[email protected] 400 BD lite Solar Panel Question

How does one monitor the charge rate of the batteries from the solar panel?  Does the [email protected] 400 come with a battery monitoring system, or is that something I need to add.  I see several posts about the Victron; does that monitor overall battery charge, charge from the solar panels or both?
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2020 [email protected] 400 BD Lite

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  • CbusguyCbusguy Member Posts: 777
    edited April 1
    It comes standard with a solar charge controller which will show you voltage and real time charge amperage of both your solar panels and battery .    It will make sure you do not damage your battery by overcharging them.       Many folks add a shunt style amp meter.   This is installed directly in line with the battery negative and the load.     This will give you the most accurate state of your battery.    Typically this is expressed in amp/hours.

    They currently are not installed as a standard device at the factory.   You can request they add it after the trailer rolls off the assembly line,    this is done at an extra charge and last I heard you need to buy it and ship it to nucamp for this service.

    Many folks here like victron and they put out very nice systems,  but there are cheaper options.    All though the new Victron Smartshunt was only $133 bucks which was significantly less than their previous offering the BV712 which was around $225
    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter 
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Member Posts: 1,205
    If you have panels, dig in there and find out what solar controller is installed. In the past, there were Victron controllers and another brand (in the thread below) that I can't find the name of. Renogy, maybe?
    Both of them have (apparently) bluetooth apps you can download to your phone and monitor your battery.  Both of these systems (Victron/Renogy) should provide basic info about your battery's status that you are looking for.
    You may just be able to search for bluetooth devices with your phone near the trailer and see if it picks up the bluetooth controller in your trailer.

    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • CbusguyCbusguy Member Posts: 777
    @pthomas745 in his bioline it shows he has a 2020 so it should be a victron.    
    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter 
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • NoVaGuyNoVaGuy Member Posts: 48
    Thank you all for the advice.  
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  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 502
    Correct, a Victron MPPT 75/15, which is located under the rear bed driver’s side on the inside of the front divider (lower closet wall, bed side).  A Victron phone app for both IOS and Android is available and shows the MPPT battery charge readings and current battery status (charge level).  Adding the Victron smart shunt or 712 battery monitor adds actual,battery temp info to thenSolar charge controller to improve its performance, and you get real time current and past battery load info, including how long the battery will sustain this load level.
    Well worth adding.
    Cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • NoVaGuyNoVaGuy Member Posts: 48
    @Denny16 Thank you for the info.  How hard is it to install?  Where do people typically mount the unit?
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  • pthomas745pthomas745 Member Posts: 1,205
    Here is a thread for a 2019 install.
    When you are down there looking for your solar controller, you should be able to spot the battery, too.

    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 502
    edited April 1
    I installed my monitor on the closet wall next to the bed area light switch on the TaB 400, which landed the back of the meter in the enclosed space used by the Jensen system.  I removed the radio, and in the closet, removed the small panel in the back of the closet where the AC duct is.  My factory solar is run down this same space, and the hole in the bunk bulkhead under this run where the PV wires go into the space under the bunk, is big enough for the RJ connector on the meter connector cable.

    My battery is under the center bunk space, with the inverter and main fuse buss against the front panel, so located the shunt in that space and closed it off from the rest of the storage area with some birch ply.  This kept the wire runs very short.  Here is the monitor location:

    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • NoVaGuyNoVaGuy Member Posts: 48
    @Denny16 Thanks.  I bet I can mount it above the fridge near the Jensen.  I need to get into that space anyway to add a kill switch to the Jensen.  
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  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 502
    Yes, on your model, that is where I would put the monitor.  You have the space behind to stow the extra wire, protect the meter back and have a clean hidden run with the wire, following the power leads for the radio.  The only hard area might be getting behind the fridge, unless the wires run beside it?  Take the radio out and take a look.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • NoVaGuyNoVaGuy Member Posts: 48
    Thanks. Worse case I leave the monitor under the bed and rely on Bluetooth :)
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  • CbusguyCbusguy Member Posts: 777
    edited April 2
    I wouldnt buy the BV712 with the remote monitor,  I would buy the smart shunt instead and it is less expensive by nearly $100
    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter 
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 502
    Yes and good call, especially if you do not want/need the monitor display, and less work to install.  We wanted the redundancy of the display, incase we lose the phone, or ?
    cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • NoVaGuyNoVaGuy Member Posts: 48
    I spent some time in my camper today. (Was nice to get out of the house). I was looking to see how I might run the wire next to, or behind the fridge so I can mount near the Jensen.

    i like the idea of having the monitor, just not sure how I would mount yet.  
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  • DenisPDenisP Member Posts: 312
    edited April 4
    @NoVaGuy , I mounted the 712 monitor on the panel with Alde, Coolcat thermostat and switches. I had wanted to relocate the Coolcat thermostat lower as my DW is 5’2” and couldn’t read the display. There is a wire chase under the galley counter made of ABS tubing that made the installation easier.
    2018 [email protected] 400 with Solar
    2013 Tundra TRD 5.7L
    Massachusetts
  • NoVaGuyNoVaGuy Member Posts: 48
    @DenisP Thank you.  I will have to look for that chase.  I thought about keeping all of the monitors in the same spot, just could not see how to get into that area.  
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  • DenisPDenisP Member Posts: 312
    @NoVaGuy The chase is behind the angled panel at the left side of the foot of the bed.  If you remove the panel you will find the chase.
    2018 [email protected] 400 with Solar
    2013 Tundra TRD 5.7L
    Massachusetts
  • NoVaGuyNoVaGuy Member Posts: 48
    @denisp does the chase lead directly to the control panel area?  Assuming if I remove one of the other devices I should be able to fish?
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  • DenisPDenisP Member Posts: 312
    edited April 5
    @NoVaGuy the chase runs horizontally from the panel to just beyond the sink. There is another vertical chase up to the other devices. I was able to use a fish from the sink end and pull the wiring harness. I then pulled the harness the short distance up to the area behind the devices. The panel inside the cabinet is held in with a few square head screws behind the plastic covers which exposes the back of the devices and the vertical chase.
    2018 [email protected] 400 with Solar
    2013 Tundra TRD 5.7L
    Massachusetts
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 502
    I looked at mounting our monitor there, wire can run under bunk to corner panel at end of galley, where the flip up counter ext is, then in the chase at the back of the galley counter and up through the door instrument display where the other control panels are.  This is also an excellent location.  Dennis, your install looks grand too.
    cheers 
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • NoVaGuyNoVaGuy Member Posts: 48
    @DenisP I believe the only part I will need is the jumper from the shunt to the power block.  What gauge wire did you use?  What length?
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  • DenisPDenisP Member Posts: 312
    @NoVaGuy. I used this cable: Spartan Power 1 Foot (12 Inch)... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071692GLF?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
    The harness from the shunt to the gauge is pretty long so you shouldn’t have an issue with the new location. 
    2018 [email protected] 400 with Solar
    2013 Tundra TRD 5.7L
    Massachusetts
  • NoVaGuyNoVaGuy Member Posts: 48
    @DenisP Thanks for the link!  It seemed that the harness feeding the shunt would be long enough.  Thank you for the confirmation.  Great that his already has the ring connectors.  I dont have a crimping tool for the wire gauge anymore.
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  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 502
    I had our local trailer/RV repair facility make up a similar cable, same size.  Works great
    cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • NoVaGuyNoVaGuy Member Posts: 48
    @DenisP was poking around the camper today doing a few mods.  (switch on Jensen; Level pro install) and was looking for the chase behind the sink.  Is it behind the wood panel secured by four screws?  

    To get to the mounting location, may pop off the light/pump switch panel to find a good spot to make the hole and fish down to the sink.

    victor
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  • DenisPDenisP Member Posts: 312
    @NoVaGuy to access one end of the horizontal chase unscrew the angled panel at the foot of the bed an it is on your right. The other end of the horizontal chase is behind the sink. If you remove the panel in the upper cabinet (4 screws) it exposes the both the chase and the back of gauges. The chases have several wires already present but there is room to fish front to back to pull the sender wire and top to bottom to finish bringing the sender wire to its’ final location for installation. 
    2018 [email protected] 400 with Solar
    2013 Tundra TRD 5.7L
    Massachusetts
  • NoVaGuyNoVaGuy Member Posts: 48
    @DenisP thanks.  I don’t have an upper cabinet, I have a microwave..  there is no chase exposed below the sink.  There is a panel below the shelf that is secured by four screws.  Hoping the chase is behind that.  The only way I can see to get to the gauges, is to remove the lighting control, battery oanel
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  • DenisPDenisP Member Posts: 312
    @NoVaGuy Good luck.  It sounds like removing the panel makes sense.
    2018 [email protected] 400 with Solar
    2013 Tundra TRD 5.7L
    Massachusetts
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