Some anglers might take for granted the exceptionally smooth, reliable and seamless experience provided by the Yamaha outboards powering today’s new fishing boats. But then for Yamaha, that’s part of the plan. So, while you might certainly marvel at the innovative design, engineering, quality, styling and integrated control systems, Yamaha would rather you just enjoy your time on the water.
“That philosophy is reflected in every Yamaha outboard we build,” says Ben Speciale, president, Yamaha US Marine Business Unit. “We build outboards that are so reliable and so simple to use that you really don’t have to think about them very much. A great deal of this is due to Yamaha’s integrated control systems.”
Yamaha Upgrades Engine Control Systems
Yamaha didn’t just upgrade the power output on select models, but rather improved engine management throughout the entire line. The already advanced Helm Master® EX system received some serious upgrades, with an improved, space-saving Digital Electronic Control (DEC) design. The upgraded controls offer increased functionality and new trim and lighting options, the availability of integrated bow thruster control, and a new joystick with some exciting options that make boating even easier.
Boaters can now access full maneuverability with Yamaha’s Joystick Station. Accompanied by the CL5 gauge, Emergency Stop switch, All Start/Stop switch and a newly designed harness, the Helm Master EX Joystick Station reaches new heights in functionality using a minimum of space. Boaters now have access to all joystick and SetPoint® Full Maneuverability functions from a location away from the main helm, which is helpful when pulling boats into slips, steering on-the-fly while chasing a fish or circling a favorite fishing hole.
Gear changes are more like snicks than clunks, something that enhances the overall boating experience, thanks to an advanced shift damper system. Yamaha’s TotalTilt allows for complete tilt-up from any position with a simple double push of the “up” trim/tilt button, or full tilt-down (until trim ram contact) with a double push of the “down” trim/tilt button. A warning horn sounds just before and during these operations. Movement of the engine tilt/trim and the horn can be stopped anywhere in between by pressing the trim/tilt button again. There’s also an optional built-in propeller light on the back of the motor (rather than a transom-mount light) that illuminates when using Helm Master EX SetPoint features.
Two of Yamaha’s new state-of-the-art outboard series—the XTO® 450 Offshore and F150/F200 motors—offer keen insight into how Yamaha engineers and manufactures one of the world’s most advanced, easy-to-operate outboards. Let’s take a look.
Yamaha XTO 450 Offshore Outboards
Yamaha Marine undertook a major update to its popular XTO Offshore® V-8 outboard, boosting the power from 425 to 450 hp, and optimizing this propulsion package with integrated technology for greater convenience and easier operation.
The 5.6-liter V-8 is designed to move big, heavy saltwater fishing boats, but it offers much more than pure power. For example, it eases handling thanks to built-in digital electric steering that make cornering fingertip easy, even with multiple outboards. What’s more, Thrust Enhancing Reverse Exhaust ensures quick response when backing down in reverse.
Yamaha’s XTO Offshore 450 also boasts the convenience of more charging power, featuring a three-phase, simultaneous charging system. Using Phase Angle Control (PAC) components to create a super-strong magnetic field, the 450 produces up to 96 net amps per engine in neutral. This provides more power for high-demand devices, such as gyrostabilizers, air conditioning and sound systems. It’s so powerful that it can even eliminate the need for an onboard generator. The system also prioritizes charging to the starting batteries, keeping them charged and ready at all times.
Yamaha has also introduced new XTO EC® propellers. These are engineered with a bit of extra cup on the blade tips for applications where propeller ventilation might be an issue due to the power and torque of the upgraded XTO Offshore outboards. There’s also a new 27-inch-pitch version of the Yamaha XTO OS line of propellers for lighter-weight boats powered by the XTO that have the available wide-open-throttle rpm to potentially drive more top speed.
Yamaha F150/F200 Outboards
Yamaha’s newly redesigned F150 and F200 DEC (Digital Electronic Control) outboards now feature integrated electro-hydraulic steering. This plug-and-play system features an electric helm with steer-by-wire technology to engage the-under-cowling Steering Control Unit and control the hydraulic steering pump, tucked neatly into the bracket, outside of the boat.
As a result, boats equipped with the new 2.8-liter DEC inline-4-cylinder outboards are easier to handle and offers responsive steering control. What’s more, built-in electro-hydraulic steering is fully compatible with the complete Helm Master EX system, including the Full Maneuverability Joystick package and SetPoint features.
The compact construction of integrated electro-hydraulic steering also provides more room in bilge compartments, in splash wells and on transoms than conventional steering systems. The new F200/F150 DEC models also feature the addition of Yamaha’s TotalTilt system for faster, easier engine tilting.
Mechanical versions of the Yamaha F150/F200 outboard have received new operating convenience in the form of integrated conventional hydraulic steering. This includes an integrated helm and lines with an integrated hydraulic cylinder. It accommodates both single- and twin-outboard applications. Though simple in design, the built-in space-saving system offers much easier handling and control over old-school hard-steering cable systems.
Siren Marine®: The Connected Boat® System
A sister brand of Yamaha, Siren Marine helps make the boating experience better and more secure than ever. The Connected Boat system from Siren smart boat monitoring system allows you to remotely monitor the boats’ location, battery levels, bilge water levels, bilge pump activity, engine data, shore power status and more.
With the easy-to-use Siren Marine mobile app, you can connect and monitor your boat from anywhere at any time. Plus, with add-on digital switching accessories, you can remotely control lights, air conditioning and other onboard systems with the touch of a button on the Siren app.
Yamaha’s close association with Siren Marine will allow for even greater integration with Yamaha outboards and other systems in the future. “Siren will allow us to truly integrate our products and deliver an even more exceptional experience for Yamaha customers,” says Ben Speciale, president, Yamaha US Marine Business Unit. “In short, we want to be sure that all future Yamaha products are connected because we know that is what our customers want – an integrated, connected boating experience.”
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REMEMBER to always observe all applicable boating laws. Never drink and drive. Dress properly with a USCG-approved personal floatation device and protective gear.