Home Reviews First Looks Coming soon – review of BEP Smart Battery Hub

Coming soon – review of BEP Smart Battery Hub

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Not long ago BEP introduced the “Smart Battery Hub” for twin and triple engine boats. The Battery hub is “smart” – and integrates battery management with C-Zone control (Part # 80-716-0031-00)

Since my Jeanneau Centre Console have had a “bad” battery configuration from “factory/dealer” with 2 x 140 Ah “car” Lead Acid batteries – I have been annoyed about it for a while.

A few days ago one of the 140Ah batteries started “smoking” after a long outing – so a change was needed. So I could either just “accept” putting in another 140Ah battery – or change the setup to something more “correct” like 2 x Engine batteries plus 1 house battery.

And since my boat is full of NMEA 2000 (N2K) equipment – and my plotter support C-Zone devices – the Smart Hub seems like a great solution – expensive.. but great.

It makes the wiring really easy especially if you want to be able to parallel batteries (you might parallel batteries if you run out of juice on one – and need) – with the Smart Battery Hub – it is “pre-wired” inside.

And if you wire it right – the Smart Battery Hub keeps really good watch of your house battery – and can predict “time to empty” and similar nice features. It also have a separate “always on” outlet – letting you fx power a GPS tracking device or a separate N2K network for device monitoring.

The BEP Smart Battery Hub is available for twin and triple engine boats in both 12/24v configurations. If you have more engines 2 smart hubs can be paralleled.

Smart Battery Hub with Cover
Smart Battery Hub with Cover

Initial critique of the Smart Battery Hub

As I wrote, the Smart Battery Hub, can be controlled via C-Zone and provide a lot of battery info via C-Zone to the N2K network. But it also have option for “manual” switches into a harness. The wires in the 12 way harness can be setup/programmed via C-Zone programmer or via Dip Switches if you do not use C-Zone. And here is the first of my criticisms. The C-Zone Smart Battery Hub uses Deutsch DT06 connectors – and have a lovely DT06 12 pin Male adaptor hanging from it. But for individual installs like mine (DYI) – we might not have a DT06 set of connectors and crimp tools around. Good crimp tools for DT connectors are VERY expensive (about 1/2 price of a Smart Battery Hub for the original Deutsch crimp tool) So C-Zone should REALLY provide a “pre-wired” female connector with each Smart Battery Hub. So a DT06-12SA connector with maybe 12 wires of 50cm hanging off it. Then at least you can get started.

For the C-Zone COI systems – BEP have a “bag” of DT connectors for about $120. While it is overpriced like many other C-Zone accessories – at least you can get started if you buy a C-Zone COI system. But no such goodie bag exists for the Smart Battery Hub. And if you buy the COI kit you end up with 2 connectors you have no use for.

My other critique point is the “front cover”

The front cover – covers the entire unit – switches and cables is in one piece. That is IMHO a very inconsiderate design decision made in an office of a person who probably have never been in rough weather with power issues. No power = NO NMEA 2000 – so no control via chart plotter or N2k remote switches – and no lights working. So you HAVE to have manual way of quickly doing battery switches. In my opinion the cover should be split in 2 – one easy to “lift up” part to give you access to use the battery switches “manually” and anther screw in cover – that covers the power terminals. That would make much more sense. For a future revision – I would also have a little battery powered LED light that turn on when you “lift” the top cover. Not everybody is an expert on boat in an emergency. So ability to read text on a battery switch would be lovely and caring.

Smart Battery Hub without cover
Smart Battery Hub without Cover

Now you have a loose cover when you need to manually access the switches – and if the seas are high and nothing is working – the bloody cover will go flying overboard in anger. I do not approve of that design from a neither a practical or a safety perspective.

In reality I guess the cover will end up ‘never” being mounted apart from the day you buy your boat – or the day you want to sell it.

Twin Engine BEP C-Zone Smart Battery Hub: Part Number # 80-716-0030-00

Triple Engine BEP C-Zone Smart Battery Hub: Part Number # 80-716-0031-00

My Smart Battery Hub Twin Engine is on order – and should arrive within the next few days. The review will be honest and without bias as it was paid for out of pocket – and not sponsored.

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