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Author Topic:   Lowrance LMF-400 with Fuel Flow Sensor
Mike Brantley posted 08-12-2008 10:44 AM ET (US)   Profile for Mike Brantley   Send Email to Mike Brantley  
My Revenge has sat mostly ignored in the driveway for the past 11 months because a few of life’s hurdles kept us off the water in that time. I used vacation time last week to get her back into shape.

She’s almost ready to go back into the water, but now I have a malfunctioning Navman 3100 Fuel display unit in my dash. I believe the problem is the LCD display gone awry because of moisture inside the unit. Surely I’m out of warranty on this thing (will check), and the 3100 and the Northstar replacement version of this seem in short supply and pricey when found.

I love the 3100, but I am considering replacing it with the Lowrance LMF-400 because it’s cheaper and more readily available.

Anybody have any experience with the Lowrance? Can I connect it to my Garmin 3005C GPS/chart plotter/wonder box like I’ve done with the Navman 3100 to get MPG data?

It looks like the Lowrance can be used in a sophisticated setup, but I’ll likely only use it as a fuel flow monitoring device. It’s the only way I have to keep up with how much gas I have.

My main question/concern: Will the Lowrance LMF-400 with EP-10 sensor be a suitable replacement for my Navman 3100, or will I miss the 3100?

jimh posted 08-12-2008 11:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
From the LMF-400 instruction manual:

"This gauge will only work with a NMEA 2000 network. It MUST be connected to a NMEA 2000 network or it WILL NOT function."

Cf.: LMF-400_0151-222_111506.pdf

You will have to construct a NMEA-2000 network and also have an attached device which can supply the LMF-400 with data from a NMEA-2000 parameter group that supplies information about the vessel speed. I browsed the instruction manual looking for an explicit listing of what NMEA-2000 parameter groups the LMF-400 can use, but I did not find one. However, you can assume that if you have a connected NMEA-2000 device (such as a GPS receiver) that supplies data about vessel speed, the LMF-400 will use that data to compute the instantaneous fuel consumption rate in units such as miles-per-gallon.

Re the NAVMAN 3100 FUEL instrument: I just love mine, and I would offer the suggestion that you pursue a repair of the LCD display. The LCD display seems to be the Achilles Heel of that device.

Mike Brantley posted 08-12-2008 12:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
Thanks, Jim. That sounds a bit more complicated than attaching a single wire from my Garmin like I have going to the Navman 3100. I am anxious to get the boat back together and keep it in a covered wet slip again, so I don't want to devote more than a couple of weeks to getting this sorted out. That probably means I don't have time to send the Navman off for repairs. It looks like the 3100 can be opened with a small Torx screwdriver. I wonder if I would have luck drying it out that way. I will check my warranty status before doing anything drastic, but I've had the 3100 a long time.

Regarding the Lowrance... I see it available for roughly the same price packaged with either an EP-10 or an EP-60R fuel flow sensor. What's the difference between these two sensors? My assumption is that either kit will have everything I need for fuel useage monitoring and what I will lose over my current setup is the MPG data unless I find a way to connect the GPS.

I'm off to download some Lowrance manuals to get up to speed on the subject.

Plotman posted 08-12-2008 03:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Lowrance initially started out using proprietary blue connectors for their NMEA-2000 network in 2006, but switched to their red connectors in 2007, which seem to be more of a standard.

The EP-10 is for the old blue network, wherease the EP-60R is for the new red network. Unless you are hooking up to a legacy blue network, you want the EP-60R.

whalercop posted 08-13-2008 09:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalercop  Send Email to whalercop     
I purchased a LMF-200 for my Revenge. Man, did I learn a lot very quickly. [The LMF-200] did come with one fuel flow sensor, so I could set up the LowranceNET [NMEA-2000 network backbone] and make it work. If you want it to give you fuel tank level, that is another sensor, and if you have twins, that is another sensor. It seems like a pretty decent system, I can't really comment on its use so far. Let me know if you have any more questions, I just finished the install a month ago. Another thing make sure all your sensors have the red connectors. They are the new Lowrance connectors and the old blue ones will not work with them. [Lowrance] will tell you that they can get you converters, but I waited for a month and a half for one cable converter, before I finally cancelled the order and insisted that they gave me the sensor with the red connector.

ASIDE: Your story sounds a lot like mine, I have only splashed my Revenge once this year, and my Newtauk has been sitting beside it on the trailer for two years in the yard now.

Mike Brantley posted 08-13-2008 10:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
Thanks, guys, for the information about the Lowrance.

My Navman 3100 was working fine when I got the outboard up and running last week. Then I took the white protective cover off because it was almost black from mildew. I took it inside to clean it, and a heavy downpour of rain drenched the 3100. After that the most of the LCD cells would not light up and the ones that did were dim.

I bought a $6 screwdriver with eight tiny torx bits at Lowe's and opened up the 3100. I didn't see any moisture, but I let it air out a few hours. When I reassembled it many more but not all the LCD cells were functional and much less dim. I disassembled it again and will leave it to dry a couple of days before I try again.

So there is hope the Navman will work for me again. If not, I am strongly considering the Lowrance, which will means changing the hole size in the dash panel.

If I go Lowrance, I will certainly go for the red connectors as you both advise.

Mike Brantley posted 08-13-2008 11:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
So my Garmin 3005c uses NMEA 0183 so unless I am mistaken it can't talk to the Lowrance products we're discussing. That means I really hope I can get the Navman 3100 working again.

I just found out Garmin makes a fuel flow sensor now -- but it works with the newer 4000 series, not what I have.

jmorgan40 posted 08-14-2008 05:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
Yes, Lowrance products will work with both 0183 protocol and NMEA 2000.
Mike Brantley posted 08-14-2008 07:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
Thanks for correcting me then. That's good to know.
Mike Brantley posted 08-14-2008 10:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
JMorgan, are you certain the LMF-400 can be made to work with an NMEA 0183 GPS unit? The Lowrance manual only makes mention of NMEA 2000. And I have found mention elsewhere of people trying to get the LMF-400 to talk to a 0183 device using an adapter to no avail.
jmorgan40 posted 08-14-2008 10:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
No not the LMF-400. I am sorry I was thinking the head unit display when I answered the post. If you have a Lowrance display it will interface with 0183. Then it can be displayed on the guage through the NMEA connection. Sorry for the misunderstanding
Mike Brantley posted 08-14-2008 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
That’s OK. We’re back on the same page now. If I can’t get the Navman working satisfactorily again, it looks as though I will just have to live without MPG and operating range data that was computed by the Navman with input from my GPS. I simply cannot afford another GPS right now and really like my “old” Garmin. I’ve seen the Lowrance LMF-400 for around $160-$170 online, so I’ll go that route if I have to but will lose functionality over the system I had going before. At least for the time being anyway, as I could put a modern, second GPS on the boat down the ways a bit to be both a backup and a position provider for the LMF-400. I wonder what’s the cheapest GPS with NMEA 2000 capability.

For people starting from scratch with the current crop of electronics, there are a lot of neat options now and industry standard NMEA 2000 is a good thing. It just didn’t come out soon enough for me.

One thing I was using the Navman for was keeping up with engine hours, but I lost that number when I reset the 3100 trying to fix the LCD. Eleven months out of the water, and I can’t even remember the hours I had put on it. I do have an new-in-the-box, old-fashioned analog hours meter. Might as well hook that up.

whalercop posted 08-14-2008 08:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalercop  Send Email to whalercop     
Mike, I had on order a device made by Actisense that is called a NGW-1 that is supposed to interface NMEA-0183 [serial data] to NMEA-2000 [network interface]. I was in the same boat as you with an older Garmin GPSr, and I wanted to interface the LMF 200 with it to get the same data you wish. I had it on order from an online vendor, that I will not mention, unless you email me, for the same amount of time as the adapters, was told it would be spring 2008, then fall 2008. I cancelled the order. The biggest problem I have right now is that I bought a Uniden UM 525 and cannot get it to recognize the Garmin for the life of me. I have tried every wiring combination that I can imagine and it still will not recognize it, and I really want to use the [digital signal calling] stuff.
seabob4 posted 08-14-2008 09:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for seabob4  Send Email to seabob4     
The LMF-400 is strictly a NMEA 2000 device. It will not read 0183. The software architecture of the two systems are not compatable. Suzuki and BRP use the identical gauge, albeit with different silkscreening, while Smartcraft, although an excellent piece of hardware, is still an 0183 based system, albeit with some proprietary nuances to it.

Unfortunately, the best choice is to upgrade to a NMEA 2000 network. 0183 is just not going to be supported anymore, so if you want the data you desire, you'll have to buy an outdated, maybe used unit to get it to interface.

I love new tech, but I also love the fact that you can buy a stroker kit for a 350 Chevy and turn her into a 383. And it will fit forever. The price of technology...

Mike Brantley posted 08-14-2008 11:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
Thanks, folks for the conversation and the information. This thread has been educational for me in regards to the new instruments and electronics and NMEA 2000. However, it's all academic for me at this point.

Why? Well, that's my happy ending. I got my Navman 3100 Fuel fully working again with a clear LCD readout. After leaving it apart to dry some more, I realized that by fortunate accident I did so with the LCD screen upside down. Gravity did the job, as I noticed a single drop of water or maybe more had come out between the panes of glass that sandwich the LCD guts.

I got this far without problems with my 3100 by keeping the cover on it when not underway. I'll be sure to do that religiously, as the one time it got drenched without the cover I had this problem. I'll also be more careful with splashing water around the instrument panel -- but, jeeze, this is a boat.

I'll baby the 3100 since they don't seem to be available any longer.

Mike Brantley posted 08-14-2008 11:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
whalercop, did you have the GPS talking to a different radio before, or is this the first time you've attempted such hookup? It has been a while, but I seem to recall a Garmin setting to switch between a Garmin proprietary communication protocol and NMEA (not 2000). I've got my Garmin 3005c connected to my five-year-old Icom radio.
jimh posted 08-15-2008 08:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
NMEA-0183 serial data protocol will be around for a long time. Connection to just about all VHF Marine Band radios use it.

Connecting a GPS receiver NMEA-0183 output to a VHF Marine Band radio NMEA-0183 input is very simple: wire the output to the input. Most outputs are single-ended; most inputs are differential. Use the power negative as reference for the differential input inverting input. Set the GPSr to send the NMEA datagram RMC.

whalercop posted 08-15-2008 08:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalercop  Send Email to whalercop     
Yes, I have wired it the way that Garmin and Uniden have shown in the manuals. I even enlisted the help of Bluewaterpirate-Chief Tom and he confirmed my connections. No, the Garmin was never connected to a radio before. I am stumped at this point. I can only take the boat to somebody to let them look at it to try and figure it out. Thanks.
seabob4 posted 08-16-2008 08:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for seabob4  Send Email to seabob4     
As new products come out, they will no longer support 0183. 2000 is the way to go because of the complete ability to interface everything, from electronics, to engine monitoring systems, to engine gauges, to generators, etc. 0183? Old school.
jmorgan40 posted 08-27-2008 05:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
Well, my NMEA2000 network materials and the Lowrance LMF-400 multi-function gauge, and EP-60 fuel flow arrived today. I plan on taking advantage of the 3-day weekend to install the backbone and gauge and do some wiring cleanup in the console.

I picked up the LMF-400 and fuel flow meter for $145 from a company called ManVenture Outpost on Google checkout. There prices on all the adapters, cables, and T-connectors were also a few bucks cheaper then anyone else. The only negative was there online checkout system is not setup for multiple items and they wanted to charge me $360 for the shipping. Sent them an email and a few hours later they called me on my cell.

My only complaint so far concerning Lowrance is there documentation and descriptions of the products. I made a wiring diagram to plan out how many t-connectors, adapters, and extension cables I needed. It turns out the gauge comes packaged with a t-connector and a 20 ft extension. None of this is found in any descriptions of the products. I am sure I have extra cables now.

Jim, I will take some pics of the installation and keep the group posted on the results since there seems to be a lot of interest in this product.

1God1Love posted 08-29-2008 10:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for 1God1Love  Send Email to 1God1Love     
Just for future refference for people who own the Navman 3100 or Northstar F310 fuel displays. Navico still supplies out of warrenty replacements for those devices for a flat fee of $161.95. Phone number is 800 628-4487 ext 2601. God bless!
Frank O posted 08-31-2008 11:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Frank O  Send Email to Frank O     
I don't suppose a Lowrance fuel flow sensor (i.e. an EP-10 or an EP-60R) can be networked to a Lowrance sonar/GPS head unit such as my LCX-25C so that the output is displayed there rather than on a dedicated gauge such as the LMF-400? I have sonar, GPS and radar displayed on the same head unit, and since I'm pretty much out of console space it'd be great if I could network fuel flow into the same display. I emailed Lowrance a couple of months ago to ask them, and they never replied. I'm guessing the answer is probably no?

jmorgan40 posted 09-01-2008 08:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
I am surprised Lowrance did not answer you. I have always received a reply from their support page emails within 24 hrs. To answer your question...Yes, you cand run the NMEA network and EP-10 directly to the head unit. You may need to download a software version update depending on when you purchased the unit. I needed the update with my LCX-26C HD.

The EP-60 is for the newer Red network for the new units. That is what I installed but you will need to buy conversion adapters for your GPS module and head unit. The part number is (NAC-MRD2MBL).

I am actually installing the network this weekend. Hope to be wrapped up by today. Ran into some other wiring messes that held me up but the NMEA network is a snap to install. Let me know if you have any other questions. I will be glad to help.

Frank O posted 09-03-2008 05:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for Frank O  Send Email to Frank O     
Thanks, Joe, that's encouraging to know. I actually have an existing NMEA network on my boat with the older blue connectors, so it might be easier if I go with an EP-10 sensor.

The other thing I'd want to check out first, though, is whether there are any known issues in using the sensor on the fuel line for my 1994 Mercury 225 2-stroke carb outboard. I've heard that in some cases the fuel sensors can pose a problem with the engine's ability to pull gas through the line from the tank?

jimh posted 09-03-2008 11:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Anything added in the fuel supply line tends to increase the suction needed to pull fuel through the line, but I can't imagine that the presence of a fuel flow sensor would be the tipping point. To really answer this question, you need a specification for how much back pressure the fuel system can tolerate. On my older Evinrude V6 there is a vacuum switch Tee-d into the fuel supply line which closes when the vacuum pressure exceeds its threshold. This switch triggers an alarm to let the operator know there is a problem in the fuel supply.

If your engine has special concern for fuel supply vacuum, it should have--at the least--a specification, and really it should have an alarm to warn you about it.

jmorgan40 posted 09-04-2008 11:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
Well, I worked this weekend on several boat projects including installing the Lowrance NMEA 200 backbone, LMF-400 Multi-function gauge, and the EP-60R fuel flow probe. The first chore was to replace my Lowrance skimmer sonar transducer that went bad several weeks ago. I am not sure what or how they go bad, but evidently they do.

I mounted the new transducer, and ran the cable and the new EP-60 fuel flow cable under the starboard gunwale. The EP-60R cable is 10’ long which worked out perfectly. I was able to terminate this cable at the removable rigging panel that are on both sides of the Outrages. This is where I used the first NMEA T-connector. I then attached the long 20’ NMEA cable that comes with the LMF-400 gauge.

The next task was what slowed me down. I cut the old transducer cable and attached it to the cables for the paddle wheel, Skimmer transducer, and the NMEA Network cable to pull through the rigging tunnel to the console. With over 40 years of boating experience I should have learned a long time ago to never assume something will be easy. Although I only needed to pull the cables about 30” to the console, it was a chore that took about 4 hours. Between the existing power wires, steering cables, motor harnesses, battery cables, and troll-n-tab harness, trim tabs, etc. Space is at a premium coming through the opening into the console. After 3-4 hours of cuts, scraps, cuss words and sore fingers from pulling on the cable I gave up for the day.

I then decided to use the remainder of the day repainting the gauge panels before I mounted the new Lowrance LMF-400 gauge. I found a new pint by Rustolium called Hammered Look. I also stole Joe Kriz’s idea of the pin striping and hoped for the best. I must say the Rustolium Hammered look paint turned out great and looks like the panels were powder coated. Here is a picture of the finished product. ?action=view¤t=DashLowrance004.jpg

The next day my son stopped by and I solicited his long arms to assist me in removing the fire extinguisher pocket. This gave me a better angle to the rigging tunnel opening in the console. After some pulling and rearranging of cables I was finally able to get the three cables pulled through. One thing is sure; I don’t think I can get one more cable through that tunnel access opening in the console.

The rest was a “walk in the park’ as they say. The NMEA 2000 cables just snap together and the entire system is just plug_and_play. Here are some pics of the gauge and the various pages I configured for now. I can also overlay the info on my head unit in Analog or digital format. ?action=view¤t=DashLowrance007.jpg ?action=view¤t=DashLowrance011.jpg ?action=view¤t=DashLowrance009.jpg ?action=view¤t=DashLowrance012.jpg

Below is a picture on what NOT to do when mounting the fuel flow meter. The directions specify that the unit be mounted vertically with the arrow facing up and that there be a fuel filter before the unit. I decided that although the unit was vertical, it would be OK to mount the arrow down so I can mount it after my fuel filter. This idea failed and I was unable to get an accurate reading on the fuel flow when the engine idled. I could not come up with a clean way of doing it without snaking excess fuel hose in the splash well so I have since installed it before the Racor filter and installed a small FRAM fuel filter before the unit. I will post another picture showing the new configuration as soon as I can. ?action=view¤t=DashLowrance002.jpg

I also took this opportunity to replace all my fuel lines and clamps. When I was at West Marine buying the new fuel hose and fittings, I also purchased a brass fuel line splicing kit they had for about $6.00. This item was added to my onboard toolbox for emergency use in case the fuel flow probe or small inline filter ever fail or clog while out on the water. Probably a good item to have on board period since I have had fuel lines fail in the past.

Here are some additional tips and things I learned on the installation:

--- When you purchase the LMF-400 Multi-function gauge with the EP-60R probe it comes with the following items in the box. 1 – LMF-400 Gauge, 1 – EP-60R Fuel Flow sender probe, 1 - 20 ft NMEA 200 Backbone cable, 1 – 120 ohm terminating resistor, 1 – 120 ohm terminating resistor with power cord, 2 – T-Connectors. 1 – Audio warning buzzer. I tell you this information because it is not documented anywhere when you order the gauge and probe kit. I made a wiring diagram and ordered the terminators and four T-connectors, adapters and two 2’ extension cables. These parts are somewhat pricey and I only needed the two additional T-connectors to complete the job.

--- I also ordered two NAC-MRD2MBL adapter cables. Since I installed a red backbone network, these adapter cables are necessary to connect a blue device to a red NMEA backbone network. The first cable was used to connect my LCX-26C HD sonar chart plotter to the new network. The second was used to connect the LGC-2000 GPS module to the blue network. Just one note, I could of opted for the old blue network and the ep-10 fuel flow probe but I was afraid of any backward capability if I ever repower my boat or upgrade the electronics. My understanding is that the new Lowrance Red network is now the industry standard.

--- Another note is that I previously had my LGC-2000 GPS module powered full-time utilizing the NMEA power source wires on the back of my display unit. This worked fine when I was just powering the GPS module although I did not realize I was drawing power full-time. I have read on this board that others wait a long time for their Lowrance units to acquire a position. This now explains why I never had to wait for my unit to acquire position when it was powered up. This option was not going to work with the new setup because the LMF-400 Gauge is powered though the NMEA network. The recommendation is that you add a switch to your electrical panel to power your electronics and NMEA network. Luckily, I had one open spot on my switch panel so I reconfigured the power wires and now have a master power switch that turns on my electronics and the NMEA network. This added almost a complete day to the job since I took the opportunity to clean-up the bird’s nest of wiring in the console. I have it at what I consider acceptable for now. Later this winter I plan to rewire the entire boat and add new switch panels that are labeled.

I now need to run the boat for an extended period of time to calibrate the fuel flow and get it dialed in. I will keep you posted. If anyone has any questions do not hesitate to ask.

Mike Brantley posted 09-04-2008 12:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
Very nice installation, Joe. If starting over on my boat today, odds are I'd be putting in a Lowrance network like you've done. For my older Navman 3100, I stubbornly ignored the manufacturer's directions and put my fuel flow sensor before my Racor fuel filter instead of after it. It lasted about a year before it became inoperative. I put the replacement after the Racor even though the installation doesn't look as neat with the extra hose I needed to get the arrow pointed upward.

Hopefully, the filter you've installed before your sensor will do the job well enough. I don't think you'll have a problem.

1God1Love, thanks for the information above about the out-of-warranty replacement Navman displays. That's good to know.

Frank O posted 09-04-2008 02:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Frank O  Send Email to Frank O     
Joe, thanks for the report on your install -- very interesting.

On my 1995 Outrage 21, I've tried a couple of times in the past to get a wire-pulling fish tape through the starboard tunnel, but have always given up -- it's really full with all the other cables and whatnot. For the last couple of wires I've had to run under the deck (a new transducer, and a replacement kill-circuit wire), I've used a second tunnel which starts on the port side of the console and runs back to the bilge area. This has worked out pretty well, though it probably requires a few more feet of cable to make this run.

jmorgan40 posted 09-04-2008 02:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
I learned from my dad a long time ago to always be ready for a future wire. I always keep a smaill rope pulled through the rigging tunnel for future use. In this case I did not have to use it since I utilized the old transducer cable since I was installing the new one. That was not the problem. It was the last few inches getting through the small oval opening into the console. My console is very tight with four series 29 batteries. Inaddition to the normal steering, electrical, and outboard harness wires, I have the harness and heavy cables that run the Lenco Troll-n-Tabs all coming through that small opening.
jmorgan40 posted 09-06-2008 06:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
Well, Kevin (Menemsha69) joned me this morning and we took the boat out on Lanier to calibrate the new Lowrance LMF-400 and EP-60 Fuel flow probe. The directions said to top off the tank, then run at least 5 gals of fuel through the probe, and then refill. If off by 3% or more, you need to run the recalibrate function.

There was no need to recalibrate today. We ran about 6 gallons of fuel and when I refilled the Fuel flow meter was within .08 of what I added to the tank. I would say that's pretty close and I am very satisfied so far.

I still need to play with some of the page combinations and I am sure I can get the fuel flow dialed in even closer after a few fillups.

The only down side to the day was filling up at the gas dock at Holiday Marina. $5.69/gal. which is $2.20 more than what I paide to top it off before we splashed it. I am sure glad I don't have to calibrate any further.

I am waiting for Kevin to send a few additional pics we took of the new configuration of the probe with the inline fuel filter. Will post them soon.

Menemsha69 posted 09-06-2008 06:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Menemsha69  Send Email to Menemsha69     
Joe- You forgot to tell them about how you forgot to bring the leadcore fishing rigs. Also, you've got mail! Had a great time, even if we didn't fish!-k
jmorgan40 posted 09-06-2008 08:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have since reconfigured the EP-60 Fuel Flow probe and added an inline filter.

My original plan was to add the probe after the Racor filter but I just did not have the room to do it neatly without snaking excess fuel line. With my annual use, I estimate I should only need to change out the filter once a year. Here are some pics compliments of Kevin (Menemsha69) ?action=view¤t=IMG_0872bb.jpg ?action=view¤t=IMG_0872b.jpg ?action=view¤t=IMG_0872.jpg

Mike Brantley posted 03-17-2009 11:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
Oh, for crying out loud! My 3100's LCD stopped working again. Opened it up, let the intruding moisture dry out for a couple of days and then buttoned it back up to work good as new. However, the latest fuel flow sensor has now jammed. I've got three of them that don't work. The first one? I'll take the blame for that failure, as I installed it before the Racor filter and not after as instructed. But I've replaced it twice more, installing the subsequent ones correctly after the filter and in a vertical orientation. Doesn't matter... they still fail after a year or so.

Seeing that others have gotten free replacements from Navman/Northstar/Navico/whoever-they-are-now, I've tried calling customer support for the last two days. I hung up each time after more than an hour of holding. I've even tried spending more good money after bad by ordering a replacement sensor, but nobody I've called has the part despite many companies listing the part online. Tried to order the Northstar F210 kit with fuel flow sensor as well, but it also has proved to be elusive.

I give up. I've loved my Navman 3100 when it has worked for all the reasons Jim has mentioned in his articles on the product, but I've not found it to be reliable mechanically in the long term. Too bad.


I'm back to considering the Lowrance LMF-400 solution (even though that's the same company now that can't answer my phone calls regarding my 3100 woes) or the pricier but newer Garmin GMI 10 with its supporting fuel flow sensor. The Garmin product would allow me to grab GPS data from my older Garmin 3005c, so that would be an advantage. But the lower price point of the Lowrance may send me in that direction.

Soon, I hope to buy something new for the boat (like more Mills canvas) instead of replacing the same old parts again and again. End of rant; thanks for listening.

Bulldog posted 03-17-2009 05:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
Well Mike I hope you feel better now! Sounds like it is time to move on, a unit in a boat that doesn't like water is a problem.....Jack
Mike Brantley posted 03-17-2009 10:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
Hey, Jack. I definitely feel better. Got a Lowrance LMF-400 on the way. Will add a LGC-2000 GPS unit to it later for mileage and range data. Biggest challenge I foresee is making the dash hole bigger for the new display. The 3100 is big, but its mounting hole is small.
Mike Brantley posted 03-17-2009 11:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
Correction: It'll be the Lowrance LGC-3000 I'll be after.
Mike Brantley posted 03-21-2009 11:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
A tip: The Lowrance LMF-400 installation instructions specifies a 3 3/8" hole saw, which is something that can be rather hard to find. I found today that a more readily available 3 1/4" hole saw will work just fine for this job.
Bulldog posted 03-22-2009 07:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
Mike, when I redid my dashboard, I pushed gauges around and up as high as I could, there was room on the face plate but plywood behind it, I cut out some plywood to allow the gauges to move up higher, still looks factory when done, there is a picture in my profile. I do need to replace my electronics one of these days, I'm still using something called a compass, dividers and charts, but it is becoming a problem when nobody else does anymore...Jack
Mike Brantley posted 03-28-2009 10:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for Mike Brantley  Send Email to Mike Brantley     
Jack, your dash configuration looks very nice. So does your boat, all the way around, from the beautiful pulpit on back.

Here's my dash after installing the Lowrance digital gauge, as well as a new electrical switch panel down by the wheel. The old panel had some corrosion.

Photo: Helm of Boston Whaler REVENGE

This page shows how had I set up everything originally with the Navman 3100 up above:

The Navman was good while it lasted, but it didn't last.

I didn't snap a picture of the Lowrance fuel flow sensor installation, but it is vertical with the arrow up and after the filter. Here's hoping I don't have to fuss with it again anytime soon.

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