SAIL - - Boat Works / Ask Sail -

While a dig­i­tal DC volt­meter will give you rest­ing volt read­ings down to 1/10 of a volt ac­cu­racy, it may not give you the sign of a weak bat­tery dur­ing en­gine start­ing. A nee­dle-type ex­panded-scale

DC volt­meter on the other hand (avail­able from pretty much any RV or ma­rine elec­tron­ics dealer) will faith­fully wig­gle on en­gine start­ing, at which point all is well as long as it stays above 10 volts on crank­ing most en­gines and bat­tery sys­tems. Less than 10 and you likely have a weak bat­tery, or there has ei­ther been a loss of bat­tery fluid or you have a dirty bat­tery ter­mi­nal. Be­cause a dig­i­tal DC volt­meter usu­ally goes in a blur dur­ing en­gine crank­ing, you don’t get a “feel” for how well your bat­tery sys­tem is hold­ing up, so go with ana­log!

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