Voltmeter questions

Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
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1985 GL1200A Aspencade

Voltmeter questions

Post by TheRepoGuy »

I’ve seen a lot of you folks going to a digital voltmeter; I’ve debated it, decided against it and went with the old school analog one since that was what’s on my bike to begin with.

My question - did you folks wire those directly to the battery or do ya tap into the stator wires and go that route?

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Re: Voltmeter questions

Post by Aussie81Interstate »

Stator produces AC voltage not DC.
So you would likely blow your meter up if you tried to connect it to the Stator wires.

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Re: Voltmeter questions

Post by froche »

DC voltmeter (digital or analogue) requires ANY positive and negative connections, considered a parallel connection. You can connect them anywhere, though a direct connection to the battery might be a little higher than the positive / negative connection at the fusebox.

In the early days of generators folks usually used an Ampere meter, which has the positive wire from the generator connected to it and then to the battery, effectively putting it in series with the battery, they also work with alternators, wired exactly the same. They used various sizes of wire depending on the amount of amps made and how long the wires are. For a 500 watt at 13.5 volts (battery charge voltage) is approximately 45 Amps. That means at least 8 gauge wire with a maximum length of 3 feet. The battery wires are probably a size 4 and you would probably have to use 4 gauge to be safe... and the battery cables are fairly short. Then you have to figure out where to mount the Ampere meter so you can remove the fairing without much hassle. If the Ampere meter breaks in just the "right" way you lose the ability to charge and or use the voltage manufactured by the generator / alternator. Ampere meters read from negative charge to positive charge and can often read 0 meaning no charge or discharge, which doesn't mean no voltage/amperage though it could mean that.

There are shunt type Ampere meters which have you install a shunt in the positive wire and then you can use 16 gauge wire from the shunt to the meter. Much simpler to install!

Stator connections would require 3 voltage meters, and they have to be AC units. In addition the stator needs to be disconnected from the regulator (and in most cases like the Goldwing the rectifier / regulator) which would mean they wouldn't be accurate if connected.

Voltage meters are considered "better" because they (at least on a Goldwing) show the voltage on the bike whenever you turn the bike on. if you stator is missing one or more stator outputs the voltage drops.

I'd imagine that both voltage and amperage meters could provide a more accurate understanding of the electrical systems state.

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Re: Voltmeter questions

Post by TheRepoGuy »

So - In Theory couldn’t I just use the red wire off the rectifier to measure what’s being pumped into the system for a correct reading? I realized the stator part after I dropped the post ha!

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Re: Voltmeter questions

Post by DenverWinger »

Just put it on your accessory terminals. It might read a half-volt lower there than directly on the battery due to voltage drops in the wiring, but you'd get used to that and it will still show you health of the charging system.

Also won't be draining power from the battery with the ign switch "off".

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♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
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