Been reading Boating Magazine for over 15 years and really enjoy it. Now I have a question about a voltage gauge in a 2006 Crown Line. With two brand new batteries the gauge only reads 10 volts at idol and at speed.
Every now and then, the gauge will jump to 12 volts. Gauge needle is iratic and sticky during movement. Do I need a new gauge or do I need to chase for wire trouble?Thank you,Mark from Memphis
Mark don't trust your gauge, do yourself a favour and get a good DVOM (digital volt ohm meter) and check your batteries at rest (no engine running) then start the engine and check again if your altenator is working it should be between 12.5v to 14.5v if not then it is the altenator, take it off and take to a shop to be rebuilt (new is unreal in price). Now if the alt is charging the I would suspect the guage might be faulty but before you run out and get new guages check the wiring on them and the ground wires throught the boat and on the alt, if you think any corrosion is on anything clean it off and use a good dielectric grease on it to prevent further corosion, check them all it only takes on the screw things up thats why when looking at electrical stuff it costs so much to fix good luck.Also depending on the mfg of the guage some have a lifetime warrenty on the so if you have to replace it check with them first, also Crownline was sold a couple of years ago and from what I understand they offer no help to people who have older Crownlines so no warrenty from them Sorry to say :-(
Myles's advice about using a digital voltmeter is spot on. For accuracy they are the best.
You should note that when the engines are running, your voltmeter at the helm is reading the alternator output( the charge voltage) not the battery voltage. The higher it is, the lower your battery's charge.
SO even if the gauge isnt spot on accurate, the "high ( 14+ volts) and low (12.5 volts) readings can still be a good indicator of what's going on with your DC system.
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Agree with both. Check at battery, then again at wires at the gauge itself if readings are close gauge be bad, if not wire issue or connection.