The best of boat battery monitors

Date posted: 25 May 2013

We all worry about the state of our batteries especially when we have been static for a while, on anchor, or we have been sailing for long distances without using any engine.

There are numerous voltmeters on the market, these offer a safe guard against being caught short, you would be advised to turn the engine on when the battery readout hits 12.9 volts.

BM1 Compact, also voted product of the month by Practical caravan

BM1 Compact, also voted product of the month by Practical caravan

You would also be advised to add an ammeter, which for the layman will tell you what is drawing what from your battery…..for example which pieces  of equipment are the juiciest over a static period, enabling you to reserve  battery life by turning some items off.

Practical Boat Owner has tested a number of monitors so I can take no credit for pointing you in the right direction, but it was such a good article I thought I would share the info.

They tested seven monitors,  Nasa BM-1 Compact, Whisper Power Battery Monitor pro/Merlin Powergauge Lite, Nasa Clipper BM1, Merlin Datacell 1/Datacell 11, Sterling Power Management, Panal PMP1, Merlin Smartgauge and the BEP 600-DCSM.

They recommended the  Merlin Smartguage , after testing all monitors, because of easy installation, simple instruction use, the fact it monitors two batteries and only has two wires to connect, but they also recommend you add a shunt and amp hour counter.  Apparently this is a doddle to set up…

If you have any favourite monitors please feel free to add them in the comment section, after all if your using them successfully and they don’t draw more than 10amp from the screen…recommend them.

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