Bogart SC2030 CC and Trimetric TM2030-RV Installation

RV Solar Upgrades

So, if you have been following my blog for the last while you will know that I have upgraded the RV battery bank from two six volt golf cart batteries to four. And just last week I added two more Renogy 100 watt panels to the roof for a total four.

Now that I have 400 watts of solar power and 464 ampere hours of battery capacity I’ve decided to install myself a quality battery system power monitor, plus its companion charge controller. Both the controller and monitor I’m adding to my system are made by Bogart Engineering. This article will cover why I chose these particular products and how I installed them in my Keystone Cougar fifth wheel trailer.

Note – I’m not affiliated in any way with Bogart Engineering. Products were purchased by myself for full price. – Ray

Why I Chose the SC2030 and TM2030-RV

The Trimetric was always high on my list of possible battery monitors. It seems to be widely accepted as one of the best. A good boondocker friend of mine uses it along with a TriStar TS45 controller and they work great together. I was leaning towards one of those until I started to read about the unique benefits of pairing the Trimetric with its companion charge controller the Bogart SC2030.

When the two are used in tandem you not only get very a feature rich battery monitor but very fine grain control over how the battery bank is being charged. In fact, there is a setting to enter your battery brand which will auto set 8 charging parameters to match the manufacturer’s recommended values. Cool!

Bogart flyer Images

Price was also a consideration. By having the Trimetric do the settings the charge controller can be fairly simple and low cost. I paid roughly $160 for the meter and $120 for the controller. One caveat though is since the SC2030 controller is a PWM type and not an MPPT all the panels need to be 12 volts or 24 volts and wired in parallel to work properly. Mine are all the same Renogy 100 watt 12 Volt Mono panels wired in parallel.

Big advantages of an MPPT controller are you can series wire and mix and match solar panels. You’ll also often hear claims of MPPT controllers giving a 30% or better gain in power from the solar array. This can be true but is not as black and white as some folks make out. IMHO every system setup is different and there are lots of factors that can go into choosing the controller. Often a PWM controller is a very viable choice, especially since the money saved can be used in another part of the system.

For further information on the PWM vs MPPT consideration check out the Bogart FAQ (Click C. SC-2030 and charging Frequently Answered Questions then C1)

Where Did I Get the Parts?

Bogart Engineering doesn’t sell the products retail but rather through a dealer network. I’m down in the US southwest right now so ordered the Trimetric monitor and SC2030 controller plus the required installation bits and pieces from a company called Northern Arizona Wind and Solar. Several other RVers have recommended them to me as a good outfit to deal with. I used the online ordering system and received the parts within a few days in good condition and as advertised. I was most pleased to see detailed paper manuals included with the items.

Parts for the solar upgrade

Parts Ordered

  • Bogart SC-2030 Solar Charge Controller
  • Battery Temperature Sensor for the SC2030
  • Trimetric TM-2030-RV Battery System Monitor
  • Deltec 500 amp Shunt to work with the TM2030-RV
  • 25 feet of 6-Wire (3-pair) Tray Cable #16

Also, I needed to pick up locally a 25-foot length of standard telephone extension wire and 20 inches of 2/0 gauge battery cable.

Installing the Parts

Installation Diagram

Bogart Sc2030 Charge Controller

The SC2030 replaces my already wired in Renogy controller so installation was a snap. The wires from the solar panels and out to the batteries were already in place so I simply had to swap them over to the new controller. Inside the SC2030 is a telephone jack and a 2 pin plug. These are for the data cable between it and the Trimetric monitor and for the battery temperature sensor wire. A small hole needs to be drilled into the plastic case to run these to wires.

Inside the Trimetric and SC2030 controller

Inside the Trimetric and SC2030 controller

Bogart SC2030 installed

Bogart SC2030 installed

Battery Sensor Wiring

Because batteries are affected by temperature it is desirable for the charge controller to adjust its output voltages for optimal charging. A small wire with a sensor is run from the controller into the battery box. The small temperature sensor gets attached near the batteries and reports back a temperature reading in Celcius back to the controller.

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Shunt and Shunt Wiring

To be able to read the current going into and out of the battery bank a shunt needs to be installed between the negative battery bank terminal and the rest of the negative load wires. I screwed the shunt to the front storage compartment wall and attached a 2/0 gauge 20 inch cable from the negative battery terminal to one side of the shunt. On the other side, I attached the existing three negative load wires which lead to the charge controller, inverter, and the RV chassis plus the 12-volt electrical circuits.

500 amp shunt installed

The shunt also has two small screw terminals for the small sensor wires leading back to the Trimetric monitor to be mounted inside the rigs living area. Four wires require hookup, three on the shunt and a fourth attached to a 12-volt battery terminal. The 12-volt power wire also has a fuse holder for a 1 amp fuse. This gets install last once the other end is connected to the Trimetric inside.

Trimetric TM203o Battery Monitor

I next fished the telephone and shunt wire cable into the living area of the fifth wheel where I would mount the Trimetric on a wall. I had ordered plenty of wire length (25 feet) so I had lots of options. Same as the controller I had to drill a hole in the plastic case for the telephone cable and the shunt wires. Inside the Trimetric, there are 5 hookup jacks for the shunt wiring. I only needed to hook 4 since one is for measuring a second battery bank which I don’t have.

Trimetric signal and data wires hook up

Testing and Initial Setup

Once everything was connected the last thing was to insert the 1 amp fuse for the Trimetric’s power line into its holder. Right away the display came to life with green LEDs and red numbers. Yay! I had spent the night before pouring over the instruction manuals so had a general idea of how to do the basic setup. Using the Trimetric may prove a little daunting at first for some people since everything is programmed using 2 buttons “Select” and “Reset. With my background in electronics repair I picked it up fairly quickly but for others a little learning curve may be in order. Kind of like when you get a new clock radio or microwave.

Trimetric TM2030-RV meter installed

Thankfully the documentation provided is very detailed. There are 4 levels of programming options. Most folks will be happy with Level 1, but it’s nice for the geekier among us to have the option to take a deep dive into 3 more levels of complexity and experiment.

The cool thing about this Bogart Combo is how many charging parameters can be adjusted. You have complete control over every aspect of the Bogart SC2030 controller. To start with they have programmed in the recommended settings straight from many common battery manufacturers. So, I went into the setting P22 and programmed in #13 for Interstate brand 12-volt wet cells. Next I adjusted setting P3 for my total battery capacity. That got me basically set and from that point I can play around and try different settings out to see what works best for us.

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Video Detailing the TM2030 and SC2030 Installation

*Final Note*

A few days ago I had the pleasure of being contacted by Bob of the Handy Bob Solar blog. He’s been kind enough to give me a few recommendations for some of the Trimetric settings based on my particular system and boondocking needs. He was one of the field testers for Bogart Engineering during the development of the SC2030 controller and really knows his stuff.

I highly advise anyone looking to learn about RV solar power to read through his blog. You’ll even find a post detailing an install he did using the same Trimetric monitor and SC2030 controller!

Check out more boondocking related posts on Love Your RV!

Upgrading my RV solar system with new Trimetric meter and Bogart Charge Controller  - How to install by Love Your RV! http://www.loveyourrv.com/ #RVing #RVmods #solar

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  • saldar

    I’m trying to figure this out…The solar power charges through the SC2030….so your generator and shore power still charge through the PD9200?
    I’m getting the idea that the PD9200 isn’t as good a charger as the SC2030 (not high enough voltage, etc). Are you counting on solar to make a good overall system? When the SC2030 works alone will it “make up” for the PD9200 deficiencies and keep your batteries healthy?
    It’s clear a Trimetric monitor is a good means to discover charging problems, but what to do about problems discovered if you don’t have solar? Any ideas on a good charger for generator and shore power (and alternator!?) only?

    Thanks for your clear post on this. (And thanks to Bob, too).

    • I’m finding my solar constantly gets enough sun to keep the batteries well and properly charged. The solar is always on even when hooked to the generator or shore power. t does most of it’s magic during the later charging phases when higher voltages are required for absorb and fiinsh stages.
      The main use for the PD9260 is when the batteries get run down lower than 80% I can fire up the generator and quickly bring them back up . They bulk charge at 40 -50 amps until the batteries go into absorption mode (usually only takes an hour of or so) and don’t accept current as readily and then need the higher voltage the solar can provide to finish off the charge.
      My Interstate battery bank ideally needs 14.8 volts in absorb mode and even a short time over 15 volts called the finishing stage to be fully charged. They also recommend an equalization phase every month or two which requires 15.3 volts. I don’t know of anything but solar controllers that can do this. I could be wrong. The InteliPower does about a close to it as I’ve found in converter chargers. I haven’t looked into really high-end stuff though.

  • Dan Blomberg

    I love your blog and “acquire” many idea from it. After reading this and Bob’s stuff I just completed my solar upgrade. I posted on RV.net with some of my details on how I did it with my small travel trailer: http://goo.gl/eJo2j1

    • Thanks Dan. Nice looking install and diagram and documentation!

  • Dave Bowen

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. My only question is, did you put a 40 amp breaker on the positive wire coming from your solar panels to the charge controller and also one after the solar charge controller? Bob also directed me on my installation and that was his recommendation. http://goo.gl/Mne52b

    • I have a 40 amp breaker on the positive wire to the battery bank but only a 30 amp fuse on the solar side. Plan is to upgrade it to a switchable breaker though. Right now I have to unscrew it to open the circuit.

      • Dave Bowen

        Yeah, sorry I had not watched the video prior to my comment. Looks great. I am tickled pink with my setup. I just wished I could upgrade my batteries from 2 6v to 4 6v. But being a Arctic Fox Truck Camper I just don’t have the room for 4 batteries.