Two years ago I purchased a Drifta DOT 6 (Drifta Offroad Tourer) camping trailer and after a few months of using the battery setup I was after something to monitor my batteries more intelligently. The Redarc BMS is now offered as an option in this specific trailer however I was after fitting something that would just do the monitoring. After a bit of research I came across the Victron Energy 12V Battery Monitor (BMV-700) which seemed to have all the features I was after and with a lot of really good reviews backing this up. So what was I after?
- Monitor the amps both going in and out of the battery bank.
- Accessible for monitoring from the back of the trailer so I don’t have to open the toolbox to check.
- Give an indication of amp-hours left in the battery bank.
- Monitor the percentage of power left in the battery bank with an alarm if this goes below 50%.
- Display the current voltage .
The Victron BMV-700 Battery Monitor
The BMV-700 comes with a shunt where all the power in and out the batteries will be measured. Then plugged into this shunt is the monitor with a long cable (10M) so this can be placed where you want. The monitor can be mounted reasonably flush and also comes with a square bezel if required.
For my installation I installed the monitor within a project box and then mounted this in the toolbox. I did consider running the monitor to the rear of the trailer to view at a glance, however decided against this once I added on the Bluetooth Dongle. The downside is that you need to purchase the Bluetooth Dongle seperately from the battery monitor however it is certainly worth adding on. The dongle simply plugs into the monitor and then you have access to all the infomation via an app from your smart phone/tablet. The flexibility to be able to monitor on a smart phone from anywhere within bluetooth range, means that you don’t necessarily have to install the monitor in somewhere too accessible.
Setting up the BMV-700 is reasonably straightforward and even easier if you have the bluetooth dongle as you can change all the settings in the App. For me it was simply setting up the battery bank size, and then programing the alarms I wanted when reaching a specific percentage and voltage. I have included a couple of screenshots below of the Victron Energy App.
The great thing with this app is that if you have any other Victron Energy bluetooth enabled products you can also view them in this app. I will cover some of these in future reviews as Victron Energy seem to be making this a standard across the range. Victron Energy do have products to cover the full range of charging and monitoring equipment so worth checking them out if you are starting with a new installation.
After using the monitor extensively I am happy with my choice and am now looking at a number of other Victron Energy products. This is a quality and well built product backed up by Victron Energy who are experts in all aspects of power management including much larger installations.
If you are looking to purchase a BMV-700 or any other Victron Energy product then I can recommend the guys at Retrolooms in VIC. Give them a ring and talk about your requirements and they will recommend the best products for you needs. Check these guys out on Facebook… https://www.facebook.com/retrolooms/ or drop them an email firstname.lastname@example.org