Digital fuel flow

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Sep 1, 2016
Vessel Make
430 Mainship
Looking at getting digital fuel flow for the boat. Single engine Yanmar, 2005 vintage.

When I ordered my Simrad plotters, my sales person said to not get Simrads fuel flow/engine management option as it was a POS. So, looking for other alternatives.

Maretron seems to get pretty good reviews for their engine monitoring gauges.

CruzPro offers a digital fuel gauge that theoretically could get you close. There are a few significant drawbacks. First is the calibration issue. They recommend starting with a completely empty tank, fill it 1/16th at a time and make a calibration entry... No way I could do that. Mathematical calibration (instead) is proving to be only semi-useful

Second is that even though it will do calculations on the fly... fuel will "slosh" toward the back of the tanks (at least in our case) while underway... which means the data presented is incorrect because the tanks sensor float is higher (in our case). OTOH, resting data seems to be more stable so calculations noted after a trip (or leg) under known conditions could be useful.

Third is that the gauges are at the mercy of the sensor float. I'm still working that issue with one of ours, even having put a new sensor into that tank. I haven't been able to tell if it's a guage flaw (doubt it), a sensor flaw (?), or maybe a connection issue (leaning toward that, but haven't checked every end yet). This one could be a minor detail in a decent system.

The advantage is that the gauges are semi-inexpensive, compared to a full-up fuel flow measuring system. I've read that mostly once you know you'r fuel burn at given conditions, a full-up system becomes less important...

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If you have an electronic engine, which I doubt if it is a 2005, then you may be able to tie into the engine's ECU and sensors and do it all electronically.


Flowscan has announced that they are going out of business so maybe you can pick up a deal on their flow management systems.

Otherwise Maretron sounds good. No calibration required. That may be what did Flowscan in.

Why do you want to waste money on this device? Just monitor your fuel. You are already monitoring your engine hours - that and a sight tube or a dipstick will tell you all you need to know without the headache and nonsense of a flow meter. Once you have watched the flow meter a couple of times it will not add anything to your experience. If you could make mixture adjustments or mess with tuning it might have some use but otherwise it is just expensive complication. Perhaps that explains Flowscan’s failure?

Fill the tank. Run the engine for a couple of hours. Fill the tank. Fuel slip will tell you what you used.
I just installed a Maretron fuel pressure monitor/sensor in my boat. It required adding a NEMA 2000 backbone, to which the pressure monitor connects. I may also add a fuel flow monitor...helpful in finding the "sweet spot" for fuel consumption and when running beyond hull speed. I have also added their ultrasonic windspeed/weather station. Everything is displayed on a single 4.5" display. The NEMA 2000 backbone was super easy to install and only cost a few hundred dollars. The beauty of this system is that all the monitors, sensors and even the display itself, get their power from the backbone. Truly plug and play!

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