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Balmar SG200 Problem

Jan 25, 2011
2,053
S2 11.0A Anacortes, WA
We have seen far worse "software glitches" on navigation systems costing 15X what the SG-200 does and those issues were actually dangerous and took two+ years or more for the manufacturer to solve.
If the design rqmts are complete and correct, and the unit is tested to those requirements (and passed), there would not be a need for a Beta test with customers. This is both software (and apps) and hardware. Case in pt. is my RM E7 plotter. The touchscreen is crap and with any fog/moisture, it’s useless. The rotary knob is also crap. Was this way from the box. The coast guard was looking at buying a lot of these but backed down because of these issues. I was in the soup at Seymour Narrows and could not get a good working zoom level. Worked the knob and it quit working. I finally got a decent zoom (to far in) level, but not optimum, with a good radar pic. Good thing for AIS, as I got calls from the commercial guys coming the other way and I explained my plight and they worked with me. One could say, that if all this is done, the price would be exorbitant. It should not be and remember that maritime safety is involved even though the chart maker says not for use for navigation.
 
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Jun 3, 2004
17
Catalina 30 Port Charlotte, FL
There's something odd about the spec you cite, which is there's typically not a voltage spec for bulk. What model is the battery?
Balmar Smart Regulators have a timer for bulk and absorption stages.
There's something odd about the spec you cite, which is there's typically not a voltage spec for bulk. What model is the battery?
Balmar smart regulators have adjustable timers and voltage settings for the bulk and absorption phases. In the bulk phase, the regulator will deliver full output until the bulk voltage setting is reached, and will continue to charge at that voltage until the bulk timer expires. Then it drops to the absorption voltage and holds it there until the absorption timer expires. Then it drops to float voltage and stays there. My Balmar regulator and my solar 3-stage regulators both work that same way.
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
3,934
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Balmar Smart Regulators have a timer for bulk and absorption stages.

Balmar smart regulators have adjustable timers and voltage settings for the bulk and absorption phases. In the bulk phase, the regulator will deliver full output until the bulk voltage setting is reached, and will continue to charge at that voltage until the bulk timer expires. Then it drops to the absorption voltage and holds it there until the absorption timer expires. Then it drops to float voltage and stays there. My Balmar regulator and my solar 3-stage regulators both work that same way.
Which has nothing to do with my comment. And may be partially incorrect, in that I believe the regulator in question has a terminal current setting for accept.
 
May 6, 2010
413
1984 Oday 39 79 Milwaukee
I spoke with Balmar tech support who confirmed that my unit needs an update as this is a known issue. Bluetooth dongle should be available within two weeks I was told...
 
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May 6, 2010
413
1984 Oday 39 79 Milwaukee
Got an email that my Bluetooth dongle should be arriving soon - perhaps today. I went to the Balmar site to see if there are instructions for it's use, but it appears the site is down:confused: Hopefully there are some instructions with the dongle...
 
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May 6, 2010
413
1984 Oday 39 79 Milwaukee
My Bluetooth dongle arrived Friday and I installed it that evening. I downloaded the app from the Google Play store, and installed it on my phone. As the printed instruction indicated, the app identified the items in my network, the SG200 battery gauge, the shunt, and the dongle itself. Going into the device list in the menu on the app, it showed that the SG200 and the shunt both needed software updates. The instructions warned that the process could take while, and I selected the SG200 to update first. The download took about 4-5 minutes, and the installation another 2-3, during which the gauge rebooted a couple of times. The gauge then displays a message that says app is connected, and the button on the gauge does nothing while the app is connected. The information normally on the gauge can be read in the app while connected. To restore gauge function, the gateway needs to be disconnected using the app. Unfortunately at this point in the process things did not go as expected. My intention was to next update the shunt, however after the gauge updated, the app would not longer find the gateway and connect. I tried restarting the app, clearing data and cache in the app, and finally force quitting the app, to no avail. I ended up disconnecting the dongle from the gauge, and disconnecting the shunt from the gauge, then reconnecting everything (went through variations of this process a few times over about 25 minutes) and was finally able to connect and update the shunt. At this point it is hopefully just too early to tell if the updates solved my original issue because early indications are that the gauge is behaving the same way - rapid discharge indicated by the SOC, even though voltage is reported (accurately) as being 12.6 or higher. Perhaps taking the batteries through a couple of discharge/charge cycles will clear this up with the new software. Sadly, we have to haul out this Friday so we may not get a good real world test until next season.
 
May 6, 2010
413
1984 Oday 39 79 Milwaukee
Well after a week and a half with the software update and a phone conversation with Balmar tech support it is confirmed that the software update does not solve the issue of the SOC incorrectly reporting rapid self-discharge. Balmar is aware of the problem and it is being worked on. They are hoping to have the next software update available before Thanksgiving, perhaps making the gauge functional for it's intended purpose.
 
Last edited:
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Feb 2, 2006
421
Hunter Legend 35 Kingston
Just a data point to add here:
  • I've been seeing SoH vary between 100% & 90% (and nothing other than those values) all summer. 90% was by far the most common value. We were cruising all summer, and never really had a period of "no-load" on the system. Also, we were on shore power or motoring most days, so only 1 in 5 days would we drain the batteries down to 70%-80%.
  • The batteries were brand new in the spring and should have been ready 100%.
  • While the SoC generally seems ok, I still find that the value can "jump" by 5-10%.
  • Recently, now back at the dock, I fully charged the batteries and turned off all the loads, and still saw 0.3A draw and by the next day, the SoC said something like 86% where as it should be closer to 98%
  • Having read that my ACR can result in the 0.3A, I turned my ACR off, and the current reading went to 0.0A
  • and after a day the SoC was at 96%. Better, but a little weird.
I just received the Bluetooth Gateway, but while my App detected the Gateway, it couldn't find the device. Balmar tech was quick to respond with "pull the SG-200 fuse and wait, then re-install fuse" and if that fails, "press and hold the button until it restarts" .

I did the fuse "thing" and got it working and installed updates for the Shunt and Display. The process that worked for me was 1) pull fuse, wait, put fuse back in, 2) pull Bluetooth gateway connector from display, and re-insert. After these two steps, the App would find everything and firmware updates could be applied, and other interactions with the SG-200

It seems that the reboot process (that occurs after firmware updates) doesn't always recognize the devices on the network (or at least not right away).

Chris
 
Jan 9, 2020
11
J Boat J/42 1 New Castle NH
Just curious if anyone knows the latest status on the pending software update, and whether or not if any new units are shipping without the required update via BT. I have an old Link 2000 on this new (to me) boat, and based on everything I've read, the SG200 is the best product to use. Thx.
 
May 20, 2016
2,883
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
My SG200 is working fine now. I think the SOH issue goes away as you go thru more deeper discharge/charge issues, and don’t expect +- 1%.

I really like time to charge/ discharge screens.
 
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Feb 6, 1998
11,118
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
Just curious if anyone knows the latest status on the pending software update, and whether or not if any new units are shipping without the required update via BT. I have an old Link 2000 on this new (to me) boat, and based on everything I've read, the SG200 is the best product to use. Thx.

There have already been a couple of updates and we got another tweak, just last week, for really large LiFePO4 banks. There will be another update soon helping to deal with the way the unit looks at the available data for batteries at rest for long periods. With the SG200 it is best to purchase the BT Dongle as this will be a device that continues to improve as new battery technologies come along or the lab finds ways to make it even more accurate.

As has been stated SoH needs deep-cycles and is not a fast learn like SoC is.