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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Yamaha Bar Fuel Gauge
|Author||Topic: Yamaha Bar Fuel Gauge|
posted 11-24-2006 10:58 AM ET (US)
I can't stand the Yamaha bar graph fuel gauge. You never know when you are going to drop a bar and each bar represents 25 gallons! So one minute you thing you have say 50 gallons and the next you have 25. Can I tie in an analog gauge and run both from the same sending unit?
posted 11-24-2006 11:26 AM ET (US)
So you're going to add another way to display the reading from your standard marine grossly-inaccurate fuel level pickup? It would make more sense to install a fuel flow meter or some other way to measure fuel consumption.
The Yamaha guage at first gave me this sense of "it's high tech so the reading must be accurate". Wrong. It's only as good as the data being fed to it.
posted 11-24-2006 11:33 AM ET (US)
The new Yamaha [Command Link] gauges have more bars and a fuel flow meter built into them, but they are pricey. In answer to your original question, you can tie in another gauge. I had original Boston Whaler gauge and Yamaha, but swist has a point: fuel flow is the most accurate.
posted 11-24-2006 11:38 AM ET (US)
Don't have the dough for a fuel management system. But, I'd rather look at an analog gauge and see what is going on rather than those silly bars. I went out the other day and thought I had 1/4 tank. Five minutes out I lost a bar and headed back. I think I'd have a better feel for what I have with an analog gauge.
posted 11-24-2006 12:51 PM ET (US)
You can use an analog meter (it's just a voltmeter) in place of the bargraph. But you'll have to calibrate it, may be with a potentiometer in series.
posted 11-24-2006 10:13 PM ET (US)
I too hate the inaccurate Yamaha gauges so I just added a Navman 2100 fuel flow meter. It cost $150 and tells you exactly how many gallons you have left in the tank.
posted 11-24-2006 11:29 PM ET (US)
I also have the Yamaha digital gauges, and am not too fond of the bar graph. I also had a small factory analog gauge that was installed in the dash, but not hooked up. So I connected the second gauge in parallel with the first. The result was, neither one worked.
So, I installed a rocker switch to toggle between one gauge and the other. Since I have twin engines, I also powered the analog gauge off the other engine, so if I have to get home on one engine, I will have a working fuel gauge...
I leave it selected to the analog guage most of the time. However, I also have the Yamaha fuel management system, which measures fuel flow similar to a Floscan unit. While I haven't calibrated it, rough estimates seem to indicate that it is reading as it should. Next spring, I will patch in the speed output of the GPS unit, so that the meter will also indicate miles per gallon. (The Yamaha input cable cost 36 bucks -- ouch!)
posted 11-24-2006 11:33 PM ET (US)
Also, the Yamaha bar graph seems to have a time delay / dampening function, so that the constantly changing angle of the boat does not send the indication jumping up and down as the fuel sloshes around in the tank. Hence, the segments appear to randomly disappear. Any level gauge is only accurate with the boat at rest, with the tank perfectly level fore and aft...
posted 11-25-2006 08:44 AM ET (US)
Many of them are not accurate even under those conditions. The mechanism is a lever arm with float and a cheap pot. After bouncing around for a while, they loosen up, bend, or otherwise mess up (one of mine hung on a baffle, showing the tank as always mostly full).
"Marine fuel gauge" and "accuracy" whould never appear in the same sentence.
posted 11-25-2006 09:33 AM ET (US)
You can buy a Navman Fuel 2100 for less than a the price of a tank of gas ($120), and for much less than the cost of a tow. These are simple but very accurate instruments. If you really want to know how much fuel you have in the tank, get one.
posted 11-25-2006 10:47 AM ET (US)
For anyone interested, here is a link to Calibrating Centroid senders for the Yamaha Bar Graph display. I had never seen this before, have not tried it, but will definitely try it next boating season.
posted 11-25-2006 12:45 PM ET (US)
Most "sending units" for tank level measurement are variable resistor linked to a float in the tank. The change in resistance of the "sending unit" is used to vary the current flow through an associated direct current milliamp meter.
If you connect more than one meter or current source to the "sending unit" you will affect the calibration.
posted 11-25-2006 02:25 PM ET (US)
And these sending units are not linear
posted 11-27-2006 10:00 AM ET (US)
Thanks, the Navman sounds good.
As an example yesterday I added gas and it showed 1/2 tank. After a 3 hour cruise I pulled back to the dock and it was still at 1/2 tank. I could probably run it another 15 minutes and suddenly a bar will dissapear. It seems to be accurate enough and functioning as it was designed just can't display 20-25 gallons!
posted 11-29-2006 10:23 PM ET (US)
I placed a float gauge in my tank and disconnected the yamaha gauge, I had an access panel on the top of my sending unit, and made a clear see through cover. I know how much gas I have all the time with no wires.
posted 11-30-2006 03:09 PM ET (US)
That's what I'm thinking....
Drill a hole above the sender and silicone a plexiglass window in. There already is a mini gauge on top of the tank.
posted 11-30-2006 09:46 PM ET (US)
If you are going to make a hole use a small deck plate, you can get clear inserts and it will be flush with the deck. also if the lid becomes damaged you can just replace it with no problems. I like to keep things simple, functional and that will last without problems...good luck
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