Purpose of Automotive Voltmeter Gauge

Reply Tue 10 Dec, 2013 01:18 pm
I've got a vehicle with with a standard voltmeter gauge, and while I've been driving for over 40 years now, I'm not sure I know entirely what the increments on the gauge face really tell me.
In less-nice vehicles, I've had "Alternator" lights that illuminated, when there was problem, and that was typically when a belt that drove the alternator broke. I'm not having any problems, so this is more just an intellectual curiosity issue - although I suspect any explanation provided will say something about under-charging or over-charging (although I'm much less clear about the circumstances that would cause the latter). Thanks!
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Reply Tue 10 Dec, 2013 02:11 pm
For instance Cdob, if you have both ammeter and voltmeter, a normal voltage reading but unusually low current, eg, might mean the battery is on its last legs

Overcharging then might be indicated by normal voltage but excessive current; normal current but abnormal voltage, a faulty regulator

But what has always struck me idiotic was the ornamental practice dividing 5 volts into four


Unfortunately however, some newer vehicles evidently don't have both. I'm by no means an expert but which is better, I'm sure we'll get some opinions


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