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Old 08-04-2008, 08:20 PM
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Hot, Smoking Amp Gauge!

I have a 3 gauge cluster amp, oil pressure, and temp. Recently I've noticed that the amp gauge has been reading on the negative side and its very, very hot and sometimes it even smokes. I've also noticed when I turn on my dual electric fans, normally the rpms would drop a lil bit to signal the extra load, but now they actually increase. I'm no wizard at this and still soaking wet behind the ears. I've had the alternator checked at advance auto parts and was told it was charging fine. I need help....

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Old 08-04-2008, 08:44 PM
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First off i personally would ditch the amp gauge for a volt gauge and then make sure your electric fan is wired with a relay so it pulls the bulk of juice from the battery itself not from the fuse box. A whole lot less of a fire hazard...
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:24 PM
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Yeah!

What he said!

Your system wasn't designed to handle heavy loads of dual electric fans. The wires carry the full current to the ammeter unless it uses a shunt to sample a small amount of current.

But anyway you are putting way too much current through the ammeter wires. As Half Ounce said, get a volt meter and dump the ammeter.

His relay suggestion is also a good one and I second it.

Steve
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:31 PM
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I don't have a problem changing out the gauges, but I need to know the cause of the problem before going to another style gauge wouldn't I??? The fans are connected directly to the battery w/a heavy duty on/off toggle switch.
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:47 PM
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Holy fuseless batman!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olds86
I don't have a problem changing out the gauges, but I need to know the cause of the problem before going to another style gauge wouldn't I??? The fans are connected directly to the battery w/a heavy duty on/off toggle switch.
What..no fuse in that circuit? Dangerous! Remember your alternator is constantly recharging your battery while your engine is on. That is when it needs to! So you may notice some discharge occasionally, and it will be "normal".

So you don't necessarily have, a "problem" since it's doing what you should expect for the circuit, but you can redesign the circuit and not draw all that current into the car and through the meter. Now some ammeters use a shunt an only sample a small amount of current. That might be an option but you'll likely not match, or not as easily match the other gauges.

It gets down to how many amps the fans draw, what gauge your wires are, the fact that likely ALL of your current goes through that gauge ..... wires get hot when you put enough current through them. That's one reason they use fusible links -smaller wire can't handle the load and burns up!...on purpose.

Steve
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:52 PM
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Like they were saying get rid of the amp gauge. That IS your problem.
The issue is everything your alternator is putting out to keep your battary charge has to travel through the amp gauge. with you running a lot of extra power accesories that amp gauge wont handle it.
I've seen more than a few nice hot rod burn to the ground because of a faulty or overloaded amp gauge.
You should access the wiring to that gauge and verify that it has not caused any damage to the surounding wires that are in the same loom.
I just spent 6 hours under the dash of a 64 Studebaker Daytona last friday repairing melted wires due to an original amp gauge.
Trust me it is no fun, my next and shoulders are still sore.
Change your system over to a volt gauge you still know whether your charging or not but the gauge is not carrying the load. it is only monitoring it.
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:00 PM
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Okay would this be something that would get worse w/time. I ask that because when the engine was first installed I didn't have any of these problems, and the amp gauge was always reading slightly above the "0". So I would just need to change out the amp gauge for a volt gauge instead and then it would be problem solved?
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:11 AM
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Why you should ditch the AMP gauge
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olds86
Okay would this be something that would get worse w/time.
ely

It will now. The wire is now compromised if you seen it smoking. You can't trust the insulation to protect you from an electrical short from this point on. You are playing Russian roulette with your rod if you don't immediately dump that ammeter an put in a voltage gauge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olds86
I ask that because when the engine was first installed I didn't have any of these problems, and the amp gauge was always reading slightly above the "0".
You added the electric fans right? They draw a LOT of current!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olds86
So I would just need to change out the amp gauge for a volt gauge instead and then it would be problem solved?
...and don't use the wires that were going to the ammeter. Replace them. You can't trust the insulation and integrity of the copper that's been stressed.

When you put in the volt meter, you will be wiring it a little bit different than your ammeter anyway. All of the electrical current (unless it has a shunt) ran through your ammeter. You will need to change the wiring a bit when you remove that ammeter. If you tell us where the wires are connected we can help re-rout them.

Your volt meter just needs to be connected to a 12 volt source that's hot only when the key is on. A modern volt meter, especially digital which is what I like for a volt meter, will draw so little current it's almost nothing.

Steve
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:57 PM
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Then engine w/the electric fans were all installed at the same time. I didn't upgrade to electric fans after the engine had already been installed....I get the idea on the Volt meter instead of the amp gauge. I'm currently flipping the my jegs catalog. Any volt meter you like better then the rest, or a favorite I guess I should say.
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:44 PM
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Volts is Volts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olds86
Then engine w/the electric fans were all installed at the same time. I didn't upgrade to electric fans after the engine had already been installed....I get the idea on the Volt meter instead of the amp gauge. I'm currently flipping the my jegs catalog. Any volt meter you like better then the rest, or a favorite I guess I should say.
Even a cheap one will work fine in most cases. Try to match your current gauges or buy a new set if you can get a good price.

I like digital better than analog for this one gauge only. If you want to go analog, look for the largest degrees of needle sweep you can get.

But if money is no object, go with a brand name such as Autometer or Stewart Warner.

Steve
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 58Apache
Even a cheap one will work fine in most cases. Try to match your current gauges or buy a new set if you can get a good price.

I like digital better than analog for this one gauge only. If you want to go analog, look for the largest degrees of needle sweep you can get.

But if money is no object, go with a brand name such as Autometer or Stewart Warner.

Steve
Well 58Apache I really do appreciate all the help and knowledge you shared with the under educated....me...Its always good coming to this site and getting a question answered that I'd normally not be able to find the answer to....


Mike W.
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