Mechanical Gauges Vs. Electric Gauges: A Purchasing Guide For Marine Gauges

June 3, 2022
Marine gauges

Marine gauges are designed to give boaters an overview of the boat’s operations at a quick glance. Typically, gauges show information such as engine temperature, water depth, fuel level, oil pressure, water temperature and other important levels.

When you’re looking to replace gauges for boats, you have two options: mechanical gauges and electric gauges. Which one is best? In this article, we will take a look at both types of boat gauges and explain why mechanical gauges from Diesel Pro Power are your best choice.

How Mechanical Gauges Work

There are different types of mechanical gauges but the most common marine gauges are created using an internal Bourdon tube, with one end connected to a gear and shaft assembly. When the pressure in the tube increases, the tube uncoils slightly and a pointer is moved by the gear and shaft system. The amount of uncoiling and needle movement is proportional to the pressure built up inside the Bourdon tube.

Whether it’s a mechanical fuel pressure gauge or mechanical oil pressure gauge, pressure gauges are connected directly to the process fluid being measured, such as water or oil. As the fluid pressure changes, the pressure on the tube changes, moving the pointer to indicate that change.

Mechanical temperature gauges also use Bourdon tubes. They are made with a sealed capillary tube and bulb assembly filled with temperature-sensitive liquid. As the temperature changes, that liquid creates a proportional vapor pressure on the tube, which moves the pointer on the gauge.

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Marine gauges

How Electric Gauges Work

There are different types of electric gauges you can use in your boat. Whether you are looking at an electronic oil pressure gauge, an electronic fuel pressure gauge or other type of electric gauge, most analog gauges use a variable resistor sensor mounted on the boat’s engine to provide a reading on the gauge.

Another type of electric gauge group consists of both voltmeters and ammeters. An ammeter will typically get connected via a shunt in a series electrical connection. This creates a break in a primary conductor DC positive wire that has full electrical current running to and from your boat’s battery. Voltmeters can be used instead of or in addition to ammeters. Voltmeters will be connected in parallel with one DC positive wire and one DC negative wire supplying power to the gauge and enabling a voltage measurement.

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We offer 12v Electric Gauges and 24v Electric Gauges.


Benefits of Using Mechanical Gauges for Your Boat

Bourdon tube mechanical gauges are extremely sensitive. Some other benefits of using mechanical gauges include:

  • They can measure changes from a long distance because they use the tube.
  • They do not need electricity to function.
  • They are highly accurate.
  • They are always on.
  • They provide a full-dial sweep display.

At Diesel Pro Power, we offer a wide range of mechanical gauges, including mechanical gauges with an alarm switch and mechanical marine tachometers for Detroit diesel engines.

Find Your Marine Gauge at Diesel Pro Power

Discover the Difference Diesel Pro Power Can Make

Whether you’re looking for Detroit diesel gauges, Twin Disc gauges or Cummins gauges, Diesel Pro Power has the marine gauges you need for your boat. We also offer 12-volt electrical gauges and 24-volt electrical gauges if you prefer to use electric gauges. If you have any questions regarding marine gauges, contact our team of experts and they’ll be happy to help.

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