Does your battery need a lithium battery monitor?
There are many upgrades you can make to your battery system, but one of the simplest and most useful is to add a lithium battery monitor. Let’s take a look at what a lithium battery monitor is and how it can help you get the most out of your battery system.
What is a battery lithium monitor?
People often think of a battery monitor as a battery coulometer. However, they provide more than just a state of charge for the battery system. The lithium battery monitor also collects and displays useful data, such as battery voltage, power consumption, estimated remaining operating time, current consumption, battery temperature, etc.
How the lithium battery monitor works?
There are two types of lithium battery monitors, shunt based and voltage based. The simplest type is a voltage-based monitor, which is usually standard in most mobile power applications. This type of monitor simply measures the real-time voltage of a battery and uses it to estimate its charging status.
Voltage-based monitors are not very accurate because the battery’s real-time voltage fluctuates in response to temperature changes and other environmental conditions. If you change the battery type, the voltmeter may even be completely inaccurate.
A shunt monitor is more accurate because it measures the actual energy flowing into and out of the battery. These lithium battery monitors require a diverter to be installed on the negative side of the battery terminal. The shunt measures the real-time voltage and current consumption of the battery system.
The battery monitor uses these measurements to calculate the state of charge, power consumption, estimated remaining operating time, and other useful information about the battery system.
Lithium Battery Monitor vs Battery Management System(BMS)
Lithium batteries have integrated battery management systems (BMS) that help optimize their performance and prevent them from operating outside of safe conditions. The BMS is the control center for the individual batteries in the system, not the entire system.
The main function of BMS is to prevent overcharging and over-discharging, which can damage the battery and shorten its life. BMS also calculates the remaining power, observes the battery temperature, pays attention to the health and safety of the battery by checking the loose connection and internal short circuit, and balances the power of all batteries in the battery.
If unsafe conditions are detected, BMS will shut down the battery to protect the lithium ion battery and the user.
The BMS collects much of the same information as a lithium battery monitor. However, rather than presenting the information to the user, BMS uses it to optimize the performance and health of each battery.
Why do you need a lithium battery monitor?
BMS collects data and uses it to optimize each individual battery. Your lithium battery monitor, on the other hand, collects information and displays it so you can understand how to optimize the performance of your entire battery system.
One of the most basic functions of a battery monitor is to display the amount of power remaining in the battery system.
In lead-acid batteries, the battery voltage drops significantly when you use them. This voltage drop usually indicates that your battery is low. For example, your lights may dim when the battery is low.
Lithium-ion batteries, by contrast, do not experience a significant voltage drop when depleted. Without a lithium battery monitor, you will not be warned that your batteries are about to run out until they run out and the BMS turns them off.
Better maintain your battery
The lithium battery monitor does more than just show the charging status of the system. Your battery monitor also gives you real-time and historical information about voltage, power consumption, temperature, and more. This data allows you to make better decisions about how to optimize battery usage and charging.
A good example is deciding when to switch the refrigerator in the RV from battery power to propane. Maybe it’s late afternoon, and your battery monitor says you have four hours left to run. However, if you switch the RV refrigerator to propane, you can run it all night without running a generator.
If lead-acid batteries are used, they should not be more than 50 percent charged for optimal service life. Using accurate triage based monitors will let you know when the 50% mark has been reached and they need to be charged. Lead-acid batteries also take a long time to recharge and need to be recycled through absorption. Without a lithium battery monitor, you might not know when the battery is fully charged. If they are not fully charged before running out, you will shorten their service life.
Switching to lithium batteries solves all of these problems, but lithium battery monitors are still crucial for knowing how much power you have left or how much you have charged your battery.
Accurate monitoring leads to more efficient battery usage, extend uptime and lower battery cost. The lithium battery monitor provides accurate, real-time battery voltage, temperature and current readings in 12V, 48V, and 72V battery management systems. So it is advisable to install a lithium battery monitor for your lithium batteries.