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Old 29-12-2010, 19:19   #1
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My Cheap Temporary Voltmeter

One of the many parts on my newly purchased boat which needed fixing was the 52 mm round voltmeter which sat recessed above the main switch. I wanted an economical solution as it would be temporary until I moved the batteries to a better location.

After much hunting around and not finding anything suitable for a direct replacement (had to be cheap), I went for an alternative. For one dollar, I bought a rectangular voltmeter (total $5.30 including postage to my door, ebay seller dayxmas) and made a frame for it.



First I tried a solid piece of wood to mount it in but with my level of woodworking skills, I managed to botch it up. Then I tried a thin piece of ply which after being cut out, became a template for two more. Glued the three pieces together and painted it.

Installation was easy. It pokes out further than the old flush mounted one but it protudes less than the switch. I checked it against my multimeter and no problems.

Previous to the new voltmeter, with ongoing work on battery charging and discharging, I had been constantly moving gear from the seats above the batteries to get access to check voltage then moving everything back onto the seats so I could move around the cabin. Now, I can check easily, no moving of stuff.

My long term plan is to move the batteries as they are in key storage areas in the cabin which would be more beneficial for other things.

My only concern has to do with the fact that the boat is filled with what appear to be 'temp' problem fixes that end up being permanent. I don't want to add to it. I justify it by saying it is part of Phase 1 which is to get the boat seaworthy to sail the 500 mile to home base. Then Phase 2 will be serious renewing of systems.
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Old 29-12-2010, 20:14   #2
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I wondered about those cheap voltmeters on Ebay.Do you let it run continuously or switch it on and off.Does it have a trimpot for adjustment?
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Old 29-12-2010, 21:02   #3
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When the big black rotary switch is on "both" or "1" or "2" the display is on. When off, the display is off. That was the way the old round voltmeter was done and I simply connected the new to the old wires. I was going to put a simple switch on so I could turn it off when the big switch was on "both" "1" or "2" but I forgot to take it up to Townsville to the boat with me and when up there I did not go and buy one as the heat and humidity was killing me, and I figured I had dripped enough sweat onto the electricals for the time being, the switch could wait till later. Anyway, I checked current flow when operating using my multimeter and considered it low enough to ignore. When I shut the boat up I have the big switch on "off" so the display is off anyway.

Trimpot for adjustments? Sorry, I don't do drugs.



Seriously, I do not know. Some of the pics of the units on ebay show the back of the LED and I was surprised in my case that what I got was actually what the pics showed front and back. The only thing different to my expectations was that the dang thing was much better than I thought it would be, very clear, easy to read.

Don't know how long it will survive marine conditions but where it is installed is not extreme at all and for the cost delivered to my door, I thought it was a risk I would take. I could probably make it more robust with some special spray across the back, but then I would have had to buy that spray stuff.
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Old 30-12-2010, 00:39   #4
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I love that you found one for so cheap. I now feel too embarrassed to tell you what I paid for a replacement from Blue Seas a few months ago.

Blue Sea 8237 Meter Digital AC Voltage
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Old 30-12-2010, 04:09   #5
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I love that you found one for so cheap. I now feel too embarrassed to tell you what I paid for a replacement from Blue Seas a few months ago.

Blue Sea 8237 Meter Digital AC Voltage
David, at least yours is a proper sailing one for proper sailors. Mine is a no-name bit of general electronics and does nothing for my attempt to have a credible sailor image.
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Old 30-12-2010, 06:33   #6
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Think I like the cheaper one.Re image for the difference buy a parrot & bottle of good rum.marc
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Old 30-12-2010, 10:25   #7
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Thanks! I just ordered a couple of them.

Blue LCD Digital Volt Panel Meter Voltmeter 7.5V-20V - eBay (item 180604534133 end time Jan-23-11 01:23:53 PST)
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Old 30-12-2010, 15:36   #8
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That's the ones. I just looked at the ebay pics and remembered that on the back, the red and black power leads go to a plug and are not hardwired to the board. I had not expected it when I ordered it but when I found it could be unplugged, I was happy as it made it even easier to install.
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Old 30-12-2010, 15:37   #9
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Think I like the cheaper one.Re image for the difference buy a parrot & bottle of good rum.marc
Awesome suggestion. Do parrots come in left and right handed models or are they ambidextrous?
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Old 31-12-2010, 07:18   #10
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Awesome suggestion. Do parrots come in left and right handed models or are they ambidextrous?
Hell I don't know about parrots sex life.marc
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