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Author Topic:   2006 Twin OptiMax SmartCraft Gauges
rocket posted 06-19-2006 12:48 PM ET (US)   Profile for rocket   Send Email to rocket  
I have a 2001 260 Conquest. Mercury just put on brand new 2006 200-HP OptiMax engines for me three weeks ago .I lost cylinder #6 on the old 2005 port engine. New tachometer and speedometer gauges were a part of this installation. The Mercury rep even went so far as to put three hours onto the engines completing most of the break-in period for me and even replaced the gas and oil used to do it. Fantastic service and support. Due to high winds since then this weekend was my first use of the engines.

I noticed that when either key is turned on all three SmartCraft gauges come alive. This is different than my old set-up. In the old set-up the port engine key only brought up the port engine tach. The starboard key brought up the speedo and the starboard engine tach.

Can someone with a recent set of 2006 OptiMax twins and SmartCraft confirm for me if either engine key being ON brings up all three gages?

At first I shrugged this off. After all, the Mercury rep had run the boat for three hours breaking in the engines prior to my first use! If this was abnormal this expert would know.

I completed the last hour of break-in with no incidents. Then I started trolling (one engine at a time for proper trolling speed) and discovered the following [problem]. I think it is due to the fact that either engine key going ON brings up both port and starboard tachs and the common speedo even if the other engine key is OFF.

When I shut down an engine that has been operating and fully warmed up its tach is still ON if the other engine is ON. The latent heat rise into the water system on the engine that has recently been shut off, say 20 degrees. This is sometimes enough to trigger the OVERHEAT alarm on the engine that is off because its tach is still powered ON thru the other engine's circuits.


Is there some "set-up" item I am missing in the tach/speedo software? Or, as on my original set-up, should the port engine key only bring up the port engine tach? Upon a warm engine restart, the old software was smart enough to allow a few seconds to bring the temp back down with cooling water flow which prevented flagging an "overheat" alarm. On the new system, if I shut down both engines completely, then restart both inside a few seconds of each other, the software also allows enough time for cooling water to bring the temperature back in line on both engines and therefore avoids throwing an OVERHEAT alarm.

In the meantime I have left a phone message with Merc customer service but thought I would throw this out there for a solid confirmation of other's first hand experience.


sosmerc posted 06-19-2006 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
I don't have the answer (since I haven't yet had to rig 2006 twins), but I am wondering if it has something to do with the ability of these engines to automatically synchronize...therefore the need for each engine to monitor rpm's of the other? This is the only reason I can see for a "connection" between the two...unless it is also rigged with a common emergency kill switch.
It will be interesting to see what the official answer is.
I for one, don't like the idea of ANY interconnection between twins other than steering. I like to think of twins as have two completely independent drive systems...such that the failure of one engine cannot have ANY affect on the future of the other engine. (a single fuel tank feeding both could lead to trouble if you have bad gas) yes, I'd even like to see a seperate fuel system for each engine if this is at all possible.
rocket posted 06-19-2006 05:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for rocket  Send Email to rocket     
SOSMERC, I have manual shift and throttle control. My Optis do not have the ability to truly Synchronize RPMs . The new Verados do. In heavy seas the Verados can find it difficult to maintain rpm synch and alert you - but they can indeed synch up rpms themselves under most on plane conditions.

I don't think any Optimax twins, even the latest 2006 versions, truly have the ability to synch to each other automatically like the Verados, at speed and on plane. At least its not a capability listed in the manual that came with the new 2006 Smartcraft gages and motors.

By the way, I love the Smartcraft for controlling my engine RPMs while trolling. Awesome.

I will pass along the "official" Merc answer when I get it.

glen e posted 06-19-2006 09:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
I would call merc cust relations and ask...I think the opti smartcraft system works with one tach and speedo on one switch and the other key should bring up the other tach....
sosmerc posted 06-19-2006 10:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
Thanks for the info, Rocket. For some reason, I didn't realize your new engines were Optimax. All the more reason to think they should be able to run independently...if you are running the port engine...then the starboard engine guages should all be OFF....but maybe there is something new going on with the 2006 software that is different. I'll be eager to hear what transpires on this one!
jimh posted 06-20-2006 01:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A shot in the dark guess: the installer omitted two diodes. The SPEEDOMETER should power up from either engine, and it should be isolated by diodes so that it does not make a common bus for all three.
rocket posted 06-20-2006 11:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for rocket  Send Email to rocket     
GlenE, thats how my original Optimax set up worked. JimH, on my original setup the speedo would only come up with the starboard tach by starboard engine key. When I trolled for Kings using only the port engine only the port tach would come up, not the speedo. When I trolled using only the starboard engine, the starboard tach and speedo were up.

No problems.

Due to the "delicateness" of the situation (two brand new '06 Optis, head to toe, with a restart of the 3 year warranty) I went right back to 1st line Cust Service manager as soon as I realized the issue this weekend because it was the NYS Merc rep who actually installed the motors/gages. He simply used the equipment of a local Merc dealer where I was asked to take the boat (cherry picker etc). This is, literally, NOT a dealer installed or tested setup. Its 100% corporate Merc wrench turning. I now have a bunch of "overheat faults" in the ECU's memory (but at zero RPM) and don't want any chance of this being misunderstood as mistreatment of brand new engines by me.

I am surprised no one with brand new, twin '06 Optimax Engines/Smartcraft has chimed in yet to say how their set up is in regards to what gages come alive with what engine.

No word back yet from Merc Cust Service management.

I'll keep you posted with what I hear.

rocket posted 06-20-2006 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for rocket  Send Email to rocket     
I just got the formal word back from Merc. The installation was done incorrectly by the NYS rep. The Customer Service rep who spoke to me was very apologetic on the phone and said it was their screw up, 100%. I have to take the boat back to a dealership. A 6 pin connector will be replaced with two 4 pin connectors type of thing. Requires 6 pin wiring harness to come out and have the two 4 pin harnesses put in. Full one day job once parts are available (soon!). I was assured no damage was happening to the motors/ECU etc and the boat is OK to use for my two week vacation (starts this Saturday). I agree with this assessment in regards to the warm restart overheat faults. I didn't think of it at the time of the phone con but I will ask for a quick e-mail to confirm as a record, just in case a year form now a bunch of new people are in play at Merc when all of the sudden, the ECU, or some other solid state devices, start doing strange things. My wife is a basket case. Third set of new Optis in 4 years - all warranty - and first time out on the water with the new '06s we have crazy alarms and find the things were wired wrong. I had to hold the phone 6 inches from my ear when I told her that just now. And the volume got even louder when I said we have to haul it back to the dealer - again. The Merc gang has stood by us all the way - but its been one hell of a ride and I hope it stops soon....I am beginning to feel cursed.

Tnx to all for the input and feedback.

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