question

vannie avatar image

How do I know if my Orion is charging?

Hi there,

I am trying to figure out some basics of my system. I have a 12 12 / 30 Orion that is not the “smart” newer one. I have it hooked up to a remote switch so that it turns on (green light) when the alternator is running.

I have a battery monitor hooked up as well. When I shut the batteries off and turn them back on it always says “100%” regardless of how much was used previous time. Im guessing 100% is just whatever is currently in the battery bank when battery monitor starts up?

I just want to see if the Orion charges and how much! Any tips much appreciated.


BMV Battery Monitorcharging battery
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10 Answers
vannie avatar image
vannie answered ·

Hi all - Ok so the answer that helped me was more specific than the title question. I'll answer it in two parts.


1) How do I know if my Orion is charging?

Simple! Turn on your car engine and if the BMS is showing positive then it is charging!

2) What if it is just showing zero? Oh, well then it is less simple. Here is what helped me from other users input and research:

For my issue, using the isolated non-smart Orion unit that is hooked up to a remote "switch" to engine on/off point, I was perplexed why no charge was showing when unit was lit up with green light. @Mathias here pointed me to the fact that if the voltage of the Orion is not higher than the voltage of the battery bank itself, there will be no input. Thus, one must turn up the adjustable output voltage on the Orion unit manually with a tiny screw driver. I am using Lithium Ion battle born batteries. I wrote them about what to set it to and they said 14.4V as fixed output. Will that damage batteries running at that whole time I am driving? No. they said. From Battle Born: "Setting the output voltage to 14.4v on the Orion is correct. There will not be a problem with a fixed voltage output when driving. You are limited to drive time, so this would not be a constant source for a relatively long time. (2 or 3 weeks at 14.4v would be getting to be too long). What you could do to take control of the charging is to operate the Orion on an on/off switch." So there you have it folks.

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macca61 avatar image
macca61 answered ·

Hi if it is wired correctly , all negatives going through the shunt it will show up, positive charge or negative draw.

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OK thanks @Macca61. If the car is alternator is running then I should be able to see on the BMV if there is charge coming in and know if the Orion is passing on charge from the starter battery. I'll check that out. Thank you!

Matthias Lange - DE avatar image
Matthias Lange - DE answered ·

The normal non-smart Orion is not a charger. It is just a DCDC converter that puts out a constant stable voltage.

The BMV resets to 100% every time it loses power, that is a normal behavior.
After a complete power cut off you have to make a full charge cycle to synchronize the BMV to 100%.

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Hey Matthias,

Right, I understand that the Orion is just passing on a DC charge and not actually charging the batteries itself. Thanks for clarifying. Do you know if there is a way to gauge whether charge is actually going from the starter battery to the house battery via the Orion though? I can see the amperage & voltage being drawn on battery monitor. Does it also show amps being added to the battery bank on the BMV? Cheers

If the BMV is wired correctly it shows all current in and out of the battery.

macca61 avatar image
macca61 answered ·

The ”Ground “ is a problem in my opinion, you are bypassing the shunt and returning to the battery via the chassis earth return, I would put that the other side of the shunt

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vannie avatar image
vannie answered ·

So I finally hooked up the solar panels today. The battery monitor is showing positive charge from the MPPT so at least shows the BMV is registering both additions & drain. Again, it leads me to think something may be something going on with my Orion setup.

Here is one thing that may be related: when my battery bank is switched off but the car is running (thus Orion is switched on) I do get power to my fuse box. The BMV still shows no positive amperage coming in but I can switch lights on and such.

I know now from the solar that the BMV shows positive charge, so I don't know why it wouldn't show the charge coming in through Orion. The mystery continues...

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@Macca61 @Matthias Lange - DE FYI battery monitor is reading positive gains

From other sources like MPPT... still not the Orion though

To what voltage is the output of the Orion set?

The default output voltage is 12,2V.

To get a charging current the output voltage of the Orion have to be higher than the voltage of the battery.

But again: The non-Smart Orion is not designed as a charger!

vannie avatar image vannie Matthias Lange - DE ♦ ·

I adjusted the output voltage and it definitely reads positive now. That was it @Matthias Lange - DE! But you are saying to not use it as a charger? On the site where I purchased it says: "Because of the adjustable output voltage it can also be used as a battery charger, for example to charge a 12-Volt starter or accessory battery in an otherwise 12-Volt system."


Is there some risk associated with turning up output voltage for this purpose? I played with the setting and if I turn it all the way up it is reading ~40amps on the battery monitor when the car is running. That seems kind of high, although I'm not a pro. Is there an appropriate/safe amount to be pumping in while driving?


vannie avatar image vannie Matthias Lange - DE ♦ ·

I have 2 Battleborn Lithium Ion 100ah batteries that are my house batteries. They say: "We recommend a bulk and absorption voltage of 14.4 V. A float is unnecessary, since li-ion batteries do not leak charge, but a floating voltage under 13.6 V is fine"

I'm guessing I need to hit right around 14.4V with the Orion output voltage?

You should ask Battleborn about keeping the batteries at 14,4V for a longer time.

vannie avatar image vannie Matthias Lange - DE ♦ ·

Will do. Thanks for the help thus far @Matthias Lange - DE. Appreciate it

macca61 avatar image
macca61 answered ·

Hi Vannie where does the big black marked ground go

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Hey macca, The ground goes to a big bolt in the chassis of the vehicle


vannie avatar image
vannie answered ·

Hey @macca61 and @klim8skeptic, yes shunt is on negative return. Positive load wire is connected to shutoff switch, it was just hard to see in last photos. Here is shot that shows setup better :img-5589.jpg


img-5589.jpg (1020.1 KiB)
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Hi Vannie where does the big black one go marked Ground

You state

" have a battery monitor hooked up as well. When I shut the batteries off and turn them back on it always says “100%” regardless of how much was used previous time. Im guessing 100% is just whatever is currently in the battery bank when battery monitor starts up?"

Well when you power the shunt down it does not remember what the SOC was prior to shut down and on startup assumes the battery is full. You need to wire your shunt to the battery side of the switch. That way the shunt is always on and always reading what is happening,

Are you concerned that the Orion isn't charging as the battery is always at 100% SOC.? If so then I would suggest step one os to move the shunt power, fully charge the battery so it syncs and then monitor and see what happens.

Victron have a good video on Youtube about the shunt and configuring it so that is syncs correctly once charge,


macca61 avatar image
macca61 answered ·

Hi Vannie you say “outputs to Lynx then to shunt/shut off “ I’m just making sure , you do have the shunt on the negative return don’t you ? It has to be on the negative with All the negatives going through it if you want a true reading

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Yes, shunt is hooked up to negative. Attached pic above

vannie avatar image
vannie answered ·

Ok, I have checked the system there is no positive charge showing on the BMV when I am running the alternator. Maybe I do have the Orion wiring installed incorrectly. Can anyone double check this?

I have "inputs" that run from the starter battery positive and negative poles. (Should the black be to a ground vs. the negative pole of battery?). Then, the "outputs" go from the Orion to the Lynx distributor which connects to the battery bank with a big shut off switch. I'm pretty sure the inputs/outputs are in correct slots and tight connections. Also outputs to the Lynx I made sure those connections were all tight. Let me know if something seems off though. Thank you


Orion unitimg-5582.jpeg

Input from the starter battery negativeimg-5584.jpeg

Input from the starter battery positiveimg-5583.jpeg

Outputs to Lynx (then to shun/shutoff switch/battery bank)img-5581.jpeg




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A closer pic of the shunt would be nice plz.

The top bolt (load/charger side) looks like it has no connection?

The bottom bolt should go to the battery negative.

@klim8skeptic just attached a better photo above of set up.

I do not see the remote on off connector on the bottom of the Orion, is it connected. If not then without the two pins shorted together it will not charge..

Take a look at page 4 and 5 of the manual

Sorry wrong manual, you need this one. Still has an on off switch which I cant see wired. See the green connector on the bottom, do you have anything in it?


1606814977_upload_documents_1550_1000-ORI121240110_Orion-Tr isolated 12-12_30A (360W) (left).png

spanner avatar image
spanner answered ·

What are you using for a battery monitor?


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Hey @spanner I'm using the BMV-700