Review: Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 3- The Display

The display on the MK3 is by far the coolest feature, and something I haven’t seen on any other BMS.  This is the Rudman Bus Display, and it allows you to see at glance all the important information you need.

This, from where I sit, is not simply a matter of convenience…  it’s a huge issue and a serious matter of safety.  Throwing every button, widget and gimmick into a display that sits on a dash of a motorcycle, in my opinion, is downright dangerous.  It’s an irresistible distraction.  Even the Brammo Enertia I tested had a display that had several panels you could scroll through to get various types of information about the operational condition of the bike, but to tempt a rider with poking around on a digital display while riding is simply unsafe.  There is nothing…  nothing that can justify this kind of distraction built into the controls of a motorcycle by a manufacturer.

…So I fell immediately in love with the Manzanita RBD panel.  It’s simple.  It’s clean.  There are no buttons that you need to play with to get all the readout you need.  It’s no wonder, by the way, the race teams that are using it prefer it over other devices.  They need to know state-of-charge (SOC) in an instant.  They can’t afford even the slightest distraction.  OK.  Rant over.

You can see the panel above, with the main scanning readout.  The bar graphs are the most important feature, showing green if everything is within range, red if you’re below the minimum and blue if you’re above the maximum.  The lines you see at the upper and lower levels of each bar indicate what the BMS is programmed for, as high and low warnings.

Tapping a cell bar will give you information on that cell.  You get the current voltage, the session minimum and maximum, and the cell temperature.

With the SOC Head in place, (which we did not have plugged in) the upper area of the display would show you data on current draw, an E-to-F indicator of charge left, and the “Stop” button which will return you to the main menu screen.

On the bars for each cell you get a “min-max” type line to show you where your cells have been for the session.

Here are a few of the control menus:

This is the main control screen.  To get to the readouts we first saw, you just hit “Scan”.  The rest are pretty self-explanitory.

Here, for example, is the “Configure” submenu.  Pretty straightforward stuff.

The display runs off a 12-15V source, so it either needs to be on a separate battery source or running on a DC-DC convertor.  I’m not sure how much of a battery you’d need to power it as a standalone…  if I can find that out, I’ll update it here.  The unit is pretty compact- it’s in a 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ box, and the display itself is about 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″.  It looks like it would be pretty easy to mount in some other enclosure, such as a dash display, if you felt the need.  It connects to the BMS module with a simple 6 pin RJ data connection.

Here, for the record, is the list of features from the manual:

-The ability to monitor a very wide variety of battery packs from a single cell to extremely high voltage packs of up to 254 cells
-Auto-detect function makes setup a breeze as the unit will find all valid Mk3 products that are connected to it in a matter of seconds
-The ability to display continuously updating individual voltages from any battery or cell when reading from any Manzanita Micro Mk3 series BMS
-Able to display a clear battery pack State of Charge gauge when reading from a Manzanita Micro SOC Head
-Compact and durable enclosure is about H 1.25” x W 2.5” x L 4.5” not including the I/O connections. (H 32mm x W 64mm x L 114mm)
-Bar Graph columns change color to indicate high and low battery conditions
-Can be connected independently or in conjunction with other Manzanita Micro Mk3 Digital products using readily available six conductor RJ cable
-Allows easy viewing of battery information and parameter adjustment without the need for a laptop or full-size computer or even a dongle terminator box
-Simple touch-button graphic user interface for changing settings with or without typing commands
-The RBD makes it easy to adjust min and max voltage parameters for use with just about any battery pack and for fine tuning
-Dual RJ reg bus ports for easy connection between the charger and/or other Manzanita Micro BMS units and accessories
-Unit retains a memory of the last devices and display configurations making it able to be turned on and off or lose power without losing the last settings

The interesting thing is how this system builds out.  You can run just the BMS, or you can run it with the display.  You can run the display with the SOC head, and get even more readout, but no logging beyond the session logging.  When you add a computer, you get full time-stamp logging.  And yes.  There are plans to make this work with your Android phone.  In a lot of ways, this simple component within the bigger system replaces a host of cell-logging and data logging devices.

Complete information can be found on the Downloads page of the Manzanita site, under the “Battery Monitoring” link.  The RBD unit sells for $300 – a little spendy, but when you consider it as a part of the overall system, a definite must-have.

Read more:
Review: Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 1
Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 2- Intro and Documentation
Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 3- The Display
Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 4- The Board
Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 5- the SOC Head
Manzanita MK3 BMS, Part 6- Component Matrix
Manzanita MK3 BMS- Conclusions

Manzanita Micro site here.



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