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TexasPilot71

SmartCraft display freezing

17 posts in this topic

I've had a few instances (several really) where everything is fine then the display under the tachometer sorta "freezes". I typically have that display showing depth. Basically, it either freezes on whatever value is indicating or it goes to zero and freezes there. If I page up or down, each of the other pages data is frozen as well. The tachometer and speedometer continue to operate normally.

Until today, I've had to shut the ignition off and restart, but I learned a little trick today. I simply press both the up and down arrows simultaneously until the system goes into a programming mode. I then go to the exit page and select exit. The system "reboots" and even the unaffected tachometer goes to zero then to the correct value and the digital display starts working correctly. 

Any thoughts on what causes this and how to prevent it?

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Are you talking about Garmin chartplotter or multi function display? If so, my Garmin had similar freezing fits a few years back when I upgraded to latest charts and the old firmware was not liking it. FWIW, check if your Garmin is on the latest firmware.

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1 hour ago, Richard W said:

Are you talking about Garmin chartplotter or multi function display? If so, my Garmin had similar freezing fits a few years back when I upgraded to latest charts and the old firmware was not liking it. FWIW, check if your Garmin is on the latest firmware.

Nope. The display beneath the tach. Mercruiser Smartcraft. 

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8 hours ago, TexasPilot71 said:

Nope. The display beneath the tach. Mercruiser Smartcraft. 

You will most likely need to replace the Chaparral square digital tachometer (boss gauge). Experiencing an internal problem with the gauge; will only get worse I'm afraid.

I honestly can't recall if your 250 Sig takes the larger 5" cruiser display or the smaller 3" that was also used on the 216 SSi WT or 244 Sunesta, etc. Irregardless, here are your 2 choices seeing you have MerCruiser power.  Should be plug and play.

NOTE: before removing your gauge cluster panel to check for the part number, be sure to apply several layers of masking tape onto the fibreglass dash to help avoid scrapes from the aluminum panel. Lastly, don't lose any of the plastic washers for the screws.

http://www.cecilmarineonline.com/gauges/

5" model:

http://www.cecilmarineonline.com/tachometer-5-6000-rpm-with-large-display-for-mercruiser-engine-1/

 

3" model:

http://www.cecilmarineonline.com/tachometer-3-6000-rpm-with-large-display-for-mercruiser-engine-13-00820/

Image result for for sale 2008 chaparral 250 signature

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How difficult would it be to install a VesselView4 in place of the Chap tach?  I know I'd need a network and an engine gateway, but I've been looking for a reason to install one.  @Exoset you might be just the right person to ask!

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4 hours ago, TexasPilot71 said:

How difficult would it be to install a VesselView4 in place of the Chap tach?  I know I'd need a network and an engine gateway, but I've been looking for a reason to install one.  @Exoset you might be just the right person to ask!

Hey buddy ;), it is VERY simple to replace your smartcraft gauge by a vesselview4, you should have a big blue wire going from the engine to the helm in a 4 or 6 ways junction box. You just plug the Vesselview 4 in this junction box and you are done.

VV4 is also a gateway to bridge your NMEA2K network and the Smartcraft network, it's delivered with an air temp sensor, you are free to install it or not, I put mine in the cabin to see from the outside the temp inside the cabin.

You should think about your dash though, be sure the size of the VV4 will fit in the hole of your square gauge otherwise you will need to enlarge the hole, here is the vesselview 4 size :

https://www.sbmar.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/vessel_view_4_installation_8m0095044.pdf

But I am telling you, if you put a vesselview, you won't look at your other gauge... at all. The other thing I would do if I were you would be to unplug your trim wire from analog and plug it to digital (the 2 of them are side by side on the engine), and also unplug the wire from your sender (gas) from your gauge and put it on the engine (Bluegrey wire) if it is not already done.

If you do that, you will be able to enjoy the most useful feature of the VV4, which is Eco Mode, telling you your optimum trim position and your GPH fuel consumption, your gas tank level, etc, etc, if you need me to do a video of mine just tell me I will try to do it this week-end for you ;).

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16 minutes ago, Exoset said:

Hey buddy ;), it is VERY simple to replace your smartcraft gauge by a vesselview4, you should have a big blue wire going from the engine to the helm in a 4 or 6 ways junction box. You just plug the Vesselview 4 in this junction box and you are done.

VV4 is also a gateway to bridge your NMEA2K network and the Smartcraft network, it's delivered with an air temp sensor, you are free to install it or not, I put mine in the cabin to see from the outside the temp inside the cabin.

You should think about your dash though, be sure the size of the VV4 will fit in the hole of your square gauge otherwise you will need to enlarge the hole, here is the vesselview 4 size :

https://www.sbmar.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/vessel_view_4_installation_8m0095044.pdf

But I am telling you, if you put a vesselview, you won't look at your other gauge... at all. The other thing I would do if I were you would be to unplug your trim wire from analog and plug it to digital (the 2 of them are side by side on the engine), and also unplug the wire from your sender (gas) from your gauge and put it on the engine (Bluegrey wire) if it is not already done.

If you do that, you will be able to use the most useful feature of the VV4, which is Eco Mode, telling you your optimum trim position and your GPH fuel consumption, your gas tank level, etc, etc, if you need me to do a video of mine just tell me I will try to do it this week-end for you ;).

Whoa.  That got me all excited!  So you're saying the VV4 doesn't require the engine gateway because it receives the data via Smartcraft and delivers it directly to the NMEA2K network?  That is awesome!  I would absolutely add the network and plug in everything else you mentioned.  

Wow, thanks for the quick reply.  Now where can I find a hardtop too?  LOL!  (Kidding about the hardtop)

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11 minutes ago, TexasPilot71 said:

Whoa.  That got me all excited!  So you're saying the VV4 doesn't require the engine gateway because it receives the data via Smartcraft and delivers it directly to the NMEA2K network?  That is awesome!  I would absolutely add the network and plug in everything else you mentioned.  

Wow, thanks for the quick reply.  Now where can I find a hardtop too?  LOL!  (Kidding about the hardtop)

Yep, behind the VV4 you have NMEA2K and Smartcraft plug. You can send NMEA2K infos to the VV4 and Smartcraft info to NMEA2K devices which is really cool :). 

Hehe wait for a bigger boat for the hardtop :p, you need 10 ft beam ;)

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On 9/8/2017 at 4:22 PM, Exoset said:

Hey buddy ;), it is VERY simple to replace your smartcraft gauge by a vesselview4, you should have a big blue wire going from the engine to the helm in a 4 or 6 ways junction box. You just plug the Vesselview 4 in this junction box and you are done.

Is it possible there is no junction box?  At the boat now and have the dash torn apart. For the life of me I cannot find a junction box. Tracing wires as much as i can and no joy. If no junction box, is there a harness that I can connect to the engine and run to the helm?

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Is it possible there is no junction box?  At the boat now and have the dash torn apart. For the life of me I cannot find a junction box. Tracing wires as much as i can and no joy. If no junction box, is there a harness that I can connect to the engine and run to the helm?

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In order to use a scan tool, you must unplug the helm harness which is located on the top of the engine next to the ECU. I would have a tech do that and see if he can see real data, as that will rule out the ECM data link. Then it's a matter of checking the cable and the display itself. As you have twins, you may want to switch the cables port to starboard and see if the issue follows.   W

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10 minutes ago, Wingnut said:

In order to use a scan tool, you must unplug the helm harness which is located on the top of the engine next to the ECU. I would have a tech do that and see if he can see real data, as that will rule out the ECM data link. Then it's a matter of checking the cable and the display itself. As you have twins, you may want to switch the cables port to starboard and see if the issue follows.   W

Thanks Wingnut. I am a single engine. I do have the port on the engine with a terminator attached to it (it does not run to the helm). I removed the terminator and attached the VesselView harness to the plug and the VV worked beautifully. I took the time to setup the VV and ensured it was reading the engine, fuel tank, depth, etc. my guess is that some boats have a harness that runs to the dash from that connection?  There must be another bus that runs all the Smartcraft data to the Tachometer, but it is buried in the sidewalk of the boat. Very difficult to find the connector and I’m not even sure if it’s the same connector type I just connected the VV to on the engine. Thoughts??

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Mine is a 2008 also, but I do not have a service connector, just the helm harness engine end termination. Cable runs directly to the helm. At least you know the issue is with the Smart Craft head unit or in the cable, not that either of those options are good news.  W

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Well the connection to the tachometer (which as you said drives the other gauges) is a gray, square, 6-pin connector. It obviously carries all Smartcraft data to the helm. So if there is a way to simply interface that connection to the VV harness which has the 10-pin plug, that would be a very easy fix. Do you know if such an interface is available?  

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Just to close this thread down (until complete)...I spoke to Mercury and Ken was great.  He didn't know of a 6-pin to 10-pin interface because the 6-pin isn't Mercury OEM.  He suggested running a Data Harness (879981T20) from the engine to the helm connecting it to a 4-way junction box (878492K14).  This gives me a nice OEM style setup and allows a scan tool to be plugged into the junction box if/when needed.  The Vesselview will simply plug into one of the ports on the j-box.

Thanks for all the help!

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