Posts Tagged ‘inboard’

Why does Lloyd’s Type Approval matter when it comes to Shield’s Hose?

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Type Approval from Lloyd’s Register (LR) proves that a product conforms to recognized industry quality standards and/or the LR Rules, through a process of independent design review, testing and verification of production controls.

There are two main steps to Type Approval. The first is Type Examination. Design data is submitted and reviewed to ensure it complies with the requirements of the specified standard(s) and/or LR rules. Then, samples of the product are tested to verify they meet the testing requirements of the relevant standards and any performance requirements associated with the product.

The second main step in the Type Approval process is Production Quality Assurance. This is performed to ensure the product (when mass produced) will be of an acceptable quality and will conform to the version that was prototype tested. Production controls are inspected to confirm that the product can be manufactured in accordance with the design data.

Once Type Approval is achieved, a Certificate is issued and is typically valid for 5 years. The product is then entered in the relevant part of the Lloyd’s Register List of Type Approval Products.

Why does this matter to you? It matters because this certification ensures you that our vendors and suppliers are capable of providing the highest quality product possible. You can trust your boat with Sierra.

Marine Starter VS. Automotive Starter… And the Winner Is…

Monday, November 24th, 2014

You pull the starter off of your Mercruiser (GM manufactured 5.7L) I/O and take it to the nearest auto parts supplier for a replacement. The starter for a car looks exactly the same as the one you just removed from your marine engine. You think to yourself, “I wonder how much difference there REALLY is between the marine and the automotive starter.”

Don’t be fooled by the fact that an automotive starter will bolt on to your marine engine. A marine approved starter has better seals and gaskets to keep water out. It also contains more corrosive resistant materials.

However, the primary consideration is safety, as there are deliberate design differences to contain sparks that could ignite fuel vapor in the bilge.  In an enclosed engine compartment, where volatile fumes exist, any stray spark could cause a catastrophic explosion, resulting in severe injury or possible death.  In order to prevent this, a marine starter is constructed with internal shielding to contain any sparks or stray electricity that could travel into the bell housing or bilge where gasoline fumes may be present. Another benefit from this shielding is that it protects the back half of the starter motor from moisture and contaminants which WILL decrease the life of the starter.

If the replacement starter you are buying does not have a tag or sticker on it that states it has been manufactured to SAE J1171 standards, you should ask if the product really is an approved marine grade product. You should always make every attempt to be sure that you are not being sold an automotive starter for your boat. In order to receive this certification, the manufacturer of this starter must submit a sample to pass three separate tests, each of which is performed fifty times. The tests include operation in an enclosed explosive atmosphere, high temperature tests and induced ignition tests.

Please remember the following:

  • Using anything electrical that is not marine rated is BOTH illegal and dangerous
  • The Coast Guard WILL ticket you for noncompliance
  • The risk of injury or death is incrementally higher when you elect to use automotive electrical parts on your marine engine

Stay safe out on the water and if you have any questions as to which start is best for your marine engine, call our Technical Support Line at 1-877-663-8396.

Tips to making the most of your STATS Diagnostic Tool

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

For some time, marine technicians needed an easier way to diagnose engine problems without the added expense of a laptop or having to maneuver a boat trailer or motor on a stand to the computer bay.  STATS™ (Sierra Touch and Test System) is that solution.  STATS is an innovative new handheld engine diagnostic tool from Sierra that allows technicians to plug into a marine engine’s Electronic Control Module (ECM) and diagnose engine problems without the need for a laptop or PC. Engine diagnostics can even be performed on boats while they’re still in the water.

Since Sierra launched STATS, our technical services representatives have come across some very good questions. We thought these questions and answers would be useful in order to get the most out of your experience with the STATS Diagnostic Tool.

  • Does STATS have the ability to change the oil ratio on Evinrude E-Tec Engines?

YES. STATS has the ability to change the oil ratio on Evinrude E-Tec engines from XD30, XD settings to XD settings.

  • Can STATS configure vessel management systems such as SmartCraft?

NO. Currently, STATS does not offer vessel management configuration features. Sierra is now researching vessel management opportunities.

  • Does STATS display engine run histories?

YES. STATS has the capabilities to display engine run histories. Most engine histories are broken down via engine RPM or by temperature. This feature is very useful when determining the habits of the boat owners and advising the customer when periodic maintenance is due.

  • What is the warranty on STATS?

STATS is equipped with the same industry leading warranty as ALL other Sierra Products which is a Limited Lifetime Warranty against defects and workmanship!

  • What happens if I enter in the wrong passcode 3 consecutive times on my STATS?

Entering the wrong passcode 3 times consecutively will result in software deletion from the STATS unit and lock the console for security purposes. Once locked, you will need to contact Sierra Technical Support to unlock the STATS unit and you’ll then have the ability to reinstall software from the STATS loader page. Passwords will be kept on record along with serial number information at Sierra. You’ll need to supply the serial number and registration information to unlock the console.

  • Can I purchase software upgrades online?

NO. Currently software is not available online for purchase. At this time you will need to contact your distributor for purchase of software and corresponding cables.

  • How do I start using my STATS unit?

Before use, STATS must be activated by connecting to a PC. You will also need to download the STATS Loader Program from www.sierrastats.com. This will enable you to download new software and updates for your STATS unit. The STATS Loader Page is also where you will view, save and print information from the STATS unit.

  • Can I use STATS with my MAC?

NO. STATS is not compatible with MAC Operating Systems unless you utilize the Windows Parallel Program.

  • Does STATS program injectors on Evinrude E-Tec Engines?

NO. STATS does not currently program the injectors on E-Tec Engines.

  • Does STATS have the ability to tune engines?

NO. Currently, STATS only performs diagnostics. It is not equipped with a tuner to reformat an ECM.

  • Does STATS work with Ficht Engines?

YES. STATS does work with all Ficht Engines.

  • Can STATS record live data to capture an intermittent concern?

YES. STATS is able to record live data for up to 30 seconds at a time.

  • Can I create diagnostic reports with STATS?

YES. You can create diagnostic reports via uploading the saved information on the console to a PC. Your report can then be created on the STATS Loader Page.

  • How often do I have to charge my STATS unit?

STATS is not equipped with an internal battery. STATS operates from engine battery voltage either through the Diagnostic Link Connector or via a DC Power cable that connects to the battery. While connected to a PC, the STATS unit is powered by an AC adapter.

  • What if I have questions about how to use the STATS unit?

Your STATS purchase includes a printed copy of the STATS user manual which can answer most questions before and during use. If you still need assistance, our Sierra Technical Support Team is here to help. Our toll-free number is 1-800-648-3976 Extension 3.

Save The Outdrive – Choose The Proper Anode For Your Boat

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Corrosion is your boat’s worst enemy. Choosing the right anode for your boat is about as crucial as putting gasoline in the tank. It’s not as easy as it might seem. We’ve put together some basic information on anodes and what factors you need to consider when purchasing one for your boat.

The most common anodes are made of either Zinc, Aluminum or Magnesium. They are measured according to their voltage. The higher the anode’s voltage, the more freely it gives up electrons. This in turn equates to the ability to better feed corrosion.

Magnesium has the highest voltage, followed by Zinc and then Aluminum. Magnesium does offer more protective electrons faster (due to its higher voltage), however it protects for only 1/3 the time of Zinc and 1/5 the time of aluminum. When you take a look at cost, Magnesium is more expensive than Zinc while Zinc is more expensive than Aluminum.

If you compare Zinc and Aluminum, Zinc forms an insulating oxide film over itself, especially in fresh water. This insulating oxide film stops the anode from working. By mixing iridium and other metals with aluminum, alloys are created that don’t form aluminum oxide.

Caution should be taken, though, when using magnesium anodes because they have a higher chance of overprotecting.  If used on an aluminum sterndrive or outboard motor it can be incredibly dangerous. For instance, if you take your boat down river to the ocean with magnesium anodes, the overprotection causes hydrogen bubbles to form under the paint on the drive resulting in the paint being blown off.  Caution should be taken when putting magnesium anodes on aluminum-hulled boats as well since the same thing can happen.

Aluminum alloy is the only anode material that is safe for use in all types of water.  Aluminum is also accepted by the major sterndrive manufactures as the best material to use.  It is lighter and protects better than Zinc and it’s not so active that it becomes dangerous like Magnesium. Aluminum alloy is also environmentally friendly, unlike Zinc which is considered a pollutant.

Regardless of the type of anode you choose, it is important to ensure they are made to the appropriate marine specification. Installing cheap or sub-standard anodes will cause increased and potentially very expensive corrosion problems. That’s why you have the satisfaction of knowing when you purchase your anode from Sierra, you are backed by our customer satisfaction warranty!