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Projects Ammeter bypass kit ?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by DAGGER1120, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. DAGGER1120
    Joined: Sep 17, 2019
    Posts: 15

    DAGGER1120

    Hello everyone. Recently I had a few wires catch fire and I believe it’s due to the ammeter. I was wondering if there’s any bypass or delete kits for a 1964 ford f100. I’ve talked to a few people but they can’t remember if there is or isn’t any help at all would be awesome thank you !


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  2. cederholm
    Joined: May 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,555

    cederholm
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Others can correct me if I'm wrong, but an ammeter should not cause a fire in other wires. Some worry that the ammeter itself can be a issue. You should be able to remove the ammeter from the circuit and spice the two wires together. If you use a jumper wire make sure it's the same gauge as the other wires or you WILL cause a fire.

    ~ Carl
     
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  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,430

    squirrel
    Member

    Wires catching fire is due to not having an appropriate size fuse in the circuit, AND the wires being overloaded.

    I could guess whether or not the wiring is original, stock replacement, aftermarket harness, or someone's home made wiring or modifications. I could also guess whether the ammeter is original, or added on.

    But those would only be guesses.
     
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  4. DOCTOR SATAN
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 419

    DOCTOR SATAN
    Member
    from okc

    Use a volt meter instead
     
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  5. look at you ammeter, many of the ford ammeters were inductive, there by not having any electricity flowing though the gauge. the wire is just run though a loop in the gauge to sense what is flowing through it, just like putting your timing light on number one plug wire when setting timing.

    There is nothing wrong with ammeters. The problems happen when the electrical system has changes made to it. If your truck originaly had a generator that put out 35 amps, and now it has an alternator that puts out 65 amps, than the the system is overloaded. The gauge is only meant to take around 35 amps, not 65. if it is inductive it will make no difference, but it has terminals and the juice is going thorough the gauge, then 65 amps can and will eventually fry the 35 amp gauge and wiring.
     
  6. DAGGER1120
    Joined: Sep 17, 2019
    Posts: 15

    DAGGER1120

    That’s what I’ve heard a lot


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  7. DAGGER1120
    Joined: Sep 17, 2019
    Posts: 15

    DAGGER1120

    The wires are all original. I went to put a new belt on the truck and the same day is the day the wires caught fire. I looked at the wiring diagram and the ammeter was in the circuit so I started doing research on those and that’s why I’m asking this question now.


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  8.  
  9. look at the ammeter itself and see if you can find ratings for what the original charging system put out. If you can make it as close to stock as possible it will work for years to come.
     
  10. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,430

    squirrel
    Member

    The ammeter itself isn't usually the problem. Usually the problem with an ammeter is when someone adds one, and doesn't understand proper wiring techniques, and fire ensues.

    If you want to understand what the problem is with your truck, you need to look carefully at the wiring that had a problem, and figure out what went wrong. If the wires are original, they are over 50 years old...and being a truck, it's likely things got modified or repaired wrong at some time, also. Perhaps someone added accessories that overloaded the wiring? or the insulation on the wiring is cracked and shorted to ground? we can only guess...pictures and more description will help us help you figure it out.
     
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  11. cederholm
    Joined: May 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,555

    cederholm
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Tell us a little more. Is the gen/alt stock? is the ammeter stock? what electrical add-ons are there? What circuit(s) caught fire? I'd bet the belt was only somewhat related at best. I'm thinking you have a short somewhere.

    For some extra education, the anti ammeter crowd consider it dangerous to bring a heavy amperage line into the cab when a low amperage volt meter will do. Personally I think a well maintained and underloaded electrical system is the safe way to go regardless of the ammeter.

    ~ Carl

     
  12. solidaxle
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 384

    solidaxle
    Member
    from Upstate,NY

    Personally I like an ammeter. I can tell what is operating by the draw. Like Nailhead Jason said the inductive ones are safe. The ones where there is a terminal on each side and your passing current through the meter can be overloaded.
    My "32" had barely any fusing , that has been changed where everything is fused with the proper sized wire to handle the loads.
    You can just simply jumper out the meter if you want. I suspect something else is going on. If you have corroded connections this will add resistance to the system and increase the amps, resulting in over heating the wires.
     
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  13. lrapso
    Joined: Oct 18, 2009
    Posts: 81

    lrapso
    Member
    from Costa Rica

    Take in count that ammeters go in series circuit, volt meters read in parallel circuit
     
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  14. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,776

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I used to work on 'sophisticated' cars, had a lot of traffic. Panteras come to mind, speaking of AMMETERS (and fire) Panteras are wired straight through the ammeter, (2 post) 12 gauge wire, no shunt.
    Result in 3 Panteras was: 1 fire, 3 ammeters. 3 after trouble repairs, with shunts.
    I came to call Panteras "The Ammeterville Horror".
     
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  15. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 1,018

    goldmountain

    Since the ammeter is in series, just take it out and splice the ends together. Find a 12 volt source that goes to the ignition side of the ignition switch to power a volt meter and a ground.
     
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  16. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,568

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    The stock charging system in '64 was a 30 amp generator. They used a 30 amp mechanical voltage regulator. If you pencil it out, driving down the highway in the rain with the heater, radio, headlights, and windshield wipers running and sounding your horn at the pretty girls checking out your ride, there's not much headroom left. That's with the wiring in good shape, no corroded, loose, or missing ground straps and cables.

    Current is drawn, not applied, so if someone hangs a bunch of extra accessories on the system it will exceed the capacity and something will get roasted. Generators too might sling solder out of the armature if the current output in the regulator is tweaked by someone wielding their "golden screwdriver." Get in the shop manual and study it if you want to understand generator charging systems better. Make sure grounds and connections are clean and tight. Physically tight doesn't necessarily mean electrically tight enough. If the ground and battery cables are original they needed replacing long ago. Old enough to buy booze is too old.
     
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  17. Relic Stew
    Joined: Apr 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,111

    Relic Stew
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    As said before, the Ford ammeter is inductive. Just a loop around the wire, no physical connection to the wiring harness. No harness current passes through the gauge itself. There should be a bullet connector nearby to allow the wire to be removed from the loop. Bypassing it will change nothing except the gauge reading. Also, the ammeter only reads current going to and from the battery. No current unless the battery is draining or charging. Unless someone added an accessory powered directly from the battery, then the ammeter reading also covers said accessory as "Charging".
    ammeter.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  18. solidaxle
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 384

    solidaxle
    Member
    from Upstate,NY

    You are correct Relic Stew, we just don't know what he has in his truck. A lot can happen between 1964 and now. Someone could have installed a series wired one.
     
  19. There may or may not be a connector at the ammeter as some Ford inductive ammeters used an 'open' loop where you just slipped the wire into the loop. AFAIK Ford switched to the 'Shunt' style ammeter when they converted to alternators in '65 for greater range/accuracy.

    Keep in mind that due to the differences in how a generator works compared to an alternator, system information will depend on the 'quality' of the information given by the gauge. If you're running an alternator, a voltmeter will be a better indicator of charging system performance. Ammeters are best used with a generator.
     
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  20. Fred A
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 273

    Fred A
    Member
    from Encino, CA
    1. Upholstery

    Crazy Steve jumps into the world of opinion when linking "best" to voltmeter and alternator. I'd like to jump in with him with my opinion as I can think of several reasons I would prefer an adequate ampmeter and wiring with either. I have a shunt meter that is for my A roadster with an alternator which could be "best" with my solid state ignition. It didn't like the voltmeter in my modern iron as it seemed near useless short of a total system failure. Amps measure a bit more lively with engine RPM and indicate much more of what is worthy of knowing. We are lucky they sell both kinds. Good Luck: Fred A
     
  21. Sorry Fred, but it's not opinion. While generators and alternators more-or-less perform the same function, the 'how' of what they do is quite different. Without delving deep into electrical theory and generator/alternator design, basically what it amounts to is generators will do a better job of maintaining voltage output even if current output falls off and alternators are just the opposite. So an ammeter will work better on a generator, and a voltmeter will be better with an alternator. If either system is working properly, which gauge you have really won't matter; it's when the system is overburdened or failing that the difference appears.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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  22. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,430

    squirrel
    Member

    And you can install both, if you want to really know what's going on. As well as an idiot light, to let you know when things quit working.

    (I prefer just an idiot light, myself)
     
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  23. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,568

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    I bet voltmeters were less expensive? Or is that too cynical.

    OEMs have toyed with gauges that aren't really gauges at all, they just display a "safe" number, they got too many customer complaints. "It's overheating". So a generic gauge that sorta hangs there keeps the riff raff away. Useless, but what the hell.

    Reminds me of a story way OT: during the Apollo program , Astronauts Conrad and Bean had a long running inside joke, they were halfway convinced one of the gauges in the spacecraft wasn't even hooked up, these guys never saw it move, so it became a source of amusement during training and the real deal. Here's the setup, 35,000 feet, about to land shortly.

    110:24:53 Bean: Looking good. Looking good. Regs are holding right in there. Supercrit hangs at 11 or 12 all the time.

    110:25:04 Conrad: Okay; smoke over all the gauges. Check out everything.

    110:25:05 Bean: Okay. RCS looks good. Electrics look good. Partial pressure CO2 is it's usual zero. (Hearty Laughter) Got a couple of good winners in these two spacesuits.

    [Conrad - (Laughing heartily, even 25 years later) "Remember, that fucking gauge never moved. We were convinced that there was never anything in there, other than the gauge. There was no sensor or something."]

    [Jones - "And the two winners are the two bozos flying the spacecraft?"]

    [Conrad - (Laughing) "Maybe so. We never ever - no matter what happened - we never had any CO2 and, of course, we're in the suit loop."]

    [Pete and Al are hooked up to the ECS Suit Loop and are getting oxygen through hoses connected into the suits. They are, of course, exhaling carbon dioxide, but the lithium hydroxide canisters are doing such a good job removing the CO2 that the sensor is unaware that anyone is in the spacecraft. Consequently, 'two winners' is a bit of self-deprecation meaning that they can't even get a sensor to take them seriously.]
     
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  24. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,701

    Boneyard51
    Member

    Ugh..... now you’ve done it! You can’t leave us hanging about the difference in an alternator and a generator! I always figured volts was volts and amps were amps!
    I knew they were different as the generator made DC and the alternator made AC and converted it to DC. But I thought that was about all the difference. Help us out!






    Bones
     
  25. mastergun1980
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 1,095

    mastergun1980
    Member
    from Alva OK

    I've never seen a 64 f100 with a stock ammeter... f600 yes .. every f100 I've had ( and seen) had a dummy light .

    Sent from my SM-A600A using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  26. Me thinks you folks get too complicated! Compare them to water.
    Volt meter shows pressure.
    Amp meter indicates flow.

    Ben
     
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  27. So, should I do a tutorial on how each works? That will explain why ammeters/voltmeters are better choices on the respective types of charging systems as well as why alternators are superior to generators. I'll have to work up some visual aids to illustrate the differences while keeping it simple enough for a layman to understand. And both operate on exactly the same principles; yes, a generator doesn't produce DC, it just uses a different method to convert the AC to DC.
     
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  28. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,568

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Will there be a test? #2 Pencils required?
     
  29. Only if you want one!! LOLOL...
     
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  30. Fred A
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 273

    Fred A
    Member
    from Encino, CA
    1. Upholstery

    I'm sure glad Steve spared me the technical details. Still looks like a stack of opinions. It may be that I'll be just fine going my own way. Without the ignition mod, an old Ford generator would be a more traditional choice. Generator's lack of stability is tough on the ignition module. The warning light alone would also give a nice spartan appearance. Thanks Squirrel.
     

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