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Voltminder - a volt gauge with alarm
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:51 pm    Post subject: Voltminder - a volt gauge with alarm Reply with quote

I recently installed what so far seems to be a nifty volt gauge in my van. It’s called the Voltminder, made by a guy who apparently used to be a long haul trucker. The market for these seems to be truckers and RV folks.

About the size of a pack of cards, it can be simply plugged into a 12 volt outlet or hard wired to an existing always-hot circuit. (I connected the positive wire via a tap splice to a reading light mounted over the rear hatch, which minimized the amount of wire I had to run.) This device could be connected to either your starting battery or aux battery; I chose the aux battery.

It differs from a normal volt gauge in that the Voltminder has an alarm function. You can set the alarm to any voltage from 10.50 to 13.50 volts (measures to hundredths of a volt) and if power drops to this level, you get a “beep-beep-beep . . .” This tells you to either turn off the 12 volt margarita blender or start the engine for a bit to charge the aux battery back up.

I previously had a rather lame gauge I got at a FLAPS that just plugged into a 12 volt outlet. I never liked this much because it was obtrusive and stuck out kinda far (almost snapped it off several times), and I had to remember to plug it in. The Voltminder is now hardwired and permanently mounted so I can check the aux battery voltage at a glance.

I have no affiliation with this business, merely trying to pass along news of a product that seems to do it’s humble job well. Cost is $30, shipping included. Check it out.

(edit / PS: Someone PM'd me about the speakers in the photo. They are Infinity Reference 4012i, if anyone's interested.)

www.voltminder.com

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Last edited by climberjohn on Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:12 am; edited 1 time in total
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Voltminder - a volt gauge with alarm Reply with quote

I've had one a while, nice device. Wiring it through any other circuit has negative implications for it's accuracy as regards battery voltage. Best to wire it with a plus and minus wire right to the battery without anything else sharing any of the wiring if a true reading of the battery condition is what you need.

Mark


climberjohn wrote:
I recently installed what so far seems to be a nifty volt gauge in my van. It’s called the Voltminder, .... (I connected the positive wire via a tap splice to a reading light mounted over the rear hatch, which minimized the amount of wire I had to run.) This device could be connected to either your starting battery or aux battery; I chose the aux battery.
........... Check it out.

www.voltminder.com
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randywebb
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what powers the “beep-beep-beep . . .”?

does it have its own small battery?

or does it further run down the vehicle battery - say, it you are out hiking & don't hear the beeps for a few hours...
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RCB
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Voltminder - a volt gauge with alarm Reply with quote

climberjohn wrote:
I recently installed what so far seems to be a nifty volt gauge in my van. It’s called the Voltminder, made by a guy who apparently used to be a long haul trucker. The market for these seems to be truckers and RV folks.

About the size of a pack of cards, it can be simply plugged into a 12 volt outlet or hard wired to an existing always-hot circuit. (I connected the positive wire via a tap splice to a reading light mounted over the rear hatch, which minimized the amount of wire I had to run.) This device could be connected to either your starting battery or aux battery; I chose the aux battery.

It differs from a normal volt gauge in that the Voltminder has an alarm function. You can set the alarm to any voltage from 10.50 to 13.50 volts (measures to hundredths of a volt) and if power drops to this level, you get a “beep-beep-beep . . .” This tells you to either turn off the 12 volt margarita blender or start the engine for a bit to charge the aux battery back up.

I previously had a rather lame gauge I got at a FLAPS that just plugged into a 12 volt outlet. I never liked this much because it was obtrusive and stuck out kinda far (almost snapped it off several times), and I had to remember to plug it in. The Voltminder is now hardwired and permanently mounted so I can check the aux battery voltage at a glance.

I have no affiliation with this business, merely trying to pass along news of a product that seems to do it’s humble job well. Cost is $30, shipping included. Check it out.

www.voltminder.com

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Good on ya for posting that item....is that one of TK's temp/clocks ya have. Cool item and the alarm works great.
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Emeritusx
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

randywebb wrote:
what powers the “beep-beep-beep . . .”?

does it have its own small battery?

or does it further run down the vehicle battery - say, it you are out hiking & don't hear the beeps for a few hours...

A car battery could beep this device for a month..
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:28 am    Post subject: Re: Voltminder - a volt gauge with alarm Reply with quote

crazyvwvanman wrote:
I've had one a while, nice device. Wiring it through any other circuit has negative implications for it's accuracy as regards battery voltage. Best to wire it with a plus and minus wire right to the battery without anything else sharing any of the wiring if a true reading of the battery condition is what you need.
Mark


Mark,

I was wondering about this. When looking at: A) the voltminder, and B) a multimeter put right on the battery terminals, the voltage readings were different. How far different I do not recall right now; will check later today and post the numbers.
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GWTWTLW
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't worry to much about where it is wired. My voltmeter is wired into the dash. I know that it reads a little lower than it would if connected directly to the battery but that's OK. I look at the gauges as more of a relative picture. If it always reads one thing and then suddenly it doesn't, you know you have a problem.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you don't care how accurate or consistent the reading is then wire the thing any way you like. Why buy a voltage alarm device and then wire it such that it gets false voltage readings? The laws of physics will prevail.

Mark


GWTWTLW wrote:
I wouldn't worry to much about where it is wired. My voltmeter is wired into the dash. I know that it reads a little lower than it would if connected directly to the battery but that's OK. I look at the gauges as more of a relative picture. If it always reads one thing and then suddenly it doesn't, you know you have a problem.
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GWTWTLW
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

crazyvwvanman wrote:
If you don't care how accurate or consistent the reading is then wire the thing any way you like. Why buy a voltage alarm device and then wire it such that it gets false voltage readings? The laws of physics will prevail.

Mark


GWTWTLW wrote:
I wouldn't worry to much about where it is wired. My voltmeter is wired into the dash. I know that it reads a little lower than it would if connected directly to the battery but that's OK. I look at the gauges as more of a relative picture. If it always reads one thing and then suddenly it doesn't, you know you have a problem.


It is consistent. To me, that is agood indicator of charging well being. I know that I am about .5 volt off from where it is wired vs being wired directly to the battery. When driving, it sits right on the 13 volt line. It is consistent regardless of the load I am drawing.In reality, it is about 13.5 at the battery. I know that if the needle drops below say 12 volts that I have a problem. If I had an alarm, I could set the trigger point appropriately.

Ideally, it would be connected directly to the battery for accuracy but I am happy with consistency. It serves the purpose of knowing how well the system is charging.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come on by, I will test how inconsistent it is with my voltmeter. I understand your method works for your purposes of checking crude charging status. I have used mine the same way at times and made the same compromises as you. It makes no sense to do so with a precise battery alarm if you intend to rely on the alarm in any real way for maximum battery life. If we just want gadgets and toys for play time then none of this discussion matters. I have learned the hard way and others will too.

Mark


GWTWTLW wrote:
[

It is consistent. To me, that is agood indicator of charging well being. I know that I am about .5 volt off from where it is wired vs being wired directly to the battery. When driving, it sits right on the 13 volt line. It is consistent regardless of the load I am drawing.In reality, it is about 13.5 at the battery. I know that if the needle drops below say 12 volts that I have a problem. If I had an alarm, I could set the trigger point appropriately.

Ideally, it would be connected directly to the battery for accuracy but I am happy with consistency. It serves the purpose of knowing how well the system is charging.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it always on or does it have an on/off switch?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Emeritusx wrote:
randywebb wrote:
what powers the “beep-beep-beep . . .”?

does it have its own small battery?

or does it further run down the vehicle battery - say, it you are out hiking & don't hear the beeps for a few hours...

A car battery could beep this device for a month..


maybe so; maybe no -- even if it could that is not the question

the issue is whether a car battery that is on the point of being run-down might be pushed over the edge if this thing starts drawing more current while someone is out on a hike or several days long backpacking trip
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

randywebb wrote:

maybe so; maybe no -- even if it could that is not the question

the issue is whether a car battery that is on the point of being run-down might be pushed over the edge if this thing starts drawing more current while someone is out on a hike or several days long backpacking trip


If the battery is on the verge of running down while you are far away, those beeps wouldnt be what pushes it over the edge. The battery would be dead by the time you are back at the car, with or without that meter.
It think it is meant for situations when you are in or outside the car,
and have stuff like coolboxes running. And if the tiny current the beeping draws still prevents the car from starting, the warning limit have been set way too low....
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Voltminder does NOT have an internal battery (like a 9 volt or AA).
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

climberjohn wrote:
The Voltminder does NOT have an internal battery (like a 9 volt or AA).


John is it always on or does it have an on/off switch?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's always on, as in no designated on/off switch.

But as you can see in the photo, there is a plug on the side that can be unplugged in a moment. Doing so would remove all power to the voltminder, effectively turning it off.

If you were headed out on a weeklong backpack trip and wanted to unplug everything to eliminate any possible battery drain, that'd be the way to do it. (As well as maybe pulling the main fuse from your aux battery fuse box.)

Regarding starting your van, I am guessing most van owners would want a unit like this for the aux battery. That's the point of having an aux battery, to prevent your starting battery from ever getting drained from 12 volt appliances. If the aux power gets low, well then, that's what's it's built for.

CJ
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John thank you for posting. I am going to purchase one. mark
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I have a voltminder and do like its simplicity, but I would caution that it seems to be a bit of a volt vampire.

I had my UB12220 88ah battery bank fully charged and just left my voltminder plugged in for about two weeks. My van is not my daily driver, so the van was parked. When I happend to look at the voltage reading I was shocked at it's seemingly abilty to draw a battery bank down to 12.1 volts Shocked Ok so where could there be another draw?? I charge the bank up again and no volt minder for three weeks. A quick voltage check reveals.... 12.57v. All volt readings were taken with the voltminder.

Maybe my expectations are off for the amount of draw on this?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

markz2004 wrote:
So I have a voltminder and do like its simplicity, but I would caution that it seems to be a bit of a volt vampire.

I had my UB12220 88ah battery bank fully charged and just left my voltminder plugged in for about two weeks. My van is not my daily driver, so the van was parked. When I happend to look at the voltage reading I was shocked at it's seemingly abilty to draw a battery bank down to 12.1 volts Shocked Ok so where could there be another draw?? I charge the bank up again and no volt minder for three weeks. A quick voltage check reveals.... 12.57v. All volt readings were taken with the voltminder.

Maybe my expectations are off for the amount of draw on this?


It's possible you have a single cell or battery that's going bad. That would draw the whole bank down. I'd disconnect the batteries and measure each individually.

EDIT - OK - I re-read your post. You unplugged it and the batteries were fine. So doing some math, if it draws 0.1 amps, it will use 40 amp hours in 400 hours or 16 days. Seems like that's what you were seeing.
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Last edited by PDXWesty on Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw this on the GoWesty site as well:
http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=23318&category_id=&category_parent_id=
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