Splash & Go writes:
Posted by Uptight Motorsports Nerd on April 17, 2013
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Usually I write in the hopes of explaining something technical for an audience that may not be technically inclined. I'll try something different today. I will write about a question I neither know the answer to nor can find an answer for. Why don't Sprint Cup Cars have in-dash ammeters?
Every Cup Car has the same 7 gauges (albeit in different configurations): tachometer, oil pressure, oil temperature, water pressure, water temperature, fuel pressure, and voltmeter. A voltmeter is a very useful tool as it can represent how well a charging system is functioning; however, it only provides a snapshot of information. An ammeter indicates the trend of the charging system: is more current going to the battery or coming from the battery? The ammeter is most useful when trying to determine if the battery or alternator is failing, as was the case with Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Texas this month. Unlike the voltmeter, the ammeter cannot report the state of the battery's charge, and if all is working as intended the gauge should read 0 amps. While neither gauge is perfect, each has its specific purpose.
The major concern about adding an ammeter to most vehicles is that it requires the battery cables to run through the firewall and into the dashboard because all current to or from the battery must pass through the ammeter. This is not a problem in a Cup Car because the battery (or batteries as the case may be) is located behind the driver seat. Cables do not have to be made considerably longer because the master power switch is already located at the center of the dashboard.
For the reasons stated above I remain unsure as to why Sprint Cup Teams would not use ammeters, nor could I name a reason as to why NASCAR would disapprove of them. Perhaps I fixate on this out of a desire to have as many gauges as possible and then to never look at any of them.
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