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Battery Indicator Lights

wing_zealot
Explorer
Explorer
Anyone know how the battery indicator lights work? What drives them? My four indicator lights on the control panel apparently quit working. Yes, I know they are unreliable anyways but they do provide an indication of problems. The battery seems to be fully charged, the convertor seems to be working fine, but the battery indicator lights are a not working at all.
14 REPLIES 14

Almot
Explorer III
Explorer III
wa8yxm wrote:
CA Traveler wrote:
The lights have only one purpose - for the salesman to explain "what a great monitor system this rig has".


Nomination for best, and most accurate, Comment in the thread

This is way better

x2. Variants of this exist on Ebay in $1-$3 range. All you need is to locate black and red wire, they are behind the box. You may also plug something like This in cig lighter socket.

MEXICOWANDERER
Explorer
Explorer


Remove your battery meter

Turn it over

You will see something like this

wa8yxm
Explorer III
Explorer III
CA Traveler wrote:
The lights have only one purpose - for the salesman to explain "what a great monitor system this rig has".


Nomination for best, and most accurate, Comment in the thread

This is way better

I do a lot of shopping via wish, it's china stuff for the most part but it should work.

NOTE that voltage is only an indiation of State of charge when battery is RESTING (neither charging nor discharging) A condition that almost never exists inside and RV.
Home was where I park it. but alas the.
2005 Damon Intruder 377 Alas declared a total loss
after a semi "nicked" it. Still have the radios
Kenwood TS-2000, ICOM ID-5100, ID-51A+2, ID-880 REF030C most times

DrewE
Explorer II
Explorer II
The device is just the monitor panel itself; it is showing you the 12V system voltage (at a very, very coarse resolution). All the circuitry required is in the monitor panel circuit board itself.

Basically, the bottom LED illuminates whenever the check switch is pressed and gives you absolutely no useful information other than perhaps that you do indeed have 12V power. The remaining three lights illuminate when the system is over some preset voltage, as detected by a simple comparator circuit in the display unit. I have not sketched out a schematic of mine to see what it uses as a reference voltage--maybe there's a zener diode or something similar, or maybe even the forward voltage of the always illuminated bottommost LED.

There's no purpose-built ADC or microcontroller or anything at all sophisticated in most of these sorts of panels...though, these days, a little microcontroller would probably be cheaper if one were designing the system anew from scratch. Something like an ATTiny404, currently available for $.55 in single quantities from DigiKey, could easily run one of these monitor panels with four or so things monitored with minimal external components (a voltage regulator, some resistors and LEDs, a switch).

capacitor
Explorer
Explorer
There is probably a circuit board in the control panel that operates the lights off a preset voltage span. I would search for the same control panel and replace it if you can’t find whatever controls just the battery lights. I have never looked behind mine so I’m guessing. I did add a dc digital volt meter where the radio is and prefer it but I would still fix the panel lights.

Sandia_Man
Explorer II
Explorer II
Had to replace the rocker switch on our indicator panel as it would only work intermittently, ended up replacing them all anyway as it is an older rig. I did order a couple of dc socket (cigarette lighter type) voltage meters that I placed around the interior and outside in converter/dc distribution cabinet of rig, being blue LEDs I can easily see stage of charging with a quick glance.

wing_zealot
Explorer
Explorer
Easy to install is not what makes it "really inconvenient" - it's all about location, location, location. I would rather spend $40 to get my idiot lights to work (as crude as they may be), just because they are more conveniently located (i.e.: all in one as you might say).

And just to give a little more detail (and to ally the forthcoming obvious answers), the control panel is mounted on the side of a cabinet, within an enclosed space, that has no wire path going anywhere that you could fish a wire into.

Boon_Docker
Explorer II
Explorer II
wing_zealot wrote:
Let me try again. There must be some "device" (for lack of a better term) that tells whatever controls the control panel to "light one light", "light two lights", etc. What is that device and where is it located?

jdc may have a very good solution that I didn't think of; but, it would be really inconvenient to go that direction.


One of these would be quite easy to install, no shunt needed.

wing_zealot
Explorer
Explorer
Let me try again. There must be some "device" (for lack of a better term) that tells whatever controls the control panel to "light one light", "light two lights", etc. What is that device and where is it located?

jdc may have a very good solution that I didn't think of; but, it would be really inconvenient to go that direction.

MEXICOWANDERER
Explorer
Explorer
The driver D to A integrated circuit goes bad. You would have to Trace down the part number and hot air change it. There are very few western hemisphere suppliers to purchase specialty ICs.

BFL13
Explorer II
Explorer II
What is the monitor? If it is a range hood type, and it works with the tank lights etc, then the rocker switch for the battery lights might be the culprit. You can get those at the Parts Store.
1. 1991 Oakland 28DB Class C
on Ford E350-460-7.5 Gas EFI
Photo in Profile
2. 1991 Bighorn 9.5ft Truck Camper on 2003 Chev 2500HD 6.0 Gas
See Profile for Electronic set-ups for 1. and 2.

CA_Traveler
Explorer III
Explorer III
The lights have only one purpose - for the salesman to explain "what a great monitor system this rig has".
2009 Holiday Rambler 42' Scepter with ISL 400 Cummins
750 Watts Solar Morningstar MPPT 60 Controller
2014 Grand Cherokee Overland

Bob

jdc1
Explorer II
Explorer II
Time to ditch the lights. Install a digital reading monitor. They are very inexpensive.

Lynnmor
Explorer
Explorer
It just a simple connection to an available 12 volt line. If you are getting 12 volts to the panel, then it is likely the panel is bad. Google "KIP Micro Monitor" for more information.