Category Archives: Boat & Motor Tips

Map Cards – Lake Master 3.0 versus Navionics

In this Blog I’ll try to show the difference in the Navionic’s Hot Maps Premium and Platinum map cards and the Lake Master 3.0 map card. First off I’ll tell you that I have had to personally buy all three of these cards and I do not get any cards from either company. Price points on the cards are pretty close with the Navionic’s Platinum running around $199.99, the Premium at $149.99 and the Lake Master cost at $129.99.

One thing you need to understand is that the Lake Master cards are designed to work only in the Humminbird unit and not in the Lowrance units. Garmin and Ray Marine use their own mapping programs.

Both cards come with the SD card micro chip holder with the micro chip included. So no matter which unit you have they will work in either the full size SD card or the micro chip slots. These screen shots are from my Humminbird Onix 10ci SI unit. Also please note that the cursor was very close to the same location as I could get them for these screen shots.

Looking at the first card the Navionic’s Hot Maps Premium you will see that there is a lot of vacant blue areas on the map. This means that no one has taken the time to record the lake bottom and upload it to Navionic’s for update downloads. You can record the lake data and create an account with Navionic’s and upload the data to them and a day or so later you can download the updates and then it will show the contour lines for the area you did the recording on. If you will notice on the Navionic’s maps there will be contour lines that all of a sudden just stop. These are where the user recorded the sonar log and uploaded only to that spot and no further.


The map card screen shot above is the Navionic’s Platinum card and the brown area in the photo above is the original creek channel in this part of the lake. The white area is a feeder or ditch that is located on the flat. The closer the lines are together the steeper and faster the depth changes. The circular areas indicate either a high spot on the lake floor or a deeper depression on the lake bottom. The small dotted lines represent an old field road that ran on the flats before the lake was impounded. You might notice that there is some 3D highlighting on some areas of the creek channel and high spots. This is one of the features with the Platinum cards.


In the above screen shot is from the Navionic’s Premium map card. You can tell by looking at the light tan colored portion which is the land around the lake that there is no Google Earth overlay data. This to me is useless data that was not necessary at least for what I use the cards for. The colors are a lot lighter on the Premium card versus the darker colors on the Platinum cards.

Now let’s look at the Lake Master 3.0 map card. As you can see from the screen shot below there is a lot more contour lines which represent more of the lake bottom detail with this map. Looking at the map below there is very little areas in these snap shots that does not have the contour lines.


 The above screen shot has the Shallow Water Highlight option set to 5 feet.Lakemaster30_2

So wrapping up this Blog I would have to say that the Lake Master 3.0 card has a lot more lake data than either of the Navionic’s map cards.

I hope this will help you decide which map card is best for your fishing use.

Minn Kota Trolling Motor Armature Broken

Well on my fishing trip this past weekend I had my armature shaft snap on my Minn Kota. I had noticed that the trolling motor had a vibration that I had never noticed before that morning. I ordered the parts to make the repairs myself. If you ever need parts for your Minn Kota trolling motor you can order parts from Northland Marine. They have great turn around time on shipping out the parts and great prices. The total for the parts to repair my unit was $189 for the armature, brush set, seal kit, weedless prop and nut kit.


Here is the broken shaft and where it snapped. shaftbroke

Lowrance – Data Overlay


In this blog I’ll go through the steps of adding or changing the Overlay Data that displays on your different screens. This blog covers the HDS Gen2 models only.


Data Overlay


First step is to select the Menu button and select Settings, then press ENTER.


First step is to select the Menu button and select Page, then press ENTER.


First step is to select the Menu button and select Page, then select Data Overlay press ENTER.


The Overlay Data is the information that is displayed in the small blue box in the photo above, in this case it is the Time. If you want to change to a different Data display select Change and press ENTER.

MenuEdit The Overlay Data is the information that is displayed in the small blue box in the photo above, in this case it is the Time.

Now scroll down to Sonar and press the + icon to open up the drop down menu below it.

MenuTimeOptionSelect the Time option and then press ENTER. Now exit out by pressing the Menu button and the Overlay Data should be displaying on your screen. You will need to do this for each of your screen views to display the data you want displayed on the screen.

Hope this was helpful…

Boat Security

Ever had your boat broken into while on an away from home fishing trip? If so then for around $20.00 you can eliminate this from happening again. Go to Harbor Freight or online to their online store and get a “Driveway Alert System” part#93068. I just picked up two at the local store for$17.99 each. this unit comes in two parts and runs on one 9 volt and three “C” size batteries.

Place the motion sensor in your boat under the cover in the floor of your boat and carry the receiver into your house or motel room. If anyone gets into your boat the sensor will send the signal to the receiver in your room and you will know there is someone in or near your boat.

This investment of around $20 could save you thousands in stolen tackle from your boat without one. I’ve seen one designed for boats that sell around $100 but this one will do the same thing.


Gasoline Octane Observations.

 Your results may vary. Be advised I assume no responsibility whatsoever for your results from reading this info!

I use 87 octane in my car, why can’t I use it in my outboard?

This stuffs’ not fit to use in your lawn mower, let alone a $12,000 high performance outboard motor. The low octane and lack of detergent additives just leave you open to motor failures from detonation, gum and carbon formation, coked up rings and piston scuffing. Your automotive engine is a 4 stroke with totally different lubrication and fuel usage requirements.

Can I use oxygenated gasoline in my boat?

A major oil company survey of the manufacturers of engines for non-automotive uses — boats, garden tools, chain saws and snowmobiles — indicates that oxygenated gasoline will perform satisfactorily in most later-model engines. However, some manufacturers expressed concerns about its use in older engines. The owner’s manual is the most authoritative source of information about the fuel requirements of your equipment. If your equipment is older and the manual does not mention oxygenated gasoline, consult an authorized dealer.

Oxygenated gasoline will perform satisfactorily in most engines under normal conditions of storage and use. However, you should be aware of the potential problems — two involving the gasoline itself and several involving gasoline/equipment interactions. Follow the suggested precautions if they apply to your situation.

Concerns are:Phase Separation

Gasoline oxygenated with alcohol readily takes up water when it is present. The water may be condensed out of humid air or be a contaminant in the fuel system. Dissolved water will not interfere with engine operation. But if enough water is present, gasoline oxygenated with alcohol will separate into two liquid phases: a top phase which is almost all gasoline (and oil, in the case of 2-cycle fuel) and a bottom phase of water and alcohol. (Phase separation is not a problem with gasoline oxygenated with MTBE.) Phase separation may make the engine difficult or impossible to start. To solve the problem, replace the separated mixture with fresh gasoline.

The situation with the greatest potential for damage is phase separation in the fuel tank of a 2-cycle engine without an oil sump. If the engine is able to start and run on the alcohol/water phase, it won’t be lubricated — almost all the added engine oil will be in the gasoline phase.

To minimize the chance of phase separation, keep water out of your equipment’s fuel system and practice good fuel management. You can eliminate the possibility of water pickup when your equipment is not in use if you keep the fuel tank full and close the tank vent.

Deterioration During Storage

If a gasoline is of poor quality or if the storage conditions are adverse, gasoline can oxidize and form gums over the period of several months. These changes can increase engine deposits and filter plugging. There are reasons to suspect that oxygenated gasoline may form gums more readily than conventional gasoline, but actual evidence is limited. A safeguard recommended by some manufacturers is the use of name-brand gasoline from companies recognized for the quality of their products. Another safeguard is good fuel management.

Practice Good Fuel Management

Match your purchases to your consumption.
Don’t buy more than you’ll use in one to two months.
Store gasoline in a tightly-closed container in a cool, dry place.

Leaning Effect

Compared to a conventional gasoline, oxygenated gasoline results in a leaner air-fuel mixture. This causes some engines to run rough. Also, engines may run hotter on lean mixtures, which, in the extreme, can result in engine damage. If the engine in your equipment is running rough and it has an adjustable carburetor, check that the adjustment is proper for the fuel you are using. Either contact a knowledgeable serviceman or follow the manufacturer’s instructions in your owner’s manual.

Some manufacturers–Arctco, Bombardier, Outboard Marine, and Polaris–indicate that certain of their engines may require larger carburetor jets to compensate for the leaning effect of oxygenated gasoline. Consult your authorized dealer or serviceman about the manufacturer’s recommendations for your engine model and year.

Vapor Lock And Difficulty Restarting A Hot Engine

“Vapor lock” is loss of power or engine shutdown due to gasoline vaporization in the fuel system. Vaporization prevents the fuel pump from delivering sufficient gasoline to the engine. Factors favoring vapor lock are high ambient temperatures which accompany high power output. Sometimes vaporization occurs after the engine has been intentionally stopped because of the cessation of mechanical cooling and fuel flow. In this case, the hot engine will be difficult to start.

Vapor lock and hot restarting have been reoccurring problems for engine manufacturers. Some manufacturers are concerned that oxygenated gasoline will aggravate these problems because adding either ethanol or MTBE to gasoline increases volatility.
The volatility of gasoline sold in each area of the country is tailored for the expected ambient temperature range. Buying smaller amounts of gasoline more frequently make it more likely you will have a gasoline of the correct volatility.

Your owner’s manual may suggest additional ways to avoid vapor lock. Remember that some situations lead to vapor lock more often than others. One is running an engine at full power for an extended time on an unseasonably warm day. If vapor lock does occur, it will probably be necessary to allow the engine to cool before it can be restarted.

Materials Compatibility

Deterioration of elastomers and plastic parts is not expected to be a problem with current production engines. For older engines, some problems have occurred with elastomeric parts (fuel pump diaphragms, needle valve tips and seats, fuel lines, gaskets, etc.) when they were first exposed to oxygenated gasoline. Some manufacturers recommend that you frequently inspect the fuel system for leaks and for deteriorating elastomeric parts when you operate an older engine on oxygenated gasoline. There is also the possibility of leaks after you change back to conventional gasoline: Seals that were swelled by oxygenated gasoline may shrink. (The same mechanism is responsible for leaks cause by large changes in the composition of conventional gasoline.) Replacement fuel system parts have been engineered to be compatible with oxygenated gasoline.

Metal Corrosion

Some manufacturers report corrosion of metallic fuel system parts when gasoline oxygenated with alcohol was used in older engines. Except for periods of prolonged storage, this does not appear to be a concern with late model engines. Corrosion problems may be aggravated by the phase separation of a gasoline oxygenated with alcohol. The alcohol/water phase tends to be more corrosive than the oxygenated gasoline itself.

Oxygenated gasoline may loosen deposits from fuel system surfaces because it is a better solvent than conventional gasoline. The suspended solids can plug the fuel filter and carburetor passages. This is not a common problem. It is most likely to occur when older equipment is first fueled with an oxygenated gasoline. Clean the fuel tank and fuel system and replace the fuel filter; then refuel with fresh fuel.

What Octane gasoline should I use for my outboard?

I have an older outboard with higher compression. Should I burn PREMIUM gas?

NO! here’s why. The octane ratings are composed of 2 components, research octane and motor octane (RXM/2) divided by 2. The RESEARCH octane is the quality of the base stock, the MOTOR octane is derived from additives. The oil company will never tell you the ratios. Problem is the highest octanes are achieved by MOTOR octane additives, which will just gum up the pistons in a 2 cycle engine. Base stock is generally the same. The MID-GRADE gas has the detergent additives needed to clean your motor and sufficient octane for MOST motors. If you have a MERCURY, FORCE or OMC motor from the early 70’s thru mid-80’s refer to technical bulletins from the manufacturers for timing changes and replacement head gaskets to lower compression to use today’s gasoline.

Note: new Yamaha motors are made to be run ONLY on 87 octane gas.

Frankey Devaney – (Harold’s Marine) Ethanol – Bad for your Boat engine!

If you have a Mercury outboard that has the old grey gas line on it and does not say (epa-10) it must be replaced. All ethannol gas is very hard on Mercury outboards It will ruin (fuel pumps, diaphams, grey gas lines, and carberator floats, and make the needles swell up and stick.

Now I haven’t seen a lot of problems on Yamaha’s carb motors but the HPDI’s get ready to replace a lot of filters, and on the OX66’s the best thing we say at Harold’s Marine Service is to install a 10 micron filter in the main gas line (Mercury or Yamaha) then replace the primer bulb with a name brand (Mercury or Yamaha).

You need to use the (Yamaha Ring Free Plus) this is designed to help with all the carbon issue plus what ethanol does to the motor, use 100% ethanol free gas there are places to still buy it look for stations that carry it!, If you have to burn ethanol get the 93 octane it only has up to 5% in it.

At Harold’s Marine Service have seen boats come in with as much as 30% ethanol this will ruin  your outboard!

NOW!! every one keep this in mind that ethanol will pull water from the air and on rainy days your boat, gas cans, made of plastic will sweat very bad, and metal tanks will some! It’s best to keep your boat tank full of gas when park it for long spells only if you use ethanol!!

Red Sta-Bil is for non-ethanol gas and Blue Sta-Bil is for ethanol gas this is to help with water in ethanol it has 10 times the water remover in it. It will not do what Yamaha Ring Free Plus will do!

If you have and older Mercury like and inline six 1500,1400,1250,1150, or a V6  XR2, or V6 200,175 150, in the early 80’s you should take it to a marine repair shop so that they can retard your high speed timing. These motors run a very high timing and retarding the timing will keep the motor from burning a piston, these motors where built to run using a good grade of high test (93 octane) and today’s high test is not like gas was in the 80’s. This is a tip for every one, any question call Harold’s Marine Service ask for Harold or Frankey.

Store hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 am until 6:00 pm, their phone number is 256-247-1303,

Harold is a Master Mercury Tech since 1974 and a Yamaha Master Tech since 1985.