VP’s Easy Connect is their version of Mercury’s Vesselview. It connects to the engine via a factory installed diagnostic plug and sends data via Bluetooth to the Easy Connect app on your phone or tablet. It’s available for EVC and non-EVC engines, going all the way back to 2006.
My engine is a non-EVC 2014 V8-380-C-D. Kit number 23194833 is plug and play for non-EVC with the 6 pin VODIA factory plug.
The Easy Connect device also acts as a gateway for an NMEA 2000 data network. All you would need besides the device to connect to pre-existing NMEA devices would be a power/ground interface and data cables (backbone). If you decide not to connect to any NMEA devices, then the NMEA cable exiting the Easy Connect device remains unused.
While my Garmin 720S GPS is NMEA 2k compatible, meaning that I could display data on the GPS screen with the aforementioned extra parts, I decided to do the Easy Connect instead, to avoid having to run cabling through difficult to reach areas of the boat, and to also have Fault Code monitoring on my phone that the Easy Connect provides. I don’t have a scan tool so I thought this would be a relatively affordable alternative to access that ECU memory. I paid $355 online for the kit.
Install was very easy, just plug it into the VODIA plug and zip tie it in place. Instructions were very basic and lacking detail on how to use the device after install, and it took me a while to discover that Bluetooth pairing happens in a buried menu in the app.
I have a wireless charger mount for my large format iPhone on my dash, in-line with my other gauges, so I figured the gauge view that they showed in their marketing literature would be a nice addition, allowing me to see coolant temp, oil pressure, and voltage along with fuel burn, rpm, and speed on my gauges/GPS.
However, the gauge view they show for the app is only for the iPad version. The iPhone version is just rows of numerical values, only in vertical portrait mode. Despite my large format iPhone, I can’t see the data at a quick glance, especially when heading into the sun. Further, you can’t configure the data to display intended operating range, like turning red if you hit a certain threshold (that would be nice for quick reference under way). You can change what it shown on each line by pressing down and waiting for a submenu to pop up.
Further, since I don’t have Electronic Vessel Control (EVC), there are many operational functions that my boat can’t monitor, and thus can’t display via the VODIA plug, like fuel amount remaining, drive trim, or drive angle. I use my smart gauges to view that info, instead.
All in all, while the install was quick and painless, I wouldn’t buy this product again, unless maybe I was running a dedicated iPad on my helm. On a 26’ bow rider with a pre-installed GPS system, I don’t see the point of converting to a different display. And for $355, I’d put the money towards a laptop based scan tool.