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Discussion Starter #1
1969 Chevelle SS 396

Okay.. this is what happened. I had a mechanical water temp guage that stop working. Plan was to change it out, but I couldn't find a matching gauge. So I bought a new mechanical three gauge cluster. This may have nothing to do with the problem

Anyhow.. hooked it all up... purrty it is. The volt meter shows a good voltage.. a littel above 12. I turn the key.. nothing.. I turn on the lights nothing. Cigarette lighter, dome light, wipers, brakes, radio, I get nothing.

I have a good strong power read at the guage and have tested it with a circuit tester. Tip Top.

Where has my power gone.

Thanks
David
 

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I forget, is it the voltmeter or the ammeter that has to be spliced into the primary wire? Did you have a voltmeter to start with, or was this one you added? If you added it, where did you splice this gauge in at in the wiring harness?

Have you checked for power at your fuse box? Anything there? Maybe you blew a fuse while you were wiring up your gauges, though I would think that at least SOMETHING would work anyway, but it's a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There was an existing 3 gague cluster by Stewart Warner.

I was just changing the gauges out.

I took two wires off the old gauge, put the same two wires back on.

from the battery cable. there is the main wire, which goes to the starter. Then a second wire with a fusable Link(checked good to go) from this link the wire goes up the fender, accross the firewall, in threw the firewall, and connects to the gauge.

Man.. THis blows.. I parked my car sideways across the driveway and there isn't room for anymore cars.

I checked the fuse box. there less than 10 fuses.

Radio, Hazards, heater, so on.. all good.

I don't know what I am missing, I am sure it is something boneheaded. Nothing works, not even the hazards... the gauge works though.
 

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Originally posted by TH:
I forget, is it the voltmeter or the ammeter that has to be spliced into the primary wire? Did you have a voltmeter to start with, or was this one you added? If you added it, where did you splice this gauge in at in the wiring harness?
I ammeter is spliced in.
ChaosEnvy, you didn't answer his question, which is it, voltmeter/ammeter. If it's an ammeter just splice the 2 wires together and bypass the meter.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
well crap..

the original was an ampmeter.. the new one is a volt meter.

I suppose an ampmeter is a pass through? and and a voltmeter is not?
 

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Originally posted by ChaosEnvy:
well crap..

the original was an ampmeter.. the new one is a volt meter.

I suppose an ampmeter is a pass through? and and a voltmeter is not?
You are correct!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well toast my nuts on an open fire.

I am going to have to get an amp meter.. volt meters aren't as nice..

I suppose I connect the two wires back together.. and rewire the voltmeter with from another connection
 

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Why is an ammeter better? It tells you how much current you're drawing but what does that really mean? A voltmeter tells you whether or not your battery is being charged or discharged when running. When not running, just turn the key to on and you can see what voltage your battery is at. There is a reason they switched from ammeters to voltmeters a long time ago.
 

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Stack both leads on the positive lug of the voltmeter, that will get your car running. Run a separate wire from the ground lug to a ground lug under the dash and you're all done. Wait, that will keep the meter on all the time. Yea, you need to run a switched lead from the fuse box to the positive of the meter.
 

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Yep, wire past the gauge and see if it doesn't get your juice going again. Did you check the instructions for installing the gauge? The electrical supply is different for a voltmeter versus an ammeter. I don't know what it would do to the gauge if you wired it the wrong way.

Then again, if you have the old gauge and it worked fine with that installed, put it back in and drive it until you can get the gauge that you want to use full-time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Problem Solved. If I can find a matching amphere meter.. I will. But till then I'll use that voltmeter.

Thanks again. I had a blond moment. And laid some smoke in just too show my glee.

Toodles..
 

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Discussion Starter #12
An Amp Meter tells you whether you system is charging or discharging. Voltmeter, Just tells what the voltage of the meter is.

In Either case.. I now have a voltmeter.


Thanks for the help again
 

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Originally posted by Finally:
Stack both leads on the positive lug of the voltmeter, that will get your car running. Run a separate wire from the ground lug to a ground lug under the dash and you're all done. Wait, that will keep the meter on all the time. Yea, you need to run a switched lead from the fuse box to the positive of the meter.
You can leave the voltmeter on all the time. It draws only a few milliamps.
 

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Originally posted by ChaosEnvy:
An Amp Meter tells you whether you system is charging or discharging. Voltmeter, Just tells what the voltage of the meter is.

In Either case.. I now have a voltmeter.


Thanks for the help again
Sorry, but an ammeter tells you how much current you're drawing. Whether the current is being supplied by your battery or altenator is snother question. Assuming your ammeter is spliced into the + lead supplying power to everything except the starter. So an ammeter tells you how much current, does not tell you if the battery is charging or discharging. So where is your ammeter spliced in? A voltmeter tells you the condition of the battery. It also tells you if you're drawing more than the charging system can supply, voltage drops. I do know a little about electricity and electronics, so please explain.
 

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I would only install a volt meter. An amp meter must either have full current or some shunt current to operate and I have heard of fires some times. I would still want an Alt light to tell me when it is not changing as I may not be watching the gauges. That goes for ALL gauges. Too easy not to be watching.
 

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Originally posted by chevellenut:
I would only install a volt meter. An amp meter must either have full current or some shunt current to operate and I have heard of fires some times. I would still want an Alt light to tell me when it is not changing as I may not be watching the gauges. That goes for ALL gauges. Too easy not to be watching.
Yup, idiot lights are nice. Once you get comfortable with the car you tend not to look at the gauges very often.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
In Physics an ampere meter is an instrument used to measure the strength of an electrical current. That being said, I am sure you are aware that alternaters are rated in amps. Thus if I have a consistent ampere reading I am also aware that my system is charging.

An ampere meter will also signal if there are any draws on the system that are unwaranted. For Instance if the ampere drawing over 1 amp in park with everthing off, there is a chance that somewhere there is a power draw.

I am fairly young, but I have been around cars a while. Have you ever heard of an Alternator Gauge, ALT Gauge, or a Charge indicator. This gauge was used to indicate whether the system was charging correctly. These gauge were simply amp gauges/amp meters/ammeters/.

An Ammeter also shows the current in the system under a load.


Also note that a battery that is over half way discharged will still read around 12V on a Volt meter.

I suppose my jumbling about is done for now..

to simplify...


Voltmeters show electrical pressure, if a battery is fully charged/discharged.

An Ampmeter is show current flow in real time.
An Ampmeter also shows the current flow comming in and out of a battery. Amperes are a rate of flow, thus allowing the detection of a charging or not charging system and the indication if there are unecessary draws on a system.

But now I flip...

For a nastalgia piece, my 1960's ammeter is a nice piece. For newer applications where an alternator puts out 100+ amps, the difficulty in wiring an ammeter isn't worth the trouble.

As quoted from the Stewart Warner website....
Just as we measure oil pressure rather than oil flow, we prefer to measure volts rather than amps, so, the overwhelming choice for performance applications today is the voltmeter.

nuff said


Did I make any since... just popped in to see if anyone had said Your Welcome yet. Thanks again for the help.
Toodles.
 

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Sorry, yes if it's factory type -/+ in between bat and alt it can show direction of current flow. Yes a half dead battery can still read 12v, but only under a no load situation. As soon as a load is applied the voltage will drop significantly. An ammeter reading discharge tells me the same thing as a voltmeter reading less than the nominal 14.5v output of the alt. I still think you can get the same info from either a -/+ ammeter or voltmeter, you just have to know how to interpret what you're seeing.
Bottom line is you found the problem, your car is now running and that's a good thing.
 
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