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Thread: Amp Meter

  1. #1
    Guest
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    Amp Meter

    I have an amp meter bouncing back & forth ? The amp meter is type that reads
    0 at the low end and goes up to 20, 40 & so forth. The engine is an 0-320
    lycoming 14 volt and the battery does charge up as I have had no starting issue.
    In flight the meter will bounce so much that it will stick to right high and
    have to tap the meter to free it? Help if you can?

    Bill


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  2. #2

    Amp Meter

    >I have an amp meter bouncing back & forth ? The amp meter is type that reads
    >0 at the low end and goes up to 20, 40 & so forth. The engine is an 0-320
    >lycoming 14 volt and the battery does charge up as I have had no
    >starting issue. In flight the meter will bounce so much that it will
    >stick to right high and
    >have to tap the meter to free it? Help if you can?

    The purpose of an Amp meter (or Ammeter) it to show if current is flowing
    into or out of the battery.

    A reading of "O" or zero, means that the alternator (or generator) is
    producing just enough power to keep all the aircraft electrical load
    powered, and no current is flowing into or out of the battery.

    Initially right after start up, the ammeter is going to show higher charge
    rates as the alternator "refills" the battery for the power used in running
    the starter and the electrical loads during preflight checks, etc. The
    charge rate should taper off smoothly and relatively quickly.

    If the ammeter is jumping up and down, then the alternator is charging and
    then failing to charge the battery (if it goes below zero), or is rapidly
    varying the rate of the charge. This is controlled by the voltage
    regulator or VR (also called an "Alternator Control Unit" or ACU). I
    suspect you have a bad voltage regulator or a bad electrical connection
    that is intermittently turning on the alternator too much.

    A voltage reading to compare with the changes in ammeter would be helpful
    to confirm this. Normal voltage on a "12 volt" system like most all cars,
    and airplanes from the late 70's back, is 13.8-14.2 volts. Higher than
    14.2 and you are boiling the acid out of the battery and can expect short
    life from it. Less than 13.8 and you are not getting a full charge on the
    battery, and may find that it sulfates and fails to crank the plane far too
    soon.

    Bob Steward, A&P IA
    Birmingham, AL



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  3. #3

    Amp Meter

    If the charging system works right (try Bob Steward's suggestions), try
    this... Clean the terminals on the field switch. This is a common
    problem in Mooneys, and I've seen it in some Cessna's. Fixing or
    cleaning the connections made all the difference.

    Joe


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