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2000 VN 750 Senior Member
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I am looking to add a meter to my 2000 Vulcan 750 and was wondering if any one has done this already. I am interested in what meter was used and the functionality of the setup. I saw a multiple function meter unit online and it looked pretty good with a clock, temperature, and such. Only problem was when I read some reviews from past users they complained that it wasn't water proof. After the first drizzle it shorted out and that was the end. I am not sure how a company can advertise an item for motorcycles that isn't water proof. Maybe there are some places that never get any rain at all and they never wash there motorcycles. In fact one picture on line showed the unit mounted on the fuel tank inside a plastic sandwich bag. It was a nice look if you are into rat bikes I guess. I want the added meter just to watch over my charging system as I am adding driving lights and twin rectangular headlights. I have switched over to LED bulbs where ever possible and the draw should be within the proper limits but I want to know for sure while on the road so as not to be surprised several hours away from home. I also want to add a power outlet for my mini air compressor if a flat happens with my bike or a fellow rider. Looking forward to any advice on available options regarding voltage - charge meters.
 

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Linkmeister Supreme
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LED guage

Hello,

After I replaced my stator I installed the Kuryakn chrome L.E.D. Gauge. Its great :smiley_th I installed mine on a L-bracket and put it right above my fuel gauge and wired right into the headlight. I find it real easy to look down check fuel and meter. Haven't had any problems in the two years I've had mine. Here is a link http://www.kuryakyn.com/Products/872/LED-Battery-Gauge
 

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Heading to the DARKSIDE!
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I have the multi function voltage gauge that you are speaking of made by Show Chrome or Big Bike Parts. Its about 30.00 and is always found in the "GOLDWING" section of Dennis Kirk or J&P Cycles......It is a great gauge and I have had mine for over a year and a half........but they ARE correct.....it is not waterproof.....now mine has not shorted out from water ...but water will get behind the face glass and make it hard to read and make the clock run too fast. I just fixed it by building a lexan cover for it to keep the rain/dew/and car wash water off of it. I just like having the Voltage.....Clock.....and Outside Temp gauges all on the bike.....the Outside temp gauge....yeah.....you know when it's warm or freezing on the bike with out that.....but the other two are very nice to have.
 

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The Heads-Up LED voltmeter that dariv linked to is similar to the BackOFF LED voltmeter that I've seen around (though the lack of info on that page makes it hard to say if it's the exact same thing).

It won't tell you exactly what your voltage is down to a tenth of a volt like some digital meters will, but it will tell you the condition of your electrical system at a glance:
Flashing Green (Above 15.25V)
Steady Green (12.9V-15.24V)
Steady Amber (12.6V-12.8V)
Steady Red (12V-12.5V)
Flashing Red (Below 12V)

I usually don't really care if my voltage is 12.6V or 12.7V. I do care if it's ~11V vs. ~14V, and the multi-color LED tells me if the voltage is "good", "a little off", or "really bad". If I do need to know the exact voltage for some precise troubleshooting, I've got a multimeter.

You can tuck the control box away somewhere, and only have to mount a single LED somewhere visible. It's a minimalist solution that I feel provides "good enough" feedback on the status of your electrical system. Especially compared to buying a full analog gauge that matches the stock gauges and fabbing up some sort of mount for it.

It can even be better than a digital gauge in some situations. On a standard LCD display, there's only a couple segments different between 11.0 and 14.0. With this LED voltmeter, the difference would be a flashing red LED vs. a solid green LED. Your brain doesn't have to take the (tiny bit of) time to see and process the numbers, you just know instantly that green is good and flashing red is bad.
 

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Yes, but a digital gauge...and by this I mean one that displays "digits" tells you exactly what your voltage is, and to me is the most precise. Cause if it reads 12.7 you know that means..... 12.7 ...not 12.6 or 12.8...;)....
It's not a question of precision........ obviously a readout in 0.1 volts is more precise that a tricolor LED. The point is, it is easier/quicker to process a color that a 3-digit number on a display readout.
 

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Yes, but a digital gauge...and by this I mean one that displays "digits" tells you exactly what your voltage is, and to me is the most precise. Cause if it reads 12.7 you know that means..... 12.7 ...not 12.6 or 12.8...;)

http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/knifemaker1954/1490853444/sizes/m/
I know what you're saying, but this pretty much sums up my view on it.
I usually don't really care if my voltage is 12.6V or 12.7V.
Are you going to do anything different if you start riding the bike and it's showing 12.6V when it usually shows 12.7V? Or are you going to just assume it's a slight variance in the load or something has aged a bit or some other minor issue that doesn't warrant any real action?

My stance is that 12.6V, 12.7V, and 12.8V are all "a little low". Seeing a yellow light for any voltage in the 12.6-12.8 range is good enough for me. I should probably check it out with the multimeter and make sure some huge problem isn't starting. If it's in the low 12V range, I'll get a red light and know that I should check it out right away. If I'm riding and it starts flashing red, I know I've got major problems.

While the digital gauge is more precise, it does require a slight bit of mental processing. Your brain has to decode the numbers and you have to mentally compare that number to the desired voltage number. This should be a tiny fraction of a second for anyone able to ride a bike, but there is still a little thinking required. With the LED, green == good and anything else means you need to investigate.

If you were having voltage fluctuations, a color-changing LED would probably be more noticeable than a digital gauge as well. For example, if you were at 13.1V and it dropped to 12.1V for a bit, an LCD screen like that would only "swap" one segment (C segment goes off, E segment comes on). Depending on how quick the dip was, you might never notice it. With the LED, it would change from green to red, which should be quite visible even just in your peripheral vision.

But yes, the LED wouldn't show any difference between 15.2V and 12.9V, it would be solid green for both. Likewise, you can't tell the difference between 12.5V and 12.0V, or between 11.9V and 8.2V. I would hate to be trying to troubleshoot problems in the electrical system using only the LED.

I'm not saying the LED is a better voltmeter. I'm saying the LED is a nice little way to indicate the general health of your electrical system and let you know when you need to bust out the meter and see what the voltage actually is. Depending on the exact details of your setup and the problem, it's possible the LED might do a better job of alerting you when there is an issue.

The LED is just a good indicator of when there's a problem and can even provide a bit of feedback about how severe the problem is, nothing more. This is the sort of thing that I think should come stock on a bike, along with the other dummy lights.
 

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Bat
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I just installed mine today, and it seems to work as advertised. I hooked it up to the brown and black/yellow wires in the headlight bucket, so it comes on when I switch on the ignition. It cycles through the colors, then settles on to a flashing red...been sitting a while without charger...but my newly installed accessory receptacle says (via meter) that the voltage is 12.8, which should be plenty to keep the new LED vm in the green, or at least the yellow. Have to learn how to interpret its language, I guess.
 

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The point is, it is easier/quicker to process a color that a 3-digit number on a display readout.
Yes, if you are partially blind, illiterate, or retarded...;)

On dash consoles like you would find on a 747 or the space shuttle, there are about a hundred different one can scan. Having a simple "red light -green light" display makes sence.

The Vulcan has very few "read outs" to monitor, so discussing processing time here seems a bit silly.

I asked someone once what voltages the yellow light indicated... and they had to think about it for a few seconds before they told me....so much for "processing time" there...;)

Yes, it's just a matter of personal preference, but if I am going to wire up a voltmeter/charge indicator... I'd rather have one that actually read out in volts, not general groupings.

Guess I'm funny that way...lol... If someone asks me the time, I'll say 4:42....not a quarter to five. ;)
 

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Yes, if you are partially blind, illiterate, or retarded...;)
I suppose using those words followed by a smiley face is supposed to make it appear that you aren't really being mean-spirited, petty, argumentative and abrasive after all? :):):)
 

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I suppose using those words followed by a smiley face is supposed to make it appear that you aren't really being mean-spirited, petty, argumentative and abrasive after all? :):):)
Correct.

As it seems many fail to know when I am joking here, I was hoping that would help...I sometimes forget to add some indication to point that out for those that are not sure if I am joking or not.
 

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Yes, if you are partially blind, illiterate, or retarded...;)

On dash consoles like you would find on a 747 or the space shuttle, there are about a hundred different one can scan. Having a simple "red light -green light" display makes sence.

The Vulcan has very few "read outs" to monitor, so discussing processing time here seems a bit silly.

I asked someone once what voltages the yellow light indicated... and they had to think about it for a few seconds before they told me....so much for "processing time" there...;)

Yes, it's just a matter of personal preference, but if I am going to wire up a voltmeter/charge indicator... I'd rather have one that actually read out in volts, not general groupings.

Guess I'm funny that way...lol... If someone asks me the time, I'll say 4:42....not a quarter to five. ;)
Have you been anal retentive your whole life, or is this a more recent symtom of your obsessive–compulsive personality disorder..... just askin' :doh:
 

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I just installed mine today, and it seems to work as advertised. I hooked it up to the brown and black/yellow wires in the headlight bucket, so it comes on when I switch on the ignition. It cycles through the colors, then settles on to a flashing red...been sitting a while without charger...but my newly installed accessory receptacle says (via meter) that the voltage is 12.8, which should be plenty to keep the new LED vm in the green, or at least the yellow. Have to learn how to interpret its language, I guess.
Have you tested the voltage with a meter on the brown and black/yellow wires? If the socket is wired up to a different point, the voltage on that circuit could be slightly different (which is why a lot of people wire theirs up directly to the battery). You should really find out if the voltage on those wires is actually that low or if there's a problem with the LED.
 

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brown wire has very little load... it is used for idiot lights, and for the fuel and water temp powerr scource.. wiring up the volt guage to this wire is not a bad place... althoguh i would use the brown wire to trigger a relay and run a hot wire from battery to relay to volt gauge.. but the way Bat did it is fine as well.
 

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Bat
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brown wire has very little load... it is used for idiot lights, and for the fuel and water temp powerr scource.. wiring up the volt guage to this wire is not a bad place... althoguh i would use the brown wire to trigger a relay and run a hot wire from battery to relay to volt gauge.. but the way Bat did it is fine as well.
My main thought was to have the vm start up with the turn of the key, not be running all the time. Started it up for a brief while tonight, revved and the light advanced the way it should, so no problems there. The battery is a tad low because it's been ignored and not run for several weeks. Plugged in the tender and will leave it on for a few days now, probably ride 150 mi. Saturday, and that should bring everything up to snuff.
Thanks for the info, and moral support too, SVR! Good to have you back for a while.
 
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