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How good are those Needle (Analog) Gauges?

 

Do you know the truth about gauges- all needle gauges?

Automotive/ vehicle gauges. Most people understand that cheap gauges and gauge panels are not very good. They just don't know why. But how are expensive gauges better?

Expensive gauges use jeweled-bearing movements for the needles. This reduces stickiness and improves accuracy. Try tapping the face of a cheap gauge; it will quite often jump to a new reading. Expensive gauges also use more turns of finer magnet wire in the movement's coil; which again improves accuracy. So far, so good.

Once you buy that expensive gauge and have matched it to the proper sender, do you know what size wire should be used to connect them? Plus, every gauge is designed to be accurate at some exact vehicle voltage. What's your rig's voltage? 12.0Volts, 13.2Volts, 14.6Volts? It depends on your battery, fresh or tired, and who made it; toss in your alternator, its manufacturer and output rating, engine RPMs of the moment, ambient temperature, and don't forget the losses in your grounding system! Voltage variations alone are easily +15%, causing a temp gauge measuring an actual 200 degrees F to read 170- 230 degrees. How accurate are your expensive gauges? Not very! Plus the senders' values change as the functions being measured change, and since all electric gauges are really milliamp meters, this guarantees that the most expensive gauge is never linear. Even if "zero" and "full-scale" reads right, true "half-scale" is never in the middle! Hope that the gauge's scale shows that. Still want to rely on those gauges for you and your rig's safety?

How about a gauge panel where every measurement is compared to a precision reference voltage? Where the temperature sensors are voltage based and sensed by precision amplifiers so they are absolutely linear? Where a constant-current generator even drives the oil pressure sender so it's linear, too?  Where the wire lengths have no effect? Where the gauges include automatic visual and audible alarms so when anything goes wrong, it alerts you, even if you ignored them? Where also you can just glance at the gauge and know by the color, just like a traffic light, if all's okay and you can proceed (green), need to pay attention (yellow), or have a problem (red)- STOP!? Just try ignoring the alarms!

Maybe you should look at the high tech DIGI-PANEL. It might just change the way you think about engine, transmission and driveline monitoring.

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