Marine Engine Instrumentation & Gauges

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Boating Know How
Installing an Hour Meter in My Boat

The Importance of an Hour Meter And How To Install One

Boat instrument gauges are among the must-have items for any boat owner. This device helps in tracking the number of hours the boat’s engine has been running. By keeping tabs, the owner ensures the boat is serviced within the stipulated time. The device is meant to ... read more work only when the boat is running. Therefore, it is fixed at a point that receives current when the engine has been turned on.

Why Install an Hour Meter in a Boat

The main importance of fixing the boat hour meter is to know how many hours the boat has been running. It may also be useful when running regular checks such as warming up the engine. After an overhaul, a boat owner may use a meter to change the oil as part of “breaking-in” the engine. Operating a boat without an hour meter can lead to exceeding the service or maintenance interval which may destroy the engine. The following are the steps involved.

Items Needed:
· Hour meter
· Power drill
· Pencil
· Hole/circular saw
· Pliers
· Screwdriver
· Screws
· File/rasp
· 2 tap-in wire connectors

Installation Instructions

1. Using a pencil, trace the outer region of the lower/ recessed part of the hour meter. In the case, the meter doesn’t have a recessed portion sketch a circular hole of about 2 inches in diameter.

2. Attach the drill bit to the power drill and cut a hole. Alternatively, use a circular saw to cut a hole.

3. Take an ordinary file or rasp file and smoothen the hole. Use a little pressure since too much may widen the gap further consequently making the meter to fall through.

4. Take the hour meter and pass the wires through the hole. Use a screwdriver to fasten the meter tightly. Doing so ensures the meter doesn’t fall off or become loose. The meter normally comes with three stainless steel screws.

5. Connect the meter’s positive (red) wire to a line that receives power when the boat is running. A good point is the electric fuel pump. Connect the other wire (negative/ black) to a negative connection. Splice the wires by using the crimp-on terminals that come with the unit. You may also squeeze the connector using the pair of pliers.

6. Leave the boat for about an hour.Check the meter after coming. There should be no changes on the reading. Any changes indicate a connection to a positive point that receives current when the engine is switched off. If there is no reading start the engine and make sure, the hour meter is working.

Helpful Tips
· Refer to the engine manufacturer manual to know the maintenance interval.

· Use crimp-on terminals instead of soldering the wires. Solder can break due to vibrations hence giving false reading.

There are different kinds of hour meters in the market. Although they may vary in design, size and color, they all function in the same way. Nonetheless, it is important to get a high quality meter that is not only effective, but is easy to read and durable. Also, it is important to go for an hour meter that is waterproof and rugged. As a boat owner don’t forget to install an hour meter as part of the boat instrument gauges.
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