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Author Topic:   Opti-max(digital)
Ed Stone posted 09-19-2000 09:42 PM ET (US)   Profile for Ed Stone   Send Email to Ed Stone  
Can someone help me with the diffrence
between a standard opti-max and a digital
opti-max?I was told the same basic motor
except with detailed gauges.
Thanks,Ed Stone
Clark Roberts posted 09-19-2000 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Ed, here's my take on the digital question... all Optimax engines are digital in that they are controlled by a digital computer (Engine Control Module...ECM) or Engine control Unit (ECU).., Take your pick of the termonalogy.. Early Optimax had a digital gage package as optional.. and required a kit .. Now all are wired for the digital gages.... and analog gages require a kit.. I am awaiting a set of gages for a new 2001 Opti 225 and am getting the digital because no kit is required.... ??????? Clark .. Spruce Creek Navy
Ed Stone posted 09-20-2000 09:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Stone  Send Email to Ed Stone     
Hey Clark,
I've been looking at a 23 with T-135 optis.
They claimed the motors were digitals.
So the diffrence would be the type of gages
That come mounted on the center console.
I would guess there would be a gage for each
motor.In the past I have had good luck with
the extended warrantys,whats your opinon
on Ext. Warrts.?I wonder if trim tabs would
be beneficial on a boat that size with
twin motors.
Thanks,Ed Stone
Clark Roberts posted 09-20-2000 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Ed, I may be wrong about the digital thing but think not! The Opti's come with a nice multi-gage which has a warning light for overtemp, low oil/no oil, water in gas, and a check engine light... the damn thing is so smart it won't let you damage the engine! Has a built in hour meter and an rpm history on demand (with shop diagnostic equipment). I have all analog gages: tach, trim, temp, volts and a digital hr. meter... extended warranties are worth the $ since motors cost so much these days... A friend of mine, Billy Clark, just bought a 23 Conquest with twin 135 Opti's... he has not trailered it from Panama City, where he bought it, to DAytona Beach yet but will week after next..
he has sea-trialed her and reports 47 mph WOT.... it has trim tabs and for some reason I think they are std. eqpt... maybe not???? Is the 23 you're looking at a Conquest or Center Console.... ???? Billy is bringing the new (1998) Conquest to my dock until he can make arrangements for other dockage/stowage.. I will wring it out and report my observations asap!!! With a 22 Revenge WT/WD at the dock also, I won't have much room left...sound familiar , Big Z?? Your 27 cuddy took up lots of space but a 22 and a 23 at the same time.. oh well, at least I get to drive them all..heh, heh... Clark... Spruce Creek Navy
bigz posted 09-21-2000 05:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Your just going to have to expand the SCN yard my friend --- Z
lhg posted 09-21-2000 01:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
It's amazing what's happening in outboard engine instrumentation. Seems like the industry is about 20 years behind the automotive industry, not that this is good.
Remember the outcry against the so called "idiot lights" and digital speedometers? The foreign car makers made great fun of the American makers (and so did the buyers of same vehicles) because of the boring, simplified dashboards, totally absent of any "real" gauge! But it did make some sense, since many auto drivers really were "idiots" and could not read, or understand what the analog gauges were telling them. Now, again, any well designed auto, foreign or not, has the full array of analog gauges again, with all the digital, and most of the warning light stuff, basically gone. Now the outboard industry has picked up this outdated idea, reworked it a little, and is pushing it as the latest technology, most likely because of the HUGE cost savings in designing and rigging a boat with all those gauges! They do take up space! This is also happening in some of the latest aircraft, such as the Boeing 717, where it seems to make MORE sense, because of the thousands of gauges they typically have.

One thing (about the only thing!) I like about the "go-fast" boats, are the great analog instrument panels. These guys know what their doing in that category. I guess it's part of the macho image.

So now were back to the boring (ala the old autos) one or two (if you have twins) idiot gauge marine dashboard. Is this what the engine manufacturers are now telling us - we're idiots? Not for me! I'm with the Cigarette boat guys on this one.

I have always said that Classic Boston Whalering, with all the teak and mahogany trim, was more than just boating recreation.
It's also got to be a hobby if you want your boat to be rigged right and look great. This is not for everybody, but probably involves MOST of the people frequenting this site.
Installation of a nice gauge array on a Whaler can be part of this.

Admittedly, Whalers over the years have not had a particularly large area for gauges. But I sure hate to see a big twin engine Outrage, new or old, with only two multi-purpose gauges. Kind of like the old days of the american cars.

bigz posted 09-21-2000 02:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Don't know if I follow this one Larry --- what is the difference with a single gauge which tells all or an array of gauges which show just one thing --- it's the function that counts not the amount of hardware -- your oil pressure drops so says the analog or a horn sounds so says a digital gauge bottom line something needs tending to now don't it (however if one doesn't know what to do check for in the first place when say this occurs an analog ain't going to be any more help in getting to the problem than a digital alarm) --- and as far as rigging might be a tad easier with just a gauge or two but the multi-gauge still has to have the various sending units hooked up and properly tuned --- I would think --- and on the packaged gauge sets which come with the big motors the wiring harness which is pre-made by the factory still has to be run up to the analog/digital instruments anyway --- the proper routing takes a goodly amount of time on most rigging jobs regardless multi-function or individual gauges just don't have to drill as many holes with multi ---

Like Clark mentioned you now need a "kit" for analog on the Opti's my guess, Clark will pipe in here if off base, the "kit" and wiring just convert the digital single to analog --- but it makes sense that Merc is wiring their engines for digital since that is the signal being sent from the Control Module why have an intermediary translator just another thing that can foul up ---

Of course we have a full array of instruments on the 27 --- takes up 2/3's of the super console dash!

I also by the way immediately went out and got a tach for the 13's Force 35 and still looking for a water temperature unit for it --- ( US Marine brand to match the tach --- heh heh before I hear about Faria (sp) or Teleflex availability)

Not sure whether I'm "old" fashioned or not!

Just some thoughts for what there worth --- as they say whatever floats your boat do it or use it because it's your boat!


dgp posted 09-21-2000 05:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
From what I see, the trend in the recreational boating industry is automotive style instrument panels; individual analog gages all packaged in an instrument cluster that is a plug-and-play device into the wiring harness.
The gage-farm dash panels on the go-fast boats is there for one reason, as Larry said, a macho, gage-envy thing. Most of those boat buyers don't have a clue as to what the gage really indicates and wouldn't know a bad reading.
If I was clipping along at 60 MPH, I'd really only be interested in a tach and fuel gage and maybe a speedo. I'd want my electronically controlled engine's microprocessor to watch the engine's vital signs and warn me via light and horn if something went awry. The really neat thing about these electronic systems is that they can provide engine protection formerly only dreamed of; low oil pressure alarm relative to engine speed, as the engine RPM increases the low oil pressure alarm point increases also.
Actually, what's in the near future is a CAN Bus system where there is only one cable between the engine and the daisy-chained individual gages all communicating with a common protcol. Neat stuff! Don
Backlash posted 09-21-2000 07:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Backlash  Send Email to Backlash     
Re: trim tabs, IMO any and every boat could benefit from trim tabs. Obviously on smaller boats there isn't enough transom space for tabs. The problem with the newer deep vee Whaler hulls is that they really dig a big hole when taking off. This was not as much of a problem with the "classic" hulls. Whaler has factory installed trim tabs on many of the newer models and I've noticed that many are undersized. I understand they do this for liability reasons. As an example, the 21 Conquest comes with 9"x9" tabs. I put 9"x12" on my 21 Walkaround after talking with an engineer at Whaler and would probably go with 12"x12" if I were to do it again. With the tabs partially down I get much better hole shots with very little bow rise. Heading into a chop, just ease the tabs down a bit and it's like running on glass smooth water. Got inexperienced boating friends on board who all like to sit or stand on one side of the boat while underway? No problem, just lower the other side to level out the boat. I'm a big fan of trim tabs and believe they are one of the cheapest ways to improve the ride/performance of a boat. Using the engine trim to adjust the boat attitude is not the efficient way to do it. If I had my 15 SS back I'd put trim tabs on it!
lhg posted 09-21-2000 07:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Don: Just curious - What type of factory rigged instrumentation did Boston Whaler/Mercury supply on your new Montauk, and did they offer you any options or choices as to what you could order?
dgp posted 09-21-2000 09:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
New Montauks ship with Tach, Water Temperature gage and Voltmeter. These are all arranged in a panel vertically to the left of the wheel. On the right panel there is provison for an additional 3 3/8" or 2" gage. Below that space is the 4 Carlingswitch Contura lighted rocker switches; Nav/Anchor, Bilge Pump and 2 Aux switches. Below them are a horn button (horn is now standard) and a Marinco plug recepticle. Each circuit is breaker protected. No add'l instrumentation was offered as an option. Probably available on the commercial hull.
The water temperature gage and engine sender appear to be incompatible since the gage just moves one pointer width above the cold mark which is 120 Degree F. My dealer is working with Mercury and Teleflex to get this sorted out. Even though the engine has a thermostat in the cooling system, I belive that engine oil temperature would be more indicative of overall engine temperature. Don
Ed Stone posted 09-21-2000 09:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Stone  Send Email to Ed Stone     
Hey clark,
How many diffrent Whalers Have had there
at spuce creek marina?
you'll have no choice but compare the two
cabin style whalers.22 revenge w/wd and the
23 conquest.You should document the feel and
impressions of all the Whalers you sea trial.
I'm excited and it's not my dock those
Whalers are tied up to.I don't even have a
I've been looking at the 23 Outrage with
twin 135 Opti's.I have also looked at the
Conquest.The conquest does seem to have
more seating arrangments if you don't
count the bow of the boat.While underway
with any kind of speed the bow is limited
as far as seating goes anyway.
Hey backlash,
Thanks for the info on the trim tabs.
I can understand now how valuble they
can be.
Ed Stone
triblet posted 09-21-2000 10:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
The Marinco recepticle is a step forward
for the factory. My '98 Montauk came
with a generic recepticle, and it corroded
straight away. I replaced it with a Marinco.
BTW, the Marincos are smaller in OD than
the generics, so I moved the recepticle, and
enlarged the original hole to take my
engine hour meter.

Chuck Tribolet

lhg posted 09-21-2000 10:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Don: I don't know about the four cycle outboards, but with the 2-cycles the temp gauge is not a water temp gauge at all, but instead a cylinder head temp gauge, which only reads C-H. Could be that you have that gauge, ( factory assuming most Montauks would be rigged with a 2 cycle) whereas the 4 cycle engine (at least inboards) require the water temp gauge.
Clark Roberts posted 09-22-2000 08:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
To clarify on Optimax "digital" gage package...etc... This package contains a tach (analog dial.. moving pointer) which has a couple of buttons on it... there is a digital readout which can be "stepped" via the buttons to read many, many functions like temp, gals per hour, fuel level in tanks, volts, air temp... etc.... etc.... etc..... if you want to back up these digital readouts with separate analog gages , you need the kit... if you don't want the "digital gage with analog tach" then you have to do some kitting and rewiring.. not recommended! My 2000 Opti 135 came with the four light multigage with harness and all sensors , even trim/tilt, ready to plug in the instruments... and the temp gage rides at mid range and doesn't hang at bottom of scale ... like most temp gages do! Ed, my boathouse and dock are a nieghborhood watering hole and affectionaltly called the "sports bar" because in the fall the TV has a ball game on and there are Whalers tied up outside... not a marina but headquarters for the Spruce Creek Navy which is a loose association of boaters with common interests, mostly Whalers (although some non-Whalers are involved).. Seems to be the perfect organization... no rules, no dues, no officers, no meetings, and best of all no affiliation with any govt. agency! Spruce Creek is a short (15 mile) tidal creek opposite Ponce de Leon Inlet near Daytona Beach, Florida and has an abundance of Whalers (about 30 in the two mile inhabited streach). Most end up (and start out) at my dock because I have a neat boat ramp. Biggest boat was BigZ's 27 Cuddy with twin 200 Yamahas.. here for several months awaiting the ICW trip to NJ... most whalers at dock was last Jan (bowl game) when there were eleven whalers tied up and 16 people watching a game.... ah, I can still smell the sardines! The only thing required to wear a Spruce Creek Navy decal on a boat is to agree to not wake other's boats when tied up at dock and to tow me in when I break down!!!! BTW, Big Z and Jim Hebert both have SCN decals for their Whalers.. Proud to have them fly the colors.... Picture of BIG Z's 27 tied up at SCN dock is on Cetacea... what a rig!!! Happy Whalin' ... Clark.. The Old Man and the Sea
alan posted 09-22-2000 06:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for alan  Send Email to alan     
Clark - you have it right. I repowered my 18'6" Outrage with a new 150 Optimax this summer. While waiting for the engine to come in they removed all my analog guages for a new 2000 in june. July 1 came with a new 2001 engine - all digital which means no multi-guages - just one 1x5" module that gives me everything and more from a technical standpoint. I usually keep it in the RPM mode and it's nice to know how much fuel I have used, a real convenience and to say "not much" is an understatement. the extra tach is approx. $600. which I'll put on next season since I have so many holes in my console. So far so good great engine.
alan posted 09-22-2000 06:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for alan  Send Email to alan     
Merc changed to all-digital technology in 2001. Just a thought. I remember when everyone complained when autos went electronic. You could not adjust the points - remember points? Now really, how many problems do we have with autos? Change the oil, replace the brakes & muffler/pipes/tires and drive for 200K+ miles. Used to be great if you got 60K out of a car! I love progress(and my old Whaler).
Clark Roberts posted 09-22-2000 09:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Alan, "ditto"..... The Old Man and the Sea
Ed Stone posted 09-24-2000 08:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Stone  Send Email to Ed Stone     
I've noticed the new catalog calls it
smartcraft deluxe gauge package.
They also have troll control which maintains
the rpm's in any water cond.
That would work for me(analog tach with
digital sensors)I would also want a Hour
meter for each motor.
Thanks for all the Info.
Clark Roberts posted 09-24-2000 12:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Ed, the Merc "Smartcraft" tach/multi-gage gives you engine hrs. automatically when ignition is turned on.....stays on for a few seconds.. you can also designate engine hrs. as the readout of choice at anytime, as you can with any of the other multitude of parameters.
Clark... The Old "analog" Brain Man
Ed Stone posted 10-01-2000 09:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ed Stone  Send Email to Ed Stone     
The Gauges on the 23 Outrage I looked at
has Three gauges. (2 tachs & 1 speedo)
all with the buttons and digital read out.
The console is huge ,but seems to be
limited for Electronics mounting.
There is great access to the back of the
console for wiring electronics.

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