Depends on what you want to meter -- if it's simply a "time the
ignition is on" for a (system that has an ignition anyway) there are
those available. If, otoh, you're trying to measure engine run time,
many of them run off a tach and so need that as the input. If you
don't have a electric start so no generator, therefore no 12V supply,
I guess you can strap a sundial on... :)
Unless it has a diesel engine, it's exceptionally easy. Many places such
as Northern Tool sell self contained hour meters that have an LCD
display, internal battery and a sense wire that is simply wrapped a few
times around the spark plug wire of the engine in question. The wire
picks up the ignition pulses which indicate the engine is running and
the hour meter should count. Some also function as a tachometer when the
engine is running and hour meter when it's not. They run around $20-$30
Probably varies from brand to brand. I expect most give a low batt
warning and will hold the time for long enough to change the battery.
Certainly wouldn't hurt to keep a paper maint log for the equipment and
note run time at each servicing. The batteries on these things should
last at least a year or more so just replacing during annual service
isn't a bad idea either.
That's kewl to know...everything I have _is_ diesel (except the
Wisconsin engine in the manlift, but it's constant rpm so JLG just
went w/ an elapsed time meter on it) so wasn't aware of the induction
pickup ones but makes a lot of sense. Who knows, sometime I might
have something else, too....
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