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Old 11-02-2018, 05:45 PM   #1
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removing ammeter

I'll be re-doing the electrical panel on my76 GB32. I currently have the older style ammeter where the charging current runs up into the helm station, through the meter and back to the battery. I'll likely replace it as I'm going to a newer "battery monitor" (not sure which one yet). Any thoughts on eliminating the ammeter?
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Old 11-02-2018, 06:12 PM   #2
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Other than it's a good idea? You can (should!) mount the shunt for the battery monitor down by the battery and eliminate the long run to the helm. Unless is is also servicing other equipment.
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Old 11-02-2018, 06:51 PM   #3
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Yea, I too would scrap the ammeter. I have since gone with a digital display of batt volts and that is enough to tell you all is well. My charger keeps it at 13.5, on engine it is 13.8. One glance tells you alternator or charger are ok.
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Old 11-02-2018, 07:28 PM   #4
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Thanks guys, that's what I thought. The GB currently has a #8 wire running up to the gage and all the way back down to the battery. I'd like to simplify that. The new shunt will be down near the battery.
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Old 11-02-2018, 07:42 PM   #5
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I have a flybridge, and I got rid of the ammeters up there, but kept the lower station ammeters. I find them useful as they do show charge current flowing. I added 4 alternator charge voltmeters, 2 up and 2 down.

What is interesting about the original SW ammeter gauges, they also show a charge flow into batteries from the AC charger.

The shunt type digital ammeters are nice to have. I added one for the house bank. Shows volts and amps.
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Old 11-03-2018, 02:16 PM   #6
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My ammeters were wired with inordinately small wire that no doubt resulted in losses. The connection ran from the alternator-start cable-ammeter to use the starter cable for start loads as well as for charging on each side.

I recabled with large cables running directly from the alts to the batteries (fused) and discarded the ammeters. My loads are now separated from my charges so that no cables provide double duty.

My SOC keeps me informed of all charges and loads.

Ditching the ammeters opened up holes on my overhead panel for my new SOC and a digital depth sounder.
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Old 11-03-2018, 02:29 PM   #7
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The oem used 4 and 6 gauge wire running to am meters. The oem alternators were 50 amp and I changed to 80 amp. Honestly I have never seen the gauges go past 60amps output. Eliminating long runs to the flybridge I assume helped with efficiency. Usually gauge readings don't go past 30.
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Old 11-03-2018, 03:43 PM   #8
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An OEM automotive style alternator rated at 80 amps will rarely put out more than 60, and as soon as it gets warm probably 40 or 50 at most. The internal regulators setpoint is very low, and designed to drift lower as they heat up. They are designed merely to replace the very small amount of energy lost in starting, and keep up with engine loads while running. Long runs with small wire add to the problem as the internal regulators are sensing voltage at their output, not at the battery. So they think the battery is charged long before it is.
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Old 11-03-2018, 04:10 PM   #9
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That makes a lot of sense. I'll be upgrading my alternator as well.
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Old 11-06-2018, 06:32 AM   #10
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"That makes a lot of sense. I'll be upgrading my alternator as well."


An alt upgrade needs a better , smarter V regulator.


Just replacing a small 1 wire with a bigger 1 wire does little for the DC charging system.
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:01 AM   #11
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Understand. I'm working with Balmar to get the right one for my engine, batteries, etc.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:34 AM   #12
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Although its a tiny tiny loss ,V meters eat juice .

As it is mostly required when operating, a push button to read might be wise.

For those with a key switch , it can simply be hooked there.

Your diesel cranking is a great load tester , knowing the normal crank voltage will allow you to notice low cranking voltage early.
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