Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 08:19 AM Thread Starter
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Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

If you have used the voltmeter from American Autowire, how satisfied with it are you? How hard was it to replace the console ammeter? Did it come with everything needed to do the swap (wires, plates etc)?

The guy that restored my 68 installed my aftermarket gauges and convinced me to not hook up the ammeter. Sounds like they can be dangerous. The voltmeter from AA is now $120. Seems like I looked into this about 4 years ago and they were double that price then.

Any other suppliers of them that you would recommend instead?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

I see now that one from AA is silver faced. I need white faced for 68. Anybody make that?
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 11:18 AM
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

I could be wrong here, but I thought the Camaro's had just the silver face and the Chevy II Nova's had the black face ?. If they are a white face, I wonder if the replacement gauges face color could be changed and the lettering redone ?.
As far as not using an ammeter, it's up to you. They can be made safe. There are two types of ammeter gauges. A full flow that all of the power has to go through or ones that use a shunt and the gauge is in parallel across two points of the shunt or the wiring harness.
On my 74 Nova, I found an original console volt gauge and I'm going to run that one and remove the ammeter gauge and as far as wiring I plan on using the ignition 12 volt line that feeds the water temp gauge to power up the volt gauge and then use the gauge ground for the ground of the volt gauge. The old wires for the ammeter gauge will be traced back to their source and disconnected.
If you were to run a shunt type ammeter gauge, then the wires off of the loom or the shunt can be fused to where if there is a short past the fuse, the fuse will blow and if either or both were to blow, the main power will still be passing through the shunt keeping everything else powered up. If you fuse a full flow ammeter gauge,then if the fuse or fusible link blows, then a lot of other things will be unpowered.
If I had a choice, and I did, I would run the volt gauge and not an ammeter.

I don't know if your car has the AAW harness in it but I've read that the replacement harness cannot support the key buzzer and that's one thing I like about my 68 Chevy II in that it still works.

Jim

Oh, another thing is, are you going to Gateway this weekend for Super Chevy ?.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 12:49 PM
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

You are right. 68 & 69 Camaro gauges were sliver faced and used green lighting, Nova 68 through 74 used black faced gauges and corporate blue lighting.

AAW's classic update harness assumes new single wire alternators and has the wiring for the voltmeter. If you bought the volt gauge from AAW you could secure the new harness which is power and ground. Many people just alter the existing amp gauge socket to use one power leg from the horn relay and cut second power which came from the main junction and ground that lead.


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

You're saying that original 68 console had silver faced gauges? And if Nova had black I wonder what used the white face?? When I went to restore mine about 6-7 years ago I found a guy who had a 68 and was planning to restore it and had bought a bunch of stuff from Classic. But he sold the car but not the repro stuff. I bought all of it cheap. I think the console and gauges came from him. I wonder where he got the white faced gauges.

Another question: Were the gauges divided in the pod like mine (see pic) of were there 2 gauges per pod with single lens? I have an original sales brochure and it has a pic of the console/gauge option. They appear to be silver and are undivided.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

Here is a pic of the gauges sold by AA. Are they not white faced?

http://www.americanautowire.com/PDFL...20IN%206.0.pdf
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 02:12 PM
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winch View Post
Here is a pic of the gauges sold by AA. Are they not white faced?

http://www.americanautowire.com/PDFL...20IN%206.0.pdf
Looks silver to me in the picture

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 03:00 PM
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winch View Post
You're saying that original 68 console had silver faced gauges? And if Nova had black I wonder what used the white face?? When I went to restore mine about 6-7 years ago I found a guy who had a 68 and was planning to restore it and had bought a bunch of stuff from Classic. But he sold the car but not the repro stuff. I bought all of it cheap. I think the console and gauges came from him. I wonder where he got the white faced gauges.

Another question: Were the gauges divided in the pod like mine (see pic) of were there 2 gauges per pod with single lens? I have an original sales brochure and it has a pic of the console/gauge option. They appear to be silver and are undivided.
As far as the silver and black, from what I've seen and read, those were the only two ways they made them originally. If the ones you have are white, then maybe they are not original GM, or a correct reproduction, were one off test samples, or someone has painted and lettered them, or who knows what. I've never seen these gauges in a white background and who knows,maybe they could be a GM part but were destined for an overseas use that that country had a law that they needed to be white background.

I would maybe send an e-mail or call Classic but be prepared for either getting disgusted and hanging up or have to talk to more than one person. If you get an answer right away, consider yourself lucky.

The gauges you pictured are just like the ones I have for my Nova BUT with a different background color. The openings on mine are the same and the 4 gauges use just two lenses. Most if not all of the parts are available aftermarket and if the lenses need work, you can install new ones but you have to be careful as the lens is sitting on plastic studs that push on clips are then forced on to hold it all together.

Jim

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

AA responded. They do not make a white face. Their pic I posted of full gauge set they say is brushed silver. Sure looks white in the pic. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and order the voltmeter and see how it matches.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 04:10 PM
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

There's nothing dangerous about the gauge you have in there now. It's just a charge indicator and reads the small voltage across the charging wire, it's not a true in-circuit ammeter. There are only two 20 AWG wires used, it does not have full charging current flowing through it like an older one. Search around on here about the factory ammeter function. If you're set on swapping it out for some reason Heartbeat City and Classic sells one for $80.
http://www.heartbeatcitycamaro.com/s...bly-1968-1969/
http://www.classicindustries.com/pro...s/a912901.html

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

I'm not really set on using a voltmeter. I've been having a minor problem throwing the alternator belt (actually just flipping it over) and my Vintage Air controls are driving me nuts. They say it has to do with low voltage at start up or something so I thought a volt meter might show what's going on.

I think I'll try to find the wiring instructions for my after market gauges and see what it takes to wire up the ammeter. Especially since you say it's not that dangerous.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

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Originally Posted by SOA-Nova View Post

Oh, another thing is, are you going to Gateway this weekend for Super Chevy ?.
I don't know anything about it. I'll investigate. But if I don't get my driveshaft and new pinion yoke I won't be going anywhere (in the Camaro anyway).
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 06:05 PM
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

I put the AAW voltmeter in mine when I rewired it with their kit a few years back. The classic update kit didn't have provisions for the ammeter anyway. The gauge matches perfectly and works great. It's a bit pricey but what isn't these days?

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 07:26 PM
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

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I don't know anything about it. I'll investigate. But if I don't get my driveshaft and new pinion yoke I won't be going anywhere (in the Camaro anyway).
Here's the flyer:

http://superchevyshow.com/2015/10/sc...orsports-park/

I'm planning on going over tomorrow late to get registered and then get over there Saturday early. Sadly this year the Super Car Reunion is not being held with this show. It was neat last year seeing the COPO cars drag racing.

I've got two friends racing, one with a first generation Camaro and the other with a Henry J and some other friends from Chicago and locally going over.

The weather looks like it will be nice with no rain.

Jim

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 15, 09:09 PM
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Re: Anybody used American Autowire voltmeter to replace ammeter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winch View Post
I'm not really set on using a voltmeter. I've been having a minor problem throwing the alternator belt (actually just flipping it over) and my Vintage Air controls are driving me nuts. They say it has to do with low voltage at start up or something so I thought a volt meter might show what's going on.

I think I'll try to find the wiring instructions for my after market gauges and see what it takes to wire up the ammeter. Especially since you say it's not that dangerous.
You might want to think some more about using the volt meter.

Here's my thinking:
1. The wires should already be in place if the other console gauges are already wired.
2. A voltmeter can show what the voltage is to where if it's low, you can see that and if it's high, then it reads that.
3. Installing a volt gauge with other console gauges already in place should take a LOT less time than properly adding in an ammeter gauge. In other words, how much is your time worth. I like easy requiring less time.
4. If the wiring is not in place out to the engine bay you can run the two wires out through the firewall through an existing hole or to really do it properly, get the correct terminals and put these into the bulkhead connector and then under the hood untape the existing harness to add in the new wires and then re-tape it back together.
5. If later you upgrade to a larger alternator and related wiring between the battery and alternator the ammeter probably will not work as it is only designed to monitor +/- 40A of current.
6. If existing wires are used off of another gauge in the console, then the power wire is probably already protected by a fuse in the fuse block while adding an ammeter will require the addition of two fuses and holders or two fusible links where they connect into the cars wiring.
7. If there is a problem with something like the vintage air, headlights, or any other electrical device, it's nice to know how much voltage the cars system is producing to help with troubleshooting. Most electrical devices operate within a voltage window of let's say 8-15 volts which if you have a volt meter you can see this. With an ammeter, who knows what the voltage is as it only shows which way and how much current is flowing.

Jim

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