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post #1 of 19 Old 08-24-2007 Thread Starter
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Voltmeter

Hello -

I have decided to install a voltmeter on my Hunter to help moniter my battery usage. Depsite my general ingnorance about 12V systems, I have decided to try this myself (after triple checking the shore power is unplugged!)

I was going to hook up negative and positive wires directly to the battery bank and then run those wires all the way up to near the electical panel where I am installing the voltmeter.

However, I thought I would check in the experts on this board to see if I could hook the voltmeter up to different point in the circuit - somewhere closer to the panel...

Any suggestions on the installation would be appreciated. I have always found these forums extremely helpful!

Uncle
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-24-2007
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voltmeter connection preference

If you want the most accurate readings, the voltmeter leads should connect directly to the battery. If you connect anywhere else in you 12v system, corrosion, loose connections, etc. may affect the accuracy of your readings. In other words the voltmeter reading may not be the actual battery voltage--and that's what you need, right? The leads for the voltmeter do not have to be heavy gage, there is practically no current (microamps) flowing thru the meter.

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post #3 of 19 Old 08-24-2007
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You have a battery switch on the panel? The volt meter can be wired to the poles on the switch. Probably a good idea to take the cables off at the battery poles while you are doing this.
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-24-2007
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Just remember that longer runs of wire will induce a voltage drop. However that doesn't neccessarily mean the voltmeter has to connected directly to the batteries.

Considering that the main ground wire is located at or near the main DC panel and the main positive lead is on the DC main battery A/B/Both switch... you could just hook the voltmeter to those two points and not run any wire. While it won't be as accurate as hooking up directly to the batteries, it will be accurate enough for you to monitor what is going on with the batteries.

This has the advantage of telling you what your main DC panel's voltage is at... having the voltmeter directly connected to the batteries wouldn't tell you that, and if you need to know that, you can always use a portable voltmeter.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 08-24-2007 at 01:48 PM.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-24-2007 Thread Starter
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Thanks so much everyone. I think I will try to hook the meter up to the main battery switch. The switch is not next to the panel (I never understood why), but it is much closer to than my battery bank.

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post #6 of 19 Old 08-24-2007
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Not trying to steal the thread.. but what recommendations about a digital Portable meter?? I see many but none say anything about use in a marine environment... what works after being stored on a sail boat for months?? I, know the batteries have to be removed but what about general salt environment and possible rain on a Digital meter?? One that can stand a bit of hard handling. Any ideas/ Recommendations?? The local Radio Shacks seem to have all closed down.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-24-2007
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RealityCheck-

There was a thread on volt-ohm meters earlier this summer with recommendations in it. You might want to take a look at it.

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post #8 of 19 Old 08-24-2007
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-24-2007
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Make sure it has an Amps setting
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-24-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
Just go invest the money in a good Fluke, IMO.

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Second that. I have used a dozen different brands of DVMs doing field engineering and nothing I have ever had holds up like a Fluke. They are pricey, but if your going to bother buying and using a portable meter, you had better be able to trust what it is telling you.

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