• If this is your first visit to the iboats.com Boating Forums, be sure to check out the FAQ. To post a question or comment, begin by signing up. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.


Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse

Help Tip: If you have a question that has not been answered to your satisfaction in the archives, it is always best to start a new thread of your own. By starting your own thread, you will receive the maximum number of views by forum members.

Below are some additional forum policies in hopes of all iboats members will follow, Thank you.

1. Please do not reply to old topics or hijack existing topics. Old topics of a technical nature are like a library book, Please do not write in them.

2. Old topics should be considered archives and used for reference only. Please do not reply to them.

3. Do not take over someone elseís topic (aka hijack) with your own question, even if it is similar. If you have a question that has not been covered to your satisfaction in the archives, it is always best to start a new topic of your own.

4. If you have a question for the original poster (OP) and the topic is over 30 days old, send the OP a PM, he may not even visit the forums any longer, or may not notice your question in the old topic.

5. By starting your own topic, you will receive the maximum number of views by forum helpers that may not even notice your question when itís posted at the end of someone elseís topic. And those answers will be specific to your particular issue.

6. Please do not post to topics that have been inactive for more than 3 months unless you are the original poster. We have very active forums and any topic that remains inactive for that long should be considered "dead". It is especially confusing when there is an entirely new question posted to an old topic.

7. Posting at the end of any topic is considered to be hijacking the original posters topic which in turn subjects the topic to be closed if it continues to happen thus not making it fair to the original poster in the future had for some reason he/she needed to return for additional information or provide an update of the problem solved which is always welcomed within a reasonable amount of time frame.

8. Please note that you should see a red banner pop up near the bottom of each inactive topic asking you not to reply to old topics. The Red banner will read: Please note this topic has been inactive for 90 days. For the best results, please start a new topic.

Thank you all in advance for doing your part in helping iboats run a smooth ship.

Additional forum rules linked below.
http://forums.iboats.com/forum-rules-guidelines-405/
See more
See less

Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts


  • Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

    I want to test the ignition on my 1996 Mercury 150hp V6 outboard using a DVA meter (or similar). Basically, I want to test that the spark is strong enough at idle. My motor runs fine at WOT but does not idle well. I want to eliminate a weak spark as a possible culprit before I remove/clean/adjust/mess with my carbs or timing. I already checked the spark with an inline spark tester and saw that I have a spark on all 6 cylinders.

    The literature that I have read about DVA adapters says that the adapter should be used with a "good" multimeter. (emphasis added). I am not clear, however, on what would be considered a good enough multimeter or what would be the problem with using a cheaper (not so good) multimeter.

    Questions:

    1) I already have a $20 analog multimeter that I bought at Home Depot. Would this multimeter be OK to use with the DVA adapter or is it highly beneficial to have a better one, like a Fluke 16?

    2) Is a Piercing Probe Set (sticks a small needle into the spark plug wire) needed to test the spark or is there another way to do this without spending money for a probe set?


    Thanks for any information on this

    DVA Adapter:




    Probe set:





    1996 Mercury 150HP V6 carbed outboard motor and Maxum 1900XR bowrider boat


  • #2
    Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

    if the DVA adapter will plug into your meter and your meter is digital it willmost likly work fine, my meter or one of them was 35 dollars at radio shack.
    the DVA wont check spark plug firing voltage as it does not go into the Kv range.
    it will test ign coil primary voltage which should stay in the 150V range.
    I dont use piercing probes cause I have enough issues with salt corrosion without breaking the insulation.
    remember the switch box does not increase voltage, it rectifies and stores the AC voltage from the stator and stores it until a trigger is applied then it discharges the capacitor through the ign coil primary windings. the ign coilis in charge of stepping the voltage up to the 5-10 Kv range.
    no tech questions by PM, they wont get answered.
    you have to be trusted by the people that you lie to .

    Comment



    • #3
      Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

      Rodbolt.

      Your second paragraph is excellent. Very nice job of saying what needed to be said in nice layman's terms.....and it was accurate. 8)

      Mark
      If you are new to boating or have a new boat, a knowledgeable friend could show you how to operate your boat and save you a lot of grief, maybe some money, and maybe your life.

      Comment



      • #4
        Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

        Originally posted by rodbolt

        The DVA wont check spark plug firing voltage as it does not go into the Kv range. It will test ign coil primary voltage which should stay in the 150V range.
        I am a bit (very) confused about if/how to test the spark quality at idle using a DVA meter (or DVA adapter). You seemed to indicate that the spark voltage in the spark plug wire can not be tested with a DVA meter. I thought that the purpose of the Piercing Probe Set was to do that exact thing. In reading the description of the Piercing Probe Set for sale on a Marine website(see text below) it seems to also indicate that this can be done.

        Alternatively, will testing the ignition coil primary voltage at the coil sufficently test the qualitiy of the spark, making a test of voltage within the spark plug wire unneccessary anyways?

        Thanks for any clarification.


        Description of Piercing Probe Set for sale on www.ebasicpower.com :

        No need to disconnect harness or wires. Fully insulated probes have a spring loaded clamp with tiny stainless steel pin that self centers and punctures the insulation. (Hole will normally reseal itself when wire heats up). Ideal for taking DVA readings on all engines and Jet Drive systems. This set is highly recommended for use with all meters and peak reading adapters




        1996 Mercury 150HP V6 carbed outboard motor and Maxum 1900XR bowrider boat

        Comment



        • #5
          Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

          Like Rodbolt said, in salt water areas do not pierce the wires. It is best to use the adapters or clips recommended by the outboard manufacturer.

          Also be advised that some digital meters are not shielded enough and kind of read crazy when too close to the RFI of a CD ignition system. In the past, some Radio Shack meters had a problem with that.

          Comment



          • #6
            Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

            Originally posted by seahorse5
            Like Rodbolt said, in salt water areas do not pierce the wires. It is best to use the adapters or clips recommended by the outboard manufacturer.

            Also be advised that some digital meters are not shielded enough and kind of read crazy when too close to the RFI of a CD ignition system. In the past, some Radio Shack meters had a problem with that.
            Commander,

            Thanks for the reply. Does your response mean that voltage can be tested in the spark plug wire as long as a suitable meter setup is used (i.e., suitable DVA meter or a suitable multimeter with DVA adapter)?

            I am using my boat solely on freshwater in Arizona (i.e., no saltwater). If using a piercing probe set isn't the best choice for connecting the DVA to the spark plug wires, what other "adapters or clips" could be used instead? I read my Mercury shop manual and have searched the internet and I found no indication of any other types of adapters or clips for this purpose.

            Thanks


            1996 Mercury 150HP V6 carbed outboard motor and Maxum 1900XR bowrider boat

            Comment



            • #7
              Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

              You can't read coil output with a DVA, that takes a osilloscope or a meter capable of testing KV. A DVA simple captures AC peak voltage so you can check for low voltage between the stator output and the coil input so if It's AC current then it's not really a coil is it, it'd a transformer

              Comment



              • #8
                Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

                actually the peak from the stator is AC. its rectified by a full wave recitifier to DC and stored in a capacitor in the switchbox.
                the DC output of the switch box when the SCR is triggered by the AC voltage from the trigger coil is discharged through the ignition coil primary windings to ground.
                yes the ign coil is a transformer.
                a step up transformer to be more technical.
                the input to the coil primary is a rapid DC pulse that acts almost like AC. it goes from 0V to 150V and back very rapidly.
                in the millisecond range.

                the input to most modern ADI systems is in the 150-300VAC peak voltage range.
                most switchboxs,powerpacks or CDI units,whatever you wish to call them, have voltage regulators to prevent stator input overvoltage.
                the regulated and rectified DC voltage feed to the ignition coil from the capacitor is further stepped up at the ign coil from the 150Vpeak range to the 5000-10,000 V range.
                Kv=1000's of volts.
                so in this application most likly you meter would just overload and display garbage if you tried to use it on actual fireing voltage.
                the snapon Kv tester is about 229 dollars now.
                I own 2.
                the CD77 meter is about 260 and I own 2.
                the rapair and other DVA adapters are usually between 40 and 70 dollars. I own 2.
                the nice fluke is over 250 now I own none.
                an equivalent meter from radio shack is less than 50 but is not as shock resitant if dropped.
                neither brand swims at all.
                no tech questions by PM, they wont get answered.
                you have to be trusted by the people that you lie to .

                Comment



                • #9
                  Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

                  Originally posted by rodbolt
                  neither brand swims at all.
                  Dont we know it !!!!!!

                  Comment



                  • #10
                    Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

                    Thanks for all of the information. I've learned a lot about what I can and can't readily do in regards to testing the quality of the spark at idle.

                    Since I can not readily test the voltage in the spark plug wire with a meter, my conclusion as to how I can best confirm that the quality of the spark at idle is strong enough (so as to not cause idle problems) is to do the following:

                    1) Use a DVA meter to test the voltage going into the coils from the switchboxes. If the voltage is up to snuff, I can assume that the ignition components (except for the coil, spark plug wire, or spark plug) are working OK in regards to the strength of the spark at idle, .

                    2) Use an adjustable spark tester to observe the color and brightness of the spark while cranking the motor with all other plugs wires grounded. If the spark looks blue and bright, I can assume that the coil and spark plug wire are working OK in regards to the strength of the spark at idle.

                    3) Replace the old spark plugs with new ones and observe any change in idle performance. If no change in idle performance, I can assume that the old spark plugs are OK.

                    Is my approach pretty much on target to identify or eliminate a weak spark as the cause of poor idle performance? I have already observed that all of the plugs have a spark and that none of them skip a spark when the motor is cranked with the starter and also that the motor runs fine at WOT. If I eliminate a weak spark as a culprit, then I'll look towards the carb, timing, and other possible causes.

                    Thanks again for your help.
                    1996 Mercury 150HP V6 carbed outboard motor and Maxum 1900XR bowrider boat

                    Comment



                    • #11
                      Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

                      You got it now hkeiner, good luck
                      Hey rodbolt, thought I was the only one in the world that knew they were step up transformers, not as smart as I thought I was, but we keep learning ever day don't we--Bob 8)

                      Comment



                      • #12
                        Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

                        Or if you still want a kv tester have a look at
                        http://www.stevensinstrument.com/spark_checkers.htm
                        Regards,

                        jimmy

                        Comment



                        • #13
                          Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

                          Originally posted by 72SideWinderSS
                          Or if you still want a kv tester have a look at
                          http://www.stevensinstrument.com/spark_checkers.htm

                          i'm about to order that tool
                          HUMAN BUILT = HUMAN FIXED
                          CERTIFIED MARINE TECH

                          Comment



                          • #14
                            Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

                            for the pro tech the Kv tester is absolutly invaluable.
                            it can find issues you never dreamed of once you understand what is going on.
                            its a tad pricey for the home tech though.
                            but the peak input to the ign coil is a good indication of if correct voltage is avalible for proper secondary ign operation.
                            no tech questions by PM, they wont get answered.
                            you have to be trusted by the people that you lie to .

                            Comment



                            • #15
                              Re: Will cheap multimeter work with a DVA peak voltage adapter?

                              main reason i want it is that the Stevens tach meter i have does not work on Honda's. i really want it for the rpm feature mainly
                              plus i get 20% off dealers price since i am a student!
                              HUMAN BUILT = HUMAN FIXED
                              CERTIFIED MARINE TECH

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X