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Unichip Engine Monitoring System

A simple plug-and-play system that also displays the engine data onto an NMEA 2000 chartplotter, allowing the user to keep an eye on fuel pressure, boost pressure and temperatures. PBR finds out more …

With engine reliability, fuel economy and performance being the top priority for many sports boat owners, the Unichip marine system is designed to ensure that all these factors are enhanced to the maximum. The technology represents a modern supplementary engine control unit that sits on top of the original ECU receiving all its sensory information and manipulating it to give the boat optimal performance parameters.

With the installation of some additional sensors, vital engine data can be received, monitored and manipulated by the Unichip system, meaning that it will self-adjust its operating parameters based upon exhaust gas temperature, engine temperature, fuel pressure, boost pressure and driver demand. For example, if an issue arises such as a high GET, the Unichip system will reduce power to combat the high exhaust temperature. If the high temperature persists, the Unichip will down-tune itself even further to ensure no harmful damage is done while displaying warning information on your chartplotter. Because of this, the ease with which an issue is diagnosed is fast and effortless, helping to prevent catastrophic failure to both your engine and wallet!

Due to the system employing sensors, Unichip state that they are able to extract greater engine performance and fuel economy by as much as 30% (when the prop is changed to suit). On average, sea trials have recorded fuel savings of up to 25% along with a drop in exhaust gas temperatures by as much as 100 degrees Celsius while getting on the plane with just the Unichip marine system alone.

To illustrate, here’s a typical problem scenario that some of our readers might equate with …

‘Today my boat struggled to get on the plane. I had all my friends and family on board with full tanks. Was my payload an issue or is the hull unclean and in need of a scrubbing? Maybe it’s an engine problem, something to do with the turbo, or fuel filters. Are my sensors reading correctly? I did have an issue with my coolant temp sensor last season, so maybe that could be playing up again.’

In this scenario, after addressing all such issues at some considerable cost, it turns out that the fuel lift pump was blocked. Once cleaned, this simple issue and the resulting effects were rectified, but it’s more than likely it took an engineer some considerable troubleshooting to find the fault.

The advantage of the Unichip system is that it’s like having an insightful marine engineer on board with you each time you leave port. But in the instance just highlighted, the Unichip would confirm via the plotter screen that the coolant temperature is reading correctly, the boost pressure is slightly lower than normal, the turbo is still working, but the fuel pressure is reading low. Such information would prove invaluable to a marine engineer, who upon changing the fuel filters uses the system’s information to isolate the fuel lift pump located on the side of the block, along with the sludge causing the low-power issues. Once cleaned, the result is that the boat performs trouble free and the Unichip readings confirm that the engine’s systems are running sweetly once more.

Unichip, of course, are not the first company to produce this type of retrofit, marine engine-monitoring, ‘chip technology’. But coming to the marine world with extensive experience in racing cars and having extensively sea-trialled the product, Unichip look well placed to offer another helpful contribution to trouble-free boating ‒ one that not only has the potential to save the sports boat owner unwanted expense but that has the capability to avoid breakdowns at sea. In this sense, the Unichip plug-in could also be rightly viewed as a valid safety item.

For further information see www.unichipmarine.com.

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