Adding Instruments to Boat

Electrical and electronic topics for small boats
Henrykjr
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:04 pm

Adding Instruments to Boat

Postby Henrykjr » Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:18 pm

I'm happy to say after 32 years I finally bought another boat: a 1993 Boston Whaler Rage with a Yamaha 650 jet drive. The decision was a compromise between the Waverunner my Wife wanted and the Center console boat I wanted.

I would like to add some small gauges to the boat, primarily a compass, clock, Tachometer, Voltmeter, Hour Meter(resetable), and most importantly an engine temperature gauge. I will use a GPS/Fishfider for speed indication.

The RAGE boat has no gauges whatsoever,

Additionally I want the gauges to look as factory as possible, relatively small, and uniform looking. A must is being able to read these gauges in direct sunlight.

This stuff is all over ebay and is confusing to me. Can someone here recommend a gauge set or where I should be looking? Remember this is being added to Yamaha 650 jetski motor.

Thanks in advance!
HK

jimh
Posts: 5408
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
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Re: Adding Instruments to Boat

Postby jimh » Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:04 am

Of the instruments you mention, only the tachometer and temperature gauges will need to be specific for the particular engine you have; they will connect to sensors on the engine.

Tachometers are usually distinct for two-stroke-power-cycle and four-stroke-power-cycle engines; get a tachometer that is compatible with the particular engine you have. Often tachometers have some sort of calibration control that makes them more flexible and allows their use with engines of different cylinder and ignition configurations. You will have to research what options are available for your specific engine.

Engine temperature gauges must be paired with a matched temperature sensor in order to read accurately. In addition, the mechanical design of the temperature sensor can vary. On some engines there is a pre-threaded boss on the engine block intended for the sensor to be threaded into. On other engines the temperature sensor is mechanically mounted against some portion of the block with a hold-down clamp of some type. Gauges and sensors must be matched. Select a gauge and sensor combination that will mount easily on your engine and take advantage of any pre-threaded mounting bosses there might be on the engine block.

A compass and a clock are not connected to engine sensors. A clock generally runs from the 12-Volt power on the boat, but unless power is provided continuously to the clock, it won't keep proper time. For this reason it is rather unusual to have a clock as part of the instrumentation on a small boat, which won't be able to provide continuous electrical power to operate the clock. Note that most modern multi-function displays which are integrated with a global navigation satellite system receiver (GNSS receiver) will obtain the time from the satellite constellation, and this is a more useful method of telling time on a small boat.

A compass uses no electrical power; it operates from the Earth's magnetic field. Installation of a compass must be done so that local sources of magnetic fields do not affect the compass. A complete discussion of compass mounting and installation us beyond the scope of this reply. If boating in darkness is likely, a compass usually has internal illumination lamps that can be powered from the boat 12-Volt battery to illuminate the compass dial. The compass installation manual will give advice on mounting location, magnetic compensation, and illumination wiring.

An hour meter just runs from 12-Volts, but the switch that controls the circuit can be wired in two general ways: the ignition key switch ACCY circuit can run the hour meter, or an oil pressure switch on the engine can run the hour meter. An engine hour meter is usually not able to be reset to zero hours.

A voltmeter usually monitors the voltage at the engine cranking battery terminal. Typically a voltmeter is connected to a circuit that is downstream of a control switch, so the voltmeter will be disconnected from the battery when the boat is not in use. If not disconnected, a voltmeter draws a small current that will eventually drain the battery to a very low state of charge.

Most marine engine gauges are made by a few OEM's and then private labeled for the engine manufacturer as that engine's brand. There are extensive varieties of aftermarket gauges available. For best aesthetics, you should try to buy all the gauges in a matching style and from the same manufacturer. Choice of color and dial marking styles is very broad, and you should be able to find something you like.

Henrykjr wrote:This stuff is all over ebay and is confusing to me. Can someone here recommend a gauge set or where I should be looking?


I don't recommend buying from on-line auction websites like eBay unless you have expert knowledge of the product. Many items sold there are oddball items that were obtained at surplus sales. You easily could buy something of no use for your application.

I cannot recommend a particular gauge set because I have no idea what sort of tachometer your engine needs, nor your preferences for color and style.

I suggest you look at a gauge manufacturer's website, such as FARIA to get a sense of what is available. See

FARIA MARINE PRODUCTS
https://fariabeede.com/2-pages/products_marine.php

To get advice specific for your engine, consult with the engine manufacturer and the gauge manufacturer. Since I am neither, I can't offer any further help.

Henrykjr
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:04 pm

Re: Adding Instruments to Boat

Postby Henrykjr » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:15 pm

Thanks Jim. Your input has me looking in the right direction.

It is funny how when you don't have a boat for so many years--I realized how dumb some of the questions were that I posted. :)

Faria builds some pretty nice stuff, and the instruments will be a huge upgrade to the look and functionality of the boat.

I was able to download a fuel consumption table for the 1993 Rage which shows it gets pretty thirsty when it's wound out at full speed consuming almost 6-GPH and I only have two 6-gallon fuel tanks on board. Fuel consumption is about 1.8-GPH at 3000-RPM , thus I'm trying to cook up some estimated run time by running a clock in conjunction with the tachometer and some smart tabs. A GPS receiver will tell me the distance.

I also think the jet drive is original in this boat. I have to ease onto the throttle to avoid cavitation. Not sure if the impeller tolerances are within specification. This also affects the fuel consumption.

I plan on doing some upgrades to the boat's center console to bring into the 2000's and will be posting the before and after pictures of the gauge, radio, navigation, and speaker install.

I'll also post on the smart tabs to see how they affected the ride.

HK

jimh
Posts: 5408
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:25 pm
Location: Michigan, Lower Peninsula
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Re: Adding Instruments to Boat

Postby jimh » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:13 pm

If seeking more discussion about performance of the boat, please start a new thread in the PERFORMANCE forum. This discussion is in SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL, and boat fuel economy, speeds, and other performance factors are not discussed in SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL.