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  Lowrance LMF or Evinrude I-Command: Tracking Fuel Consumption

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Author Topic:   Lowrance LMF or Evinrude I-Command: Tracking Fuel Consumption
jimh posted 05-16-2014 09:23 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
The Lowrance LMF (or Evinrude I-Command) NMEA-2000 gauges alone cannot perform the function of tracking fuel usage. Accumulation of fuel used is done by the Lowrance EP-85R Data Storage Module. Lowrance says:

"The EP-85R stores [Tank] Fuel Used, Trip Fuel Used and Seasonal Fuel Used data for up to three NMEA 2000 compatible engines that output standard NMEA 2000 Fuel Rate Data."

Source: http://www.lowrance.com/Root/Lowrance-Documents/ EP85StorageDevice_0154-522_082707.pdf

If you add an EP-85R Data Storage Module (or the equivalent Evinrude branded component) to your NMEA-2000 network, you will be able to configure an LMF or I-Command display to show the data contained in the EP-85R Data Storage Module. You can also display this data on many models of NAVICO chart plotter, such as the Lowrance HDS series.

The set-up is a bit odd. The LMF or I-Command gauge or a Lowrance display is used to set up, configure, manage, and display the data, but the actual data is stored in the EP-85R Data Storage Module, and, without that component, there is no data. And without the appropriate gauge or display, the EP-85R does nothing. You need both elements to make a system for accumulating and storing fuel usage information.

Please also see and read: http://www.lowrance.com/en-US/Products/NMEA-2000/EP-85R-Storage-Device-en-us.aspx

If you have an EP-85R, its stored data for TANK FUEL USED can then be used to compute the FUEL TANK LEVEL using the indirect measurement method. (See http://continuouswave.com/whaler/reference/fuelTankLevel.html for more about the method.) This will then provide you with a computed value for the present fuel tank level.

The LMF or I-Command gauges or other compatible NAVICO display will provide a function called FUEL MANAGER. The FUEL MANAGER function allows the operator to set or re-set:

--fuel TANK CAPACITY

--a fuel tank fill to FULL tank level

--a fuel tank fill to a partially-full level

--the data source to be used for fuel economy calculation, from WATER SPEED (from a boat speed paddle wheel), GROUND SPEED (from a GNSS receiver), or PITOT (from a pressure sensor)

--the data source for FUEL REMAINING, from a tank sensor (direct method) or from engine fuel flow data (indirect method)

--the accumulated value TRIP FUEL

--the accumulated value SEASONAL FUEL

The FUEL MANAGER will then be able to show the accumulated fuel used data for TRIP FUEL and SEASONAL FUEL, the present FUEL TANK LEVEL (deduced from the TANK FUEL USED and TANK CAPACITY), and also the boat's range at present rate of fuel consumption and present FUEL REMAINING (but only if the FUEL REMAINING source is via the indirect method).

At first observation, this separation of the data storage from the display device might seem a bit odd. I inquired with Lowrance why they designed their system in this manner. The reply was that compliance with the NMEA-2000 protocol necessitated it. Not being sufficiently familiar with the protocol myself, I take Lowrance's word on this.

Also, by having the data stored in a dedicated device, instead of in one display device, the data can be used by several devices. For example, the data can be displayed on an I-Command gauge and also on a Lowrance chart plotter. One can also imagine a person who owns more than one boat, but might move an expensive chart plotter from boat to boat. By having the fuel data reside in a dedicated data storage device, the fuel data stays with the boat and is not carried around in the display device that shows it.

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