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Pros and cons to shunts?

Well, the pro is that they are cheap and simple and allow you to use a remote ammeter. (Which is really a volt meter, measuring voltage drop across the shunt, but that's neither here nor there.)

The cons are that they are "more stuff" which has to be installed, secured, covered. Rarely, but can go out of calibration. And some of the cheap stuff certainly looks like it will corrode over time.

But there's nothing special about shunts, except for the facts that they are usually made of a relatively high-resistance material and in theory carefully calibrated. You can use a foot-long piece of battery primary cable as a shunt, if you select the right cable and run the numbers for voltage drop. The difference is that the shunt allows someone else to do the math, so you can just 'plug it in'.

I'd call a shunt old, stable, reliable technology, but calling it "technology" at all might be overkill in this century.
 
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