Many of the modern engines are capable of being networked via NMEA2000 to most of the newer chartplotters and multifunction displays so that engine data and fuel flow can be viewed. This has led to lots of confusion. This page should hopefully clear up many of the missing pieces.
The common brands of engines that can be networked are the outboards from Yamaha, Mercury, Honda, Evinrude and Suzuki. The common inboards are Cummins, Mercruiser, Volvo, and Yanmar. We'll talk about which engines are likely NMEA2000 capable, but leave it to the reader to confirm with their mechanic or engine manufacturer to confirm. The technology is also evolving quickly, so please call us if your questions are not addressed here.
First we'll touch on the outboards. There are 3 brands that are easy to network. They are Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda and Evinrude.
Honda - All 225 Hondas from 2010 and nwer, as well as the 60 and 250HP Hondas are NMEA2000 Capable. They require a Honda NMEA Interface Cable. This cable will attach to a plug inside the engine cowling on one end, and then connect to a NMEA2000 T Connector on the other end.
Suzuki - As far as we know, all Suzuki 4 Stroke Outboards are NMEA2000 Capable. In fact, the digital engine gauge package Suzuki uses is based on NMEA2000, and the actual gauges are made by Lowrance. Suzuki engines can be interfaced to a NMEA2000 network via the Lowrance Engine Interface module. Up until recently we could sell this, but now this module is only available via an Authorized Suzuki Dealer. It is called an EP-20. It will require a Lowrance display or gauge of some sort to configure it. In other words, the cable is dumb until a Lowrance display can actually configure it and tell it what it is. At that point the Lowrance display can be removed. The cheapest Lowrance display to configure it is the LMF200.
Yamaha - Yamaha became largely NMEA2000 capable in 2006. Rumors have it that a few models prior to 2006 were compatible, but you'll need to search the interwebs for that. Yamaha engines are now networked in three different ways depending on what gauge package you have. Those ways are:
Evinrude - The new Etec motos from Evinrude are all NMEA2000 Compatible. They will use the Evinrude version of the EP-20 Cable from Lowrance. One end of this cable will connect to a plug under the engine cowling. The other end will plug into a T Connector on your NMEA2000 Network. Like Yamaha and Suzuki, a Lowrance display must be used to configure the EP-20. The cheapest Lowrance display is the LMF200. Once the EP-20 is configured you can pull the display off the baot if you don't want to mount it. Of course, if you already have Lowrance electronics you can use one of your main displays instead.
Mercury - While explaining Mercury we can also include Mercruiser and Cummins since they all use Smartcraft. We are not a Mercury Dealer and are just providing this for informational purposes only. Historically Smartcraft has never been NMEA2000 capable. However, in abot 2009 Mercury released their MercMonitor gauge which has an output for NMEA2000. Basically, it has a cable that will attach to a T Connector on your NMEA2000 network. MercMonitor can be installed as an additional gauge, or you can replace one of your existing Smartcraft Gauges with the MercMonitor Gauge. Once installed and connected it will output data to your NMEA2000 network. In 2012 Mercury announced an interface kit that does not require a new gauge. It is p/n 8M0065207 and includes a T connector.
Volvo - Volvo is relatively simple. You need to buy the Volvo-Penta NMEA2000 Gateway (part Number 3889757). This gateway will plug into the engine brain box on one end, and a NMEA2000 T Connector on the other end. These parts must come from a Volvo Dealer.
All Other Engines - Many of today's modern diesel engines output a J1939 signal. You can check with your engine manufacturer to see if yours does. if it does, you can use the Maretron J2K100 module to connect your engine to NMEA2000. First, you need to connect the J2K100 to your engine's J1939 network. Every brand has a different way of doing it. We suggest calling Maretron to see what they know, and your engine manufacturer if required. The other end of the J2K100 will connect to a T Connector on your NMEA2000 network.
If you have an older engine you are in luck. Maretron also makes a EMS100 Analog Engine interface kit. With this device you basically wire your analog senders into the device instead of to the analog gauges. This will convert it to NMEA2000 and display it on your electronics displays. If you decide to go this route expect support to be at a minimum. We have yet to see anybody successfully use it to their 100% satisfaction. You will certainly be a trailblazer if you can get it to work perfectly. A great thing to buy if you have the extra dough and want to experiment. Maretron has had success using this with Yanmar engines and even makes an interface kit specifically for Yanmar.
The two major players for engine monitoring are Lowrance for outboards, and Maretron for inboards. The fine folks at Maretron know this stuff better than anybody. If you have an inboard you want to network to your displays we recommend calling them to make sure you expectations are in check. This is evolving technology which is updated often.