We’ve had a couple of different Victron products, and always been impressed with them. In this post, we review our Victron Battery Monitor, which came in our Reconn R2 Hybrid Caravan.
We’ve been using it for about 3 years now, and you should know we paid our own money for the product, and this is not associated with Victron in any way, shape or form.
Our exact unit is a BMV 700, and you can get a number of different types today that will sync with Bluetooth, and offer the same functions. The Victron BMV 712 is the most common these days, which can connect to Bluetooth and makes life a fair bit easier.
What is the Victron Battery Monitor?
Put simply, these are a little electronic display that tells you everything you need to know about your battery system.
They run off a shunt, which is a physical device that measures the flow of power back and forth to and from your battery, along with the voltage, and it calculates how long you have left, displays what you are currently consuming and shows you what percentage the battery system is sitting at.
What’s good about it?
These are fully adjustable and customizable, and when we moved from AGM batteries to Lithium, it was very simple to make the changes.
They are easy to use. You literally cycle through the settings with the press of a button, and it lights up each time and stays on the setting you leave it on. We’ll usually leave it on battery percentage, but I often look at how much we are drawing (especially when the Induction Cooktop is on) or how many amp hours we’ve consumed.
You can set it up to display the usable power you have, so you don’t damage your battery, or you can leave it at the full capacity; what ever you prefer.
What does it actually display?
The battery voltage can be quite important for AGM batteries, and less so for a 12V lithium battery, but its still useful. Interestingly the Victron unit is far more accurate than the Projecta 240V charger we have in our Reconn R2, which is mounted just underneath it.
Current power flow
The Victron unit works out how much power is coming in and going out, and displays it on the screen for you to see if your battery is going up in charge, or down.
Based on your previous consumption, the Victron Battery monitor displays how many hours you can last. For example, if you had a 100aH battery, and it was set up to use the entire 100 amp hours, it would display 20 hours if you were drawing 5 amps.
This constantly goes up and down depending on what is cycling, and since going to lithium batteries I very rarely look at it, but it seemed more useful with our AGM batteries.
Amp hours consumed
This is the display we use most often, as it calculates how much power you’ve got left. If you’ve been pulling 3 amps for 5 hours, it will say -15 amp hours. When you charge the battery back to full, it will display 0.
When you set the Victron Battery Monitor up, you enter the capacity of the battery, and how you want it to be displayed. You can set it to calculate off the full amount, or off a smaller amount if you want to discharge your batteries less.
This is the easiest screen to make use of once its set up properly; if you wake up in the morning and your battery level is below 50%, you know that it needs a good charge through the day to pick it back up again. If you wake up and its still at 80%, you know there’s plenty of wiggle room!
It doesn’t split the generation or consumption
One thing I want to point out is that this unit just displays the overall direction that your battery is heading. The easiest way to explain this is to use a practical example.
If you are looking at the power draw, and you have a fridge running pulling 4 amps, and a panel on the roof putting 6 amps back in, your Victron Battery monitor will display +2 amps. Your losing 4 amps, but adding 6 and the net benefit is 2 amps.
It’s quality, and it works
You won’t go wrong with any Victron product. There’s a reason they have the reputation they do. Our battery monitor has been flawless, and I’m really pleased with it. We’d happily get another one if needed, but it does the job we want it to and I have no reason to change.
We did recently purchase a Renogy shunt and screen, which essentially does the same job, but its much larger. We’ve not installed or used it properly, but you’ll be able to read a review on that soon too.