View Full Version : Volvo and EDC

30-01-06, 18:54
Do all recent Volvo engined boats come with the EDC system, or was this only ever an option? I am not familiar with EDC, so is it important to get a boat with EDC if it is not standard, or does it not really matter? Boat is a 2001 with KAD 43's

30-01-06, 19:27
it's a feature of the engine so once launched with EDC then all engines of that model will have it in the future. During the crossover there may be some engines with and some without however.
EDC was the solution to meet EC emission regulations. Although a slight risk of (very) expensive failure if the EDC packs up it is basically a very reliable system so long as after about 1998 build

Currently all penta D4-D12 engines have EVC with electronic gear and throttle controls.
have a look at
http://www.volvo.com/volvopenta/global/e...engine/inboard/ (http://www.volvo.com/volvopenta/global/en-gb/marineengines/older_engines_1/2002/dieselengine/inboard/)
for details of out of production engines

30-01-06, 21:12
KAD 43's are not EDC engines, period.

KAD44's and KAD300's are. The main difference from the drivers point of view is that the throttles on an EDC engine are little electronic sticks, rather like an Airbus. On a KAD43, you have to have a manly forearm to operate the mechanical shifter.

The main advantage of EDC is emissions, which isn't really a benefit to you, apart from that the smoke cloud on startup is a bit smaller with an EDC engine, plus there's more gizmos and electricery to go wrong...

Just to confuse the issue, some engines with mechanical shifters (eg KAD43's) have been fitted with the electronic controls which might give the impression they are EDC engines. They are not, and are the work of Satan.


30-01-06, 21:47
my instinct is the less electronics the better

30-01-06, 22:07
Got them fitted to a pair of D12s and they're great.
But they havent gone wrong yet.

31-01-06, 09:46
As already said, KAD43 is non EDC.

Re EDC, I remember while attending a well known diesel engine maintenance course a while back, we were all asked in turn which engines we were running. When my friend said KAD300s they just laughed and said get rid before they're 5 years old. When asked why, they simply replied, "would you leave your laptop in the engine room for 5 years and still expect it to work?" Kinda says it all doesn't it?

31-01-06, 09:54
Probably a little unfair as laptops arent designed to be used in an engine bay. Done properly, I dont see why it should be any less reliable than a modern car.

31-01-06, 10:08
my instinct is the less electronics the better

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Solid state electronics (quality modules anyway) are probably the most reliable thing you have on board. Fishfinders, GPS, Radar, VHF et all usually have far less downtime than mechanical components and need less attention.

"As he Ducks & Covers"


31-01-06, 10:14

..and also EDC engines are more efficient than mechanical control so there is an immediate saving on fuel consumption. Properly designed electronics will last for many years without problems.

If you are worried about electronics reliability I suggest you give up flying immediately! Have you ever seen the cockpit of an Airbus.. not a mechanical control to be seen.

I used to work on the flight control system design for the Tornado fighter plane and, as an example, the electronics was connected to the plane battery system (28v) for power. The airframe manufacturers spec for the 28v supply was that it could vary between +200v and - 50v. The electronics had to be able to cope with the variation and survive!

31-01-06, 12:17
Although the core modules are reliable, the sensors can still cause grief.

E.g. the boost sensor on EDC, which gets corroded, and can fail. Of course, if it does, you can't replace just the sensor, but VP will sell you an entire EDC unit for several hundred pounds (or if you're really unlucky, TWO entire EDC units, because one older type won't work with the newer type, which is all you can buy...)


31-01-06, 12:49
I used to work on the flight control system design for the Tornado fighter plane and, as an example, the electronics was connected to the plane battery system (28v) for power. The airframe manufacturers spec for the 28v supply was that it could vary between +200v and - 50v. The electronics had to be able to cope with the variation and survive!

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But they're not living in a corrosive salt water environment, are they? You can't compare hi-tek state of the art military machines with Volvo EDC, on leisure boats.

You only need to talk to the guys at Sea Start about EDC failure, and the volume of failures. I could tell you about a few aswell, and the odd crunched boat because of it!

31-01-06, 13:38
Solid state stuff is extremely reliable, but an EDC system has many more compnents to fail than a fishfinder.

In any case, if you take a look at component failure rates the typical curve shows a few failures over first couple of months (manufacturing problems) then very few for the next 3/4 years, followed by an increasingly steep slope as age takes its toll.

This is why electrical retailers make more out of extended warranties than selling the goods in the first place!

The problems are often not the components themselves, but dry joints, connectors and sensors. From the stories I've heard, I wouldn't touch anything with early EDC engines, esp as I'm not based in a Sea Start area!!

31-01-06, 15:42
My EDC engines are 8 yrs old, and the electronics have not failed as such. However I do have a gripe with them. One engine blew up last summer 'cos the raw water inlet got blocked and it overheated. The engineer ran diagnostics and the EDC told him that the engine had reached 118 dec C, which he told me would well and truly fry it.

Well, if the EDC knew it was overheating, why the f**!!?*g hell did it not inform the skipper or shut the damn engine down????? The generator, which is also an electronically controlled diesel engine, would have done just that.

31-01-06, 16:32
EDC - EVC. Same thing?

31-01-06, 20:17
Check back in posts the number of EDC failures is high,

31-01-06, 23:35
Avoid like the plague unless you are an Honours Grad in electronics. My new 2 x D4 260hp Volvos with EDC have spent more time out of action than working. Even the local Volvo engineers don't seem to know how to fault find and have to keep waiting on Watford. Stick to traditional controls if you can.

01-02-06, 09:33
Fantastic. I love it when teachers of a quite tightly defined subject behave as though their expertise qualifies them to pass judgement on all sorts of other things as well.

Aside from the fact that most engine controls don't have keyboards or hard disk drives or trendy screens and DVD drives (shame) and have other differences that involve them being carted around and rarely lasting five years due to being out of date or nicked or smashed and never being kept in the same place such as an strpped down in an engineroom which varies in temeperature from between about 0 degrees and 45 degrees and away from sunlight which should be fine for a computer - I suppose similar analogies could be drawn.

With reards to the boat itself, for example, ask yourself how long a plastic car would last if you parked it on the beach, hm? It's about the same thing. Sort of. Okay, so the boat is designed for the pupose of floating and driving about on the sea, whwereas the car isn't. A minor difference.

However, if any course leader starts down this path don't for goodnes sakes say "what a load of tripe! You clearly have no idea of computers or electronic items at all! " cos that will go down very badly.

You should encourage and support the halfwitted discussion. Try something like "and what about having the kids on board? That's like putting to sea with some gerbils in a plastic bath. Just how long dya think they'd last, hm? Some people have no idea."

Petrol engines are another easy target. "I can't think why they're even allowed. Having a petrol engine on a board a cruising boat is like going to sleep with an unexploded nuclear bomb!" and there'll be nodding agreement all around.

If this works, try "And another thing - people who give sweeping judgements about stuff with which they work as though experts in every aspect of only slightly related subjects. It's ridiculous isn't it? That's like asking a flaky diesel engine fitter about computer hardware, innit!"

01-02-06, 09:53
Ooh yes - engine rooms very dodgy places - I wouldn't put anything with close tolerances & loads of moving parts in there - it'd be like having a piano in yer engineroom, wouldn't it?. or a carriage clock?

Equally - knowing how bumpy & wet motorbikes are, esp the motocross types, I shouldn't ever buy one with fuel injection, or electronic ignition boxes fitted up underneath the petrol tank where it's hot & wet - Oh no. It'd never last- be like dragging an electric guitar through a ploughed field.

01-02-06, 10:16
It's not the fact they're electronic, it's the implementation: the detail, which should be closer to aircraft than automotive.

E.g. redundant paths/systems, higher quality sensors and connectors, self-monitoring intelligent software with sensible messages and the option for the operator to override, rather than an orange light, drop to 1500rpms, and a bizarre error code that when looked up says "please contact Volvo Penta".

History will see the current range as "First Generation" electronic diesels (well, ok, first and bit). When the first batch of users has done the final beta testing for the manufacturer, and the tweaks go into production, at least the current generation should be reasonably reliable. Until then, it's error codes, dodgy sensors, and limp home mode every now and again. Fairly certain this is not what customers asked for...


01-02-06, 10:49
But they're not living in a corrosive salt water environment, are they? You can't compare hi-tek state of the art military machines with Volvo EDC, on leisure boats.

My point was that good electronic design is extremely reliable. Electronics per se is not unreliable- it's just poorly designed or built stuff that is.
Volvo Penta electronics are basically the same as ones fitted to cars and trucks. There isn't a huge difference between this and the marine environment particularly in Sweden given their winters and road salt levels.
The problem with message sites is that it's only the peeps who have problems (a minority) who write in. The majority, who are happy, don't. This gives a very distorted picture of the market.

However if things do fail and you can show that a manufacturere has built something that is not fit for purpose then they are liable to replace it at any time (not just within warranty). Might take some time and effort but it's worth it.

I now have an EDC boat (which works perfectly). My last one, with mechanical controls, went out of control and hit another boat when the gear shift cable failed and it was stuck in reverse even when the morse lever was in neutral or forward (takes a little while to work out what is going on I can tell you...)
The insurance assessor said that it was a surprisingly common problem (it was actually the saddle clamp on the dual station assembly that failed) and he had dealt with many claims of this sort.
So the moral is: mechanical controls are hugely unreliable! Never buy a boat with cable controls....

Alternatively, if you want to avoid all problems , never buy a boat.

Actually all this all proves is what we all know. Boats are complex things and there is always something that needs fixing. Much of the cause is actually lack of decent (preventative) maintenance rather than anything else though. The fact that boats sit idle for weeks at a time is also a major factor in unreliability.

02-02-06, 08:28
Hmmmm..... Not VP i know, but didnt someones round here lekky throttles go pop not too long ago and give strange error codes?? /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

02-02-06, 12:45
Anyone know what happened to that electronically controlled (Sunseeker???) that (alledgedly) self-shifted and self-throttled and couldn't be powered up for fear of calamity in the marina??? Did it ever get fixed??? Was it an urban myth put about by other manufacturer(s) to scare the unwary???