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MacGyver volt meter

I made this a few years ago but I made a promise on the Packing Check List page to explain the project so here we are.

The first thing you need to do is get your hands on a Battery Tender volt meter, SAE connector, and some test leads for a real volt meter (or if you want to be really compact you can just strip the end of some wire and solder a piece of paper clip on to make a nice point…but that’s not very fancy). Once you have your parts you can probably figure out what to do…..make the test leads plug into the battery tender volt meter. I soldered the wires of the test leads to the wires of the SAE connector to ensure a permanent and low resistance connection but if you don’t know how to solder, or don’t have the tools, a pair of butt connectors will do just fine.

Once you have all of the parts playing nicely with each other you can give your new tool a test. Put the positive lead on the positive wire in a circuit and the negative lead on the negative wire or on the negative battery terminal. The meter only works when connected to power so you don’t have to worry about batteries. Really all you can do with this is check for voltage (or if you’re really savvy check voltage drop) so it’s a very limited tool but it can be a very valuable diagnostic tool if you’re in the middle of nowhere and need to figure out why your fuel pump isn’t fuel pumping…..ask me how I know. Sometimes just being able to verify if you are supplying power to a component can be enough to figure out a problem. Video demonstration below…..

As limited as this tool is it can be useful….and it’s so small that I’m sure you can find a place to stash it under your seat or something.

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