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Mercury Marine unveils electronic controls making the operation easier and more precise

by Lee Gordon 15 Feb 04:12 PST
Mercury Marine unveils electronic controls making the operation of six-engine boats easier © Lee Gordon

At the launch of the Miami International Boat Show, Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion, introduced a new suite of technological solutions for controlling five- and six-engine arrays of outboard boat engines. The announcement further reinforces Mercury's leadership position in making boat operation more intuitive and enjoyable.

With a growing segment of the recreational boating market shifting toward larger vessels powered by multiple large-horsepower outboards, Mercury is leading the way in providing not only high performance and durable engines but also state-of-the-art solutions to enhance boaters' experiences.

Mercury's new fully featured system natively supports five- and six-engine applications that provide functionality in four major areas:

  • Digital throttle and shift (DTS) controls,
  • Heading and route features of electronic steering,
  • Active Trim, and
  • Mercury's Joystick Piloting for Outboards technology.
"We specifically engineered these solutions to address the unique dynamics and properties of operating five- and six-engine setups on larger boats," said Kris Neff, vice president of global category management and strategic planning. "To match or exceed what we've already been doing with two- to four-engine arrays required significant research and software programming to maximize the contribution of each engine in various maneuvers and throttle settings."

Digital Control and Shift (DTS) capabilities include:

  • Shadow Mode control, which uses two control levers to operate a triple-, quad-, five- or six-engine application;
  • Single-lever Mode, which allows for all engines to be operated from a single control lever;
  • Troll Control, providing very precise low-speed control in 10 rpm increments;
  • Cruise Control, which is a precise rpm or speed controller;
  • Dock Mode, which remaps remote control full-throttle response to 50 percent, allowing for more precise limited power for close-quarters maneuvering;
  • Helm Transfer, which transfers control to a secondary control station; and
  • Throttle Only Mode to either warm up the engines or increase alternator output for charging batteries.
Electronic Steering brings additional features, including:
  • Dynamic steering feel, offering easy steering at low speeds and stiffer steering at higher speeds;
  • Heading control, which allows the boater to lock in the vessel's heading and adjust it in 1- and 10-degree increments; and
  • Fully integrated autopilot, or "Route" feature, which allows the boater to navigate to an active waypoint or follow an active route.
Joystick Piloting for Outboards and Active Trim are also available and add the following capabilities:
  • Skyhook, enabling the boater to lock the vessel's position and heading so the boater may tend to fishing lines, wait on a drawbridge, etc.;
  • Drifthook, enabling the boater to lock the vessel's heading while allowing it to drift;
  • Heading Adjust, allowing the boater to adjust heading, while the boat is engaged in Skyhook or Drifthook, in 1- and 10-degree increments;
  • Bowhook, enabling the boater to lock the vessel's position while allowing the heading to swing on the wind and/or water currents; and
  • Active Trim, which automatically trims all the engines to their optimal trim angle based on speed.
Many of these features require the use of a seven-inch or larger screen on Mercury's VesselView user interface, which displays data on all five or six engines on one screen.

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