Tell Me Everything
|Tell Me Everything|
| Electronic engine data displays keep few secrets.
By Tim Clark — January 2002
It’s understandable that you could underestimate the value of electronic engine data displays. They can be mistaken for just a bunch of gauges thrown together on a fancy LCD readout, and you probably already have a stolid set of analogs arranged across your helm steadfastly reporting their information as you glance from one to the next. But maybe it’s time you rested your gaze on one of those passive clock faces and asked, "What have you done for me lately?"
Working in tandem with an engine’s electronic control module (ECM), electronic data displays dramatically surpass the functions of conventional gauges, show a wide spectrum of engine parameters without requiring the installation of additional equipment, and often include diagnostic and prognostic alert features that can significantly diminish the guesswork after an alarm sounds.
For the purposes of this article, we’re taking a look at the primary features of Cummins Marine’s Digital Engine Data Display. Bear in mind that this is far from the only engine monitoring system on the market. Nearly all major manufacturers of electronic engines now offer impressively comprehensive displays. We’ve focused on one for the sake of simplicity.
The Cummins system can display 13 engine parameters, including rpm, oil pressure, system voltage, coolant temperature, intake-manifold temperature, oil temperature, instantaneous fuel rate, boost pressure, engine load, throttle position, total hours, total fuel consumed, and barometric pressure. It wasn’t long ago that to have all this information at your fingertips the engine would have to be mounted in a laboratory.
This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.