Ep. 197: Why You Need a Wireless RV Battery Monitor | DIY how-to upgrade

Avatar admin | April 7, 2021

We just finished installing our new solar system and lithium iron phosphate batteries in our Durango fifth wheel RV, and now it's time to install a battery monitor to keep track of our battery consumption and state of charge. A battery monitor is like a fuel gauge in a car. You don't absolutely need one to drive the car, but it sure provides some valuable information. Boondocking effectively in your RV is all about resource management, and power management requires power monitoring.

A voltmeter only measures the battery's true state of charge when a battery is at rest, and RV batteries are very rarely at rest. There's always something drawing power, and there's often a solar system or shore power charging the battery. You'll never get an accurate reading in either of those situations. By contrast, a battery monitor uses a shunt to keep track of the amp-hours removed from a battery and the amp-hours returned to it during a charge cycle. It then computes a true state of charge (SOC) and displays that information, as well as voltage, amp-hours used, charge or discharge rates, and more.

Most battery monitors connect to an external display to show their information, but that necessitates running a cable to a display unit mounted somewhere in the RV living space. That's where a Bluetooth battery monitor comes in. You may not realize it, but you already own a wireless display for this PowerMon battery monitor from Thornwave Labs! We take things even further, and pair the PowerMon with our RV Whisper system to access our power monitor data from anywhere in the world.

Filmed: March 31 to April 5, 2021


  • 0:00 Intro
  • 0:45 What is an RV battery monitor, and why do you need one?
  • 3:04 Thornwave Labs PowerMon
  • 5:09 The installation
  • 8:38 Using the PowerMon
  • 12:59 Integrating with RV Whisper
  • 16:01 Wrap-up



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