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Amps guage on one wire alt

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    Posted: Dec/05/2017 at 11:21am
HI. My 79 v8 concord has a one wire alt which is wired to the front post of solinoid. Want to install an amps guage not concerned about idiot light working. How do i wire this and what amp fuse would i use?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote 6768rogues Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/05/2017 at 1:01pm
In my opinion an amp gauge is a fire waiting to happen. Essentially all the power for the entire car has to go through that gauge. A volt gauge can be hooked to any key operated 12 volt source and will tell you what you need to know. Back when cars were simple with little generators amp gauges were common. Now that there is more juice and accessories, manufacturers have migrated to volt gauges.


Edited by 6768rogues - Dec/05/2017 at 1:05pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote THE MENACE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/05/2017 at 2:45pm
Originally posted by 6768rogues 6768rogues wrote:



In my opinion an amp gauge is a fire waiting to happen. Essentially all the power for the entire car has to go through that gauge. A volt gauge can be hooked to any key operated 12 volt source and will tell you what you need to know. Back when cars were simple with little generators amp gauges were common. Now that there is more juice and accessories, manufacturers have migrated to volt gauges.


X2 on that!!

I have seen too many GM trucks and full size Jeeps burnt up due to Amp gauge problems. On my cars I eliminate that hazard and use a simple volt gauge.     
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote 6PakBee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/05/2017 at 3:07pm
I like an ammeter vs. a voltmeter.  But that being said, if you don't check the terminals periodically and let them get loose, that probably won't end well for you.  But to the question.  An ammeter doesn't measure the output of the alternator.  It measures the current flowing to, and from, the battery.  That is why it has both charge and discharge.  It should be inserted in the main supply lead from the battery to the vehicle harness.  As to a fuse, that would be a poor choice.  A fusible link would be a better choice.  Just my two cents. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote billd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/05/2017 at 11:31pm
You shouldn't care about the amperage flowing anyway unless it's negative. It won't mean much to you. Voltage measurements are a better tell of what's going on once you learn to use one. 
Running an ammeter between battery and rest of the car only tells you what's going on with the battery - not anything else. You won't be seeing what the alternator is feeding - your entire load may be being taken care of by the alternator and nothing much happening with the battery. If you rig a meter to read everything you run the WHOLE CAR through that bloody meter and set yourself up for mega-troubles. 
IMO, it's almost worthless to have a meter only between battery and the load because the alternator would handle that when running. So what would you be seeing? Precious little. 
The only time you'd see a reading is if the alternator isn't taking care of the load and the battery is, or if the battery is low and the alternator is charging it back up. Otherwise you could have a balance where the battery is fully charged and the alternator is feeding the accessories/load and the meter is centered. It's not telling you about the health of the battery or alternator, the regulator setting, etc.
But a volt meter tells you the system health in total. 
It will tell you if the charging system is keeping up, what the regulator is doing - undercharging, overcharging, etc. You can tell everything from a volt meter and it's totally SAFE. 
the so-called "idiot light" or alternator fault indicator, or alt light, etc. only tells you of a problem - ot what that problem is, the extent of the problem, or where. A volt meter can tell you how much longer you can drive with a fault, if the car will start next time and more once you learn to read it and understand what everything means. 

I'm considering adding a simple light-based solution to what I do already in having available an LED indicator - green means all is fine electrically, with other lights meaning an over-charge, or undercharge, or a fault such as nothing out the alternator at all. 
That's even better than the ALT light......... 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 6PakBee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/06/2017 at 9:12am
Originally posted by billd billd wrote:

You shouldn't care about the amperage flowing anyway unless it's negative. It won't mean much to you. Voltage measurements are a better tell of what's going on once you learn to use one. 
Running an ammeter between battery and rest of the car only tells you what's going on with the battery - not anything else. You won't be seeing what the alternator is feeding - your entire load may be being taken care of by the alternator and nothing much happening with the battery. If you rig a meter to read everything you run the WHOLE CAR through that bloody meter and set yourself up for mega-troubles. 
IMO, it's almost worthless to have a meter only between battery and the load because the alternator would handle that when running. So what would you be seeing? Precious little. 
The only time you'd see a reading is if the alternator isn't taking care of the load and the battery is, or if the battery is low and the alternator is charging it back up. Otherwise you could have a balance where the battery is fully charged and the alternator is feeding the accessories/load and the meter is centered. It's not telling you about the health of the battery or alternator, the regulator setting, etc.
But a volt meter tells you the system health in total. 
It will tell you if the charging system is keeping up, what the regulator is doing - undercharging, overcharging, etc. You can tell everything from a volt meter and it's totally SAFE. 
the so-called "idiot light" or alternator fault indicator, or alt light, etc. only tells you of a problem - ot what that problem is, the extent of the problem, or where. A volt meter can tell you how much longer you can drive with a fault, if the car will start next time and more once you learn to read it and understand what everything means.


What are you talking about?  Chrysler used ammeters for decades and ALWAYS inserted them between the battery and the rest of the electrical system.  The intent was to monitor the charging status of the battery, not the entire electrical system.  If the battery was at nominal full charge, the alternator would be supplying all of the electrical load and the ammeter is at zero.  Again, what are you talking about?
The difference between people and AMC's is that they will always be making more people; they won't be making more AMC's

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 304-dude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/06/2017 at 9:30am
6pakbee, yes you can use an ammeter, and do just fine. Though I recommend decent cables, i assume his alternator can produce 2x the current than stock.

As for ammeter operation, the needle should be a wee over 0 when charging or in operation. I never seen one at 0, unless ignition is off.

I believe in KISS, if your electrical system is not setup for an ammeter then why complicate matters and possibly create a fire risk.

As for knowing how the charging system is going... the idiot light is basically a low budget light emitting current detector. It's not perfect but, it can tell you when a battery drain is happening by a lack of charge or very weak battery condition after start up.

Billd put it fairly straight forward, yet I understand an ammeter can be added, but we must be cautious in expecting good help to be understood and done as well as the experts here. Even an expert can create a good spark or two, so we just don't want to make a big problem of it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vinny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/06/2017 at 11:36am
My first vehicle when I was 13 years old was a 51 Thames P/U with 6 V positive ground. The Lucas amp gauge had a piece of cloth covering the right hand side preventing the needle from showing a charge. I reversed the battery and knew that showing a discharge was really a charge. My brother who got the truck after me fixed it by taking a hammer to the gauge. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote billd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/06/2017 at 12:00pm
Originally posted by 6PakBee 6PakBee wrote:

 

What are you talking about?  Chrysler used ammeters for decades and ALWAYS inserted them between the battery and the rest of the electrical system.  The intent was to monitor the charging status of the battery, not the entire electrical system.  If the battery was at nominal full charge, the alternator would be supplying all of the electrical load and the ammeter is at zero.  Again, what are you talking about?

LOL - you base using an ammeter vs. volt meter on Chrysler using ammeters for years? They did that for two reasons -
Their charging system didn't have a provision for a light. Their alternator and regulator were the ultimate in simple (not all that efficient, but simple as heck) and they didn't have a place for a light.
That's what they had always done and it was seen as a simple step up from a light - this side means charging, this side means not charging. So they just kept on using ammeters. Cheap, simple, and it was at least a step up from a light - which MOPAR couldn't run from their systems anyway.
The ammeter is for people who don't want to think beyond this side good, that side bad.
But it doesn't tell the whole story. 
First, the volt meter is safer - second, it gives a more information for those who take the time to learn to read 'em right. 

I've also done more re-wires on Chrysler products than any other brand - more wiring fires/burn-ups so unless someone really wants the "cool factor" that an ammeter seems to invoke (ammeters are cool, volt meters are for wimps - is what the general hot-rodder feeling seems to be....) I will always suggest a volt meter over an ammeter.
To be VERY knowledgeable and to really know what's going on, do both............ volt and amp.
But for safety - volt meter, for more information, more accurate and useful information, volt meter. 
For simple good/bad readings, ammeter, not as safe as you could have 60 amps heading into and out of the cabin - MORE if you run a whiz-bang-this is so cool 150 amp alternator!

Uh,  was going to try to be PC, polite, etc. - but frankly it's frustrating when decades of experience and attempting to convey helpful information is slammed, so... PC out the door - I know bloody well where, why and how to wire ammeters and for that matter, entire cars (from scratch I might add) I know how they work, where Chrysler put them, etc. Remember, I wired MOPARS from scratch after wiring fires. 

So far this AM I don't feel like trying to explain 45 years of experience, formal training, courses in electricity and electronics at the HS and college level, doing this for a living for years, etc. to justify my comments.

My thought processes are based on perceptual reasoning - I, myself, am wired differently, so life experiences have far more impact.
To explain years of training and experience on why the volt meter is a better choice technically speaking would take more time and space than I wish to deal with today.........
I stand by my comments - I will finally add that some of it was because some people want an ammeter to "see" the whole system, not just at the battery - between battery and alternator. If you don't explain it clearly they'll do what their shady shade-tree mechanic neighbor has done. 
We have more than just forum members coming here for into.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/06/2017 at 12:06pm
Originally posted by 304-dude 304-dude wrote:

6pakbee, yes you can use an ammeter, and do just fine. Though I recommend decent cables, i assume his alternator can produce 2x the current than stock.

As for ammeter operation, the needle should be a wee over 0 when charging or in operation. I never seen one at 0, unless ignition is off.

I believe in KISS, if your electrical system is not setup for an ammeter then why complicate matters and possibly create a fire risk.

As for knowing how the charging system is going... the idiot light is basically a low budget light emitting current detector. It's not perfect but, it can tell you when a battery drain is happening by a lack of charge or very weak battery condition after start up.

Billd put it fairly straight forward, yet I understand an ammeter can be added, but we must be cautious in expecting good help to be understood and done as well as the experts here. Even an expert can create a good spark or two, so we just don't want to make a big problem of it.

MOPAR alternators since 1970 couldn't run a light. There was no provision at regulator or alternator for a light. 
People were used to TRACTORs, trucks, and old cars with ammeters and knew this side good, that side bad, but what if it reads charging at all times? Depending on the meter, it should not. Do people know that?
But with a volt meter, they can color the scale - and if it's reading in the red below green that's bad, the red above green, that's bad, green is good......... and as a professional, I can look at a volt meter and tell you a lot............ 
Chrysler had to run a meter, since their simplistic system couldn't run a light, and the ammeter had been what everyone was used to. Also keep in mind even in the 60s and 70s we had people driving who were used to an ammeter....... it was a comfort thing then.
Today it's a "cool thing".... but do people even know what they are looking at? Nope - not in most cases - only that they have these cool gauges so it's a hotter car.
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