Thursday, June 14, 2012

LED Voltmeter


Last summer after installing an Odyssey battery and an adjustable voltage regulator, I discovered how far off the stock voltmeter really is. Charlie6 in his blog Redleg's Rides, mentioned the installation of a water-resistant digital voltmeter. I liked the look of the panel mount and picked up one of the Datel meters last winter. Like many things, it has been sitting around for a while while I thought about where to mount it. There just weren't very many convenient locations. This location is less than optimal since the backside is potentially exposed to moisture from the front vent. Since I have never used these vents and the front opening has some factory provided covers, it probably will work fine. The hardest part was getting the Dremel in there to cut the opening and my youngest son took care of that task. He has a lot more experience cutting things with a Dremel tool than I. The meter is wired directly into the battery on the same circuit as the GPS and is currently "always on". I ordered a waterproof marine switch from Amazon just to turn off power to the meter. The meter only draws 13ma so it would only be an issue if the bike is being left for weeks without being started and not on the trickle charger. The switch will be eventually installed below and to the right next to the glove compartment opening. The glove boxes are no longer waterproof so I'm not too concerned about any water leaking in through the switch opening. One of these years, I'm planning on installing a fuse panel to eliminate all of the wires tied directly to the battery. Getting the Gerbing liner is the impetus for actually installing the voltmeter due to the anemic 280 watt charging system on my bike. The 77 watt (max) draw is pretty significant.
The plan for today and this weekend is to finish collecting all of my stuff for the trip and see if it will easily fit in the available space. Also on today's agenda is replacing the front master cylinder. It isn't leaking anymore but who know when it may feel like starting again. I have the replacement part sitting here so I may as well install it. BTW, I took the week off since I lost Memorial Day weekend as  well as the following weekend working in Barrow.

12 comments:

Unknown said...

Richard:

I think I have that same digital voltmeter, still not yet installed. I bought it when Dom bought his. I didn't like the idea of being connected all the time, but my bike puts out 400W so I have more excess AMPS than you

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

Dar said...

You did an awesome job installing it. Getting ready for a trip can sometimes be more arduous than the trip itself.

redlegsrides said...

Richard and Bob, the meter's power draw is infinitesimally small....I too worried about it enough to put in a on/off switch but I've left it on for weeks on end, no problem. I don't let my motorcycles sit long anyways.....

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Geoff James said...

Richard,
That's the nicest voltmeter I've seen and the current draw is a bonus. I had a Blue Seas marine standard fuse panel on my Blackbird as I had heated grips, GPS and radar detector. On the Street Triple, I only have the GPS and radar detector (both low current draw) so I've simply taken a tapping from the rear light connection this time around to power the accessories.

RichardM said...

With 400 watts from the charging system you probably don't need to be concerned too much about it being "on" all the time. There are a couple of aftermarket charging systems on the market with 450 watts but $600 is hard for me to justify.

RichardM said...

I wanted an installation that didn't look like it was tacked on even though it is. My son did the hard part cutting the rectangular hole. I was planning o. Recessing the display into the panel but that seemed a bit excessive. But thank you.

Getting ready for a road trip is part of the fun...

BeemerGirl said...

Great installation. Glad you aren't leaving it to the last minute. Oilburner is sometimes fiddling with installations hours before launch time. :)

RichardM said...

13 ma is about 0.3 ah per day or about 10% of the battery capacity per week. I will probably put in a switch eventually though it isn't a priority. Plus it's easy enough to pull the fuse.

Thank you for pointing me to this meter. It's a great addition and I've learned a few things already such as the adjustable voltage regulator works pretty well and as long as I'm above 3000 rpm, it seems to handle the load just fine.

RichardM said...

I still plan on actually installing a fuse panel sometime but for now I'll deal with the hassle of inline fuses. The heated grips are original, I think, as they are fused inside the headlight with everything else. I didn't want to put the voltmeter on another circuit as I wanted a solid reading of the battery.

RichardM said...

I am feeling like its last minute since I could've done it last winter when I had lots of time. I still need to get some grease into the wheel bearings. One of the local airhead gurus suggested just using a needle on the grease gun to get some additional grease into the bearings and to put off a full rebuild of the wheel to when it really needs it. Now on to more packing and sorting.

Unknown said...

Richard:

Don't feel bad. I've had my LED meter for a year or so longer than you, and now I feel an urgent need to install it before I leave.

. . . if only I knew where I put it. don't look at me if yours is missing

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

RichardM said...

Bob:
Believe me, once it's installed, the clip is difficult to remove made even more difficult by it being installed in the "ductwork".