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Old 04-15-2014, 11:46 PM   #1
rustbucket66
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Ammeter guage to voltmeter guage

When I installed my wiring kit from American Autowire, their instructions said to not hook up the ammeter at all, because it burns out and can be a fire hazard. They were designed for 40-50 amp alternators, and the new alternators we use make up to 100 amps for all the accessories we have. I looked at the backside of my guage, and the wiring is burned and the backside of the faceplate is brown under the heat. The picture isn't very clear, but you can see the burnt area under the little coil. I took an over the counter Autometer voltmeter, and took it apart to mount in place of the ammeter. The picture shows the guage housing that the voltmeter came out of, and the old ammeter that will be discarded. On the new guage I had to trim the faceplate a bit around the edges to fit, and used a little flat piece of wood, trimmed to fit behind the faceplate. I glued the faceplate to the housing, and the wood piece to the back of the faceplate. The wood I used was from a mousetrap, it was the perfect thickness and easy to shape. The next two pictures show it mounted beside the temp guage. I reused the gaskets from the old guage on the mounting surface to insulate the posts from touch the dash housing. The last pic shows it mounted in the dash. I'd rather have a voltmeter so you can know what your charging system is doing. I replaced the temp guage also, I'm disappointed that it isn't quite the same, but the old one doesn't work. The whole thing was fairly simple and I didn't really have to modify anything. It replaced a guage I couldn't use as well.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:16 AM   #2
AcampoDave
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Re: Ammeter guage to voltmeter guage

Wow, thanks for the tip and showing the modification. I guess I always thought I had a volt meter already from the factory. Did all years of our bodystyle have ammeters? Maybe I should do this mod too. Looks good!
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:51 AM   #3
ray_mcavoy
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Re: Ammeter guage to voltmeter guage

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Originally Posted by AcampoDave View Post
I guess I always thought I had a volt meter already from the factory. Did all years of our bodystyle have ammeters?
Yes, GM used ammeters in the trucks all the way up to 1975. Although the burnt wiring issues are more limited to these years because GM added some fuses to protect the circuit in the 1967 & newer trucks. There were a few years around 61/62 that used a fuse as well.

But for anyone who's keeping the stock ammeter, I highly recommend adding some fuses. Since it uses an external shunt wire to carry the majority of the current, there should only be about 2 amps (maximum) flowing through the meter itself and it's connecting wires. So the fuses can be relatively small (GM used 4 amp fuses in the 67-75 truck ammeter circuits).
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:47 AM   #4
ChrisDollins
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Re: Ammeter guage to voltmeter guage

Cool! I will have to do this as well. When I first put in my "new to me" cluster I scrounged together I just wired it in like a volt meter... As soon as I turned the key on I was reminded that it was not in fact a volt meter lol.

Chris
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:42 AM   #5
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Re: Ammeter guage to voltmeter guage

I did something very similar to what rustbucket 66 did, except I used the voltmeter out of a mid '70s Chevy truck. See Post 318:
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...446527&page=13
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:20 AM   #6
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Re: Ammeter guage to voltmeter guage

Good info!
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Old 05-22-2014, 10:42 PM   #7
Todd W. White
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Re: Ammeter guage to voltmeter guage

I had Williamson's instruments in Chester, Arkansas take my ammeter and convert it to a voltmeter. They use the original face plate, needle, and mounting brackets, even if the original connections on the back, calibrated it so that it, when tied onto a positive line, registers just like the original, without having to change a face plate, and it looks totally stock.
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:53 AM   #8
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Re: Ammeter guage to voltmeter guage

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Originally Posted by Todd W. White View Post
I had Williamson's instruments in Chester, Arkansas take my ammeter and convert it to a voltmeter. They use the original face plate, needle, and mounting brackets, even if the original connections on the back, calibrated it so that it, when tied onto a positive line, registers just like the original, without having to change a face plate, and it looks totally stock.
It didnt happen without a photo to prove it
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:35 AM   #9
Todd W. White
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Re: Ammeter guage to voltmeter guage

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It didnt happen without a photo to prove it
I'm sorry, but I don't understand your response.
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:03 AM   #10
Jeff La
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Re: Ammeter guage to voltmeter guage

We need you to post a photo of what you did, otherwise we don't believe you. Really we really like to see pics, that is all.
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:15 AM   #11
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Re: Ammeter guage to voltmeter guage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd W. White View Post
I had Williamson's instruments in Chester, Arkansas take my ammeter and convert it to a voltmeter. They use the original face plate, needle, and mounting brackets, even if the original connections on the back, calibrated it so that it, when tied onto a positive line, registers just like the original, without having to change a face plate, and it looks totally stock.
Hey Todd....what was the cost?
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