Product Specifications for Battery Tender Wireless Battery Monitor
|BM Part #:||081-0172|
|Warranty:||45 Day Return|
- Requires ring terminal harness to connect to battery: sold separately.
- WiFi Connectivity
- Monitor Battery Remotely
- Avoid Battery Failure With Mobile Alerts
- Compatible With Standard SAE Connectors
- For Use With Battery Tender® APP
I bought three of these Battery Tender wireless battery monitor gizmos a few days days ago, despite the plethora of 1-star reviews for the device and the smartphone app on sites across the web, including the Google Android Apps Store, and I did so because I somehow knew on an inner level that they would work fine for me, although I admittedly anticipated that I would hit some snags and slowdowns during the initial setup phase of each device.
I purchased three of the gizmos because I wished to use them for each of three different dedicated "views" in monitoring the massive 60+ kW AGM battery bank (divided by isolators into 5 separate battery sub-banks or strings) that is part of my off-grid solar-assisted battery backup emergency AC power system (I live out in the mountains, and experience frequent and sometimes-lengthy utility AC power outages, and I use this off-grid battery backup system as a massive AC uninterruptitble power supply (aka UPS) to keep all important AC-powered systems in my home operational during power blackouts for up to 20 days at a time...).
Looking back on my decision to purchase these gizmos based solely upon my gut sense, and despite all of the 1-star reviews, well, I can say that it all ultimately turned out fine, as you will see from my tale below:
Well, it took me about four non-stop hours of curses and growls, and one cranky website chat (I was the cranky one) on the Battery Tender website with a customer service person, followed by one phone call on their toll-free line to Tech Support at Battery Tender (made just minutes before all of the company's employees were to be evacuated from the building and from their city in Florida (USA), because Hurricane Irma was bearing down on their region), where I received some good assistance from Luke Gordon (who stayedin touch with me over the next couple of days via email to ensure that everything had worked out okay, and to answer some very techie-type questions that I had about the device), and a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears before I was able to manage to get the first device set up and working, and my subsequent setup of the two other devices were a piece of cake, because I was able to install them using the odd and arcane knowledge that I had gained during the setup of the first such gizmo. Looking back on the bizarre and painful setup experience, I would say that the worst part of the process was the cryptic, vague and confusing instructions, and then there seemed to be an awfully big problem initially in setting up a password (not the WiFi router password, but the device password) for the device, due to some very odd quirks in the device configuration portion of the app.
BTW, I downloaded the Android version of the Battery Tender Wireless Monitor app; I own two cheap Samsung smartphones, each of which run a generic version of Android 4.0, and yes, I downloaded from the Google Android Apps store the latest version of the app, the one that had been updated in early June 2017.
Once I got over my rage and irritation at the incredibly cryptic, vague, sparse, and often-misleading setup instructions for the battery monitor gizmo and the software app, and once I got the hang of the peculiarities of the device and its app and its cryptic and odd on-screen messages, my setup efforts were 100% successful, and there have never been any problems since that time.
So, despite my initial irritation and annoyance attendant to the hassles of setting up the first gizmo, I would be remiss if I gave these little handy, and very inexpensive, gizmos, and the accompanying latest version of the Battery Tender Wireless Android app, anything less than 4.7 stars (which I have rounded up to 5 stars). You see, the reality is that, once installed, the devices work flawlessly, robustly, and easily.
Once initial setup has been completed, and even if the gizmos have been disconnected from DC power for long periods of time once setup has been completed, and even if they have been abused by dropping or accidentally reversing the polarity of the battery connections (always easy to do in a field setting when using cables equipped with those ancient SAE connectors). it is incredibly easy and fast to connect with any of these devices from my two Android cell phones, and it is also quick and easy to close and then re-load the app throughout the day or week as time passes. And, better, the app never crashes or starts to act weird; it is very stable and very well-behaved.
Additionally, one thing that I must say is that I am very impressed with the range of the little gizmos in communicating via WiFi with the WiFi router in my house. My battery backup shed is located over 130 feet from my house up the heavily-forested mountainside that is my backyard, where it is admittedly on the very outer fringes of the outdoor range of my WiFi router (which is located in the house), and the gizmos are mounted in a battery backup/solar power control room in a shed that is chock-full of all sorts of electrically-noisy electronic equipment -- including solar chargers, inverters, digital panel meters, high-current DC power supplies, and LED lamps -- that emits lots of RF noise (aka RFI) 24 hours per day. and yet the devices communicate flawlessly with the network via the WiFi router that is located at quite a distance in the house.
BTW, I am now trying to figure out how to cobble together some sort of Windows software package that will allow me to capture and display the battery status information sent by the remote wireless monitors on my Windows 7 desktop PC, so that I can always have a window open on one of my five monitors that will show me battery status 24 hours per day. I kinda want to hate the manufacturer for having supplied software apps only for Android and IOS smartphones, and for not having offered a Windows app for use on Windows desktop PCs and laptops, but then again, the reality is that these little gizmos are the only wireless battery monitor product of their kind on the market, and they are extremely inexpensive, and they do what they do very well.
Looking back at the very wide and broad assortment of one-star reviews that I found on the web for this device and its apps, I must assume that the company finally managed to fix all of the problems with the earlier versions of the app (at least in the Android app, the only one that I use) in their latest (June 2017) upgrade release.
And now, a few notes:
There seems to be some degree of misconception out there on the web to the effect that a smartphone can access only one of these devices; that is, one smartphone, one device.That claim is not true. While a smartphone may indeed be able to view the status of only one of these gizmos at a particular moment in time, the reality is that if you have more than one of these gizmos installed at your location (or really, anywhere in the world, once initial setup has been completed, and so long as both your smartphone and the remote gizmos have WiFi access), you can pick and choose which particular monitor gizmo you want to access for a battery status report in the app; these choices are made from an on-screen menu, as each gizmo has a unique assigned name (which you can specify at setup) so that you can tell them apart.
Further, there seems to be some degree of a related misconception out there on the web to the effect that a given monitoring device can be married or bonded to only one smartphone, and that none of your other smartphones or tablets, even if they have the app installed, can ever access that particular device for monitoring. That is not at all true. Rather, even if you own six or more of the remote monitoring gizmos, once each has been set up in your Battery Tender account via the app, you can see all six (or more) of the devices on the menus of every smartphone or tablet on which you have the app installed, and you may pick and choose which remote gizmo you wish to monitor at any moment. In fact, you can even monitor the same remote gizmo at the same time using multiple smartphones or tablets, so long as each of them have the app installed, and so long as the app on each one is logged into your Battery Tender account.
The product doesn't work without their mobile app, and the app is just awful. Under iOS it's very minimal: if you manage to setup the monitor it will only be showing a percentage of the battery. There are no settings to control the alarms or the notifications. I'm not even sure if this app is supposed to send any notifications. Under Android it shows more buttons and menus, but most of them don't work. I've spent a lot of time trying to setup the monitor on Android (Nexus 5X) but nothing worked: the app times out, crashes, or just doesn't detect the monitor. My hope was to setup it under iOS and then start using on the main phone but every phone needs to be setup separately. It's absolutely ridiculous given you create an account in the Internet, and the monitor talks to their internet server anyways.
If you use Android don't buy the product. It will be useless for you. If you use iOS you may make use of it but given the poor quality I'd not be surprised if one day they'll just stop supporting it and shutdown the servers.