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Username Post: where should I tie a volt gauge in ?        (Topic#358705)
VanLife 
Contributor
Posts: 153

Reg: 03-20-18
11-04-19 01:40 PM - Post#2779541    

are there any reasonably priced gauges that will show real time voltage and amperage being put out by the alternator??

Do I connect it at battery or off the back of alternator?

The following is why I want to see what my system is actually doing real time.

I am looking at installing a "smart" DC to DC 40-50amp charger/ 1000watt sinewave power converter.
To add amperage boost of 30 to 50 amps at 14.3 volts to the x2power battery I have. to shorten the overall time my engine needs to be running to fully charge the battery from depleted state.

My current factory setup is unable to charge a starter/deep cycle battery fully in any meaningful short period of time.

How do you tell the alternator, that it needs to put out x amount of amps to power this assesory dc to dc charging device, or will it increase the amps when it detects the draw off the alternator?

I currently have an AC 100-110 amp alternator in there in place of the NON-AC 80-85 amp alternator, so I have an extra 20-30 amps regular load draw. Also removed the radio so that won't be drawing power.

The x2power battery I currently have has a reserve of 25amp draw for 122 minutes. Equivalent of a 68AH battery I think.

I was told I can put a higher amperage on this battery, because of its solid core AGM, where the post is solid rod that goes through the core instead of thin wires attaching the post to the battery internally.

It also does like 810 cca.

when asking Questions its related to van I own: 1987 GMC 3/4 ton G2500 vandura, V6, No AC, standard length. 3speed trans(no overdrive).


 


rumrumm 
"18th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 2088
rumrumm
Loc: Macomb, IL
Reg: 10-18-01
11-05-19 09:20 AM - Post#2779592    
    In response to VanLife

To answer one of your questions: you do not hook a voltmeter to a 12V source. You want to find a source that is only hot when the ignition is switched on.

Lynn

"There's no 12-step program for stupid."


383 sbc, Eagle, AFR, SRP, CompCams, Edelbrock, FiTECH. Dyno #'s: 450 hp @ 5700, 468 lb. ft. of torque @ 4300.



 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 4331

Reg: 12-29-02
11-05-19 01:25 PM - Post#2779612    
    In response to VanLife

Here are a couple of ideas for meters.

https://www.amazon.ca/Electricity-Monitor-6- 5-100V...

https://www.amazon.ca/DROK-Multimeter-Voltme ter-Ca...


The first one is pretty simple. I would fuse or put fusible links on the 2 wires from the shunt to the meter. Power the meter from a switched ignition source.

The second one is more complex and has that short white jumper to go between the sensor and meter. So, likely not much good to put inside a vehicle unless you loop the charging wire into the cabin. It does have the ability to operate a relay depending on the protection settings. You can use that relay to turn a device off or power a light or something else.

There are others too, just look for something you like. Just make sure it's for DC, not AC.


As for the alternator, it just tries to maintain the output voltage, so it produces whatever current is required to do so until it reaches it's maximum current limit. Don't forget, the alternator may be 110A rated but that is not the output at idle, and likely not when it's hot either. Engine likely has to be turning about 2000-2500rpm to get full alternator output.

Another thing to check is the voltage sensing wire for your alternator. This is the terminal where it senses the voltage feedback. If you run the wire to the battery it'll try to regulate the voltage at the battery, not at the wiring harness or the output stud of the alternator. This will automatically compensate for any wiring resistance.





 
acardon 
Ultra Senior Member
Posts: 11303
acardon
Loc: DFW TEXAS
Reg: 03-25-05
11-06-19 07:26 AM - Post#2779660    
    In response to VanLife

  • Quote:
I am looking at installing a "smart" DC to DC 40-50amp charger/ 1000watt sinewave power converter.
To add amperage boost of 30 to 50 amps at 14.3 volts to the x2power battery I have. to shorten the overall time my engine needs to be running to fully charge the battery from depleted state.



I'm not sure you can create power. Any power the "smart converter" puts out has to come from someplace, either the alternator or battery.

Don
66 Corvair (driving)
57 2dr HT (driving)
56 2dr HT (waiting to be restored)


 
gchemist 
Senior Chevytalk Moderator
Posts: 24976
gchemist
Loc: Austin, TX 78748
Reg: 05-09-00
11-06-19 09:01 AM - Post#2779671    
    In response to acardon

Are components different to measure voltage vs amps? I'm curious since my truck with a 165 amp alternator has blown two digital voltage gauges. I'm thinking to converting to amps instead of voltage.

'83 Silverardo XST - ZZ4 powered
'95 Jimmy SLT (Bought @131,814)
'96 GMC Jimmy LS Ret. @236651 miles


 
CowboyTrukr 
"8th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 4297
CowboyTrukr
Loc: Salt Lake City
Reg: 06-20-09
11-06-19 11:21 PM - Post#2779711    
    In response to gchemist

Yes, G, the two meters are different. The reason that auto manufacturers switched from ammeters to volt meters was due to the switch from generators to alternators. The high current death nell of a failing generator was able to be foretold by a spike in generator current. The change to alternators, which have better cooling features and voltage regulation, made installing a volt meter the better choice.

Ammeters are generally more expensive than volt meters and can be installed with much smaller wiring. The digital gauges may have sub standard internal parts. Not certain, just speculating.

Having said that, the emergence of less expensive Hall effect current transducers has made having a 300A class DC ammeter very economical. I see they’re available for under $50.

Greg

'95 K1500 Z71 EC Short Step 5.7L+0.040/NV3500
'00 Explorer XLT 4.0 V6 Auto
'94 K2500 5.7 NV4500 ECLB - SOLD
‘87 GMC S15 SCLB 4.3 Auto - SOLD

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" Sir Edmund Burke


 
beagrizzly 
"11th Year" Gold Supporting Member
Posts: 2098
beagrizzly
Age: 69
Loc: south texas
Reg: 08-04-12
11-07-19 12:30 PM - Post#2779732    
    In response to VanLife

If I may jump in here for a little?

One of the big drawbacks to the ammeter was the fact that ALL of the juice had to go through the ammeter. If you had a loose nut, or a terminal was corroded it caused a lot of overheating. The terminals were barely large enough as it was. (I have seen some newer stereo units that had larger wires than were run through the ammeter!)
I have had a lot of the insulators melt out of the little bracket that held it in the dash. Now we are talking about a direct short to ground. You now have an 8-10 ga wire melting all the way to the voltage regulator. NOT FUN!!

I would just stick to the voltmeter. very small wire, simple hook up. Just tap into the ignition, ACC terminal of your switch.

This was only my two cents. Feel free to ignore.

Griff

if you're gonna be a bear..................

1960 Biscayne (the 6T)
2005 Yukon XL
2007 GMC Sierra Classic 8.1
2009 Silverado
2011 Escalade ESV


 
acardon 
Ultra Senior Member
Posts: 11303
acardon
Loc: DFW TEXAS
Reg: 03-25-05
11-07-19 08:15 PM - Post#2779757    
    In response to beagrizzly

  • Quote:
One of the big drawbacks to the ammeter was the fact that ALL of the juice had to go through the ammeter.



If you look at the examples given for a large current ammeter, there is a shunt that ALL the voltage goes through and it uses small wires to measure the voltage drop across the shunt in the engine compartment, and calibrates it to read in amps.
The problem with that is, the shunt does cause a voltage drop, although small, so it's defeating the problem your trying to overcome. Again, you can't create energy with your inverter/converter. That energy comes from the alternator.

Don
66 Corvair (driving)
57 2dr HT (driving)
56 2dr HT (waiting to be restored)


Edited by acardon on 11-07-19 08:16 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 4331

Reg: 12-29-02
11-08-19 09:25 PM - Post#2779814    
    In response to acardon

GM ammeters measured voltage across a section of the charging wire so voltage drop across the shunt doesn't need to be a concern.



 
acardon 
Ultra Senior Member
Posts: 11303
acardon
Loc: DFW TEXAS
Reg: 03-25-05
11-09-19 07:25 AM - Post#2779832    
    In response to 65_Impala

  • Quote:
GM ammeters measured voltage across a section of the charging wire so voltage drop across the shunt doesn't need to be a concern.



There HAS to be a voltage drop or there won't be any thing to measure. The wire has to be sized and the correct length between the ammeter leads to provide a voltage drop to calibrate the meter to. The wire is the shunt.

The original poster doesn't have a GM meter.

Don
66 Corvair (driving)
57 2dr HT (driving)
56 2dr HT (waiting to be restored)


 
bobb 
Super Senior Member
Posts: 5496

Loc: paradise
Reg: 09-05-03
11-09-19 10:27 PM - Post#2779877    
    In response to beagrizzly

i run my ampmeter after all junctions so that the only thing it sees is the battery. the only amps flowing through it go to the battery. that way i know if the battery is getting charged or not. along with a voltmeter i get a good look at what the system is doing. 1st gen obd.

70 L camino, grampa engine, g-force 5 spd, road rage suspension. Pray first before all else fails.


 
65_Impala 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 4331

Reg: 12-29-02
11-10-19 12:59 PM - Post#2779912    
    In response to acardon

  • acardon Said:
  • Quote:
GM ammeters measured voltage across a section of the charging wire so voltage drop across the shunt doesn't need to be a concern.



There HAS to be a voltage drop or there won't be any thing to measure. The wire has to be sized and the correct length between the ammeter leads to provide a voltage drop to calibrate the meter to. The wire is the shunt.

The original poster doesn't have a GM meter.




It's just a piece of 10 gauge wire same size as cars without an ammeter. Probably about 4-5' of wire and there was no extra wire compared to a car without an ammeter. So, it adds no extra voltage drop compared to cars without ammeters.

You can get an ammeter that uses a shunt to wire it similar to what GM did.

And the OP doesn't seem to have any ammeter.



 


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