I, as many, have wondered the same thing about the durability of the EMM system in Evinrudes.
I very much appreciate both the respectful tone, as well as the content of AlbertS's query. He asks in a clear, respectful manner the question that EVERYONE wants to know about unwarranted EMM failure - whether in warranty or out of warranty.
On the other hand, some of the replies were indeed insulting and demeaning. Some of the follow up answers seemed to be just trying to pick holes into the basic question, but the end result looks cheap and defensive.
AlbertS has VERY valid points about the ability for protections to be built in. Without doubt, it could be done. So the real question is WHY haven't they? Often, in business, money and pride are the root cause of issues.
So here is what I wonder...
1. Is EMM replacement a needed source of income for the company, and perhaps the EMM division to stay afloat?
2. Is the cost of paying engineers completely re-designing the EMM system prohibitive?
3. Since the system is pretty good, is is more cost-effective to just replace the bad ones, rather than re-design?
4. Is the Evinrude division barely at profit, and BRP feels the need to restrict their spending to protect their financial core, hence no further research/development until revenues increase?
5. Are they actually trying to fix the EMM system, but just have not figured it all out yet?
6. Is this matter not being taken seriously, so they feel no need to change anything?
7. Is this just "company pride", with them feeling their tech is great, and anyone who disagrees is looked down upon as an internet monkey or troll, or idiot owner, or something along those lines?
Some of the dismissive replies above seem to suggest #5, but I don't think that is the official company stance. At least I hope it isn't!
Like others, I LOVE my Etecs! I want to see the brand prosper and grow. I think they are the best engines out there... with the exception of EMM issues. And for that matter I really appreciate Barnace Bill and this very helpful forum.
But AlbertS has asked what MANY consumers are wondering. If this gets conveyed to decision makers in BRP, you never know what good things could come of it.
Thanks, for the freedom to express both praise and criticism on this forum! That is the mark of a good company, to accept praise, while learning from criticism.
One thing about the EMM system is that it is an "all in one" system.
So would it be of benefit to break the EMM up into a couple of separate modules?
For instance, separating the charging system from the ignition control system SEEMS like it might be a way to greatly reduce issues, or at least reduce repair costs, while improving customer satisfaction. It would make them more like the Evinrudes of old, which were known for their bullet-proof reliability. A power pack or rectifier/regulator goes bad, it gets swapped out, and you are right back on the water. Of course, an EMM is much more complicated, but you get the idea.
Or maybe there could be a "core operation module" - a backup that kicks in and limps you back to dock, in case of massive EMM failure. Just enough to fire the injectors and spark plugs.
Of course, these are just musings, or even wishes of a consumer.
What I have personally done is kept my old EMM. It is carefully wrapped under my console with clamps, socket, allen wrench, a long piece of shifter cable wire to clean out the cooling tube (just in case of blockage) and a few other items. It may not charge the battery anymore, but it might save my bacon if my new EMM dies for some reason while on the water.
Hopefully, I'll never need it.
First let me say that the Evinrude warranty and service department reports that at least 1/2 of the returned EMMs check out as operational. As in the early days of electronic ignition, the "black box" always got the blame if the motor did not run right, whether it was at fault or not. It is easy to blame something new and unfamiliar.
EMMs have been around for almost 20 years and used in hundreds of thousands of motors. As with any electronic device with a large number of individual and integrated components, there are chances of failure or intermittent operation. Combine that with heat, vibration, voltage spikes, and corrosive seawater and you have a million more chances of having a problem over time.
Actually the number of true EMM failures is very small compared to the number of motors in use and being produced. In this day of instant information and social media, it is bad news that travels the fastest. How many unsolicited positive posts do you read about in the boating forums compared to the ones describing a problem or a complaint. It is human nature to share misery with someone more than joy or satisfaction.
Evinrude tests the EMMs in all types of conditions and they are not frail, but they can be damaged if operated contrary to normal usage. All of the large outboards of other makes, except those with a belt driven alternator, use a form of water cooling on their regulators.
Some other brands may use an ECU and a separate regulator, yet their ECU alone costs more than an Evinrude EMM that contains everything in one module.
Here is a link to an article that gives an easy to understand explanation of how an EMM works:
"There is never just one thing wrong with a boat";
-- Travis McGee, main character in a book series by John D. McDonald
The factory recommends that a properly trained technician service your Johnson or Evinrude outboard motor. Should you elect to perform repairs yourself, use caution, common sense, and observe safety procedures in the vicinity of flammable liquids, around moving parts, near high-temperature components, and working with electrical or ignition systems.
The information offered here is only general in nature and should not be construed as complete factory approved procedures, techniques, or specifications. Always use the proper service manual for your motor, up-to-date service literature, the correct tools, and have an understanding of how to proceed with troubleshooting and repair methods. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with a procedure, a situation, or a technique, enlist the services of a factory trained technician.