Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?

_OS__OS_ Solar Expert Posts: 207 ✭✭✭
Hi all,

Today I have the Trimetric battery monitor which I am very pleased with. I am considering upgrading to the Pentametric and wonder if anyone here has any experience to share. One of the reasons I want to upgrade is to get the temperature logging function and be able to measure more than one current.

Thanks,
Ole

Comments

  • _OS__OS_ Solar Expert Posts: 207 ✭✭✭
    Re: Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?

    No answers here so I guess this is not a very common battery monitor. Better stick with the Trimetric until I can find more info or a review of the Pentametric.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?

    We have not had much feedback on it, no complaints, but really no other feedback either.

    It gives you a lot of data, but it is also quite a bit more expensive than the TriMetric.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?

    Ole, I opted for the XBM, or on your side the BMV from the maker of your Inverter. there is lots of discussion in the other sections of this board, search for XBM from Xantrex. about (~) the same price as the Pentametric. there is also the updated version, in the 'LINK' family... for more money.

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?

    If I may ask a tangential question, how does the TriMetric Battery Monitor compare to the TriMetric Digital Meter? I have a Trimetric charger already.
  • _OS__OS_ Solar Expert Posts: 207 ✭✭✭
    Re: Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?
    Sage wrote: »
    If I may ask a tangential question, how does the TriMetric Battery Monitor compare to the TriMetric Digital Meter? I have a Trimetric charger already.

    I did not know there was a TriMetric Digital Meter so I can not comment on this.

    Ole
  • _OS__OS_ Solar Expert Posts: 207 ✭✭✭
    Re: Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?
    westbranch wrote: »
    Ole, I opted for the XBM, or on your side the BMV from the maker of your Inverter. there is lots of discussion in the other sections of this board, search for XBM from Xantrex. about (~) the same price as the Pentametric. there is also the updated version, in the 'LINK' family... for more money.

    Eric

    I have considered both the BMV and LinkPro (replaces the discontinued XBM as I understand) but I wanted the data logging functionality of the Pentametric. Besides the makers of the Pentametric and Trimetric (Boghart Engineering) makes very instructive user manuals with tons on information on the stuff that we discuss here.

    Looking at the data sheet of the LinkPro I see that you can enter a factor for self discharge as well as a Peukert's exponent. I miss the self discharge factor in the Trimetric.

    But as I said above, the lack of information or reviews of the Pentametric makes me a bit sceptic.

    Ole
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?

    I guess it depends on what you want to get off (from) the monitor. I use a serial interface to download the XBMs current state , while I am in residence, to monitor my usage. I am having a small problem with battery state of charge and can record the state down to the second, if it was useful, but right now am recording every 10 minutes. I was assisted by another forum member who modified a program he wrote for his grid-tie system.

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • DabblerDabbler Registered Users Posts: 22
    Re: Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?

    Ole, I will weigh in in favor of the Pentametric. Caveat: I'm not as knowledgeable as most here, and don't have experience with many of the other tools you might choose, but I have used a Pentametric for years and have been very pleased, so I offer my opinion for your consideration.

    I like to experiment, so the ability to monitor 3 shunts plus battery voltage and temp has been useful. The measurement unit connects to the shunts and battery temp sensor, which can be connected at fairly long distance to the display unit. From there, I use a USB interface to a laptop which provides even better display of the data, and also logs to a file. The file is easy to use in Excell to plot.

    Here's a rough sketch of my favorite way to use it:

    Shunt%20location.jpg

    .....and here's an example of plots I can get, including the battery temperature, which I think you were looking for:

    p3.jpg

    Sure beats staying up all night with with a voltmeter and thermometer! :-)
  • _OS__OS_ Solar Expert Posts: 207 ✭✭✭
    Re: Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?

    Thanks Dabbler! That is just the kind of feedback I am looking for. I have got a quote for the complete system with three shunts and will probably order it after my vacation.

    Regards,
    Ole
  • _OS__OS_ Solar Expert Posts: 207 ✭✭✭
    Re: Opinions on PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?

    I have now ordered the Pentametric with display unit and computer interface. I plan too hook it up to my wireless meter that I wrote about in another thread.

    I will try to write a short review after I have used it for a while.

    Ole
  • StevenBStevenB Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?

    I have a Pentametric.....and I'm a beginner with a very small solar, turbine battery setup.
    I have found it very useful for observing the small changes I make tuning and experimenting.
    I'll make these comments:
    1) Real person support is excellent. You can talk to Ralph the inventor pretty much on the first ring.
    2) There is a display unit and an interface for a computer. The display is kind of confusing to navigate the displays......the interface is easy. I have both.
    3) The connections run on micro current so the wiring connections or soldered connections have to be absolutely tight.
    4) The Interface needs to be several feet from your Inverter because of I guess the "electro magnetic affect" and as i understand the vibration.
    5) Remote monitoring is not available with a Cat5 line so if you want to run from the battery barn to the house it's via twisted wire connection. I cheat and pit a laptop in the barn sometimes, connected to the interface....and have a free software for observing what's on screen in the barn, from my house computer. Ralph tells me now there is also a TCIP protocol available.

    6. What hasn't worked well: There are three channels. #1 dedicated for the battery, #2 and #3 for your peripherals. #2 has a whole bunch of monitoring views, including Watts......for me the beginner watts is still a nice bottom line observation. #3 only has a few views, and no watts.
    And I am still not sure for the #3 channel if I am getting good readings. I definitely was not on both until I resecured some connections and #2 kicked in nice.
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?
    StevenB wrote: »
    5) Remote monitoring is not available with a Cat5 line so if you want to run from the battery barn to the house it's via twisted wire connection.

    Technically...Cat5 *is* a twisted pair - 4 twisted pairs in fact though only two are normally used.

    It looks like the PentaMetric uses two pairs to get from the input unit to the display unit (probably a serial interface), and also two pairs to get from the input unit to the computer (certainly a serial interface). The max wire length is 1000', which is about 305 meters.

    The max allowable length for ethernet over Cat5, 5e and 6 is 100 meters, so for a distance over 100m, the way the PentaMetric is doing it (serial instead of ethernet) would seem to be a better way.


    However *either* way - serial or ethernet - still requires running cable between the barn and the house, so it seems like "six of one, half a dozen of the other" to me.

    If you wanted both the computer and the display unit in the house, then you would need 4 pairs since the computer interface needs 2 pairs, and the display unit also needs 2 pairs.

    Since both of these appear to be serial interfaces - Cat5, 5e or 6 would be fine (Cat3 would probably work fine as well for shorter runs) - but if they were ethernet interfaces, then the max length would be 100 meters.


    I can't find anything on the PentaMetric web site describing how TCP/IP is implemented so...

    If the newer units can communicate *between the input unit and the display unit* with ethernet, then a wireless connection could be used for that.

    It the newer units communicate *between the input unit and the computer* with ethernet, then a wireless connection could be used for that.

    However, unless *both* of these are using ethernet, then you would still need a cable between the barn and the house if you wanted both the computer and the display unit in the house.

    (One could, as has been mentioned, stick a computer in the barn and remote control it, but then the display unit still has to stay in the barn.)





    [NOTE: BTW, here's a tip I learned in the school of hard knocks...just in case anyone ever needs it...

    For ethernet of 100mb or faster over copper twisted pair, more than 100m cable length *does* cause problems. BUT...if you set the netcards to run at 10mb and lock them down to that speed - then they'll usually work fine at cable lengths up to 300m-350m (I've never had to troubleshoot runs longer than that so for all I know it might work on even longer runs).

    You can also achieve the same effect by sticking a 10mb switch or hub on one end to limit the bandwidth to 10mb.]
  • StevenBStevenB Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Opinions PentaMetric Battery Monitor anyone?

    Yow. Terrific tip on the step down mb speed.

    Yeah I was aware Cat5 cable was twisted pair sets. I buried 2 CAT5 cables from battery barn to house, so I could make use of twisted pairs for one of the cables (the other runs from Inverter to XW Config controls here at the house).
    I believe the way I have it set up I can bring the interface to the house and just use four wires.

    But be aware that the interface uses a type of serial (or parallel I get em mixed up) port that new computers don't often have...so be prepared to get a port-to-usb cable.
    Again the owner of the company is who answers tech support and very forthright on strengths and weakness, possible solutions, etc.
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