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Author Topic:   VERADO: SmartCraft System Alarms
karca posted 06-11-2006 08:49 PM ET (US)   Profile for karca   Send Email to karca  
We have a 305 Conquest with two 250-HP Mercury Verado motors. The first time our SmartCraft alarm went off and read "ESC Timeout." The second time our SmartCraft alarm went off it was "ETC sticking." Many times the guardian alarm came on and the port engine went into a slower, almost shut down mode. The starboard engine was not affected. The port engine would lose power [and be limited to] low RPM. I would then press a button and throttle back up. The oil pressure, water pressure and engine temperature were all OK.

[Give me] any ideas [about the cause of these alarms on my SmartCraft system]. I just came back from a 200-mile trip. I would like to know if anyone has any ideas [about the cause of these alarms on my SmartCraft system]. Also, I just got the boat back from service a week before, and had the engines serviced and a new autopilot put on.

glen e posted 06-11-2006 10:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
The ESC timeout is an alarm that is going off because the sync/throttle mechanism is too senstive. It is nothing to worry about and is just a pesky alarm that will be cleared up with a software upgrade coming to the dealers very soon. It will be done when you come in for regular servic and is not a recall or even an upgrade that has to be done. This was discussed at our Verado owners' weekend this past weeknd in Bimini with Mercury engineers.

Fifty-percent of alarms on Verado motors are caused by low battery voltage. Make sure at rest your battery is fully charged.

jimh posted 06-12-2006 08:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If fifty-percent of the alarms are caused by low battery voltage, they ought to have an alarm that detects low battery voltage. This would be a lot more straightforward than having to interpret any number of other alarms as being indicative of low battery voltage.

It would also prevent confusion if there was some documentation about what an alarm message means. To inform the operator of an event and sound an alarm is a good practice, but it should be accompanied by some additional material so that the operator can interpret the alarm.

Is there some mechanism for customer feedback to Mercury so that owner's can pass on these incidents and let them know how confused they were by the SmartCraft alarm messages?

Also--as a uninformed observer--the impression I get is that these Mercury Verado motors are running with very few actual problems in the field. Reports of real Verado engine troubles are almost non-existent. However, the engines do seem to throw off a lot of alarms on the SmartCraft console. Perhaps this is an artifact of the engineers being over-cautious, and the alarm algorithm interprets many normal operating conditions as alarms conditions.

Peter posted 06-12-2006 10:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
If the Verado is running at speeds high enough to cause the Guardian mode to kick to put it into a "safe" mode, wouldn't the battery voltage be high enough to avoid errant "ETC Sticking" alarms caused by low voltage? Having to have a battery fully charged to ensure proper motor operation, particularly at speed, doesn't make any sense to me. Once the motor is lit and running significantly above idle, battery charge state with a 70 amp charging system (according to Merc specs) should not be a factor to the operation of the motor in my opinion.

Assuming this problem had never happened before the autopilot was installed and the Verado systems are truly voltage sensitive at speed, I'd be looking at the autopilot installation to see whether there is some sort of interference going between it and the Verado system on the port motor. To determine whether it is autopilot related, I would take note of whether the problem only happens when the autopilot is on or engaged. I suspect that autopilots can momentarily put some significant loads on a battery causing the voltage to drop. If it is running off of the port motor electrical system, perhaps it is causing an undesirable voltage drop.

glen e posted 06-12-2006 11:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
In discussions with merc techs this weekend they asked me for my wish list on development of the verado. here's what I ask for:

1. a verado that weighs less - possbile using their new X7 prop material for some items?
2. Less suceptible to voltage problems - more etec like in that the engine "holds it own" voltage more thruought the range.
3. move the rpm where the gas ecomony goes to he** from 4600 to 5200.

I agree that a semi charged battery should be able to have enuf voltage of the motor is on and charging...however - don't ask me why - a low charged batt getting a healthy charge still will contribute to alarms...maybe voltage fluctution and surges is the problem as the verado gcarries a lot of EMM's...

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