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Old 16-06-2020, 18:19   #46
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

My current boat, and my last boat, has both alarms and gauges (the alarms are essentially "idiot lights" without the light). I'm a rather mechanically inclined person, who has rebuilt several engines down to the crank bearings (first experience was scraping the babbit bearings on a Model A engine!). I know what gauges mean, and I know how wrong the ones on my last boat were.


But, no, I don't scan them every 2 minutes. I probably don't even check them once a trip. They are not convenient to read, and they never change. Lulled into complacency, guilty as charged. But, here's the thing. Many failures are rapid (some years back I did an oil change on my Civic -- next morning, the idiot light was lit 1/4 block from home -- the old gasket stuck to the block and then blew out). No reasonable amount of scanning gauges will catch a rapid problem, especially on a boat where you set the autopilot and get comfortable in the forward part of the cockpit or even on deck.


But A64, the tach is a gauge I use every single time I get underway. It's a proxy for a speedo. Bring it up to 2000 RPM, and boom, you're going x knots. Want to go faster? Bring it up to 2500 RPM. My ears aren't good enough to do it by ear.
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Old 16-06-2020, 19:07   #47
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

Most of us have speedometers in our boats. I have two, GPS and speed thru the water as many do.
My point is to illustrate that gauges are and can be useful, just as the tachometer is somewhat useful, but I’d bet most of us could easily adjust the throttle for available speed without a tach, just as we do in cars without tachometers.

Sudden things can happen, but usually not. Without an oil pressure gauge you think Your old engine is just fine, it doesn’t burn a whole lot of oil, right, then one day you come into an anchorage, pull it to idle and the low oil pressure alarm goes off, your suddenly and unexpectedly facing an engine overhaul or re-power.
If you had a gauge, you would have seen the dropping of pressure over time, and realized how close of an overhaul you may be, and can plan on it.
Most engines die a slow death, the ones that die catastrophically do so because the warning signs were either ignored or not known about, most of the time.
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Old 16-06-2020, 19:12   #48
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

The one gauge I don't have and would like is oil temperature. Along with coolant temp, it's an indicator for a slightly weak cooling system or an engine being worked too hard.
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Old 17-06-2020, 05:21   #49
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

Just for the record when I called 97% of BOATERS idiots I was not referring to cruisers. The 97% in our community represents boats with outboards that have only tachometers as gauges. We're the 3%. The standard of excellence on any Saturday in this community is getting the boat into the water without forgetting to put the drain plug in.
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Old 17-06-2020, 05:32   #50
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

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Originally Posted by NorthernMac View Post
Iíve seen quite a few posts about people saying once the low oil pressure light came on.

Why donít more people install and insist on having a oil pressure indicator?

I mean for me I feel odd not having CHT/EGT for each cylinder, but I get it, itís a boat, still not having oil pressure to match against RPM and temp, plus the lack of folks who cut their oil filters and inspect the eminent on oil changes..

Iím all for adventurous, but dang
I'm a pilot too. While there are certainly similarities between flying a plane and operating a sailboat, you gotta kind of let go of some of the pilot stuff if you're going to enjoy sailing. You're not leaning your diesels, there's not much useful information you're going to get from CHT/EGT and indeed outside aviation I'm not sure any diesel's anywhere routinely display that information. If one of the engines on my cat stops, I've got another plus two sails and in all likelihood I could go drink a beer and then attend to the matter with the boat remaining upright and afloat in the interim. It's a world of difference from when an engine fails on your Seneca. You can certainly do engine oil analysis, although after running 100+ aircraft fleet maintenance programs I can tell you that quantitatively that's surprisingly of little value.

Bottom line, learn to relax a little on your boat. Certainly you can get yourself in trouble on the water, you don't need to tell this retired Coastie about that. But you don't need the level of hypervigilance that you do when flying and frankly your less safe if you try to maintain it because it's just not possible to do for days straight at a time while you're underway.
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Old 17-06-2020, 05:54   #51
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

Much ado about almost nothing, having lots of gauges doesn’t help nearly as much as doing the preventative/calendar maintenance as specified, evidently RMP is the one gauge that manufacturers believe is a must have, one might ask, what condition is ones engine in if one needs to monitor multiple gauges endlessly? motor heads see the world through that lens. Do they have a point? Sure , everyone who deep dives a given topic does...

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Old 17-06-2020, 06:30   #52
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

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one might ask, what condition is ones engine in if one needs to monitor multiple gauges endlessly?

In my mind, monitoring isn't because you expect to see a problem come up or anything different, it's just a confirmation of "yep, that's the same as it always is". But, for example, if I notice the oil pressure is a little lower than normal when throttling back to idle after working an engine hard for a while (and not having an oil temperature gauge), that might make me think "oil might be getting a little hot, I should check the oil cooler and see if it needs cleaning" rather than waiting until it restricts water flow enough to cause an immediate problem.
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Old 17-06-2020, 08:11   #53
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

If you lose raw water flow at full load you have maybe a minute or so to shut down before your exhaust system melts and possibly ignites. The nature of these raw water systems is they unexpectedly fail from clogging, or broken impellers. Most don't have raw water flow alarms. The exhaust system is usually made from rubber and plastic. A plastic bag over the intake can burn your boat. Hypervigilance is required!
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Old 18-06-2020, 13:30   #54
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

My boat has a glass fibre U-pipe connecting the exhaust on the engine to the rubber spiral pipe that runs to the water lift. On my first trip from US to NZ, the raw water impeller blew out. By the time the coolant alarm went off the glass fibre pipe had burned through, the engine compartment was filled with exhaust gas and water was everywhere.

When I got to Bora Bora, I removed the GRP pipe, got some resin and cloth, repaired it and put it back on. It is still on the boat, exactly the same and performing just as it always did.

I doubt that this kind of failure can set fire to a boat. This failure damaged nothing other than the burnt pipe. I reckon the engine will seize before a fire starts. And the buzzer (if you have one) will have made everyone crazy
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Old 18-06-2020, 13:34   #55
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

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Originally Posted by redneckrob View Post
I'm a pilot too. While there are certainly similarities between flying a plane and operating a sailboat, you gotta kind of let go of some of the pilot stuff if you're going to enjoy sailing. You're not leaning your diesels, there's not much useful information you're going to get from CHT/EGT and indeed outside aviation I'm not sure any diesel's anywhere routinely display that information. If one of the engines on my cat stops, I've got another plus two sails and in all likelihood I could go drink a beer and then attend to the matter with the boat remaining upright and afloat in the interim. It's a world of difference from when an engine fails on your Seneca. You can certainly do engine oil analysis, although after running 100+ aircraft fleet maintenance programs I can tell you that quantitatively that's surprisingly of little value.

Bottom line, learn to relax a little on your boat. Certainly you can get yourself in trouble on the water, you don't need to tell this retired Coastie about that. But you don't need the level of hypervigilance that you do when flying and frankly your less safe if you try to maintain it because it's just not possible to do for days straight at a time while you're underway.

Probably some truth to this
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Old 18-06-2020, 13:55   #56
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
The one gauge I don't have and would like is oil temperature. Along with coolant temp, it's an indicator for a slightly weak cooling system or an engine being worked too hard.
I believe you are right. A gauge can tell you in advance of a problem on it's way not holy hit my temp. is to high or oil pressure is to low. Being proactive beats the hell out of after the fact.
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Old 18-06-2020, 14:11   #57
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

I go back and forth about the oil temp gauge. I did have one save my bacon on a new aircraft once.
But our oil temps run so ridiculously low or mine does anyhow that I’ve given more thought about deleting the oil cooler, without a spun bearing or something I can’t imagine how the temp would get high, mine runs in the 160’s or thereabouts, I’d prefer it to be 200, but it’s not.
If I do end up with one, it will be more to even out my gauge stack for appearance sakes as I have three now, two on one side of my panel and one on the other side. But in my case I can’t imagine needing one.
Now if I was a turbo motor or my oil ran at 200ish now, then that might be different.
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Old 28-06-2020, 16:16   #58
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Re: Whatís with dummy lights?

when i purchased my 40 year old mirage, it was re-powered with 1978 yanmar ysb 8. I felt lucky to have dummy lights but not comfortable. So found a two tone buzzer from Catalina Direct, inexpensive but solves problem of which issue should something arise. Wired it parallel to the lights. Yes, low oil screams at me when I turn the ignition on before starting and i unplug both regularly to test if working. Sure takes that worry off the table.


https://www.catalinadirect.com/shop-...-engine-panel/
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