So you’re building a battery system for your RV, bass boat, or off-grid cabin. You know you need batteries and a charger, but what about a battery monitoring system? Is that necessary when you use lead acid batteries? Do you need a lithium battery monitor for Ionic lithium batteries?
We’ll answer those questions below, but here’s a quick hint. At LithiumHub, we prefer to keep things efficient. And that’s why our batteries have the best of both worlds – a built-in battery management system & Bluetooth monitoring. Keep reading to learn what a battery monitor is, and why you won’t need one if you use LithiumHub batteries.
What Does a Battery Monitoring System Do?
A battery monitoring system tells you how much charge you have left in your battery bank. You might compare it to the battery percentage icon on your smartphone. It tracks energy flow in and out of the battery and measures voltage.
With one look, your battery monitor can tell you if there’s enough juice to keep your trolling motor running a few more hours. (Or the TV on in your RV, so you can finish binge watching that series you love).
But that’s not the only info a battery monitoring system provides. It also shows other data, like the following:
- Battery temperature
- Power consumption
- Battery voltage
- State of charge
- Battery charging or discharging Amps (or Watts)
There are two types of battery monitors. The first is a voltmeter. This type tracks voltage to give you an estimate of charge status. But voltmeters can sometimes give inaccurate readings. This is because weather and temperature can cause voltage changes.
The other kind is shunt-based monitors. This type is more reliable than a simple voltmeter. Shunt-based monitors provide more information about your battery system.
Do I Need a Battery Monitoring System or Lithium Battery Monitor?
Battery monitors provide a lot of useful information. They can take the guesswork out of using your batteries. So you should hop in the truck and go get one, right? Wrong! Here’s some information that may surprise you. (Or not, depending on whether you read the entire title of this post or not.)
The truth is, you don’t need a battery monitoring system. Unless you want to stick with lead acid batteries. But if you’re using a lithium battery with built-in Bluetooth monitoring, a battery monitor is like a pair of training wheels on an Olympic cyclist’s bike. Totally unnecessary.
LithiumHub’s Ionic lithium batteries already have the two things you need to keep tabs on your batteries the way you would with a lithium battery monitor. Those two things are the battery management system (BMS) and Bluetooth monitoring. So put your wallet away, and keep scrolling to find out how it works.
Battery Management System vs. Battery Monitoring System
The terms “Battery management system (BMS)” and “battery monitoring system” sound very similar. But are they the same thing? Nope! The main difference between them is that the BMS records and stores information. It also monitors and protects your battery from unsafe situations and damage. A battery monitoring system just measures and displays data about your battery.
What are the functions of the BMS? We’ll list the main ones below:
- Prevents overcharging and undercharging
- Helps your battery have a longer lifespan
- Monitors and records information about any issues (shorts, defective cells, loose connections, etc)
- Calculates how much energy the battery has left (state of charge).
- Regulates temperature
- Balances individual cells within the battery so that they all have an equal charge. This helps the battery work more efficiently.
- Estimates how much longer the battery will take to charge.
- Turns the battery off when it detects unsafe conditions
LithiumHub’s Ionic lithium batteries already have a built-in BMS. This system not only performs the functions above, but also sends data to your lithium battery charger.
What does the battery charger do with this information? It sends it to your smartphone via Bluetooth! In order to see it, just download LithiumHub’s smartphone app. You can view the state of charge and other data in real time.
The BMS plus Bluetooth monitoring in LithiumHub batteries eliminates the need for a “middle man”. You won’t need to spend an extra dime on a battery monitoring system. The BMS and the battery monitoring app are included with your Ionic lithium battery and charger.
Questions About Battery Management Systems & Monitors
At this point you may be wondering whether your current battery system has a built-in BMS. If you use lead acid batteries, the answer is most likely “no”.
This is one reason why lead acid batteries are so vulnerable to overcharging and undercharging. You may find yourself “babysitting” your battery while charging to make sure it doesn’t reach the point of no return. Some people use a battery monitoring system to help them manage and extend the lifetime of their lead acid batteries.
With LithiumHub batteries, there’s no need for babysitting or a lithium battery monitor, as long as you charge them with a lithium charger. But lithium batteries from other sellers may require a lithium battery monitor. This is because they may have a built-in BMS, but lack Bluetooth capabilities to display the information that the BMS provides.
You know that the easier it is to use and monitor your battery, the more you can relax and enjoy your fishing or camping trip. Your battery system should enhance your life, not add more stress to it! Go the simple route and switch to LithiumHub’s anxiety-free batteries.
To read more about lithium’s built-in BMS, see Lithium Battery BMS: What It Is and Why It’s Important.