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Author Topic:   Fuel Flow Meters
newt posted 03-30-2011 08:26 AM ET (US)   Profile for newt   Send Email to newt  
What are best current offerings for fuel flow meters? My youngest gps - Garmin GPSMAP 2010 chart plotter (NMEA 0183)- does not appear to accept input from a fuel flow sensor.
Jefecinco posted 03-30-2011 08:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
I assume you've checked with Garmin Customer Service and they have nothing to interface with your GPS so you are seeking a stand alone meter.

I believe FlowScan is a well known and respected maker but seem to also remember Lowrance has a unit. I recommend you try a Google search for marine fuel flow meters. Your engine manufacturer may also market a device.


conch posted 03-30-2011 01:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for conch  Send Email to conch     
One way is to use a Garmin 440.They are discontinued and can be purchased at online sites for about $150 and are upgradeable to the latest version with an SD card.Or any Garmin CANet plotter,for that matter.

Then you can use the Garmin
GFS 10 fuel sender (up to four).The senders are becoming available online at a good price, as the new engines can send fuel data on their own harness and do not need senders.

The connection is by CANet and very simple.One cable between the head and senders.

The GFS 10 is N2K compatable so when you upgrade plotters in the future your fuel senders are still good.

As a bonus you get with the Garmin 440 a back up GPS and color chartplotter with built in maps and internal antennae in a small package which can be bracket or flush mounted and can send/receive nema 0183 with your DSC radio.

jimh posted 03-30-2011 05:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Please give a pointer to where one can buy a GARMIN 440 for $150. A GOOGLE search showed prices for that model were still in the $500 to $700 range. mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&hl=en&biw=706&bih=627& bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&ie=UTF-8&cid=12520283965058645325&sa=X& ei=66iTTZKLKaLk0gGf6uHMBw&ved=0CFgQgggwAA#

newt posted 03-30-2011 06:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
My engines are old and do not talk to electronics. I own [a GARMIN GPS 2010 chartplotter, RAYMARINE RCI 435 chartplotter, and a GARMIN GPS 76 hand held GPS], but all speak NMEA-0183 only. Garmin does not make a sending unit that will interface. From what I can dig up, the options are limited:

--purchase a used older fuel flow meter that accepts NMEA 0183 speed input.

--purchase a new stand-alone system such as this Lowrance LMF-200 and EP-60 combination , and calculate fuel efficiency by hand.

--purchase a sensor only along with a compatible used or new chart plotter or hand held [global position system receiver].

jimh posted 03-30-2011 07:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I think what is actually being sought by newt is some sort of device which will provide instantaneous computation of fuel economy by accepting input of boat speed (from a device such as a global position system receiver) and fuel flow rate (from a device such as an in-line turbine sensor).

I don't know if there is a NMEA-0183 sentence for fuel flow rate. I know that there is a NMEA-2000 PGN (engine data) which provide fuel flow rate.

Typically in marine instruments there are dedicated devices which measure fuel flow rate with their own sensor and accept boat speed data via NMEA-0183. Such a device is old NAVMAN 3100 FUEL INSTRUMENT, which was being re-branded as the NORTHSTAR F310. It had its own fuel flow sensor and took boat speed data via an NMEA-0183 input. The device then computed various parameters such as MPG and GPH, and the device also tracked and recorded volume of fuel used, including calculating fuel remaining in a tank of a certain volume.

If your a GARMIN GPSMAP 2010 device does not have a function for management of fuel or computation of fuel economy, then you will have to look for a dedicated device.

conch posted 03-31-2011 05:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for conch  Send Email to conch     
Jim the Garmin you referenced was the 440s,the version with the built in depth sounder. I purchased mine used from Craigslist and had a choice of several.But Not the S version.

Two GFS-10 senders cost $150.00 for both new on South Florida Craigslist.

This was about the least expensive way to have fuel management for twin engines and still be upgradable to N2K.

The Yamaha system was about $800 and Twinscan over $500 and you didn't get the extra back up features of the Garmin 440.

I couldn't locate a used Navman or Northstar so this was my solution. Your skill at auctions and thus price paid may vary. Good Luck


Also the CANet kit from Garmin was $15.00 on Amazon ,not needed really but then you must source your own 120 ohm resistors and wire for a couple of bucks at Radio Shack.

Peter posted 03-31-2011 07:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Newt -- The standalone NorthStar F310 may be your cheapest option for twin outboards. See F310-Fuel/ . I use one of these with two transducers (it accepts two fuel flow transducer inputs) to monitor fuel economy on my Whaler 27 WD. All it needs to compute instant MPG is an NMEA 0183 speed input from your Garmin 2010 GPS. They are typically sold with one transducer so you would need to buy a second transducer.
jimh posted 03-31-2011 07:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have used the NAVMAN 3100 FUEL instrument--now the NORTHSTAR F310--and can attest to its very useful nature. It is more than a fuel flow meter. It also has a distance log function that is very useful, and it keeps track of fuel volume used, providing a fuel remaining level.
conch posted 03-31-2011 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for conch  Send Email to conch     
Newt- I don't think the Lowrance LMF-200 and EP-60 are a stand alone system.I think they or the larger LMF-400 need a nema2000 system in place.
jimh posted 04-01-2011 07:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The NAVMAN F3100 FUEL instrument also keeps track of engine hours, too. If you do not already have a device that measures, displays, and records

--engine hours
--fuel used

and computes instantaneous MPG as well as tracks total fuel used and computes current fuel tank level, you'll find the F3100 or F310 instrument to be quite useful.

newt posted 04-01-2011 09:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
Conch, I am not all that familiar with the new networking protocols, but the manual for the EP-60R includes instructions for use with the LMF-200, OR the LMF-400, OR with a NMEA 2000 compatible display unit (Sonar or GPS). It appears that once you connect both the EP-60R and the LMF-X00 together, you now have a network in place.

It looks like the Northstar F310 is on the way out. Many online retailers show the item as discontinued.

conch posted 04-01-2011 10:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for conch  Send Email to conch     
Newt - I couldn't find anyone with the Northstar in stock either. Reading the Lowrance owners manuel for the LMF-400 it seemed to me that a GPS or Chartplotter was needed on the NMEA 2000 network also, but I am unsure.

A discussion of this installation can be found in the Search section dated 08-12-08 (Lowrance LMF-400 with fuel flow sensor) and I'm still unclear if anything else is needed.

I guess a call to Lowrance would clear this up.

newt posted 04-01-2011 03:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
I wonder if there are simpler (less expensive) means to achieve my goal. I have little use or need for ongoing fuel metering. The goal is to try out different propellers, dial in to the best match for my boat and determine the fuel use at various rpm, and after that process is complete, I could live without ongoing fuel management.

Does anyone know of a low cost self contained fuel flow meter perhaps designed for a non-boating application that would work on a temporary basis?

Jefecinco posted 04-01-2011 06:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

Use a small container as a temporary testing fuel tank. Perhaps a portable six gallon tank although something smaller would make accurate measurement easier to calculate. A small lawnmower or pressure washer fuel tank with a line leading directly to the engine. Add a carefully measured amount start the engine and there you go. After a test run drain the fuel remaining from the hookup point to the engine. The delta is what was consumed. A petcock near the end of the line would be helpful.

If you don't want to invest your dollars you can do it by investing your time and ingenuity and by applying some math skills.

If a more accurate measurement is necessary some graduated beakers could get it done with a little extra effort.

I like the ability to measure consumption underway in varying conditions with different loads so I can make instant RPM and or trim adjustments to minimize fuel waste. The relatively low cost of the electronics to make this possible will pay back the cost in a fairly short time. Even if the payback takes longer than expected, which I doubt given the trends for fuel cost, the fuel you don't burn will contribute nothing to the environment.


Tom W Clark posted 04-06-2011 12:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
How about getting an old analog FloScan and mounting it on a portable six gallon fuel tank? This would be easy to rig and be portable for use on different boats and motors.
newt posted 04-08-2011 10:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
Tom, Not sure what you mean by "old analog FloScan", but I have searched Craigslist and Ebay and there doesn't seem to be much of an offering for inexpensive options.

Butch, I think I'm inclined to invest some dollars rather than try and measure fuel consumption manually, although I am sure your methods would work.

I did confirm with Garmin, that the older Garmin GPS 440 will work with the current Garmin GFS 10 fuel senders, even thought the GPS 440 is NOT NMEA2000 compatible. The connection is made with some sort of CAN Bus wiring. Unfortunately, I haven't found much of an offering for the older Garmin 440, although there is one on Ebay currently.

Tom W Clark posted 04-11-2011 05:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
This is what I mean:

newt posted 04-14-2011 12:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
Tom, thanks for posting that photo. In terms of bare bones fuel consumption measuring, that unit sure would be the simplest. Unfortunately, I cannot find any for sale.

Tom W Clark posted 04-14-2011 01:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Maybe you could just borrow one from somebody.

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