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Old 09-14-2016, 11:36 AM   #1
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Simple engine gauges?

Anyone with ideas for simple, self built and installed oil / coolant / tach gauges? (Perkins 6-354M - original gauges suck)
Simple engine, have a good alarm system, so I want to keep sending oil press and coolant temp numbers to 2 simple panels and/or even a tablet???
Lots of options I think for oil / coolant, but what are you using for sending engine revolution (tach) information? Got to be something better than driving a tach from a DC alternator....
Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 09-14-2016, 12:09 PM   #2
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I don't like my coolant temp gauge. Non linear and in the vicinity of 190-210 degrees (where it's most important) it's hard to read, small and w lines that aren't marked. I assume you're supposted to look at the lines that do have numbers and interpolate but it's not easy. I think I was running 3 or 4 degrees warmer than before but can't be sure. I rodded out my heat exchanger because of that. A didgital would be nice but if I bought everything that would be nice for Willy I couldn't afford her.

What's a "DC" alternator?
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Old 09-14-2016, 12:14 PM   #3
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[QUOTE="Nomad Willy;479945"]What's a "DC"

The alternator that is mounted to the engine to charge the start battery produces DC voltage. You could get an AC unit but that might be technically a generator. I suspect the OP was just clarifying.
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Old 09-14-2016, 01:00 PM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. CJ. Lauderdale Speedometer can most probably answer all your questions and supply you with the needed equipment. I have had brief dealings with them and they seem like a quite competent and "willing to help" type of outfit... https://www.lspeedo.com/
No connection other than I've been in their shop.
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:04 PM   #5
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Greetings,
Mr. CJ. Lauderdale Speedometer can most probably answer all your questions and supply you with the needed equipment. I have had brief dealings with them and they seem like a quite competent and "willing to help" type of outfit... https://www.lspeedo.com/
No connection other than I've been in their shop.
I'll second this as a happy repeat customer.
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Old 09-16-2016, 07:44 AM   #6
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Capt. Joe,

While not self built I bought and installed VDO gauges on my Perkins 6-354T, dual station. Tach, oil, temp and volts. At the same time I added an oil pressure alarm. Flawless performance.

Tach drive was off the alternater and verified with a hand held tach. This was an analog (2002) set up but I am sure they have electronic offerings now.

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Old 09-16-2016, 09:18 AM   #7
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I like the VDO "Vision" series. Simple clear dials, you can pick scales that make sense. I've never set them up with two stations, but that should be available. It normally requires different senders or gauges to do two gauges on one sender. Not that expensive either.
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Old 09-16-2016, 09:28 AM   #8
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I had thought generators put out DC and alternators put out AC. But, then I Googled: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternator_(automotive)
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Old 09-16-2016, 11:02 AM   #9
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Alternator/generator terms are kinda like engine/motor terms. No hard and fast rules, lots of tradition.
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Old 09-16-2016, 11:14 AM   #10
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For gauges, try Dakota digital.... I've used their products in a few cars I've built... Good stuff


They have electronic tach drive modules for alternators on diesels..
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:36 PM   #11
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Alternator/generator terms are kinda like engine/motor terms. No hard and fast rules, lots of tradition.
Old style generators produced DC using brushes and a commutator. Modern Alternators produce AC which is rectified to produce DC at the output terminal. Brushes and slip rings, no commutator.
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Old 09-16-2016, 01:24 PM   #12
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Yet in power plants, a rotating field AC producing machine of 1100 MW, same basic structure as our little boat rotating field AC machines.... Are all referred to as "generators". You'd think they would be called alternators, but whatever.
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Old 09-17-2016, 06:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt. Joe View Post
Anyone with ideas for simple, self built and installed oil / coolant / tach gauges? (Perkins 6-354M - original gauges suck)
Simple engine, have a good alarm system, so I want to keep sending oil press and coolant temp numbers to 2 simple panels and/or even a tablet???
I don't think this counts as "simple" but here's my solution to get data from my 6.354's to gauges and tablets or cell phones:

1) Aetna mechanical tach sending unit


2) Noland RS11 NMEA 2000 engine data converter


3) NMEA 2000 gauges (so far I have just this one, and I don't have a picture of it dipslaying RPM data, but that's how I usually leave it.Lowrance LMF-400):


4) My Vespar AIS XB-8000 sends a bunch of NMEA 2000 data to handheld devices wirelessly. I don't think they support engine RPMs yet, but the list grows with each firmware update. And there are other products that can send out NMEA 2000 over WiFi.

The point is, once the data is digitized there are all kinds of ways to display it. My Garmin chartplotter will even do it. Note the two RPM windows on this display:

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