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Discussion Starter #1
I have been talking with a few friends about a way to measure the current draw of a 12 VDC Harbor Freight 8000 # winch.

The idea was to have some sort of monitoring device mounted either on the end of the remote, or less preferably, inside the cab.

I have considered going the shunt/voltmeter route, but was even more interested in a clamp-on style meter that I could monitor remotely. Maybe a clamp-on connector on the end of some leads. The good thing about the clamp-on meter would be the ease of switching over to monitor another feed, and greater reliability than a shunt.

Has anyone done something like this? I'm not talking about a temporary solution, this needs to be permanent, so any sort of battery operated portable meter is out of the question.

Has anyone seen a product that meets all of these needs?
 

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If you want it permanent just use a shunt resistor and a normal ammeter.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The shunt and voltmeter is a good option, but I would be happier with something that I could easily switch over to other leads.
 

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What other feeds do you want to measure? Since you wnat it permanent, you could set up shunts on what you want to monitor and then switch a display in the cab.
 

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Blackjack said:
Why are you wanting to measure the amp draw? My concern would be more with seeing the available voltage (which would be much easier to do).
Could you elaborate please. I guess this is so you can see what kind of voltage drop your getting from the cables and connections.
 

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Meaning that without decent voltage, there's no need worrying about current... If you can keep the voltage up, you can draw current until the cows come home. The whole winch ammeter sounds like wasted calories with no appreciable value.
 

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Malltero said:
Could you elaborate please. I guess this is so you can see what kind of voltage drop your getting from the cables and connections.
Well voltage drop is a concern, but so is letting your battery voltage drop below 12 volts for too long during operation. Amp draw is directly related to the work the motor is doing and the voltage the motor is being supplied with (ohms law Watts=Volts X Amps). So as the voltage drops, the amp draw must increase to do the same amount of work. More amp draw means more heat, more heat means less run time before the motor overheats. Also if the voltage drops too low the solenoids could open up on you (they can overheat too), not to mention how hard it is on the battery and the rest of the vehicles electronics. Now an ammeter will certainly work, but a voltmeter is much easier to work with.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I actually want to do this simply out of curiosity. I want to know how much amperage my winch really draws and when. Of course I plan to install a voltmeter as well. Knowing the amperage draw of my winch will help me know my electrical system better, which can't be a bad thing in my books. Plus I'm going to need to upgrade the alternator soon or switch to dual batteries, and amperage draw there is fairly important.
 

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First off...clamp on amp meters are accurate but do give a gross good feeling...it's realtive to placement of the wire within the torrodial coil a shunt can be made remotely with clip on leads, although with the potential amp draw, I wouldn't do it this way for long...unless it's really important to know this versus getting unstuck...
 
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