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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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Old 01-18-2013, 09:35 PM
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Jakobie1086 Jakobie1086 is offline
Just a kid with a toolbox
Location: Doylestown PA
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 688
Mein Auto: 330ti
Volt Gauge, to keep or not.

Do you guys think a having a real volt gauge is necessary?

Right now I am running oil pressure, water temp, and volts with my aftermarket gauges mounted where the OBC generally is.

Gauges are coming with me to the new car, but I'm thinking of re mounting them on the steering column with the rally road bracket. But that means I will lose a gauge, the volt gauge seems the least important and almost unnecessary all together. Won't the dummy light let me know when/if the alternator kicks the bucket?

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Old 01-18-2013, 10:48 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Location: In the Grumpy Chair
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 21,693
Mein Auto: E24x2,E36x1,E30x1, F150
Voltmeter will tell you BEFORE the alternator dies (although I prefer and amp gauge).

A friend of mine says a voltmeter will tell you where you're going; and ammeter will tell you where you've been (electrically). ??? Anyone care to translate? He's an electronics genius and frequently talks over my head.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:03 PM
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Shigeta Shigeta is offline
Old Soul
Location: Hayward, CA
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 2,946
Mein Auto: '96 328is
Well, an amp meter measures electrical going to certain equipment, so it will tell you how much current (or something) is coming from the battery to electrical devices and having a volt meter will tell you when your car is about to shut off in the middle of the 210 freeway by how charged the battery is.

Ask me how I know


Last edited by Shigeta; 01-18-2013 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:35 AM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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Location: Orlando, Florida
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Mein Auto: '06 Z4 3.0si, '11 128CiC
An ammeter, if properly connected tells you if current is going into or being drawn from the battery. If your alternator dies the ammeter instantly shows discharge from the battery instead of charging into the battery. The voltmeter will show a drop in voltage from 13.5V-14V down to 12V-12.5V if your alternator dies.
Soooo.....both will indicate a failed alternator, but the ammeter is a bit more blatant about.

The side benefit of an ammeter is it will show marginal charge or parasitic discharge conditions more readily than the volt meter will.
2006 Z4 3.0si Sport Package (But I'll still hang with my "homies" in the E36 forum)
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