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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
I-Command™ Digital Instrumentation from BRP
|Author||Topic: I-Command™ Digital Instrumentation from BRP|
posted 10-13-2005 09:38 PM ET (US)
Bombardier Recreational Products has sent its dealers information on their digital instrumentation line of outboard gauges, the I-Command™ Instruments. These digital gauges are NMEA-2000 standard devices and are supported on V6 E-TEC models. The gauges are designed specifically for use with NMEA-2000 certified Evinrude models.
The digital data communication is based on the NMEA-2000 standard and operates using a Controller Area Network (CAN) running at 250-kbits/second (CANBus).
The primary instrument in any I-Command system is the TACHOMETER. This gauge is required in all systems. The gauge is a 3.5-inch meter with an analog indicator dial for a 0-7,000 RPM Tachometer. There is also an LCD display across the lower half of the face, as well as three push buttons for operator entry.
The TACHOMETER performs these basic functions in the system:
--gauge brightness control
The TACHOMETER provides a continuous indication of the engine crankshaft speed via its dial pointer, and the LCD screen display can be scrolled through the following additional data:
--crankshaft speed (digital to four digit resolution)
The SPEEDOMETER is the next gauge usually added. It is also a 3.5-inch gauge with an analog pointer face, LCD display, and three push buttons. The face of the speedometer is available with calibration up to either 50-, 70-, or 80-MPH. The pointer provides a continuous dial indication of boat speed, and the LCD display can be scrolled to show the following data:
--boat speed (digital reading)
In addition to these two larger gauges, dedicated dial pointer type gauges in 2-inch diameter are also available to individully display:
--fuel tank level
The gauges are available in three color schemes:
--chrome bezel with white dial
A typical installation on a single engine boat will consists of the following components of the system:
CONNECTED TO STERN MOUNTED POWER HUB
CONNECTED TO FORWARD MOUNTED CONSOLIDATOR HUB
The POWER HUB provides two engine connections (E1, E2), two network connections (N1, N2), a power connection, and a terminator connection.
Additional sensors at the stern of the boat, such as a NMEA-2000 TRI-TRANSDUCER or an OIL RESERVOIR LEVEL SENSOR can be plugged into the stern POWER HUB.
The CONSOLIDATOR HUB provides four network connections (N1, N2, N3, N4) and a terminator connection.
In installations with only a TACHOMETER and SPEEDOMETER, the CONSOLIDATOR hub can be replaced with a terminator harness.
If additional 2-inch gauges are desired, a 2-INCH GAUGE HARNESS is daisy-chained from the tachometer harness.
Additional sensors such as a NMEA-2000 GPS receiver or a fuel tank level sensor can be connected to the CONSOLIDATOR HUB.
The network can be expanded to accommodate complex installations including triple engines.
posted 10-14-2005 09:03 PM ET (US)
This Jim Baron article--he's a Boston Whaler owner who is also editor for Bass & Walleye magazine--has good information on the NMEA-2000 standard and who is supporting it:
posted 11-04-2005 06:13 PM ET (US)
The I-Command series was officially released this week by Bombardier.
posted 11-04-2005 06:34 PM ET (US)
Good article jimh. I've been following bits of news on these products, and I like what I see so far. Have you heard any information on MSRP for these instruments?
|Tom W Clark||
posted 11-04-2005 06:50 PM ET (US)
Very cool, Jim. I look forward to a full article on their performance after you repower your Revenge with a pair of 150 hp E-Tecs ;-)
posted 11-05-2005 09:13 AM ET (US)
The formal introduction of the I-Command instruments was made Thursday, November 3, 2005, at the (re-scheduled) Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) . Roch Lambert, the vice president and general manager of Bombardier outboard marine engines told the assembled media:
"Our new I-Command instruments are designed to complement the Evinrude E-TEC engines, the industry's first National Marine Electronics Association certified outboard line. We are committed to delivering superior parts and accessories to enhance the quality and performance of our leading outboard engine technology."
Please note that in addition to the applications I mention above , the I-Command Instruments are designed specifically for the NMEA-2000 certified Evinrude E-TEC V4 and V6 engines. Good to hear the V4 models are ready for these gauges, too.
posted 11-06-2005 10:22 AM ET (US)
The hyperlink below will take you to an installation of the [NMEA-2000] gauges [from LOWRANCE] on a twin E-TEC powered boat. This professional fishing skipper is one of the first to have installed these gauges.
(Note: the target website uses frames and I had to break out of the frame navigation to direct you to the target. To navigate the website, jump to the main page at
posted 11-09-2005 08:41 AM ET (US)
Oops--the gauges shown on TeamGotSalt's website are from LOWRANCE, not from BOMBARDIER.
posted 11-09-2005 01:02 PM ET (US)
I have been putting together a collection of the different series of OMC/Bombardier instruments so people know what is, or was, available.
I recently added the I-Command series at the bottom of this page:
posted 11-22-2005 08:57 PM ET (US)
Any word on the price for these gauges?
posted 12-15-2005 08:34 PM ET (US)
It is almost 2006, and Evinrude still seems to be the only outboard manufacturer to have announced NMEA-2000 compliant gauges. For details on the I-Command NMEA-2000 compliant gauge instrumentation system see this brochure--ONE SYSTEM--SO MUCH INFORMATION (in portable document format, the lingua franca of the internet).
Your local Evinrude and Johnson dealer--and there thousands of them--will have more details available.
posted 12-16-2005 02:26 PM ET (US)
I have searched the web for any pricing info on BRP's I-Command Gauge packages, and come up empty. As I begin to talk with dealers, I'll post any info that I get on pricing. I suspect that at least for a while we'll be paying MSRP on this, until the aftermarket develops a bit more. The Lowrance versions look great, but I wonder if the LCD "needles" are difficult to see in bright sunlight.
posted 12-16-2005 02:43 PM ET (US)
Jim - From what I can tell, the "Command Link" system Yamaha announced in their most recent catalog, dated July 1, 2005, shows that they have the same thing, and apparently on more engine models. They devote four full pages of the catalog to it, and it shows all those same separate hubs mounted in the boats, etc. Also shows all their new gauges, sensors, etc.
I think the use of the word "Command" is interesting. I'm wondering if that is someone elses proprietary term and the outboard manufacturers can use incorporate it into their own branding?
The Yamaha system is available on all four-strokes, 50-HP and up, and also the HPDI's.
What I am not sure is whether all engines come with this system installed in the base price of the engine, as with Mercury Smartcraft, or whether it is a whole system that is optional and purchased separately? One thing I do not like is all those hubs that have to be separately rigged in the boat.
posted 12-16-2005 03:27 PM ET (US)
I think you are getting the gauge styles mixed up. The analog needle gauges with a small LCD display are the System Check Commander series that use a fuel flow transducer and regular wiring hookups. These will work on almost all the engines produced since 1996.
The I-Command for the E-TECs are round or square LCD screen gauges with different modes of digital displays. Since they use the CanBus NEMA 2000 standard, you only need one harness, even for multi engine rigs, along with junction boxes for additional hookups. The gauges are hooked up "daisy chain" style.
posted 12-16-2005 04:13 PM ET (US)
I'd better correct some of my previous post. The I-Command gauges for the E-TEC are available in two styles, the analog needle display with a rectangular LCD screen near the bottom (Classic style) or a round LCD display gauge (Digital) in which you can select the "mode".
The Classic style and the Commander SystemCheck series gauges use a needle to display rpm and the needle is very visible.
The fuel flow system on the E-TEC gauges use the calculated flow from each injector pulse. Yes, the EMM "counts" every injector firing. It also re-calibrates each injector as it wears. It counts in multiples of 250,000 pulses.
I compared the EMM calculated fuel flow with a fuel flow meter and every time it was within 0.1 or 0.2 gallons per hour. [This prompted a discussion of the accuracy of fuel flow measurement via indirect methods, now a separate thread]
posted 12-16-2005 11:35 PM ET (US)
Yamaha announced some time ago it would support NMEA-2000 protocols in its new gauges. If they actually have these available now that is great news!
The more NMEA-2000 protocols are adopted and standardized by engine manufacturers, the better the market will be for this type of instrumentation. I believe HONDA will also join in the NMEA-2000 protocol movement. This will leave Mercury as the odd man out with its proprietary SmartCraft.
NMEA-2000 protocol digital instrumentation will soon become the marine standard for the future. I hope more engine makers and more marine electronics manufacturers adopt NMEA-2000. It will serve to help the boater by making interconnection of electronic instrumentation easier and also help keep prices down through competition.
I don't think elaborate NMEA-2000 instrumentation is likely to be installed on boats with smaller engines, although eventually the price may be driven down to the point where it is attractive.
posted 12-17-2005 10:08 AM ET (US)
Larry Anderson of Maretron was Chairman of NMEA Standards from 1999 to 2004. In a nice presentation made at the Annapolis Sailboat Show, he noted the following differences in philosophy between open and proprietary standards:
With an open standard
With a proprietary standard
posted 12-17-2005 10:28 AM ET (US)
At first glance, there is the appearance of a conflict between the statement of Roch Lambert on Novmber 3, 2005, that the E-TEC was the first engine to be certified for NMEA-2000 compliance, and the inference to be drawn from LHG's observation that Yamaha published a catalogue on July 1, 2005 that "shows that they have the same thing."
I believe that the resolution to this apparent conflict comes from the absence of NMEA-2000 certification of the Yamaha engine at the time the catalogue was printed. I have not seen the registered trade mark NMEA-2000 used on Yamaha literature. Perhaps in the future they intend to get their system certified. I am sure they will make an announcement of this when they obtain the certification.
posted 12-17-2005 10:51 AM ET (US)
From Yamaha's service info, the NEMA 2000 systems will ONLY work on 2006 motors, NOT 2005's.
E-TEC 2005 V6 motors came standard with NEMA 2000 connections on the motor harness.
posted 01-14-2006 06:29 AM ET (US)
More information on the Evinrude I-Command NMEA-2000 instrumentation is now available:
I-Command Rigging Selection Guide and Price List:
I-Command Installation Guide:
posted 01-14-2006 06:38 AM ET (US)
A recent installation of seven I-Command gauges on a dual engine center console boat.
Here is a close-up view of the larger gauges. The display can vary in configuration to show many parameters.
The gauge display can include a visual indication of engine speed synchronization.
posted 01-17-2006 08:20 PM ET (US)
The photos above show gauges that look a great deal like the Lowrance brand guages displayed on the GoSalt web site referenced in another thread on the forum. Here's an example: http://www.teamgotsalt.com/images/DSC01306.JPG
I suspect those shown above may in fact be made by Lowrance for BRP. What is not clear to me is if these I-Command guages are going to replace the analog/digital combination guages shown in the installation manual shown here, http://continuouswave.com/whaler/reference/NMEA2000/ I-CommandInstallation.pdf or if these all digital guages are going to replace the combination units. If they are a separate offering, do they have a different product name or model?
posted 01-18-2006 04:33 PM ET (US)
Could I be so rude and crude to say, as a design oriented person, those are the worst and clunkiest looking guages I have seen in some time? They look like a side view of a diamond baguette engagement ring, turned up side down, with edges too thick. Maybe a "retro" look of the 40's?
I still like the look of the modern look of Teleflex & Mercury Flagship (made by Teleflex) domed gauges. Not real fond of the Mercury Smartcraft gauges either, but they do look better than these in my opinion.
posted 01-19-2006 03:44 PM ET (US)
Further to the above, I am now wondering where the gauges pictured in this thread came from.
I have a new 2006/2007 Evinrude accessories catalog, and they show some very nicely designed and good looking, white background, analog/digital gauges similar to the Mercury Smartcraft line. These I would recommend to people using the new I-Command system with their E-tec engines.
posted 01-19-2006 06:35 PM ET (US)
I see that these gauges have the optional chrome bezel installed. Normally they are all black around the circumference.
There are 2 styles of E-TEC I-Command CANbus gauges, the white faced or black faced analog gauges with a digital display near the bottom, and the other is the all-digital display screens as are shown in this thread, in both 3" and 2" screens.
posted 05-27-2006 11:49 AM ET (US)
I moved this discussion and its many valuable hyperlinks to the SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL area. With the 2006 boating season in full swing, many boaters may be interesting in upgrading their boat instrumentation to the NMEA-2000 level.
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
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