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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
The Natural Piety of LOWRANCE for E-TEC Owners
|Author||Topic: The Natural Piety of LOWRANCE for E-TEC Owners|
posted 05-09-2010 04:47 PM ET (US)
For owners of Evinrude E-TEC motors, there are many reasons to choose a multi-function display, chart plotter, GPS receiver, and SONAR combination instrument from Lowrance. E-TEC outboard motors (typically of 90-HP or more) have an NMEA-2000 network connection port, permitting them to be joined to a NMEA-2000 vessel network. Lowrance multi-function devices are also almost always NMEA-2000 network compatible, so the E-TEC and Lowrance are naturally suited. Of course, there are many other brands of multi-function displays, GPS receivers, and chart plotters that are also NMEA-2000. But there are several features of Lowrance that make it a natural choice to network with E-TEC.
It is widely believed that Evinrude's own I-Command Digital instrument gauges contain a lot of Lowrance DNA, which is to say, they're very likely made by Lowrance for Evinrude. Lowrance was a very early adopter of NMEA-2000 vessel networking, and they have more experience with it than most all other recreational boat electronics manufacturers. Similarly, Evinrude was the first outboard engine manufacturer to produce a NMEA-2000 compatible motor. In the early days of NMEA-2000 there was a situation akin to the classic problem of the cart and the horse. What good is an NMEA-2000 certified engine if there are no gauges to connect to it? And what good are NMEA-2000 engine gauges if there are no certified engines? Working cooperatively, Lowrance and Evinrude produced the first NMEA-2000 engine and engine gauges. We know that NMEA-2000 products are supposed to be able to interoperate, but the cooperation between Evinrude and Lowrance assures the best possible cooperation.
The integration between Lowrance and Evinrude is so good, that Evinrude I-Command gauge firmware can be updated by loading special software onto a memory card and inserting it into a Lowrance multi-function display and chart-plotter. I don't know of any other situation with an NMEA-2000 instrument where you can update one device using another NMEA-2000 device on the network. That's rather good interoperation!
posted 05-09-2010 06:48 PM ET (US)
Evinrude is not the only one OEM'ing Lowrance gauges. Suzuki SMIS Gauges are also Lowrance LMF-400's with a Suzuki bezel.
Lowrance is THE driving force behind NMEA-2000 for sure.
posted 05-10-2010 09:33 AM ET (US)
I should point out that with regard to the E-TEC, there are some functions available in the Evinrude I-Command gauges which cannot be obtained from the Lowrance gauges that otherwise appear to be identical. There are two functions available only in I-Command gauges:
--ability to initiate winterization or storage mode in the E-TEC, and
--ability to display certain engine alarm or diagnostic messages.
In this regard, it does seem reasonable to have at least one Evinrude I-Command gauge employed with an E-TEC motor.
posted 05-10-2010 03:25 PM ET (US)
It's mandatory for warranty to have [either an] I-Command or System Check Gauge installed with an E-TEC. Now if the Lowrance HDS could display the engine history report currently only available through the diagnostic software run from a laptop to the E-TEC, that would be full integration. Regards--Steve
posted 05-10-2010 10:56 PM ET (US)
I see one problem with Steve's idea: the Evinrude Diagnostics software connects to a different port on the E-TEC than the NMEA-2000 network port. The Evinrude Diagnostics software has its own special port for connecting to the EMM. The NMEA-2000 port to the EMM has to obey all the rules of NMEA-2000 networking. It might not be feasible to transfer all the data needed to create the engine history report via the NMEA-2000 port. Data sent over the NMEA-2000 network has to be sent in data structures that are compatible with the NMEA-2000 specification.
posted 05-11-2010 02:30 PM ET (US)
I agree it's probable not feasible but would be a nice to have.
Assuming that the ETEC engine data is in a file format suitable for PC/MAC's and could be access on the NMEA network. Then it would have to be dissembled into stings of info from the ETEC that could be sent in the NMAE 2000 form then re-compiled in a format suitable for the HDS units.
I guess it sound simple but probably not in reality
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