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Thread: Floscan or NMEA 2000

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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Default Floscan or NMEA 2000

    Decision time for fuel monitoring.


    Working on a 24' boat with MerCruiser sterndrive (carbureted 5.7)and trying to decide which way to go in terms of a Multifunctiongauge for fuel management.


    This is a analog motor so a NMEA 2000 gauge like a Lowrance LMF200would only be useful as a fuel gauge and fuel management, maybe hourmeter. I could get a signal converter but that strikes me as over-complicating basic analog gauges for oil and engine temp.


    A N2K would allow MPG to display on the plotter where as theFloscan would only be on the gauge.


    Cost is similar and maybe slightly cheaper w/N2K as I would justbuy a LMF for $170.00 plus the fuel sensor for $200.00 where as theFloscan 9000 is over $500.00.


    I have a hour meter and tach so don’t have buy those.


    What say you guys that have crossed this bridge
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    I had the Floscan installed at a shop cause it looked a little involved. It needs to be calibrated with a couple dials on the back of it, but it's sort of a mystery. Mine has been way off. I ran it recently and compared fuel usage to actual and spun the dial a few clicks but didn't have the time to keep burning gas and filling etc. Afterwards, I e-mailed Flo scan and they sent me a little work sheet to fill out as the engine runs etc and to take pictures and send them back. Haven't done that yet, and I'm sure it'll be great when it's calibrated, but it's not plug it in and go. Not sure what's involved with the other systems.

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    Member c-bolt's Avatar
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    That's strange it was that far off Ducky. I installed one with my old engine that had the supply and return meters (EFI). It was dead nutz on right out of the box. I read about calibration, but mine was perfect...I think I was lucky. I took it off when I re-powered since the flow meters were too small for the amount of fuel I need now.

    That said...I would go the N2K route. Having the ability to read MPG is just as important as GPH (in my mind). Its much easier to find the most efficient rpm without having to break out a calculator. Also, I think you can get a fuel level sender and calibrate it for your fuel tank to show remaining gallons, time, range left...etc.

    just my .02
    09 River Wild, 3 stages, LS power

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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c-bolt View Post
    Having the ability to read MPG is just as important as GPH.
    The Floscan 9000 does read out in MPG using the 0183 protocol


    Requires a toggle switch to go from GPH/MPG and your right about the inconvenience of using a calculator under way, nothing like real time info.
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    I have a 5.7 engine on my 24ft Skipjack. I have the Floscan RPM, engine hour, GPM and gallons used model.
    I installed the Floscan close to 20 years ago.
    If your are mechanically inclined install it yourself. I have seen a few Floscan's installed in shops and some would not work right.
    Floscan's customer service helped me with info about the install and calibration.
    It did require adjusting on the back to get a accurate reading.
    After that, it has been accurate to less than 1 gallon for all these years.
    Floscan makes a lot of models and I would recommend you call Floscan and be sure you buy the correct model for your boat.
    I have had to replace the inline meter once.
    Almost every spring I will spray a little carb cleaner into the inline meter to remove any buildup.
    This meter will pay for itself by teaching you to run your boat at the most economic RPM.

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    Member c-bolt's Avatar
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    Ahhh, I forgot about the 9000 series. I had the 7000 in mine. The 9000 looks to be about $565 - $645 depending on where you get it. Their customer service was helpful to me when I called and it seemed like the ones who built the things were the ones answering the calls.

    I have no idea about the reliability or accuracy of the LMF unit, although I've never read anything bad about them when I was researching this subject about 2 years ago. I finally figured out I can just use the 0183 output from my Garmin to my Livorsi Vantage View gauge and get MPG there. This whole time I was trying to figure out how to get the J1939 info to the Garmin...haha
    09 River Wild, 3 stages, LS power

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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Yes, electronics can be daunting and plenty of choices, I thought I had it narrowed down until you tossed LIVORSI into the mix....! Thanks alot.....! Something else to investigate, I looked at their site briefly but looks like I could go that route, I kinda prefer a analog tach.

    I have a LMF 200 on a riverboat, connected to a electronic outboard, it is my fuel gauge and has been accurate and reliable. Relatively easy to use, although it can be cumbersome (for me) navigating all the menus/pages with only a few buttons. IMO.

    The Glasply I am rebuilding has a analog engine so I was thinking not to go the N2K route.. Now back to looking at Livorsi....
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    Member c-bolt's Avatar
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    Unless your running an EFI engine, I would skip the vantage view gauges. I would see no benefit to adding them to your configuration. They do have configurable analog inputs, but i think only a couple (one of which gets used for the 0183 protocol). I used them since my new engine ecu uses the J1939. I already had the extra wires running to the dash so it was really just a matter of plugging it in. Now I learned I can tie in from the Garmin and get my MPG...awesome!

    I would just keep what you have, add the LMF and tie it into your Garmin. That way you don't have to worry about non matching gauges and the mpg would be on your plotter and easy to read.

    my .02
    09 River Wild, 3 stages, LS power

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    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    I had a couple of Lowrance LMF200 gauges with an EP-60 fuel sensor for each outboard's fuel line on my previous boat. I also had a speed sensor (EP-70) on the N2K network, so I could display MPG numbers. This particular network setup worked great, and it was accurate for fuel data. I should have left well enough alone.

    I ran into problems when I transferred my gauges to the new boat and "upgraded" my network with N2k engine interfaces and a new LMF400 gauge. I thought I'd gain access to additional data with the engine interfaces (temp, trim, rpm, engine hours, etc.). I did, but in order to get the trip fuel used numbers, I needed a memory module (EP-85). I thought I had everything figured out, but my fuel management numbers became erratic. In the middle of a multi-day trip, the trip fuel numbers would come up weird, like thousands of gallons burned....obviously wrong.

    After several calls and e-mails to Lowrance Customer Service, they e-mailed me software updates to install on the gauges. The older LMF200 gauges had a different software version than the newer LMF400 gauge, and Lowrance figured this was the source of my problems. Lowrance e-mailed me the software updates, and the kind folks at Cabela's let me use one of their Lowrance head units to install the software updates on my gauges.

    After the software updates, neither of the LMF200 gauges would power on. They are dead. Completely dead. The LMF400 gauge powers up, but it now has the same problem of erratic trip fuel data.

    Additional follow-up with Lowrance left me cold. Even though they sent me the software updates to "fix" my gauges, they will not do anything to replace the now broken gauges except sell me new ones at a discounted price. They are out of ideas to get the LMF400 gauge working properly, except to sell me a new one. I'm done with Lowrance. Their "customer service" is anything but.



    This spring I purchased a Raymarine A68 unit. It has built-in GPS and chirp sonar. The package I bought came bundled with the Navionics Gold charts and the CPT-100 transducer. With a $30 adapter cable, I connected my N2k network to the Raymarine unit. With only the engine interfaces on the network, I can display all of the data on the A68 unit including fuel burn and trip data. I'm back in business! I called Raymarine's customer service before I purchased the A68, to verify that what I intended to do would work. I also called their customer service when I was installing the A68. Each time I contacted Raymarine, I was impressed with their customer service. They have earned my trust.

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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Dan,
    Thanks for the reply, I have had some issues early on w/ the 200 in my riverboat and erroneous fuel readings, I did discover the N2K backbone was not connected properly and they may have been a contributing factor. I swapped the connections and it worked briefly, ultimately I had to replace the interface to the engine, which was painful to get. Since then (~5 years) it has worked flawlessly since then. Lowrance products certainly seem fine with the little experience I have had, I wish I could say the same for their customer service.

    We will be purchasing new electronics for this boat at some time as well (clean slate as it were) and it seems that most have both the 2NK and 0183 protocol. I have gone back and forth on the 2NK VS Floscan, it appears as if the Floscan will provide fuel management, tach & hour meter. The 2NK has limited value on a analog engine, however I could display trim tab info on the gauge and certainly some other items I havent thought of yet.
    Which ever one I pick it will be the fuel gauge, Floscan reads out in gallons and the LMF will display a virtual gauge which I would prefer.

    Hmm.... decisions, decisions I appreciate the thoughts here.
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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