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Old 12-21-2006, 09:20 AM
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Amp Gauge install

The temp gauge in my 87 caprice quit working a few months ago. The other day my friend gave me an old sunpro gauge cluster he took out of his nova. The only thing I was gonna use it for was the temp gauge, but it has an ammeter and an oil pressure gauge too, so I figured I might as well put them to use.

My question is about the amp gauge. I have heard that these gauges can be somewhat dangerous so I thought I would check with you guys first. Can I just hook it up to a switched hot source, or do I have to route it to the alternator. I already have a stock volts gauge, but i thought since I have the ammeter i should put it to use.

thanks for the help
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:56 AM
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The ammeter goes in series with the wire from the alternator to the battery. You must bring this wire all the way to the meter and back unless the meter is equipped with a remote shunt. If it was me, I'd stick with the voltmeter and dump the ammeter.
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:10 AM
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So is there no need for a ground?
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:29 AM
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No ground on the ammeter.
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:46 AM
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thanks for the help!
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Old 12-21-2006, 11:41 AM
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Have a read about amp gauges here.
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:16 PM
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Hmmmm......... So are there any advantages for using an ammeter??
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Old 12-21-2006, 10:32 PM
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Potential fire----WHEN they fail (not if)

Voltmeter---much better---all the electricity in the car does not have to go thru it.

Ammeter failure can also completely disable the car----no fun
I have had Chrysler products that have stranded me and in one instance caught fire due to an ammeter.

Dash fire----not funny

Bryan
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Old 12-21-2006, 11:58 PM
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Doc here,

Agreed, Amp Gauges are a potential disaster..Think of it as a bare battery cable under the dashboard..anything can fall on it, and it can touch anything else..that is on ground.

A Volt meter works much better than an amp gauge. Once your used to it, gives you the same indications.

Find a Two Gauge panel and toss the amp gauge, or find another gauge to fill the third hole. You'll be better off for it.

Doc
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onovakind67
The ammeter goes in series with the wire from the alternator to the battery. You must bring this wire all the way to the meter and back unless the meter is equipped with a remote shunt. If it was me, I'd stick with the voltmeter and dump the ammeter.
I'd use both, nice to see if your charging or not
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:29 AM
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Doc here,

I wouldn't...

If the Volt Gauge is showing less than 13 volts..It ain't charging..That simple.

No risk of damage or stranding or fires.

AND simple two wire hook up..any switched fused 12 volt wire, and ground period..no re~inventing of the Start/Charge Buss system to install it.

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Old 12-22-2006, 12:21 PM
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I ran an ammeter for years in my Olds with no problems, until one day. Ran the wiring through grommets at the firewall too, hence the problem...years, grommets, wiring, firewall, throw in vibration, and guess what, when that sucker shorts out you can't get out of that car fast enough. I had burned wiring, an awful smell, and smoke faster than you can imagine. Luckily, it was just as I pulled in my driveway and I was able to jump out and pop the quick-disconnect I have on my battery ground wire (one of the best things I ever I installed on my car). I'll never run another ammeter and now have a volt meter.
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Old 12-23-2006, 10:13 PM
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ammeter

Has anyone taken a look at the new ammeters they are selling to view the amps going into a high performance stereo amplifier?

They use a shunt, which only takes a sampling of the current and doesn't do a direct route like the old ammeters.

Also, they have been using a clip on current tester in trades for years to sense the amount of current. I don't know how accurate they are, but I don't see why someone can't build an ammeter with one of those clip-on type sensors.

I understand that it's dangerous "as is" and no doubt we use a lot more current today in most cars than when those ammeters were considered safe ....with usually less than 50 amps flowing though a factory stock car at max. I believe that most early alternators cranked out about 35 amps max and then they went to about 65 amps later. Today's modified rods have alternators that can crank out well over 100 amps. Mine is supposed to be able to put out 125.

However, I did love the indication of charge or discharge,....and how much...... A voltmeter will give you an educated guess, but an ammeter will give you the cold hard facts.

Again, agree not to use one, unless a way can be found not to bring all of the current through the meter. I am looking at the stereo amp ammeters and wondering .....with that shunt...if the problem is not solved and if it can show up to 250 amps of current....why couldn't it be used to show overall charge/discharge of a car that doesn't have a stereo that can blow your ear drums out from 3 blocks away.

Steve
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Old 12-24-2006, 12:06 AM
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Amp meter in car = Fire! Weve had so many cars and trucks in our shop for amp meter related problems. We highly discourage using them to our customers. If a volt meter or related wiring fails then its not a big problem. If the amp meter fails or realated wiring, the best you can hope for is a dead battery,because the alternative is a weeny roast!
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Old 08-27-2011, 05:49 PM
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AMP meters

Well, my 71 Nova has a volts guage AND an amps guage and I'm wondering? They've both been there for about 14 years,so when should I expect my car to go up in smoke? It's like this,an amps guage is a simple mechanism thats designed to indicate current flow.Therefore theres gonna be some electricity involved !! And IF you wire up your house in a slap hazard fashion where wires can chafe or vibrate loose and arc ,,,or be shorted by some unexpected conductor,you WILL have a burnt out house you can call home! Pretty simple to understand. Same rules apply with the car you put an amps guage into. Do it right and protect the work from shorts,arcing,use proper grommets where wires go through metal,,and it'll work fine for the duration. The bull about every amps guage being an imminant fire starter is simply that,,bull. By the same token,give the job the opportunity to start a fire and it will do what you give it permission to do!,,that being,burn. Lets not lose sight of the fact that ANY "hot" wire on a car that is not kept insulated and is grounded WILL burn your ride to the ground. An amps guage is no different and they have been in use in all manner of vehicles since the roaring 20's.
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