Xantrex LinkPRO Installation

 

It's very difficult to determine how much capacity a battery bank has left.  Voltage is a poor indication of the state of charge.  Unless the batteries have been at rest for several hours, the Voltage of the bank will give false readings (surface charge phenomenon).  A more accurate way to determine how much energy is available is by measuring the current flow in/out of the battery bank with a shunt.  The LinkPRO kit includes a 500 Amp shunt, but other sizes are available, allowing up to 10,000 Amps to be measured.

This product is a fancy fuel gauge for your battery bank.  It was the one key feature missing from my alt-energy setup at home.  I had no way of telling how much power was left.  It's easy for websites to recommend never taking batteries below 50% to avoid damage.  But how do you know when you've reached that point?  Hard to let a battery bank rest for a few hours while you need the power during an outage.  Also difficult to get out the hydrometer and check every hour or so.  The LinkPRO makes this an easy task.

 

 

Performance Features

 

The kit includes the meter, a 500 Amp shunt, instructions, and a small Phillips screwdriver.  No wire included.

A close-up of the shunt.  This gets placed between the negative side of the battery bank, and all loads.

I had to make up a new battery cable to connect the shunt to my bus bars.  An easy way to cut this 2 gauge wire is with a bandsaw.

Here's the shunt all wired up.  Loads at the top, supply at the bottom.  Two sense connections in the middle.

I mounted the meter next to the kitchen door in the garage.  This allows me to keep an eye on the system without having to squeeze past my vehicles in the garage.  The grey wire dangling is the cable connecting the shunt to the meter.  I needed 5 conductors for my setup.  Other options would require more conductors, so I selected enough conductors for all possible configurations.  I would hate to have to string the cable again!

All the cutting is done, now for a little cleanup.  Got to keep the boss happy.

Here's the panel on the wall.  A scrap piece of aluminum roughed up with an orbital sander.  The top meter is a remote panel for my Xantrex Prosine 1800 Watt inverter.  The lower meter is the LinkPRO.

It has a nice display that's easy to read.  This mode shows the hours remaining at the current discharge rate.

With the backlight off (auto off).

With the backlight on (auto on when button pushed).

Good day for the install.  It had been raining most of the morning.

Arrow shows current into the battery, despite the weather.

This is showing the total number of Amp/hours the system used overnight, just before the solar panels started to replenish the energy.  My outdoor lighting, security system, inverter on standby, etc, all consume power.

State of charge before the sun came up.  Sorry it was a little out of focus, but at 5:30 AM, I'm a little out of focus myself!

Sun is up, and solar array is doing its thing.

By about 11:30 AM, my battery bank is fully recharged.  I'm obviously making more power than I'm using.  Now it's time to take the living room lighting off the grid - permanently!

 

615 Watts of panels recharging the battery bank at my home. The Amperage changes as the clouds pass by.

 

This product works nicely.  It's easy to read, and easy to operate.  It wasn't difficult to install.  I needed a total of 5 conductors (2 sense, 2 +, 1-).  I did have to move some cables from the buss bars to the shunt, and build 1 supply cable, but this probably took 15 minutes.

If I designed the display, I would change some things.  First, I'd make the display larger, and show all the display features at once, rather than having to scroll through a menu.  Second, the optional computer interface should be a lot less expensive.  $150 for some software and an interface box is unreasonable.  But it's pretty good right out of the box, and does what it claims.

The optional features may find some use with my setup later.  I like the idea of being able to set an alarm (like at the 50% capacity level) .  It can even remotely start a generator to replenish the battery bank.  Lot of features in a small package.

 

 

Back to the main page

 


Google

My favorite search engine!


Last updated 2/02/09   All rights reserved.