DC or AC ammeter, or both?

Anything electric, AC or DC

Circuit Breakers

Postby wlooper89 » Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:56 pm

Thank you for the ammeter suggestions. This is a digression but I wanted to show the result of an idea in this thread from a comment by BPFox. The photo below shows the two new 20A circuit breakers that individually protect two A/C circuits that go back into the trailer. These circuits originate inside the converter that contains A/C bus bars for the connections, and exit with the two yellow 12-3 wires. The black 10-3 wire is from shore power by way of a GFCI, 30A circuit breaker and master switch. Thanks again for the suggestions. I will now return my attention to meters. :)

Bill

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Postby TPMcGinty » Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:58 pm

I don't have any ammeter? Was I supposed to put one in somewhere?
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Postby wlooper89 » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:32 pm

Oh, not at all. Ammeters are only necessary for those who dream them up late at night in their laboratories. As with Dr. Frankenstein, it is just an experiment. Perhaps ammeters could provide useful information, but who knows? So far I have not heard of one actually being used in a tiny trailer. Still, I am intrigued by the idea. :thinking:

Bill
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Postby Sonetpro » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:02 pm

wlooper89 wrote:Oh, not at all. Ammeters are only necessary for those who dream them up late at night in their laboratories. As with the venerable Count, it is just an experiment. Perhaps ammeters could provide useful information, but who knows? So far I have not heard of one actually being used in a tiny trailer. Still, I am intrigued by the idea. :thinking:

Bill


I have a automotive one right above the stereo. The ones on the sides are a tide clock and a weather station.

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Postby wlooper89 » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:27 pm

So Cool!!! You will be my inspiration. Thank you very much for sharing this. :thumbsup:

Bill
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Postby Dale M. » Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:05 am

I just have to wonder about the fascination with ammeter.... Yes it tells load value whether battery is in charge or discharge current flow mode.... But a volt meter will tell same thing whether it shows a voltage drop or increase....

Plus you can gauge time to failure with voltmeter.... Time to failure being the "curve" when battery voltage is going to drop below levels that which 12 volt appliances cease to function effectively...

Ironically most cars now actually have abandon ammeters and now have voltmeters...

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Postby Cliffmeister2000 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:40 pm

Dale M. wrote:I just have to wonder about the fascination with ammeter.... Yes it tells load value whether battery is in charge or discharge current flow mode.... But a volt meter will tell same thing whether it shows a voltage drop or increase....

Plus you can gauge time to failure with voltmeter.... Time to failure being the "curve" when battery voltage is going to drop below levels that which 12 volt appliances cease to function effectively...

Ironically most cars now actually have abandon ammeters and now have voltmeters...

Dale


I think it would be more important for the AC side, when you are running appliances like A/C to know how close you are to maxing it out. I am looking for one that I can put between the trailer and the electrical supply just once to see the loads of the A/C, coffee pot, battery charger. That's all I have that is AC. Once I establish the loads, I should never need the meter again.
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Postby mechmagcn » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:10 pm

Cliffmeister2000 wrote: I am looking for one that I can put between the trailer and the electrical supply just once to see the loads of the A/C, coffee pot, battery charger. That's all I have that is AC. Once I establish the loads, I should never need the meter again.

If that is the goal, why not just get it all hooked up, turn everything on and use a clamp-on meter to check for the loaded amperage.
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Postby brian_bp » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:14 pm

Dale M. wrote:...Ironically most cars now actually have abandon ammeters and now have voltmeters...

Dale

True... although it is probably even more common to have neither an ammeter nor a voltmeter. The last vehicle I had with either was a 1980 Chev pickup (with a voltmeter).

Although I can see Dale's logic, I think the real reason for the choice of instrument in cars in simply that a voltmeter is cheaper to install.


Cliffmeister2000 wrote:I think it would be more important for the AC side, when you are running appliances like A/C to know how close you are to maxing it out. I am looking for one that I can put between the trailer and the electrical supply just once to see the loads of the A/C, coffee pot, battery charger. That's all I have that is AC. Once I establish the loads, I should never need the meter again.

This makes perfect sense to me.

If the concern is on the DC side, to understand the loads and battery capacity, then a real battery monitor is even better (but much more expensive) - it is basically an ammeter and logic to accumlate (add up, or actually "integrate over time") the current readings to determine how much net charge (in amp-hours) has been removed from the battery. The commonly mentioned one seems to be the Xantrex Link 10.
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Postby wlooper89 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:26 pm

Thank you for those ideas. A D/C voltmeter is definitely useful for seeing battery state of charge. I also like seeing converter output voltage if there is shore power. The converter reduces voltage in three stages as it senses the battery becoming fully charged. A D/C voltmeter was my first meter. There is a photo in my album and on the first page of this topic.

I think I would like to add two D/C ammeters and one A/C ammeter if I can find them at a reasonable price. One of the D/C ones would show battery charge or discharge and the other D/C trailer load. They might read the same depending on whether the converter/charger is connected. The A/C one would just show the total load. The Blue Sea meters look nice but are pricey. They come with a external shunt for D/C or a external transducer coil for A/C, which is nice. It would not be necessary to run heavy wires through the meters. I want to shop around some more and try to find them at better prices.

Bill
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Postby Cliffmeister2000 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:55 pm

mechmagcn wrote:
Cliffmeister2000 wrote: I am looking for one that I can put between the trailer and the electrical supply just once to see the loads of the A/C, coffee pot, battery charger. That's all I have that is AC. Once I establish the loads, I should never need the meter again.

If that is the goal, why not just get it all hooked up, turn everything on and use a clamp-on meter to check for the loaded amperage.


I don't have one of those either. But I don't want to hi-jack this thread. I have a multi-meter, and can make an adapter to run one leg in-line. But that doesn't help Bill out. :thinking:
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Postby BPFox » Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:06 pm

Cliffmeister2000 wrote:I think it would be more important for the AC side, when you are running appliances like A/C to know how close you are to maxing it out.


Here's how I tell. When the breaker trips, I know I have one too many things plugged in. Works every time. :lol:
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Postby Dale M. » Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:30 pm

For AC side, simply reading nomenclature tags on ac appliances and doing simple math you will know if breaker will hold under conditions where various items are plugged in.... Essentially its is same concept we use every day in our homes.....

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Postby Cliffmeister2000 » Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:00 am

Dale M. wrote:For AC side, simply reading nomenclature tags on ac appliances and doing simple math you will know if breaker will hold under conditions where various items are plugged in.... Essentially its is same concept we use every day in our homes.....

Dale


Too easy, and not fun at all! :D
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Postby wlooper89 » Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:04 pm

I'm probably going overboard on this but have ordered the three ammeters. One is D/C 50-0-50 for battery charge and discharge, one A/C 0-50 and the other D/C load 0-50. They should provide many hours of entertainment for someone like me. I imagine I will want to look at them every few minutes. :D Will follow up with a photo of the install. Nothing fancy. They will go inside electrical compartment with the voltmeter.

Although my DC fuse and AC circuit breaker limit me to 30 amps respectively and the converter output is only 25 amps, I decided on 50 amp limits for the meters because the manufacturer recommends a maximum of 2/3 full scale for continuous duty.

Thanks again for all the ideas and suggestions.

Bill
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