Ammeter...

Submitted: Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 12:50
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Q for all the 12V guru's out there...

I purchased a 10A DC panel meter(as recommended by a 12yo sales assistant in a major electronics chain) today to measure the draw of my 110L Waeco... So knowing next to nothing about such things, but willing to learn, I embark on my journey of discovery only to be stopped before I even leave the port...

I was of the understanding that the ammeter would go in-line on the positive wire to the fridge... When I opened up my little parcel and looked at the terminals on the back, one is marked "+" and the other "-". So I cut my wires and installed the meter across both wires as indicated, "pop" blow a fuse in the lead... So before i do some real damage, does anyone know how exactly this thing should be installed...???
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Reply By: agsmky - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:02

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:02
Ammeters go INLINE, like a fuse, otherwise they will blow your fuses.

Connect inline to only 1 wire......

Andrew
AnswerID: 165578

Follow Up By: agsmky - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:02

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:02
Oh, and read the manual, if you have one, first :-)

andrew
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Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:07

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:07
No manual or diagrams... That's what made it so easy...LOL
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Reply By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:05

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:05
Your first thoughts were correct Blue. If not sure about this stuff ask the forum, depending on your intentions there may have been better options.
AnswerID: 165580

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:12

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:12
Yeah Ray, I should've gone with my gut... I just wanted to do a bit of my own research as to how much power the fridge is using in various ambient temp situations and then I can establish a routine for recharging the battery... The fridge and battery come out of the car and live in the camper while we're away... I have a 6m extension lead(12²mm figure 8) which I connect in the tub of the car and run into the camper to give the batt a bit of a tidy up... Just trying to figure out how often and for how long this needs to occur...
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:45

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:45
yes well the amount of current being drawn wont change the variable being the amount of time it is drawing depending on temperature etc.
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Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:58

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:58
Yep figured the amount being drawn wouldn't change, finding out exactly how much and for how long is the challenge... Figures given were between 3.5-8Ah... If I can make up a chart of the Ah loads for a few different ambient temp ranges, hopefully I can make life easier for myself...
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Reply By: Member - Wim (Qld) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:12

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:12
Blue.

The short answer is + to the supply & - to the load.

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AnswerID: 165581

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:18

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 13:18
Surely they could take the time to realise that mindless gits like me will, even though they have no clue, try to install these things at home and write "load" and "supply" on the back instead of "+" and "-"...
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Follow Up By: V8troopie - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 15:09

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 15:09
No Blue, writing anything other than + - on the terminals would only confuse all the 'leccies' who KNOW how to connect these things.

You see, Ampmeters can be installed in either lead and as long as the terminal marked + has a more positive voltage on it than the other it would read the right way. Connect it the wrong way round and the pointer would try to go below 0 and might even bend around the little stop post if the current was big enough.

Internally, Ampmeters have a VERY low resistance, like a dead short. So if you connect them ACROSS the supply you get 'dead short' effects.

In case you are confused by now, to connect it into the NEGATIVE lead you would connect the battery negative to meter - and meter + to the load. Other load connection would go to the fuse and then battery positive.

Klaus
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Follow Up By: V8troopie - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 15:21

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 15:21
Just to confuse you even more, there are different types of Ampmeters. The one you got is a common one and referred to as a "moving coil" ampmeter. These are polarized, hence the + - symbols.
Then there is the "moving iron" type meter which is NOT polarised, you could connect it either way round into ONE lead and the poiner always goes the correct way. It would also measure AC current directly whereas the one above would require a calibrated rectifier to be useful on AC.
However, the scala on these moving iron meters is not linear, the low readings are all squashed together. I have a 10A version and its fine over 3A but below that the scala is not easy to read accurately.

There are other types as well but they are rarer on only used for special applications.

I hope you do not mind this "lesson" but you did ask to be educated on Ampmeters :-)

Klaus
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 17:11

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 17:11
Git? hehehehehe havent heard that for years
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Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 20:02

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 20:02
Bonz... My grandfather used to call me a "git", in fact he used to call everyone a git... For some reason, I'm the only one he was spot-on with...
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 14:38

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 14:38
The 110 uses the same compressor as the 80 , if u run as fridge and freezer at -10/12deg in 35/40 ambient averages out at 64amps per 24hrs.
AnswerID: 165594

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 16:11

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 16:11
Trouble being I never use the freezer facility(not for camping anyway), so I need power consumption for fridge temp of 4°C in ambients ranging from say 12°-35°C
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 18:13

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 18:13
Blue ,the only time we have not used the freezer and had the 80 running as all fridge at 3-5 deg in a variable ambient as you describe ranging from 12 to 35 still used 64 amps average per 24hrs ,,, when you use the freezer section as such it acts as a cold "bank"..
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FollowupID: 420501

Reply By: Member - Crazy Dog (QLD) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 17:39

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 17:39
For those who like to roll their own I found this on the internet - made by an Aussie chap.

Looks good - I am going to build one for my trailer. The devices from DSE have diagrams that are easy to follow so most people who have some skills would be able to make.

=====================================================
Needing accurate Amp and Volt readouts is a must with any DC system but unfortunately there are not many displays around that can do this without costing an arm and a leg. I was not interested in the voltage displays with clocks and thermometers as they are both inaccurate and tacky so for the same amount of money I made my own. All up cost was around $37 and little bit of time to assemble.
The setup consists of 2 LCD displays from Dick Smith (part no. Q2220 cost $9.98 ea), a 50A current shunt from Jaycar (part no. QP5412 cost $9.95 ea), a switch, resistors (to setup the displays), wire, terminals, a box and a 9V battery. The shunt is located in the battery compartment and is secured with a dob of silicon to reduce holes in the tub. The negative leads of all accessories go to one side and the batteries negative lead is connected to the other side. All accessories have their negative lead terminated at the shunt with nothing being grounded to the chassis. The LCD is then connected to the shunt to display Amps. You can then see current going into and out of the batteries (displays a negative sign when current going out). Both readouts are powered by a 9V battery and I put a switch in to turn them on and off as a battery was only lasting a couple of weeks when they were always powered on. I am extremely happy with the setup and can see what current each accessory is drawing and what the chargers are putting in.

Have fun=====
AnswerID: 165617

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 20:01

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 20:01
Do you have a diagram, I'd be interested to see just how quickly I could stuff that up...LOL
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Reply By: Member - Crazy Dog (QLD) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 20:43

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 20:43
Blue - comes in the box with the digital displays....

Grrr!!!
AnswerID: 165666

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 21:05

Friday, Apr 07, 2006 at 21:05
Are you growling at me...??? 'Cause my dog is bigger than yours...
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FollowupID: 420542

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