Review: Trail Tested – Battery management system
Trent Webster, Editor, Australia
In every truck or trailer I have owned, I have had some form of dual battery monitoring. Be it a simple digital voltage meter to a full battery management system with DC shunts to monitor current, I have tried them all.
This time when building the trailer for the Cape trip, I sat down and thought about the short falls of them all. What I came up with was I wanted something that allowed me to monitor all the batteries I have from the one spot, it had to have a simple visual indication system, minimal connections and it had to be cost effective.
The Hummingbird RF Battery Monitor windscreen mounted
Photograph by Not A Gap Year
I started searching the internet and put together a short list. One arvo I was a the wholesalers picking up some other gear, and they had a kit on display on the front counter. After flicking through the advertising materials, I decided that the Hummingbird RF Battery Monitor Kit was going to be worth a try.
The Hummingbird RF Battery Monitor Kit is simple and effective
The display unit itself is compact and comes complete with a RAM mount for fixing to the windscreen. These mounts are great. From the time we fitted the unit to the time we got home from the Cape, it had only fallen off once. Far better than any other. To power the unit, it has a simple cigarette connection. This doubles as the connection to monitor the main battery voltage.
It can display 4 separate battery voltages at once (all which can be named to your requirements). What I liked about this was that not only does it display the voltages, but they are colour coded to the condition of the battery. A simple visual system that can be understood by all. Green is good, followed by yellow as it drops in charge through to red for the ‘Oh shit I need to fix something’ (or start the generator now).
I guess by now your asking how many wires need to be ran through everything to make this happen…none.
For each battery you want to monitor, you simply connect the RF unit to the battery supply terminals. Then, you pair it to the display unit. Job done. Each unit has a separate ID tag, and utilises long range technology.
We have it on the batteries in the back of our truck as well as the batteries in our trailer. We haven’t ever had any issues with drop outs or connections.
You will even notice it automatically reconnect when you drive back into range of the camper when you have been out on day trips.
The orange indicates a change in battery status.
Photograph by Not A Gap Year
When you see the initial price of the unit you wonder if its worth it, but when you price up the other options and factor in the labour component, it turns out to be quite cost effective (The kit comes w/ one battery transmitter).
This is one unit I have no hesitation recommending.
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