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post #11 of 27 Old 11-13-2012
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Re: Voltage tester idea

slowbut, the question is, just how accurate is that little meter?
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post #12 of 27 Old 11-13-2012
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Re: Voltage tester idea

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slowbut, the question is, just how accurate is that little meter?
I had the same question when I bought it, so I compared it to my Tenma digital multimeter (which was fairly high-end when I bought it 20 years ago). Essentially, the little plug-in meter was spot on (to within the precision of its readout, anyway).

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post #13 of 27 Old 11-14-2012
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Re: Voltage tester idea

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I use one that plugs into a cigarette lighter socket. Like this:
Looks like that battery is about 50% SOC (depending on voltage drop to battery)?

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post #14 of 27 Old 11-14-2012
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Re: Voltage tester idea

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Looks like that battery is about 50% SOC (depending on voltage drop to battery)?
That's just an image I found on the net of the same model as the one I have.

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post #15 of 27 Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Voltage tester idea

Could you not deliberately oversize the wires from your bank to your voltmeter?

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post #16 of 27 Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Voltage tester idea

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Could you not deliberately oversize the wires from your bank to your voltmeter?
Actually, I'm in the process of upgrading some of the wiring on the boat right now. The little plug-in meter is being replaced with a hard-wired one (and an "(ON)-OFF-(ON)" toggle switch, so I don't have to switch the master switch back and forth to test both banks). However, I am going to run heavier gauge wire to all the plugs to avoid voltage drops.

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post #17 of 27 Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Voltage tester idea

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Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
Actually, I'm in the process of upgrading some of the wiring on the boat right now. The little plug-in meter is being replaced with a hard-wired one (and an "(ON)-OFF-(ON)" toggle switch, so I don't have to switch the master switch back and forth to test both banks). However, I am going to run heavier gauge wire to all the plugs to avoid voltage drops.

The volt meter should ideally be run directly to each battery with its own wire and should not pull off the "panel". This keeps the monitoring wires free of loads thus no voltage drop other than the mA to power the LCD of the meter which means squat to the wire. Your meter won't have the resolution to even see the load of the volt gauge in terms of volt drop..

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post #18 of 27 Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Voltage tester idea

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The volt meter should ideally be run directly to each battery with its own wire and should not pull off the "panel". This keeps the monitoring wires free of loads thus no voltage drop other than the mA to power the LCD of the meter which means squat to the wire. Your meter won't have the resolution to even see the load of the volt gauge in terms of volt drop..
That's what I'm installing, except that it's an analog meter.

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post #19 of 27 Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Voltage tester idea

Stu-
"Could you not deliberately oversize the wires from your bank to your voltmeter? "
Voltmeters always draw SO little power in the sense leads, that you'd really have to try hard to find a wire guage small enough to have any voltage loss on that run.
Even one of the "self powered" two-lead LED types, what is the total consumption? Maybe 100mA?
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post #20 of 27 Old 11-15-2012
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Re: Voltage tester idea

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
slowbut, the question is, just how accurate is that little meter?
Probably pretty accurate. Multimeter hardware isn't expensive and DC voltage is the easiest thing to measure. At work we have all fluke meters but at home and the boat I have 3 of these:
http://dx.com/p/auto-range-digital-multimeter-9636

As for the OP's question what Mainsail and Hello said are exactly right. You can't have voltage drop without current. If there's no current between where you're measuring and the battery it will be 100.00% accurate.

To put it in perspective a regular self-powered multimeter has 10+ Megaohms equivalent input impedance - you could measure your DC voltage a hundred miles away with 16 gauge wire and it would be less than 0.1% off due to voltage drop from the meter.

Last edited by asdf38; 11-15-2012 at 09:17 PM.
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