By Rick Murphy
Yamaha Pro Staff
A lot of the new flats and bay boats on the market come with Yamaha Command Link® Digital Gauges as standard equipment. These gauges come in square and round configurations and are a great tool to use on a daily basis to monitor your engine functions and fuel efficiency. With these capabilities, they can also be used to judge if you will have enough gas to make a long run.
I used the Yamaha Command Link Digital Gauges just that way a couple of weeks ago, and the data helped me make the decision during the IFA Redfish Tour Championship to run from Houma, Louisiana to Venice, an 88 mile one-way trip that eventually allowed me and my fishing partner Geoff Page to find the fish we needed to win the tournament. We had located those fish during the last day of prefishing for the event, but weren’t sure if we would have enough gas to get to them, so we took detailed notes of what our Command Link Digital Gauges said our speed and fuel burn were in calm and rough conditions and then sat down the night before the tournament and did the math.
The Pathfinder 2300 HPS and 250HP Yamaha V MAX® SHO four stroke that we run in tournaments holds 65 gallons of fuel, and at 67 mph was burning 23.8 gallons per hour and getting 2.8 mpg with a wide-open throttle. Using the fuel management gauge we determined that we’d have a little over two gallons to spare on the round trip run – provided we didn’t stop and fish anywhere else.
We made the run at full speed, caught the fish and won the tournament, and when I refilled the tank after the event, I put 62.6 gallons of gas back into the boat, so we were off by about three tenths of a gallon on our estimate. While we certainly don’t recommend that you cut your available remaining fuel this close, it clearly speaks to the accuracy of these gauges!
There are two gauges in the Yamaha Command Link Digital Gauge System—a tachometer unit and speedometer fuel unit—each with different functions and readouts. The gauges come with an Owner’s Manual that helps walk you through their operations, and also explains how to set the initial settings on the gauges when you first get your boat.
When running, the tachometer unit displays the engine tachometer in large digital numbers on the center left side of the gauge, while the right side shows the trim meter, which indicates the current amount of trim on the engine. There’s also a multi-functional display on the bottom right side of the gauge that can be manually adjusted to display everything from total hours on the motor to current trip hours, oil pressure level, battery voltage level and cooling water and engine temperature…and you can display this information in either numerical or bar graph format (your choice). With just that one gauge you can monitor all your engine systems and make sure they’re running efficiently.
The top center left portion of the speedometer fuel unit shows the speed of the boat in mph, while the upper right side of the gauge shows the fuel meter, which indicates the amount of fuel left in the tank in ten level bars. The bottom multifunction display can show two types of information, including trip distance in miles and battery voltage, or water temperature, depth and clock if you have those options installed. You can also toggle over to fuel meter on the multifunctional display on this gauge to get readouts on fuel economy, fuel flow and total fuel consumption.
Between the two gauges, you can monitor the major engine functions while at the same time knowing your fuel burn at different speeds. This allows you to use the gauges to learn more about your boat during operational conditions, like the right amount of trim to get maximum performance from your outboard, and the overall height you can raise the jackplate while still maintaining solid engine water pressure—things you want and need to know as a boat owner.
Yamaha’s Command Link Digital Gauges are also Command Link, Command Link Plus® and Y-COP® Anti Theft System compatible if you wish to integrate them into your boat’s systems. If you use the Yamaha Command Link Digital Gauges as tools to monitor your engine’s performance you can get a better understanding of your boat’s fuel and running performance, while at the same time tracking the operating systems of the engine. These gauges not only help you understand how to get peak operational performance from your outboard, but can also help you monitor the systems for any trouble while on the water.