Evinrude iDOCK

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jimh
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Evinrude iDOCK

Postby jimh » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:10 am

If you were contemplating re-powering your larger classic Boston Whaler boat with twin engines and considering the Evinrude E-TEC G2 models, then your decision might be swayed by the just introduced newest version of joystick steering system called iDock. Details are a bit sketchy, but Evinrude introduces the iDock at their website at

https://www.evinrude.com/en-US/idock.html

The iDock is only for the new E-TEC G2 engines with integrated hydraulic steering. The system is implemented in the hydraulic hoses linking the engine's integral steering actuators to the boat's helm hydraulic pump, and the ability to steer manually from the helm is always provided. A gyroscopic sensor is said to provide improved performance in the presence of wind and current, allowing the boat to maintain a particular heading while maneuvering with the joystick. In the modern world of micro-electronic-mechanical sensors (MEMS) the implementation of a gyroscope is now very feasible in small electronic devices, and many smartphones have such sensors. The term "aircraft gyro" is frequently mentioned in association with iDock, so the inference is, apparently, that the gyroscope used is suitable for use in aircraft. Generally any electronics for an aircraft cost at least ten time what the same device would cost for a boat. I would expect that any electronic device employing a gyroscope that was approved for use in aircraft to operate the control surfaces of the wings and engine throttles would have to be rather rigorously tested to gain approval. I don't think "aircraft gyro" can be interpreted to mean all that.

The iDock has an MSRP of $5,999, which is said to represent quite a reduced price point for a joystick steering control system. Competitors' systems are said to be priced at two to three times the iDock.

A somewhat noisy musical track accompanies a short recorded presentation showing the iDock in use. Turn down the volume before playing from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJiylKxTDsA

The recorded presentation urges viewers to "stop worrying about docking." I suggest that people who are prone to worry might also consider worrying about rather complex electronic systems for joystick steering instead--well, okay, that might be a bit paranoid, but if you are prone to worry it might be right in your ballpark.

A pictorial diagram of the hydraulic portion of the system is provided (below), although without some supporting text to further explain, I am not entirely sure what goes on in the two "black boxes" in the drawing, but apparently that's where the magic is. My best guess is the black box at the helm may isolate the helm steering wheel pump when iDock is engaged, and the black box at the stern isolates the two engine lines so they can get different outputs from the iDock hydraulic pump. Here is a sketch of the system:
IDOCK_PictorialDiagram.png
IDOCK_PictorialDiagram.png (59.52 KiB) Viewed 3723 times


Evinrude showed the new iDock installed on a SCOUT boat's helm (and probably the same boat as demonstrated in the presentation):
IDOCKonScoutBoatHelm.jpg
IDOCKonScoutBoatHelm.jpg (36.83 KiB) Viewed 3722 times


The joystick controller is the only visible component of the system, as the two black boxes are tucked away out of sight and appear to be rather small in comparison to other versions of joystick steering that are implemented with external hydraulic boost pumps. There is an icon on the base of the joystick with the universal ON-OFF meaning, and other than the joystick with rotary knob, that appears to be the only control.The icon illuminates when the iDock is active. Based on some reports from first-hand users who were able to test a prototype of the product several months ago, when the joystick is moved beyond an initial detent in the motion range, the engine RPM will increase to provide more thrust; this may be needed in maneuvers being made in strong winds or with current effects at the dock.

number9
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Re: Evinrude iDOCK

Postby number9 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:27 pm

[A sidebar discussion of proper form of iDock has been deleted; the proper form has been determined to be iDOCK in headlines and iDock in text--jimh]

Mambo Minnow
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Re: Evinrude iDOCK

Postby Mambo Minnow » Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:52 am

Once again trailing in Mercury's wake.

Jefecinco
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Re: Evinrude iDOCK

Postby Jefecinco » Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:55 am

Mambo--I believe the BRP iDock and G2 engine mounted and powered power steering pump are innovative to the point of greatly surpassing the old Mercury Marine systems. In particular I applaud the prices offered to consumers for the iDock system. Admittedly, the iDock is not as full featured as the Mercury system. I would ask how many buyers really want or need those extra features and I believe the answer is, not many.

The G2 engine combined with the iDock presents a powerful incentive to carefully consider BRP over Mercury when doing a repower or buying a new boat.

What outboard manufacturer is bring great innovation to the market compared to BRP? Certainly not Mercury Marine. Suzuki, with it's new 350 HP high compression, dual propeller engine, seems also to be challenging Mercury innovation in a big way.
Butch

jimh
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Re: Evinrude iDOCK

Postby jimh » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:03 am

Mambo Minnow wrote:Once again trailing in Mercury's wake.


If coming first were the most important consideration in what to buy, then we would have to say "once again trailing in Evinrude's wake" about every other outboard engine ever made, considering that Evinrude started manufacturing outboard engines more than 90-years ago.

Evinrude has already had joystick steering and maneuvering systems available for several years. The new iDock is just a further evolution of those systems. Also the price point is much less than ANY previously available system. The iDock is designed to take advantage of the invention by Evinrude of integrated electrically-boosted hydraulic steering contained in the outboard engine mounting itself. The Mercury engine line has nothing like it, and still uses large external hydraulic boost pumps to implement their steering system.

jimh
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Re: Evinrude iDOCK

Postby jimh » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:42 pm

Using the WHALER.COM website, I found that the increase in cost to add a joystick steering system to a Boston Whaler boat with twin VERADO engines was $28,315. When I compare the cost to add iDock to a boat with twin Evinrude G2 engines, I see that the Evinrude system cost is only $5,999. The Evinrude system is less expensive and there is such an enormous difference in cost that the two can hardly even be compared on a cost basis. The Mercury system cost is almost five-times greater. (28315/5999=4.72)

I understand that the Mercury system provides some additional features, most notably the ability to hold the boat in a fixed position from GNSS receiver position solution, but I doubt that for a typical boater the addition of the added features of the Mercury system would be justified by its enormously higher cost. The primary purpose of adding joystick steering is to allow easier maneuvering under helmsman control in docking situations. In those situations the notion of holding position by GNSS receiver position is of no value. The very concept of a joystick steering system is for the joystick to be manipulated manually, and the boat maneuvered under human piloting, not under autonomous control of a positioning system.

There is no mention in the Mercury system of use of any sort of gyroscopic sensor to maintain heading; whether or not the Mercury system has this feature is unknown to me, but the Evinrude system clearly employs a gyroscopic sensor and will maintain boat heading during certain maneuvers.

Excerpt from the WHALER.COM website page where cost was determined is quoted below; note the engines are stock engines and are included in the boat base price. The option is only for the joystick steering and a mandatory display device:

250 CXL L6 DTS Black Dual Mercury Verado FourStroke engines with Joystick Piloting; outboard docking system with joystick, electronic steering, Skyhook/autopilot keypad and functionality (Raymarine or other standalone optional autopilots not permitted with Joystick Piloting)(Vessel View 4 display included)...$28,315


I will note that the price suggested by Whaler represents the price for the Mercury joystick system to be installed and configured on a new boat, while the Evinrude price presumed to be just the cost of the device itself; there will probably be some additional cost charged for installation if the iDock is purchased and its installation is hired out to be performed by a service provider. I don't have any data about new boat retail prices with and without iDock to make a comparison.

rtk
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Re: Evinrude iDOCK

Postby rtk » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:37 am

I recently had a discussion with a guy who just purchased a new 30 foot Sea Hunt with twin 250 Yamahas. He purchased the boat this past January at a boat show. The boat included the Yamaha Helm Master system.

http://yamahaoutboards.com/rigging/helm-master/overview

He reported the upcharge for this accessory was approximately $10,000. In context to the overall price of the boat package it was probably less then a 10% upcharge.

All of these systems are truly impressive. I'm 52 years old and have been on the water since I was 8 years old. Outboard technology has really come a long way- all of these systems are facinating to me.

Rich

Mambo Minnow
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Re: Evinrude iDOCK

Postby Mambo Minnow » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:17 pm

JimH - I doubt that any of these systems are geared to you and I, the single engine, 20-23 foot boat owner. These joystick systems are targeted at the 30-42 foot boats with up to triple engine, costing upwards of $750K. The prospective owners of these boats are not going to quibble over the up charge for the benefits docking such a behemoth represent to the average recreational boater.

jimh
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Re: Evinrude iDOCK

Postby jimh » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:36 pm

If you are interested in seeing the iDock and taking a demonstration ride, Evinrude will be exhibiting and have a boat in the water with iDock available at the follow boating show events:

Schedule of Test Ride Events
Sept. 8–11: Tampa Bay Boat Show, Tampa, Florida
Nov. 1–5: Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Also, if you have not seen the latest Evinrude G2 E-TEC engine, Evinrude will have boats with the new G2 engines on display and available for test rides at the following events:

Schedule of Test Ride Events
Aug. 12–13: FLW Championship, Prosperity, South Carolina
Sept. 8–10: Montreal Boat Show, Montreal, QC, Canada
Sept. 8–11: Tampa Bay Boat Show, Tampa, Florida
Sept. 14–17: Metro Boat Show, Harrison Township, Michigan
Sept. 16–17: Bassmaster Angler of the Year, Garrison, Minnesota
Sept. 21–24: Norwalk Boat Show, East Norwalk, Connecticut
Sept. 29–Oct. 1: Tobay Boat Show, Massapequa, New York
Oct. 7–8: Anglers in Action, Lake of The Ozarks, Missouri
Oct. 12–15: United States Power Boat Show, Annapolis, Maryland
Oct. 21: American Crappie National Championship, Lake of The Ozarks, Missouri
Nov. 1–5: Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, Fort Lauderdale, Florida