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Another DIY project of mine, how to add a voltmeter to the bike. Original posted on my blog.

I have few things on my V-Strom 650. And because I want to do long trips, it’s good to keep an eye on the battery from time to time. As such, I decided to add a voltmeter. Here is how I did it.

I’ve purchased a voltmeter for about $5 from eBay. Just make sure it’s waterproof. I chose the color of the LED to be yellow, just to match the yellow dash. I decided to cut off the small ears from the sides. This is what I was left with.



After adding some more extension cables as seen in image above, I’ve threaded the cable through the dashboard and the plastic that’s holding it. Looks like this



To have the voltmeter start when the bike starts, I decided to mount it to the horn. This way, it only gets power then the I power up the bike and it’s only 0.5v off.



I have added the negative pole to a screw I found on the handlebar. Could have been any screw for that matter. It works.



And this is the final result. I used some double sided tape to fix it to the bike. How well it holds ? Well, since I’ve mounted the voltmeter, I’ve been through rain and 40+ degrees temperatures. The bike stood in rain for days and stood in bittering sun for hours. I’ve been through some rough roads and 8+ hours of continuous rides. Never had a problem, never moved, never fell since the first mount. What tape did I use ? I think it’s an ordinary double sided tape, very very thin in width and unbranded.



Total costs: $6

Volt meter to your bike - Julian
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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That probably won't cause any problems because the current is low, but grounding there can be a problem. Current will be running through the aluminum bar clamp, the steel handlebar, the aluminum triple clamp, the steering stem, the steel bearing inner race, the steel ball bearings, the the steel bearing outer race, the aluminum frame and to the grounded engine. That doesn't include the steel screws connected to aluminum castings. When current passes through the junction of dissimilar metals, especially if that junction is wet, it can cause chemical corrosion of the more active metal, the aluminum in this case. It's best to ground accessories to the negative battery terminal or to a black wire with a white stripe, the ground wire system on V-Stroms.
 

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Somehow, I prefer the comfort and accuracy of looking at real numbers rather than leds.
Having any indication is mo bettah than wondering.
 

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I ran both leads from my datel voltmeter to the Eastern Beaver PC-8 fuse box.
Running current through steel and aluminum will cause the aluminum to be a sacrificial anode, quite unwise actually..

Sacrificial Anode - Chemwiki

Sacrificial anodes are used in marine applications to protect valuable propellers from the corrosive effects of saltwater
 
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#motoref
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I have to give a shout out to Clearwater.

Clearwater Voltage Sentry Review - webBikeWorld

https://www.clearwaterlights.com/infopg_cvs.html

Accuracy
Without strapping a high quality Volt meter onto the triple clamp and monitoring voltages around town, the CVS allows instantaneous monitoring of your battery/alternator system. This system is the most accurate voltage monitoring device of its kind anywhere. Accuracy is better than 1/4 of a percent!


I don't need a number.... "Green is good".

Rock solid!
 
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That probably won't cause any problems because the current is low, but grounding there can be a problem. Current will be running through the aluminum bar clamp, the steel handlebar, the aluminum triple clamp, the steering stem, the steel bearing inner race, the steel ball bearings, the the steel bearing outer race, the aluminum frame and to the grounded engine. That doesn't include the steel screws connected to aluminum castings. When current passes through the junction of dissimilar metals, especially if that junction is wet, it can cause chemical corrosion of the more active metal, the aluminum in this case. It's best to ground accessories to the negative battery terminal or to a black wire with a white stripe, the ground wire system on V-Stroms.
I made mention of that same thing on his Facebook post, but not nearly as thorough as you did. :grin2:
 

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I have to give a shout out to Clearwater.

Clearwater Voltage Sentry Review - webBikeWorld

https://www.clearwaterlights.com/infopg_cvs.html

Accuracy
Without strapping a high quality Volt meter onto the triple clamp and monitoring voltages around town, the CVS allows instantaneous monitoring of your battery/alternator system. This system is the most accurate voltage monitoring device of its kind anywhere. Accuracy is better than 1/4 of a percent!


I don't need a number.... "Green is good".

Rock solid!
Had one and I "hated it", show me numbers......I want to see numbers. When hooking up my DVM, I found that stupid LED to not be very accurate at all.......those are my observations. :fineprint:
 

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#motoref
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Your $5.99 DVM?

I'll roll with something tested and proven accurate.... I have faith the Clearwater products. Lots of my friends have years of experience without issue.

#YMMV
 

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Your $5.99 DVM?

I'll roll with something tested and proven accurate.... I have faith the Clearwater products. Lots of my friends have years of experience without issue.

#YMMV
I will have you know that my cheap Chinese made waterproof LED voltmeter is practically dead accurate, and this has been verified with a "several hundred dollar" annually calibrated biomedical department Fluke DVM. Just like Notacop said........"Is green 12 volts or 14.4 volts?" I can assure you that a charging system is on it's way out, and that stupid LED is still going to be green. Just sayin......:wink2:
 

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I have an LED voltmeter. Is it absolutely to the .01 volt accurate? No, I wouldn't think so. The most accurate meter made....isn't all that accurate unless wired directly to the battery anyway. Forget the numbers vs led comparison. Run something, they WILL save you from a roadside breakdown.

Why do I like the LED? Because the color change and the flashing attract my attention. Two times my charging system failed and I knew immediately. All you are looking for is a break in pattern or a sudden change in voltage. $2 or $500, if they alert you to a problem, they are priceless!
 

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I just installed one of these.

Eclipse Battery Voltage Monitor | SparkBright

Great communication with this outfit. Answered all kinds of questions I had.
Not sure how exact it is but I do believe it is better than nothing. Easy to install and seems to work as advertised. For me, an accurate lite is better than a digital readout. Old eyes and all that.

here is their table of lite interpretation with engine running

15.20v ■■ Green / Red alternating over-charging – regulator problem
>13.20v ■ Green steady normal charging
>12.45v ■ Amber steady under-charging – alternator problem
>12.25v ■■ Red slow flashing not charging – battery low
>12.05v •• Red 2 flashes, repeating not charging – battery low
>11.80v ••• Red 3 flashes, repeating not charging – battery very low
<11.80v •••• Red 4 flashes, repeating not charging – battery very low

So as long as I have a steady green light when the motor is running, I think I can be reasonably confident that the battery/charging system is OK.
Time will tell but like I said, better than nothing.
Rod
 

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I too prefer numbers in front of me, my second trade was auto electrician so numbers mean a lot to me.

On my Wee I built my own headlight relay system, I used one of the H4 OME plugs to trigger the relays and the other to trigger my volt meter.

On my V2 I ride with the volt meter displayed all the time for peace of mind.
 

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On the Wee, I have an ancient GPS III plus Garmin with a voltage reading. Due to poor wiring it reads a bit lower than the digital meter reading at the battery.
But having the numerical read out gives me some comfort of mind.
I can really tell when I turn off the heated grips or Gerbing jacket.
I'm used to the inaccuracy and compensate in my head bone.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Unfortunately, at the time of planning, I didn't think this through and the wire was too short to get it back to battery. I was lazy at the time and found a faster solution. If I’ll see any signs of electrolysis, I’ll change the wire and connect it to the battery. Better still, I'll change the negative pole to the battery when I'll have the time to do it, in several weeks.

As for the accuracy, it's always 0.5v off measured and re measured with expensive equipment. It's something that I'm looking at from time to time whilst riding.

As for the others, yes it's darn cheap (the way I like it), waterproof, and most important ... on the bike :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
you can find that one on ebay for $5 - $10 max
 
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