sync parameter). Default:
percentage scale. Default:
Low battery alarm On (Volts).
Low battery alarm Off (% SOC). Default:
Peukert's exponent. Change
< with AGM batteries, otherwise leave @
Shunt Amp Rating. .Default:
Backlight mode. "AU" << my
preference, but up to you.
Alarm contact polarity. Default:
Default: 5 <<Best
the 'F' settings in the manual are the 'Reset Functions', uncluding a
sometimes useful setting, but please use
this only if necessary, and after reading the 'Reset Functions'
Reset zero-offset current. Use this reset item to remove small
current readings on the display when no current is flowing in- or out
of the battery. When performing this reset action, please be 100%
sure that all DC consumers/chargers are disconnected or turned off.
unit will do automatic synchronisations based on meeting it's own
Auto-Sync criteria, this usually happens after the batteries have
been fully charged, and you start using some power.
these battery monitors are very good, this monitoring thing is still
not an exact science, so they can get slightly out of sync
occasionally, this is not a problem, and will correct it's self the
next time the batteries are fully charged and you start using your
you want to, you can also manually synchronise the battery monitor
with your batteries, but please only when you are sure your batteries are
really fully charged.
can be accomplished by pressing both < and > keys
simultaneously for three seconds. After these three seconds, the
message appears on the the display just like when it is automatically
Rigoli - Fridge
© FRIDGE & SOLAR 2002-2018.
I think this is unnecessary for most folks, if you would like to set up
alarm then here is how to do it.
© Val Rigoli FRIDGE