Is AMP gauge going to be dangerous? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 11, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Ken
 
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Is AMP gauge going to be dangerous?

I bought a console and stock style gauge kit that came from Classic Industries. It's new and never used. Will that have an AMP gauge or voltage gauge? My restorer says AMP gauges are very dangerous and in fact he won't hook it up. He'll have it ready for me to if I want but he won't take the responsibility.

What experience have y'all had with those repop gauge kits as far as that gauge goes anyway?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 11, 01:38 PM
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Wink Re: Is AMP gauge going to be dangerous?

I happen to agree with your mechanic
The problem, and inherent 'danger', in using an AMP guage vs. a Voltmeter, is that a properly installed and usefull Amp meter must have the full load it is monitoring routed directly through the guage to give you a meaningfull indication of the charging systems operation.
That means that if it is to indicate the 'full' amount of amps flowing through your system with all operating systems "on" - then it must be wired to handle 40~50 amps MINUMUM to be reliable! This takes larger wire guage and more reliable HD connectors than are usually found in most automotive wiring systems to work right and not turn into a fire hazard.

The 'stock' Camaro guage used in the consol set only monitored the lights, dash and interior loads - it wasn't wired to read alternator output and/or some optional systems with higher draw, like the AC compressor.

A Voltmeter monitors the overall system voltage and is a better indicator of the systems function in most cases.
Read - http://www.madelectrical.com/electri...p-gauges.shtml

For the "horor" stories your mechanic is referring to do a search on some of the popular Hot Rod boards - there seems to be a ton of them from time-2-time

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 11, 02:02 PM
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Re: Is AMP gauge going to be dangerous?

I don't disagree with John on this but I will say there are 10's of thousands of Camaros and Novas running around with the factory amp meter wired with factory wiring without problems all these years. If you have the proper under dash harness and console harness I don't see why your restorer wouldn't hook it up for you.

It would be different if you supplied him with an auto-meter amp guage..

...Dennis

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 11, 02:23 PM
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Re: Is AMP gauge going to be dangerous?

The horror stories stem from poor design and bad wiring practices. In actuality, the only current that goes through the meter movement of an ammeter is about one milliamp, the rest is shunted around the meter by a low value resistor, commonly called a shunt. If the shunt is part of the physical meter, you must bring all the measured current to the meter. If you can mount the shunt resistor remotely ( which is what GM did ) you only need bring the small wires and small current to the meter.

An ammeter is not wired to constantly measure all the load of the car, only the system current to and from the battery. You don't normally turn on all the lights, fans, stereo, A/C, etc without the motor running, typically you turn on the ignition and start the car. Once the car is running, all the system current comes from the alternator and does not go through the ammeter shunt. this is why your ammeter reads near zero while you are driving down the road.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 11, 02:42 PM
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Re: Is AMP gauge going to be dangerous?

Ken - the AMP meter per say is not dangerous if you understand what it really is and if your harness is factory original or is http://www.americanautowire.com/ from factory fit dot com. http://shop.americanautowire.com/sea...e&category=964

The original AMP meters hooked up as a parallel charging circuit from the alternator and the battery. So yes if the contacts in the harness were exposed, the raw output of the charging circuit would be available. This could happen if you dis-connected the harness and then crossed the black and black with white stripe wire contacts of the dash side harness connection, or touched the poles on the rear of the gauge itself while vehicle was running.

That's the worse case scenario. But you can make it safe as your restorer wants you to do. If you wish to change the original AMP gauge to a safer "VOLT" meter setup and retain the original look taste and feel of the console gauge package then visit AAW's web site again at the link below. They sell a replacement VOLT gauge for the Camaro (silver faced) & Nova (black faced) "saw tooth" console gauge package, that takes the place of the original or repro AMP gauge. They also sell the conversion harness to make it seemless. http://shop.americanautowire.com/196...etergauge.aspx

Brian


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