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Old 08-07-2019, 09:36 AM   #1
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12v Gauge - handy/cheap little gadget?

We often want to know what the battery level is but not spend a lot of time opening the covers, etc. so I thought this might look good to some of you old hats who remember what we thought of lights on the dash!
I keep one of these in all my vehicles, just as a way to test things without having to open the hood! On RV, they can do a quick check of coach and chassi batteries if you have a lighter type plug on each.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-Car-LC...QAAOSw6ZRdSPPF
I do not leave them plugged in full time as I feel that might tend to shorten the life but just keep it handy fro quick checks like when the engine seems a little slow on starting.
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:15 AM   #2
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I think they're useful, for checking charge voltage while the engine is running, and if you plug them in before you start the engine they'll give you a reasonable estimate of your resting voltage. No Ah display, which would be a better SoC indicator, but better than nothing. Simple, and inexpensive.

They will probably be fine left in place, but would become another parasitic draw after a while. I've got one plugged into our 3rd vehicle that we rarely use, but that I have on a battery maintainer/charger, and it's been plugged in for quite a while.
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Old 08-16-2019, 09:19 PM   #3
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Link now leads to a car headlight kit.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:36 AM   #4
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Guess the volt meters sold out.
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:34 AM   #5
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There are a bunch on eBay, maybe Morich can tell us if it's one of these:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...meter&_sacat=0
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:48 AM   #6
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I replaced the bad link in the OP's post.
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:36 PM   #7
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Here's a link to a really nice one.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lighter-T...xoCGmkQAvD_BwE
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Old 08-21-2019, 05:37 PM   #8
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I have that plus one for ac voltage. I don't know why they can't make one where you can change Celsius to farenh. Maybe it's out there but it's not too common I guess.
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Old 08-21-2019, 05:55 PM   #9
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I have that plus one for ac voltage. I don't know why they can't make one where you can change Celsius to farenh. Maybe it's out there but it's not too common I guess.
China is a "metric" country, fwiw.
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Old 08-21-2019, 05:56 PM   #10
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i have one of these on all of our automotive batteries.
https://www.impactbattery.com/batter...yABEgJ_3vD_BwE
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Old 08-21-2019, 06:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by puttin View Post
I have that plus one for ac voltage. I don't know why they can't make one where you can change Celsius to farenh. Maybe it's out there but it's not too common I guess.
Maybe some confusion? I don't think C or F either one will get you too far on voltage!
The part that I find good on having a really handy item like this is that I will use it more and that allows me to avoid getting into trouble with a totally dead battery. Understanding that a battery reading is going to be the surface reading and not a reading of the state of charge is a deep subject but I find it is good to look at the level before I start the engine and then after I do start, I can look at the surface level and see that my charging is being done. I want to know several quick things about batteries. One if they are holding a charge by looking at the first reading, second if the charge equipment is working and then after a trip, I may also want to look in occasionally to see the charge is staying. Just easy to plug into a 12V port and see what's up when I might not want to open the hood, etc. to do it.
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Old 08-21-2019, 07:16 PM   #12
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Innova makes an excellent battery voltage monitor.

I have several of the less-expensive ones too. In fact, I keep the Innova in a socket that is hot all the time - fed from the chassis battery. I also keep one of the cheaper ones in the socket fed from the house batteries. If I'm leaving the coach the telltale glow reminds me to hit the salesman switch.
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Old 08-21-2019, 09:43 PM   #13
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Quite often Harbor freight has a coupon for a free multimeter which is much more useful and (FREE). Even if you had to buy it from them it is less than $10 and measures ac dc voltage, resistance and current flow. I carry one in each vehicle as every time I purchased something there I got another meter free.
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Old 08-22-2019, 06:20 AM   #14
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yet another voltmeter thing

And this one does usb as well.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
We often want to know what the battery level is but not spend a lot of time opening the covers, etc. so I thought this might look good to some of you old hats who remember what we thought of lights on the dash!
I keep one of these in all my vehicles, just as a way to test things without having to open the hood! On RV, they can do a quick check of coach and chassi batteries if you have a lighter type plug on each.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-Car-LC...QAAOSw6ZRdSPPF
I do not leave them plugged in full time as I feel that might tend to shorten the life but just keep it handy fro quick checks like when the engine seems a little slow on starting.
Non of them will indicate the fluid level and that is what I would be able to keep an eye on without pulling the floor up each time
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:21 PM   #16
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Non of them will indicate the fluid level and that is what I would be able to keep an eye on without pulling the floor up each time
Got that right, for sure. Now how to explain what "maintenance free" really mean to the life of a battery! Kind of like the new lawnmowers that advert that you never change the oil! No consideration given to how long it lasts!

Checking voltage is just a small part of looking at batteries and I only use it as an early warning sign to help avoid the totally dead thing.
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:37 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by TATANKA01 View Post
Quite often Harbor freight has a coupon for a free multimeter which is much more useful and (FREE). Even if you had to buy it from them it is less than $10 and measures ac dc voltage, resistance and current flow. I carry one in each vehicle as every time I purchased something there I got another meter free.
I've got a bazillion of those. All six of our vehicles have one. But, while you're driving, don't you think it is a bit distracting trying to find two points to get your test leads onto?

The constant reading devices are cheap insurance. They can easily tell you the status of your alternator (voltage while running) and battery (voltage during cranking) - all without leaving your seat.
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:08 PM   #18
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The ease of use on checking voltage is part of the "dumbing down" process that has come about since the old days of having a meter on the dash which actually showed the voltage. At the time it was stated that it was much more useful for the normal person to just have a light (aka idiot light!) and not have to think about what the meter was telling them. Now when we really need to use a meter to know what is going on, many have lost the training to know what is up with the RV and battery.
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