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New Technology for Today’s Outboard Boat Motor

Honda's new outboard boat motor. The air vents in the new 250 can be seen on the motors at the back of the image
Honda’s new outboard boat motor. The air vents in the new 250 can be seen on the motors at the back of the image

Technology is moving forward at blistering speeds and today’s modern outboard boat motor is utilizing this technology to become faster, lighter, greener and more efficient than anything that has been produced in the past. In order to meet stricter emissions restrictions, higher fuel costs and ever more educated and demanding consumers, technologies of all kinds are being applied. Efficiency and greater power is the result of some of this technology and it is achieved in various ways.

Honda’s BF250 outboard is a shining example of what new technology is being used and how it effects engine performance. Some technology used is exclusive to Honda Marine but many technological advances are also used by other manufacturers in one form or another and each purports their own unique advantages.

One technological advancement that is unique to Honda’s BF250 is the new direct air dual induction system. The first of its kind on a production motor this system allows air to circulate and enter the engine from two air intakes. One forces the air around the engine cooling critical components. The other intake also cools but also removes moisture from the air and creates dense dry air, which is then inducted into the throttle body allowing for improved combustion.

Honda also adopted an idle charging system. With the use of more electronics aboard the need for charging amps have increased. The alternator output is adjusted when needed by increasing the idle 100 RPMs and produces nine additional amps.  Other outboard manufacturers have somewhat similar systems and some have also changed out their alternators for smaller, lighter and higher output rare earth magnet alternators.

Another new technology found in the BF250 is Burn Control. Again, a technology that is used by other manufacturers in various forms, Burn Control adjusts for leaner air to fuel mixtures at cruising speeds (in the 3000-4500 range) allowing for up to as much as 20% savings in fuel consumption. Other manufacturers such as Evinrude in their V-Tec models also control the mixture and even the amount of combustion depending on speed and RPMs to save fuel. Other manufactures such as Mercury and Yamaha have special settings for trolling to adjust the motor for peak fuel performance at these low speeds.

Yamaha and Mercury's four stroke outboards
Yamaha and Mercury’s four stroke outboards

Conversely Honda uses “Blast” technology to help in low-end torque and hole shots. By adjusting for a richer setting when the throttle body opens along with an advance in ignition timing allowing for a boost of power when throttling up rapidly. Mercury improves its low end response with the use of a supercharger in its Verados, They and others such as Suzuki also use beefier gear ratios and improved materials to improve low end torque.

Technology also has improved the corrosion issues found on outboards. Among other features Honda employs a special multi layer paint system while other manufacturers have gone to new alloy composites and anti corrosive finishes.

These are just a few of the improvements that have gone into one model of one manufacturer’s engine. There are many more and each and every new outboard on the market has a plethora of new technology and features that warrant a good look. One glance at the spec sheet of any motor and you will see that it is not your father’s outboard. They have all come a long way and it will be fun to see where they are in just a few short years.

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