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BM PRO BATTERY CHECK REVIEW

It's amazing how far technology has come over the past 5 years- some of it is really quite mind-blowing!! In that time iPhones, iPads, Smartphones, Apps etc have infiltrated our everyday lives where our once boring mobile phone is now used for so much more than just checking in on family and ordering pizza or a late night taxi!

As a traveller, we use our smartphone daily to check the weather, book accommodation, find campsites and even level our camper using an app that mimics the functionality of a 'spirit level'. On the odd occasion we may even use it to make calls! A device that has become something we use and rely on everyday.

I would have been called delusional if I had told people a few years ago that your mobile phone could one day be used to keep track of your caravan's battery health, see your current usage and have it warn you of any battery issues…. how is that possible? How would it get the info wirelessly? that kind of thinking is outrageous! Isn't it? hmmmm! ( I think you know where im going with this).

Well, today there is a device that makes it possible and in my view, it's very, very cool!

A short time ago BM PRO (SETEC) sent us one of their new BatteryCheck Devices for us to trial in our camper. They knew we rely heavily on our house battery and that we spent long periods of time 'off the grid" ie- not plugged into 240v and relying on solar etc.

When I got back from the post office with the parcel I was pretty keen to get it open to see what it was all about. The box and packaging seemed pretty fancy (almost felt like I was unpacking an Apple product, very clean and inviting ('Apple' people will know what I mean).

There wasn't much in the box really- the main device itself, an instruction booklet, 2 rubber pads and a battery terminal adaptor. It was obvious straight away that installation was going to be pretty much 'plug n play' and uncomplicated. A device that can be easily retro-fitted to any battery or existing camper/caravan power system.

I ripped into our campers battery with a spanner and disconnected the negative terminal. Our battery has direct screw in terminals (basically a long bolt that screws into a captured thread inside the top of the battery). The BatteryCheck Device sits flat on the battery itself and the terminal bolt passes through one end of the device. The bolt that came with my battery was only JUST long enough to go through the device. My battery is a pretty common brand- so I would like to either see a slightly longer bolt supplied with the BatteryCheck OR perhaps designed with some kind of a recess around where the bolt goes through the device to allow the bolt to sit lower and have more thread make its way into the battery for a more secure connection. Really, if it was an issue you could buy a longer bolt for around a dollar so it's no biggy!

All other negative cables connect at the other end of the device- pretty simple! If your battery has the standard lead terminal posts then you would simply use the adaptor supplied. It was then a matter of simply connecting the positive lead of the device to the positive terminal of the battery.

Installation took less than a few minutes.

Effectively this installs in-line with the battery systems power circuit. ALL current that passes to and from the battery MUST pass through the device.

Ok- the blue LED starts flashing and the instruction manual tells me that the device is now sending out a Bluetooth signal- ready to talk with my mobile device!

I grabbed our iPad and hit the App store- I typed in BatteryCheck to the search bar, I tried BM Pro, I tried BM Pro Battery check……. I couldn't find the app I needed… was a little annoying at first. Then I changed the search filter from 'iPad Only' to 'iPhone Only' just to see if that helped…. it came up straight away. I asked the guys at BM Pro about this and they tell me that is because the app is optimized for iPhone. (But I can vouch that it works fine on the iPad). It also works on Android devices.

To cut a long story short, I downloaded and installed the FREE app and got it up and running. I turn Bluetooth ON and in no time the iPad found the BatteryCheck Device… now for the 4 digit passcode?????? Ooops! I forgot to write that down, In my haste to get up and running I missed writing the security pin code required for the bluetooth connection. This number is located underneath the BatteryCheck Device (not visible once installed). So out comes the spanners again and this time I wrote the pin code in the instruction booklet for reference. (maybe if the sticker was placed on the side or top of the device in clear view for impatient and forgetful people like me?).

Setup was easy- Firstly- you can name the device (just incase you had more than 1 so you could tell which one was which). You then enter the Amp Hour rating of your battery, age of battery, warning parameters etc.

Once that was done you enter the 'dashboard;. This is the cool part- here you can see at a very quick glance the health and status of your battery.

Many people have the misinformation that battery VOLTAGE is the critical measurement of how good your battery is performing. WRONG! Think of Volts as fuel in your car. It tells you how much fuel you have. What it doesn't tell you is how far you can travel and for how long. Volts is only one part of a complicated algorithm when it comes to battery health and system usage. Get rid of that multimeter!

2 clear and easy to understand 'analog style' dials display your amps and volts. The amps dial shows you what power you are using (current you are drawing) from your battery OR it shows you how many amps are being put into your battery if you happen to be charging your battery from a power source (solar etc).

If you are drawing current and charging at the same time then the dial will show you the difference between the INPUT current and the current DRAW. This makes it easy to see if your charging input is offsetting your usage. It's also a great way to ensure your solar panels or charger is performing properly too.

Other information that's handy and displayed on the dashboard includes a 'Time Remaining' indicator which gives you a pretty close idea of how long (in hours) you can continue to use your battery for, based on the State of Charge and your current usage. Brilliant!…… The battery health indicator is also great for letting you know if your battery is holding its charge and performing the way it should ie: getting the right amount of 'run time' based on your usage and the specified capacity (ah's) of the battery). This is good to know and see if your battery is beginning to get tired or will need replacing in the near future.

We have had the BatteryCheck Device installed for a few months now and have given it a good test run- including running our battery down low to trigger the warnings. We can't fault it- installation was easy, the GUI of the App is easy to understand and navigate and the functionality is practical and useful.
I'm seriously considering grabbing another unit for our vehicles AUX battery..

Key features:

  • Communicates wirelessly with smart phones and tablets
  • Instant real-time data – view information including volts and amps, time remaining, temperature, battery status, state of charge and battery health
  • Easy installation – no mechanical expertise required
  • Compact, rugged and reliable
  • Automatic in app alarm warning
  • Standard wireless protocol
  • Compatible with any 12 & 24V Lead Acid, AGM, and Gel 7Ah-800Ah battery