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Old 01-24-2020, 11:16 AM   #1
watsonjones
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Battery Compartment cabling

I have several questions for the group regarding the forward battery compartment.
I recently purchased the Victron BMV-712 battery monitor and want to install it. I have seen pictures of people that mount electrical components like this, including the bus bar that comes with it, and other solar install related items on a neat vertical wall mount behind the battery.
Can anyone give an amateur some guidance on how to go about installing one of these panels?
1. Should it be made from any specific type of material, or will any old plywood do, or do I just screw the parts to the existing bulkhead?
2. What depth screws can I use to mount the panel to the wall? It looks like the existing bulkhead is about a 1/2Ē wood board.
3. Any other issues/items that I might not have considered?
Any advice and especially pictures from anyone that has done something like this on their Monty would be appreciated.
I have attached a picture of my existing bulkhead and an example of what I am looking to duplicate (but with currently far less items on it).
Thank you
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File Type: jpeg D86D7F6D-BCBE-47D5-AC6B-FF3067AFF44C.jpeg (108.8 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpeg 4FC3B412-F605-41DF-A3F7-B203B5790D2E.jpeg (286.3 KB, 41 views)
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:00 AM   #2
suny07
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Hi,

I installed direct on the front wall no extra board.

You are right, screws need to be not too long.

Mike
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:15 AM   #3
watsonjones
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Thanks Mike, your setup looks very nice. I like to look here to see what other Montana Owners have done in their rigs. I like to learn as much as I can from those that have been there before me. Did you do all the cabling yourself?
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Old 01-28-2020, 12:02 AM   #4
scottz
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Here is what mine looks like after clean up. In used some 1/8" white laminated board; seems easier on the eyes than the black background. You can go either way, just use something non conductive and use screws that are not too long. I think I used 3/4" on the bus bars and 1" on the breakers.
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File Type: jpg Batt Compartment 1 -2.jpg (1.21 MB, 54 views)
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Old 01-28-2020, 08:21 AM   #5
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Scottz, thank you for the picture and especially the circuit diagram which is very useful. One of the reasons that I am thinking of using an additional backing board is that I am sure I will end up adding to and changing my cabling circuit over the years and if I use a backing board and need to make a significant change I can just make a new backing board without leaving a bunch of holes in my battery compartment bulkhead.
A couple of follow on questions:
1. Do you recall the size of bus bars you used (3/8 or 5/16) and what gauge wire are you using between the bus bars?
2. What batteries do you have and do you store them in the battery compartment (I know some people with Lithium banks move them somewhere else). I still have the original batteries that came with the rig but am looking to replace them at some time.
3. do you have a battery terminal disconnect like this one for use when storing theRV for short periods? (GraceMe Battery Master Disconnect Cut Off Switch 12V 24V Negative Post Marine Boat Car Rv Vehicles Battery Saver https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074J5W7TX...2emEb9TYWXXC)?
We do not need or have solar yet but envision adding it within the next year or two.
Thanks, David
p.s. I also plan to copy your idea of marking the hydraulic fluid reservoir levels.
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Old 01-28-2020, 12:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by watsonjones View Post
Scottz, thank you for the picture and especially the circuit diagram which is very useful. One of the reasons that I am thinking of using an additional backing board is that I am sure I will end up adding to and changing my cabling circuit over the years and if I use a backing board and need to make a significant change I can just make a new backing board without leaving a bunch of holes in my battery compartment bulkhead.
A couple of follow on questions:
1. Do you recall the size of bus bars you used (3/8 or 5/16) and what gauge wire are you using between the bus bars?
2. What batteries do you have and do you store them in the battery compartment (I know some people with Lithium banks move them somewhere else). I still have the original batteries that came with the rig but am looking to replace them at some time.
3. do you have a battery terminal disconnect like this one for use when storing theRV for short periods? (GraceMe Battery Master Disconnect Cut Off Switch 12V 24V Negative Post Marine Boat Car Rv Vehicles Battery Saver https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074J5W7TX...2emEb9TYWXXC)?
We do not need or have solar yet but envision adding it within the next year or two.
Thanks, David
p.s. I also plan to copy your idea of marking the hydraulic fluid reservoir levels.
The four bus bars on the left are the mains with four 3/8" lugs each.
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The two on the right are for smaller feeds.
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you get these off Amazon, read the reviews. The first thing you do is replace the 3/8" x 1 1/4" bolts they give you. The ones they supply are junk or the nuts/bolts are mismatched; anyway, they will seize the first time you tighten them; trash them.

I use 1/0 welding cable (more flexible than standard stranded cable) for battery feeds & jumpers, inverter feeds, bus bar connectors, etc. and #6 to the breakers (except the generator start breaker).

I had AGM's (3 @ 12VDC) but changed to lithium. Yes, they are in the battery compartment.

This is the disconnect I used.
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 01-28-2020, 02:50 PM   #7
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Thank you for the bus and cabling info. I see what you mean about the shut off switch. The standard Montana wiring has a battery disconnect to the inverter, but there are other devices with parasitic loads still connected. I was thinking of adding an additional battery switch to disconnect the batteries entirely, but if I am going to rewire, I can just make the shut off disconnect all feeds, unless someone can give me a reason why I might need both.
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Old 01-28-2020, 03:20 PM   #8
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My OEM disconnect is in the convenience center; difficult to get at and not worth the trouble of reconfiguring; left in place. The one I put in the battery compartment is better quality and disconnects everything. Your choice.
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Old 01-28-2020, 07:30 PM   #9
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I admit to being impressed with the clean wiring layout some of you have. Gives me some incentive to get busy on that myself.


One of the things that really made me wonder about how they build our units is the absolute rats nest of wires and pipes that greats you when you look in the underbelly or any other hidden area. Being untidy with your work at a minimum suggests your not very professional and are just trying to get units out the door. Total lack of pride in craftsmanship!


In fact, one of the things that really made a major impression on me about the full and partial customs (Spacecraft and New Horizon) was the well laid out wiring and gasp it was labeled!!
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Old 01-29-2020, 04:49 AM   #10
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I also left the OEM converter in place.
The new Xantrex is a inverter / converter which is doing the job just better.
Especially for the Lithium Batteries.
Btw, the Xantrex as 80amp charging power. This means after a night it charges the batteries rather quickly and I run the generator in the morning app. 1.5hrs and batteries are fully charged and reach until next morning.

I have a I/O switch for the inverter/converter and a general for the batteries.
The inverter I have off when on battery and we do not need it as it also draws significant power during a day which we save that way.

Mike
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Old 01-29-2020, 07:09 AM   #11
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@suny07, thanks. I think I will hold off on replacing our investor for now, until we are ready to add the Lithium batteries and/or solar, but will definitely put it on the list for then. Based on your comment I will keep the current disconnect to the investor and will just add another full system disconnect. (I had misspoken in an earlier post. The shutoff in the battery compartment is just to the investor. It is the battery disconnect in the convenience center that is the one that shuts off some items but leaves the parasitic load of other items which is an issue when leaving the rig unattended in storage for more than a few days).
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:30 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by watsonjones View Post
@suny07, thanks. I think I will hold off on replacing our investor for now, until we are ready to add the Lithium batteries and/or solar, but will definitely put it on the list for then. Based on your comment I will keep the current disconnect to the investor and will just add another full system disconnect. (I had misspoken in an earlier post. The shutoff in the battery compartment is just to the investor. It is the battery disconnect in the convenience center that is the one that shuts off some items but leaves the parasitic load of other items which is an issue when leaving the rig unattended in storage for more than a few days).
'inverter' not 'investor' sorry (bad auto correct of bad spelling ).
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Old 02-21-2020, 07:13 AM   #13
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Two questions -
Where did you mount the 712? I just purchased one and was wondering how hard it is to put where the breakers are inside. I thought about where the batteries are located but it is metal lined, so not sure the bluetooth would work there.

I have heard that the battery disconnect in the convenience center leaves some thing still connected. I was checking with the RV shop, turned mine off and we couldn't find anything still working. Do you know what is still connected? My detectors, except for the battery one, were all dead along with the radio.

Thanks, Chris
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAG View Post
Two questions -
Where did you mount the 712? I just purchased one and was wondering how hard it is to put where the breakers are inside. I thought about where the batteries are located but it is metal lined, so not sure the bluetooth would work there.

I have heard that the battery disconnect in the convenience center leaves some thing still connected. I was checking with the RV shop, turned mine off and we couldn't find anything still working. Do you know what is still connected? My detectors, except for the battery one, were all dead along with the radio.

Thanks, Chris
On the panel by my InCommand. You will have to snake the cable up from the storage compartment. Not terribly difficult; if you do it, pull an extra string for future use; there will always be something.

On my unit, stuff like my propane detector, cord reel, etc; your batteries will run down if you use only the OEM disconnect.
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Old 02-21-2020, 06:02 PM   #15
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Thanks for the info.

On mine the OEM Disconnect turned off the propane sensor.. only thing I didn't check was the levelers. Once I have the 712 installed I can check for any drain on the batteries... of course then the 712 will be a drain..lol

I have the High Country, so maybe since you have incommand there is power left on.
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Old 02-22-2020, 05:11 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by CAG View Post
Two questions -
Where did you mount the 712? I just purchased one and was wondering how hard it is to put where the breakers are inside. I thought about where the batteries are located but it is metal lined, so not sure the bluetooth would work there.
Hello,

The shunt is on the top picture in the right bottom.From there you have to run a thin 'Old-School-Telephone-Like' cable to your monitoring device.
I have it installed in the comand center.

Once I unscrewed the OEM button panel I could fish with a fishing rod from there to the basement.



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Old 02-23-2020, 09:23 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the help on the boards here.
Below is the before and after of the 'almost' finished product. I still need to tack down the wires from a TPMS Repeater and the small wires to the BMV shunt.

@CAG I have no issues picking up the Bluetooth signal from the BMV even if I am at the rear of the 5er with the BMV in the battery compartment at the front of the 5er.

I have not yet had a chance to see what is still connected when the Convenience Center battery shutoff is disconnected, but I went on and added a full shutoff (with the exception of the BMV) to the positive feed anyway.

FYI we are in a 2016 Montana 3721RL .
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File Type: jpg New wiring.jpg (272.5 KB, 3 views)
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Old 02-23-2020, 11:34 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by watsonjones View Post
Thanks for all the help on the boards here.
Below is the before and after of the 'almost' finished product. I still need to tack down the wires from a TPMS Repeater and the small wires to the BMV shunt.

@CAG I have no issues picking up the Bluetooth signal from the BMV even if I am at the rear of the 5er with the BMV in the battery compartment at the front of the 5er.

I have not yet had a chance to see what is still connected when the Convenience Center battery shutoff is disconnected, but I went on and added a full shutoff (with the exception of the BMV) to the positive feed anyway.

FYI we are in a 2016 Montana 3721RL .
Nice job.
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Old 02-23-2020, 12:47 PM   #19
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Thanks for the info @watsonjones. I will try the 712 in the front compartment first.

I am also thinking about a disconnect in the front compartment, I like being able to see it disconnected for sure. I also have 2 batteries like you do. So I am thinking about turning them sideways to make more room, without a battery box possibly.

I have a 2109 Montana HC 320MK.
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