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Author Topic:   I-Command Fly-By-Wire
hauptjm posted 05-29-2007 11:38 PM ET (US)   Profile for hauptjm  
I've read quite a few of the articles related to the I-Command gauges and their open system. I'm curious if there are plans to bring out a "fly-by-wire" system as well, or does it already exist? I found that the throttle/shift system Mercury offers is unbelievable. I know the information provided by the gauges (both SmartGauge and I-Command) are cutting edge, but my hand is on the throttle from the time I leave the dock, until I shut her down. I do occasionaly glance at my gauges!
jimh posted 05-30-2007 09:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I don't know if NMEA-2000 protocol includes provisions for engine control communication. In SmartCraft systems I believe that the engine control data actually runs on its own network wiring. This avoids any problems with network communication being interrupted by other data. SmartCraft segregates the control data from the instrumentation data.

There are a number of automobile engines which are now using electronic throttle controls. I think some GM truck engines have them. In an E-TEC motor the throttle shaft is not complicated, and it looks like it would be not very hard to create an electronic actuator to move it.

The more difficult engineering problem is to actuate the gear shift mechanism. This likely needs a larger and more powerful actuator.

hauptjm posted 05-30-2007 10:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
I would have to say that the competition to Mercury is loosing out in this regard. My experiences with the DTS system was memorable. I've spoken with many folks that have used it on occasion and use it regularly, and it leaves quite an impression. I know all of the manufacturers try to keep pace with one another, but this is an area where I believe Mercury has truly passed the crowd. As I said above, our hand is on the wheel and the controls virtually the entire time we're aboard our vessels. The ergonomics of this control change the perception of the boating experience.

Jimh, as a sidebar, do you have any photos of the Verado set-up showing the actuator and component parts at the engine side of this system? Everytime I've been exposed to DTS it's been on the water, so it was not convenient to remove the cowling. Just curious what it looks like, and just how complicated it is.

hauptjm posted 05-30-2007 10:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Well it seems that there are some new players in the market. Suzuki has apparently entered the fray:

http://www.suzukimarine.com/news/documents/precisioncontrols_hdr_051206. pdf

As has Tecnautic and ZF Marine:

http://www.tecnautic.com/public/brochures%20US/fadec_e.pdf

http://zf-marine.com/ZFR/Controls/index.cfm?PID=B

For some time now I have seen advertisements in WorkBoat Magazine and Professional Boatbuilder, but those control systems were designed for commercial use. I think this is going to be a trend in the recreational field, and Mercury has been a big part of that.

hauptjm posted 05-30-2007 10:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
jimh, also to the point of separating control data from instrumentation data, doesn't the SmartGauge provide information like engine trim. This input would come from the DTS, making it seem like they do process both.

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