Please Help, at my wit's end... - Team Camaro Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical.

 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 6th, 04, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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This battery gauge thing has me stumped. I give up. 68, console gauges, battery gauge, black wire hooked up to terminal block behind battery, black w/white stripe connected to the relay at the terminal that shares with the big red wire. All connections double-checked. Used a tester to prove that both blades at the back of the gauge are hot. Gauge just won't register anything...just sits at 0 and doesn't budge. So, how can I test the gauge? I've done everything else...

Steve W
1968 Camaro Convertible
1966 GTO Convertible
1995 Harley Road King
"You can't always get what you waaant..."

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 6th, 04, 04:14 PM
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Forgive me, but I have to ask. Is this an amp guage or voltage guage? I am not familiar with what the factory put on First gens.

Your setup sounds like an amp meter setup. Did you change the wire between the B+ terminal block and relay? If you up sized the wire, that could cause it to read inaccurately.

If it is a volt meter then having it hooked up the way you do would produce no reading.

Dave
========================
68 Coupe, 350 w/ Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, cam, intake, 700R4, Dave's small body HEI
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 6th, 04, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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This console gauge setup was installed by the dealer last year and everything worked just fine.
I had the new 385 fastburn motor installed and ever since then, the battery gauge doesn't work. It does not move at all. Just stays on zero. The alternator is putting out, everything seems to be wired up correctly.

This is a -40 to +40 gauge. Some call it a voltmeter, some an ammeter. Its labeled "BATT".
I did a search and it seems its NOT an ampmeter, but a mini volt meter or whatever. And it is wired as reccommended by people here that seem to know what they are talking about.
All I know is I spent the last two days working on it and it doesn't work and its pissing me off.
Sorry, I'm just getting frustrated dumping time, money (a LOT of money) and energy into this thankless black hole of a car.

Steve W
1968 Camaro Convertible
1966 GTO Convertible
1995 Harley Road King
"You can't always get what you waaant..."

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 6th, 04, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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I found this in the archives by Mark C
Tech Team ----------------------------
"Is this a stock console mounted Ampmeter? Because the ampmeters used in the sock console mounted gauge set are millivolt meters not ampmeters. If you connect it in series with the alternator you will burn it up. The stock gauge gets connected to the terminal post on the radiator support in front of the battery and to the horn relay terminal with the big red wire on it going to the battery."
------------------------------------------------

This is exactly how mine was wired from the dealer, and the way it is wired now. I just don't see why it isn't working. It worked before.

Steve W
1968 Camaro Convertible
1966 GTO Convertible
1995 Harley Road King
"You can't always get what you waaant..."

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 6th, 04, 05:38 PM
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Carl
 
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Steve, it's a ampmeter, but the way it reads is not like the aftermarket ampmeters.

There are two wires to the gauge. One connects at the battery terminal junction block on the engine side of the radiator support just in front of the battery. The other wire is mounted on the horn relay on the LH side of the radiator support.

Both wires run through the firewall bulkhead connector under the brake booster.

One way to check and see if the wiring is OK is to use a test light. Ground one end and touch each wire at the gauge. There should be power to both.

If the shop upgraded the wiring in the car the reading won't be correct. The "ampmeter" actually is a voltmeter. What it's doing is reading the voltage drop across the wire that runs from the battery junction block to the horn relay. If the wire is upgraded to a larger size there is less resistance, hence the gauge will not read correctly.

What I've done is replace the "ampmeter" movement with a true voltmeter movement that has 13v at 12 o'clock and 18v at full deflection. Since I run a 8 gauge wire from the alternator-horn relay-battery junction the "ampmeter" would not work. Even the factory pointer can be used. The only drawback is that when the ignition is off the reading on the gauge is -40 since I kept the stock ampmeter face.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 6th, 04, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Carl,
Its hooked up exactly as you described. And I did test it with the light. Both are hot. And it used to work perfectly before. Now...nothing.

Steve W
1968 Camaro Convertible
1966 GTO Convertible
1995 Harley Road King
"You can't always get what you waaant..."

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 6th, 04, 07:56 PM
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It IS an ampmeter. Any chance one of your two connections contacted ground at any point? If so POOF! Ampmeter is now a piece of toast.

Dave
========================
68 Coupe, 350 w/ Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, cam, intake, 700R4, Dave's small body HEI
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 6th, 04, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Dave, I have no idea, and the guy that worked the electrical is no longer at the shop. I suppose it could have happened...but who is going to admit it? So, you think thats the prob? I guess so if everything else is there...looks like I'll be buying a new gauge. Damn! This one was only a few months old!

Steve W
1968 Camaro Convertible
1966 GTO Convertible
1995 Harley Road King
"You can't always get what you waaant..."

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 04, 03:13 AM
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I feel your pain Steve [img]graemlins/sad.gif[/img]

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 04, 03:28 AM
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Throw an ohm meter onto the guage terminals with the wires disconnected. Can you get a resistance reading? If it reads infinite resistance (open circuit) then the guage windings are toast and you'll need a new gauge. This can happen if when you are disconnecting the wiring from either the battery or horn relay terminal and allow the disconected lead to touch ground before you get the other terminal disconected.

If you can read some resistance then the gauge should be OK. Take the console cover off and move the needle with your finger to some other position other than the mid position. If it moves back to the center position then the gauge should be OK as well and is working right. Note that the ammeter works all the time, not just with the key in the run position.

Did you increase the size of the red wire from the battery to the horn relay terminal. If so this will affect the reading of the gauge.

Mark Canning
1969 Indy Pace Car
350/300HP RPO Z11

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 04, 05:29 AM
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That is a good idea with the ohm meter. It may have another desirable affect besides checking for continuity. I would expect an ohm meter to have enough juice to cause the needle to deflect. But be careful, it could also overload the meter.

If you are using an analog meter, use the lowest resistance scales first and then step up if you dont' get a reading. The reason is that analog meters often have two different voltage sources internally. The low resistance scales use a 1.5volt battery source and the high resistance scale (10K ohm usuually) uses a higher voltage source like 6 or 9 volts.

If you are using a digital ohm meter try the resitance setting first. If that doesn't work, use the diode check or continuity check function.

It would probably be a good idea to tap your test leads to the back of the meter such as you would two wires to see if they'll spark. I don't know how sensative the amp meter movement is, but it may slam the needle when you connect the ohm meter to it.

Dave
========================
68 Coupe, 350 w/ Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, cam, intake, 700R4, Dave's small body HEI
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 04, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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When I move the pointer by hand to any other position, it returns to "0". But I'm not measuring any resistance between the blades.
So, one thing tells me the gauge is good, the other tells me its toast. I am so confused!

Steve W
1968 Camaro Convertible
1966 GTO Convertible
1995 Harley Road King
"You can't always get what you waaant..."

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 04, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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OK, nevermind...I fixed it!
Thanks to you guys for your help in de-mystifying the gauge and how it works.
I took the entire gauge apart, all the way down to the windings. Luckily, the very last winding was broken, thus the open connection-and no reading on the ohm meter. Using the ohm meter as a 'bridge' between the broken pieces, I found a reading. I simply unwound one strand of wire one lap and connected it to the other strand. Kind of tough because its kinda half glued after winding. But I was able to connect the two. Put it all back together, and it works! I'll be off by whatever value(if any) one winding has. But, the beauty part is...I fixed it!!! Yipeeee!
Thanks guys. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

Steve W
1968 Camaro Convertible
1966 GTO Convertible
1995 Harley Road King
"You can't always get what you waaant..."

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 04, 12:36 PM
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Good job Steve. Thats the kind of enginuity that can make a few thousand dollars difference in a restoration. You probably saved yourself several bills there. [img]graemlins/beers.gif[/img]

Dave
========================
68 Coupe, 350 w/ Edelbrock Performer RPM heads, cam, intake, 700R4, Dave's small body HEI
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old Mar 7th, 04, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I could have ordered a new gauge for 60.00, not even knowing for sure if it was the problem, and I'd still have to open the console, remove the gauge, wiring, etc. So I figured what the heck, as long as I'm in here, lets take it apart-can't make it any worse! I like it when things work out like that!
[img]smile.gif[/img]

Steve W
1968 Camaro Convertible
1966 GTO Convertible
1995 Harley Road King
"You can't always get what you waaant..."

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