New voltage gauges

This picture shows off my new flush-mount laser cut panel with voltage meters installed. These new gauges are Datel self-powered LED voltage displays (DMS-20PC-8-DCM for the red traction pack display and DMS-20PC-0-DCM-B for the blue accessory battery display). They are considerably more expensive than my previous gauges ($50 for the red and $59 for the blue) but have two major advantages. First, they actually fit inside the dash, so I can flush mount them instead of building a box around them. Second, they are “self-powered”, which really means they have their own DC/DC converter built in and draw power from the source they are monitoring. But, because each gauge has it’s own DC/DC converter, they are completely isolated from each other (something that my previous “isolated” DC/DC converter didn’t really do well.) Having all the power circuitry integrated into the gauge also greatly simplifies the wiring.

The gauges come with metal clips to fix them to the back of a panel, but the clips were too big for my opening. I improvised with a very close fit on the cutouts and some large rubber bands. If I ever need to replace the rubber bands, I just unscrew the four 6x 5/8 inch screws to remove the panel. (The screws are not exactly balanced on the panel as I was matching up to pre-existing holes.)

I wanted two different colors for the accessory and traction pack voltage, so I paid $9 extra to buy the blue LEDs for the 12 volt accessory battery. It turns out that this was a mistake. The blue gauge is much brighter than the red one, and at night it is blinding. I wired up a toggle switch to allow the driver to turn it off when driving at night. (The red gauge is just right, easily visible in the daytime but not too bright at night.) If anybody wants to buy a blue self powered voltage gauge for $50 including shipping I’d gladly sell it and buy a red replacement.

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  1. Pingback: On-Dash voltage guages — Jay’s Technical Talk

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