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Options for Protecting Vehicle Gauges During a 12-Volt Conversion

Options for Protecting Vehicle Gauges During a 12-Volt Conversion

Jun 15th 2021

Changing your vintage auto from 6-volt power to 12-volt power is one of the best steps to take during a restoration. An upgraded power supply enables you to add aftermarket accessories to your car and makes for easier repairs in the future.

An important step of the 12-volt conversion is adding voltage reducers to protect the original accessories that previously ran off of 6-volt batteries. This enables the dash gauges - speedometer, fuel, oil pressure, and others - to handle the increased power and continue to run on the upgraded system.

Installing the gauge voltage reducer is one of the more difficult and risky parts of the power conversion. These gauges are delicate and the wrong part or hookup can result in a burnt out gauge. Since finding replacements for damaged gauges can be a challenge, some research into the available methods can help reduce the risks.

Use a Voltage Regulator for Every Gauge

The traditional option for adapting original 6-volt gauges for 12-volt power is to attach a voltage regulator for every gauge. The regulators are available here at Vintage Auto Garage. With this process, you would purchase one regulator for each gauge and hook them up separately.

While this has long been the only method for adapting gauges to a 12-volt electrical system, it has some drawbacks. Hooking up a voltage regulator wrong can cause a non-functional gauge, blown resistor, or blown gauge. With multiple voltage regulators, your chance of making a mistake increases.

Multiple voltage reducers also means more heat under your dash. A voltage regulator works by converting electrical energy to heat energy to reduce the voltage that reaches the gauge. Excessive heat from multiple regulators can damage more sensitive elements underneath the dashboard.

Install a Multi Gauge Voltage Reducer

Another option for adapting gauges for 12-volts is a multi gauge voltage regulator. This device handles voltage reduction for all of your gauges and eliminates the need for multiple regulators, resulting in benefits that include:

  • Convenient to Set Up - Instead of the time consuming process of hooking up several voltage regulators, a multi gauge regulator requires only one hookup. This is much faster and tends to be easier for those with a bit less experience in antique car restoration.
  • Indicator Light for Correct Installation - For added convenience during hook up, an indicator light on the device will change from red to green when the placement is correct so you do not have to worry about damage.
  • Built for Gauges - Unlike other voltage reducers that may be built for lights, horns, or other components, some multi gauge reducers, like those we carry at Vintage Auto Garage, are built specifically for classic cars and take into account the delicacy of some vintage gauges.

All of these factors make protecting your gauges during a conversion easier and safer, both for you and for your antique car.

We offer multi gauge voltage reducers at Vintage Auto Garage as part of our 6 volt to 12 volt conversion kits and as a part you can purchase on its own. We also have various additional resources to help you make the switch from 6-volt to 12-volts in your classic car.