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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
|Author||Topic: I-Command Gauges|
posted 03-17-2009 06:28 PM ET (US)
I'm about to hang a fresh E-TEC 250--yup, went for the standard 250-HP rather than the H.O.--on the transom on my [Boston Whaler boat]. As I am working on a shoestring, I initially told the dealer doing the work that I wanted nothing but a System Check tachometer for instrumentation. At least one of my buddies has suggested I go for the [BRP Evinrude I-Command] gauges. Are I-Command gauges worth the expense? Which gauges do you feel are necessary? Can I simply replace the analog gauge later or will I need a new harness? Should I go for more than just the basic digital tachometer and whatever comes with it?
Money IS an issue; I'm making another major purchase right now unrelated to boating. All I really need to know is the engine speed and maybe temperatures, everything else is great to know but not critical to using the rig.
While we are at it, are there any opinions on a BRP binnacle with the switch built in versus a separate key switch?
Thanks in advance for the information. The boat goes to the dealer later this week. Performance reports (whatever I can give) by early April!
posted 03-17-2009 07:04 PM ET (US)
Evinrude does makes a binnacle control with integral keyswitch. Not sure if it would work for your motor.
posted 03-17-2009 07:49 PM ET (US)
Just one I-Command 3.5-inch gauge can give you plenty of information. You should also consider getting the Lowrance LMF-400 gauge.
Use the simulator at
to learn more about the features of the I-Command gauge system.
posted 03-17-2009 08:15 PM ET (US)
Evinrude has a sales promotion going on right now that gives you a free I-Command package, along with 5 years of warranty coverage. Talk to your dealer.
You get 2 3" I-Command gauges and related wiring.
posted 03-17-2009 10:33 PM ET (US)
I-Command is the Lowrance LMF-400?
posted 03-18-2009 09:32 AM ET (US)
Jimh- Thanks for putting this in the proper forum, and thanks for the link to the sim and mentioning the Lowrance unit.
Seahorse- I am purchasing as part of a special promotion that excludes me from the extended warrantee and guage package. I may end up purchasing an extended warrantee but with my experience on my 90hp E-Tec it may not be worth the aggravation (my dealer had to jump through hoops to have my cowls and oil tank replaced under my extended warrantee. The cowls had already been replaced due to cracking around the bolts under the main warrantee but they broke again, and the oil tank was also not covered (leaking under the cap whenever the motor was trimmed up all the way)).
Striper- I know BRP makes both style binnacle controls. I have always had separate keyswitches, I was just wondering about other folks' preferences. I'm downsizing from a twin setup to a single and need a new set of controls so I can go either way.
Thanks for the suggestions, I'll report back in a couple of weeks when things have settled!
posted 03-18-2009 10:08 AM ET (US)
The LMF-400 is a NMEA-2000 instrument and can be attached to the same NMEA-2000 network on a vessel as the E-TEC engine. The LM-400 can display the following parameters:
You won't automatically get all of that data without adding some additional sensors, but you will get plenty of data from the engine. The drawback to the LMF-400 as compared to an I-Command seems to be in regard to some specific E-TEC alarm data which may not be displayed on the LMF-400.
Another consideration is to display the data on a multi-function screen associated with a chart plotter or SONAR. This can be workable if the display is large enough or if you don't need the display to be dedicated to another function at all times.
The wiring used with I-Command Digital gauges is compatible with the LowranceNET wiring, so you can interconnect both types of devices without resorting to adaptors.
One aspect which is not completely clear to me is the need for a System Check alarm annunciator for the four alarm functions associated with that gauge. Perhaps we could get a bit of clarification on that from SEAHORSE.
posted 03-18-2009 11:31 AM ET (US)
I have a Lowrance 520C which does alarm on overheat (damn jackplates). I have also wondered about all of the engine alarms, will they sound on the 520C? The 520C recognizes the BRP sytem attached, so do all of the alarms work?
My I-Command took on water early in it's life and finally got it back from a warranty claim. Do I have to re-install that to maintain the warranty on the engine in addition to the 520C? It seem that having two displays is redundant.
The 520C has the ability to display all of the data point that are of concern to me on one screen which is better than the I-Command's limit of 4 data points per page/screen. This data can be placed anywhere on the screen also on the 520C so as not to block the most useful area of the map or sonar info.
posted 03-18-2009 12:46 PM ET (US)
The system check gauge is all you need to comply with your warranty.
But don't expect too much from it other than basic alarms and fuel usage once over a certain speed, using the fuel usage/log is a pain IMO.
AS for other 2" analogue gauges some consider the water pressure a must as a minimum. The others fuel/oil/volt/trim are relatively low cost and if you have existing drilled holes then you may as well fit some of them.
The 3" Speedo is just a hole filler.
If you go for I-Command you will need a separate harness etc but the analogue ones will still work in tandem.
If you opt for getting any of the new Lawrence (not just the LM400) they display almost all of the engine data but you will still need to have the system check one fitted.
AS you’re on a budget get the system check fitted and when funds allow get the double benefit of a new sounder or gps/plotter combo etc that will also display engine data IMO
Also I would get the separate key switch and binnacle even just to stop your whaler key ring looking ugly stuck up there bouncing around :)
posted 03-22-2009 11:16 AM ET (US)
With regard to the display of Bombardier E-TEC engine parameters on a Lowrance NMEA-2000 compliant device like a GPS receiver, chart plotter, and SONAR combination instrument, this capability is illustrated in my article about the LOWRANCE LMS-520c. There is a photograph of the screen display that shows how one can select what engine parameters will be displayed.
and under the subheading NMEA Ports and Communication. The photograph shows the NMEA Set Up page and lists the parameters that can be shown on the display of the Lowrance device.
posted 03-23-2009 10:15 AM ET (US)
Paul I recently repowered my Revenge 25 with the same engine. I went with the classic tan analogue set up and the Binnacle control with integrated key switch - also on a budget. I agree with Steve's comments regarding the need for additional guages to accompany the Tach. It's easier while underway to glance at the separate guages rather than fumbling with the buttons on the I-Command Tach to access the information you want - especially in a rough sea condition. But the basic single I-Command Tach (analogue or digital) will give you all the basic information you need. And remember - you can easily add the additional guages later, provided you have room left on your dash panel.
If I was doing it over though, I would get the separate key switch. The integrated binnacle key is very "touchy". On several occassions at high speeds I have inadvertently knocked the key and shut off the engine. The abrupt stop could be dangerous!
posted 03-29-2009 02:08 PM ET (US)
Is the new I-Command gauge package made to retrofit onto a 2008 115 DSL-SCR E-TEC Evinrude? I currently have the System Check Tachometer.
posted 03-29-2009 02:27 PM ET (US)
I-Command gauges will work with all V-4 and V-6 E-TEC outboards, and 2008 and later 40 thru 90 hp E-TECs.
posted 03-29-2009 07:31 PM ET (US)
Where can I buy the I-Command gauges?
posted 03-29-2009 08:04 PM ET (US)
Where is the best place to get a starter kit to interface my [E-TEC] E200DHXSDS to my Lowrance LCX27C? I already have the basic NMEA 2000 Network set up and at this time would like to just get the [E-TEC] interface. Or you might say get started with the basic I-Command setup. I am right in thinking that the LCX27C will take the place of gauges with the I-Command interfacing? I figure to start here and see what that gives me and than slowly add other options. One being the VRO Tank gauge which never seemed to work right since I installed the new [E-TEC]. Next would be the gas tank and trim gauge both of which do not seem to be accurate. Thanks Ray
posted 03-29-2009 08:15 PM ET (US)
To add the Evinrude motor to a network, you need the 15-foot EMM Harness Kit, SKU 764164.
If the network is not close to the motor, extend the network with a network backbone extension cable.
posted 03-30-2009 10:29 AM ET (US)
Thanks where would I get that from BRP or Lowrance or is there someplace else you may recommend?
posted 03-30-2009 11:56 AM ET (US)
You can locate Evinrude parts on-line using their on-line storefront at
That website can locate dealers in your local area who have the part in stock. This is the approved method for authorized BRP dealers to sell via the web to customers who are not local to them, from my understanding of how the website is set up from a dealer perspective.
posted 03-30-2009 12:09 PM ET (US)
Here's how to use SHOP.EVINRUDE.COM:
--Visit the website.
--Click on the PARTS tab.
--Select your category or brand (OB ACCESSORIES) in the selection window at upper left.
--Select your year (2009) from the listing on the left.
--Select the subcategory INSTRUMENTS/RIGGING
--Select the subcategory HARNESSES & CONNECTORS--I-COMMAND (Quick Connect)
This will reveal a part drawing in the right hand window. Under the drawing is a list of parts shown with columns for
CALLOUT, P/N, DESCRIPTION, PRICE, and STOCK STATUS
Locate the part you wish to order, in this case CALLOUT number five, part number 764164. This part costs $47.25.
Proceed to the check out. The order is placed electronically. The part is shipped to you by the closest dealer who has it in stock, or, I suppose from the warehouse if no dealer near you has one.
posted 03-30-2009 12:10 PM ET (US)
Or, just call your local Evinrude dealer and see if he has the part in stock. Just like the old days!
posted 03-30-2009 07:41 PM ET (US)
OK I was not sure if it was a BRP or Lowrance part. Knowing what you told me I will go to my dealer, Thanks. By the way I hope I didn't step on anyone with there original post it just seem to be the right place to ask my question. If I did I apologize.
posted 04-01-2009 06:29 AM ET (US)
Thanks all for the replies and suggestions. I'll report back next weekend when I get the rig back!
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