• The Genesis of the Evinrude E-TEC Outboard

    The E-TEC EMM

    The Engine Management Module (EMM) is different than the traditional Electronic Control Unit (ECU) we know in older fuel-injected engines in that the EMM regulates operations for all of the engine’s operations, including rectifying and regulating the charging system. The water-cooled EMM monitors engine temperature, barometric pressure, RPM, throttle opening, and in the G2 E-TECs, automatic trim activation and adjusts steering effort at various speeds. While not an artificial intelligence type of computer, the EMM will monitor over twenty sensors on the engine during operation, handling about eight million calculations per minute. It all happens in that black box, without any other external components. The EMM is much more powerful and more technologically advanced than automotive and other marine versions of engine controllers.

    In addition to managing optimal operation settings, the EMM is also used for diagnostics, and it will even protect the engine from damaging operating conditions. There are four-LEDs for self-diagnosis and a decal that illustrates what the lights mean when the key is turned to ON, when the engine is cranking over, and when the engine is running.

    The E-TEC Engine Management Module is just that - it controls the electronic systems of the entire engine, not just the fuel system. It is a high-performance computer system that requires water cooling.
    The EMM cannot be ‘remapped’ to modify the engine fuel curves, for example, and cannot be interchanged between different E-TEC outboards. It is a complete computerized control system that also contains the engine serial and model number burned into its read-only memory (ROM) and it retains in memory all the service codes and engine running conditions including graphs for engine speed and temperatures.

    This system will undoubtedly benefit from the rapid advances taking place in electronics. Sandstrom explains, “Most anything appears to be possible these days in the world of electronics. As you are well aware, electronic advances are so fast paced that it is difficult to imagine what is possible even one year from now. What BRP has learned is that connectivity and access to information are both becoming highly valued by boaters. I would expect to see further advancements in these areas moving forward for BRP.”

    It is easy to see that while E-TEC and FICHT are distantly-related, they are in fact different engines. But it doesn’t take a wall of text to illustrate this – any FICHT owner that runs an E-TEC for the first time will immediately understand how different these two engines are. Putting aside the fact that the FICHT could never achieve the emissions compliance of the E-TEC, the E-TEC is a much quieter and smoother engine. Power delivery is very rapid and robust, yet refined. There is no smoke at all, but that two-stroke power delivery that we are all familiar with is still there, and it’s even better than ever. And that is what I really like about the E-TEC.

    The E-TEC 250 H.O. powering Karl Sandstrom's Full Throttle Powerboats STV delivers the kind of power that used to be only the domain of race engines - and it does it with the same reliability, warranty, and maintenance schedule intervals (or, lack thereof) as all E-TEC engines.
    The innovations that give the E-TEC impressive performance and emissions compliance together are not limited to the fuel system. Evinrude introduced a Fast Rise Inductive ignition system. This is in contrast to the Capacitive Discharge Ignition (CDI) that was common.

    Capacitive Discharge Ignition delivers multiple spark strikes during the combustion cycle. This results in spark gaps between those strikes, and consequently, the potential for less-complete combustion. The Fast Rise Inductive system will produce one continuous arc of high current, and being a single, continuous event, there are no gaps in the spark.

    Marine Technical Consultant Bill Grannis offers more details:

    “Starting in 2008 certain models received the new long-duration inductive ignition system replacing the older capacitor discharge ignition (CDI). The rest of the E-TEC line was upgraded in 2009. The new ignition method now used one long (still measured in thousandths of a second) constant spark to ignite the plume of gasoline propelled into the combustion chamber by the fuel injectors.

    Complete combustion: E-TEC Fast Rise Inductive Ignition compared to Multi-Strike Capacitive Discharge Ignition.

    Utilizing electronically controlled coils, the inductive system used a frequency signal to trigger the spark. Three wires and a circuit board fastened inside the coil housing provided the technology for this new system. A steady 55 volts constantly powers the coil primary circuit and its ground circuit returns to the EMM. A third wire provides the firing control to the coil’s internal electronics. When the coil circuit board receives the EMM control signal, it momentarily halts the primary current flow through the windings. The surrounding magnetic field collapses, creating a very high voltage in the secondary windings which in turn generates an arc between the spark plug electrodes. The EMM varies the spark duration as needed according to the engine operating requirements."


    Comments 19 Comments
    1. baja200merk's Avatar
      baja200merk -
      Nice job good read
    1. CRH1's Avatar
      CRH1 -


      Looking forward to part 2
    1. Instigator's Avatar
      Instigator -
      Nicely done Greg.

      The G-2 is the mack daddy and cant wait ti read about it.
      It is the "starboard starboard motor" and is amazing that anyone would make the investment to make that motor.

      Thank you.

      Gary
    1. DanUmbarger's Avatar
      DanUmbarger -
      Great read Greg, can't wait for part2...Thanks
    1. mjw930's Avatar
      mjw930 -
      Greg,

      Would it be safe to say the only thing that holds the G2 or the E-TEC in general back is the lack of a lower unit suitable for surfacing applications, costs aside?
    1. David Borg's Avatar
      David Borg -
      Thank you Greg. Great read
    1. Scream And Fly's Avatar
      Scream And Fly -
      Quote Originally Posted by mjw930 View Post
      Greg,

      Would it be safe to say the only thing that holds the G2 or the E-TEC in general back is the lack of a lower unit suitable for surfacing applications, costs aside?
      I think that could be accurate, however, as I researched the G2 I learned that the current Lightning II lower unit is tested at over 90 MPH, and can run surfaced. Not like a Sportmaster of course, however unofficially, it has run over 100 MPH without modification. Never know what the future brings, though!
    1. Scream And Fly's Avatar
      Scream And Fly -
      Quote Originally Posted by David Borg View Post
      Thank you Greg. Great read
      Thank you David, I really appreciate you taking the time to read it

      Greg
    1. Scream And Fly's Avatar
      Scream And Fly -
      Quote Originally Posted by Instigator View Post
      Nicely done Greg.

      The G-2 is the mack daddy and cant wait ti read about it.
      It is the "starboard starboard motor" and is amazing that anyone would make the investment to make that motor.

      Thank you.

      Gary
      Thank you so much Gary. I knew you would be interested in this article. The G2 is really a different outboard in most respects, which is one reason I decided to make the G2 an entirely separate part to this. Originally, the G2 was going to be incorporated into this article, but it really deserves its own feature article. I had great fun with the G2s at the press event. The steering system and network link (along other things) is really revolutionary.

      Greg
    1. Scream And Fly's Avatar
      Scream And Fly -
      Quote Originally Posted by DanUmbarger View Post
      Great read Greg, can't wait for part2...Thanks
      Thank you so much Dan! Part 2 is really where most of the content will be.

      Greg
    1. Scream And Fly's Avatar
      Scream And Fly -
      Quote Originally Posted by baja200merk View Post
      Nice job good read

      Quote Originally Posted by CRH1 View Post


      Looking forward to part 2
      Thank you so much guys!

      Greg
    1. Knut74's Avatar
      Knut74 -
      Read this and really enjoyed it. Very well written Greg, can’t wait to read second part! Good job!
    1. SALSTRIP's Avatar
      SALSTRIP -
      Absolutely the best article I have seen on these engines , can't wait for the G2 info in Part 2.Thanks for posting it up its Awesome
    1. Laker's Avatar
      Laker -
      Fantastic Virus!!
    1. Scream And Fly's Avatar
      Scream And Fly -
      Quote Originally Posted by Laker View Post
      Fantastic Virus!!
      Thank you so much buddy, I appreciate it very much! I knew you would be reading this for sure.
    1. powerabout's Avatar
      powerabout -
      great stuff
      first time I have read anywhere the difference between a ficht injector/emm and an etec version.
    1. Knut74's Avatar
      Knut74 -
      When is Part 2 due? Can’t wait to read it.....
    1. JP Love's Avatar
      JP Love -
      Verry nice reading... Art of engineering.. Thank's S&F..
    1. JP Love's Avatar
      JP Love -
      Best technical infos from old and G2 systems...
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