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Author Topic:   Electronics for a 15-foot Open Boat
Bokeefe posted 06-04-2010 09:59 AM ET (US)   Profile for Bokeefe   Send Email to Bokeefe  
I have a new 2009 Boston Whaler 150 Montauk. It came with nothing more than the tachometer. [Give] suggestions on the cheapest way to get information on depth, water temp, battery power, fuel consumption, etc.?

Is it best to get a multifunction unit to do all this?

Can I do installation myself?

The boat is in a slip, so I also don't want anything easily stolen; my neighbor was broken into last week.

Where in Falmouth, Massachusetts should I go for this type of work?

Any help is appreciated!

jimh posted 06-04-2010 12:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
To make expensive electronic units on a small boat more difficult to steal you should consider flush mounting them.
rslsail posted 06-04-2010 12:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for rslsail  Send Email to rslsail     
Consider the Mercury smartcraft guages, see the thread in this section
whale posted 06-04-2010 04:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for whale  Send Email to whale     
I have a 2008 150. I was worried about mounting all the toys on brackets that comes with the units. It takes few seconds and they are gone. flush mount is the key. only problem is the console has no space for anything. I made a fiberglass box that sits on top of the console. [The box] houses all my electronics.

I have [ a Lowrance model] HDS-5 [combination GPS receiver, SONAR, chart plotter, and MNEA-2000 display that] gives me enough information. I don't have [information on] fuel consumption but I know how much fuel I have. Also [to get information about the fuel tank level only requires] looking back and down [at the fuel tank level gauge]. One tank gets me around a whole day.

[Changed topic to boat performance. Please use the PERFORMANCE discussion for that topic. Thanks.--jimh]

jimh posted 06-05-2010 08:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It is difficult to get information from a Mercury motor to display on any sort of standard multi-function NMEA-200 display, such as the Lowrance HDS-5, because Mercury motors are not NMEA-2000 devices. Mercury chose to use their own proprietary standard for their engine interface to digital instrumentation, and you cannot connect any sort of a NMEA-2000 display unit to a Mercury engine. You have to purchase a special Mercury instrument which includes a NMEA-2000 gateway device. You connect the special gateway device to the Mercury engine, then you connnect your NMEA-2000 network to the special gateway device.

I have not seen any details of the physical components needed for this special Mercury to NMEA-2000 gateway device--it was just announced a few months ago--so I don't know how much room it takes, what sort of connectors it has, if it would be suitable for installation on an open boat, and so on. I suspect, however, that it might be too much in all those regards to be appropriate for a 15-foot open boat set up. Also, I have not seen any costs for the Mercury special instrument and gateway devices, and they might be too much for a small boat, too.

To get information on water depth and water temperature you will have to invest in a SONAR with a multi-function transducer.

To get information on battery power you will need a specialized battery monitoring instrument. I have seen these, but, again, on a 15-foot open boat they are a bit too much cost and complexity. It might be simpler to just get a voltmeter and monitor battery voltage. You could make a reasonable inference about battery power from the battery terminal voltage. Battery voltage monitoring is included in many other devices, such as a SONAR or a multi-function engine gauge.

Before you decide to hire all this work to be done at a boat yard, read this narrative of a self-installation of a Mercury Smartcraft gauge:

SmartCraft Installation On 2005 130 Sport with 2005 Mercury 40-HP Four-stroke EFI Engine.

Although it does not appear that Mercury intends for owners to be installing Smartcraft components themselves, and Mercury does not have much literature or marketing directed toward that, the above article is a very good description of how to install a simple Smartcraft system. If you have a cooperating Mercury dealer who will get you the parts you need and offer some advice, the installation should not be very difficult.

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