Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: SE Alaska
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Internal shunt ammeters can be put in anywhere as long as the current doesn't exceed their capacity. Doesn't really matter if it is in the positive or negative lead as long as the current doesn't exceed it's specifications and the leads are connected in the proper polarity. Use a small test load, like a 5W light and a couple of small jumper wires to experiment with it if you are unsure of the markings. By convention, the external shunt type ammeters are placed in the negative common lead from your battery bank DC common to the loads.
Whatever you do, make sure you place it somewhere where it is protected by breakers or fuses from exceeding its rated capacity. If it is internal shunt chances are it is not rated high enough to measure starting current, or alternator output, and is only suited for measuring house loads. I have two internal shunt ammeters, one measures solar panel output (always less than 5amps) and the other measures house loads (less than 25 amps). Neither is used to measure charging current, and the one high current device I have (the SSB) bypasses the ammeter.
Last edited by sailboy21; 04-27-2008 at 10:23 PM.