The 500A 50MV shunt has got to be the most misunderstood component of a renewable energy system even though it might be the simplest and least complicated part of a solar, wind or micro-hydro renewable energy system.

By the time you read this article, you will finally know how a shunt works and why you need one or more on  your energy system.

Our 500a 50mv shunt (500 amp 50 millivolt shunt) is the same current measuring shunt used with all the major renewable manufacturers such as:

  • Outback Power Systems
  • Bogart Engineering
  • Magnum Energy
  • Midnite Solar (although theirs has a couple of extra threaded holes, bolts and washers at one end)
  • Blue Sky Energy (with their IPN-PRO and a few controllers)
  • Trace Engineering/ Xantrex / Schneider Electric
  • Apollo Solar charge controllers

500 amp 50 millivolt shunt for measuring currentSimply put, a shunt is simply two chunks of brass connected by a precisely made strip (or strips) of an alloy called "manganin" that has a specific resistance (or voltage drop) at a specific amount of current passing through it.

For example: We have an inverter that is pulling 150 amps

Manganin is used as it has the weird property of not charging its resistance (or voltage) drop with temperature change. Many other metals will change their resistance depending on the temperature which would be useless in a shunt as shunts can get very hot as high amounts of current pass through them.

The resistance is so precise that when current is pushed through the 500 amp 50 millivolt shunt, an exact amount of voltage drop can be predicted between the two chunks of brass.

In the case of the 500a 50mv shunt, when 500 amps of current is moved through the shunt, any "off the shelf" voltmeter or fancy battery monitoring system like Bogart Engineering's Trimetric 2020 or Outback Power System's FlexNet FN-DC will measure 50 millivolts between the two Kelvin connections (the two small slotted screws on the photo below).

front of 500 amp 50 millivolt shunt

If 100 amps passes through the shunt, the voltage drop will be 10 millivolts between the two sides of the shunt.

For every amp of current going thru the shunt there will be a voltage drop across the shunt of 0.1 millivolts.

rear of 500 amp 50 millivolt shunt

install close to batteries

Current measuring shunts like the 500 amp 50mv are installed inline in the negative battery cable and are the first thing the negative battery cable connects to.

The cable coming from the battery connects to one side of the shunt and ALL loads and ALL charging sources are connected to the other side of the shunt.

It must be installed this way to measure all current going in to the battery bank and all current coming out of the battery bank if you are using a battery monitoring system like a Bogart Engineering TM-2020, Pentametric, Outback FN-DC monitor and many others.

shunts have four connectors except the Midnite Solar model

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