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2020 IBEX Innovation Award Interview with Yamaha Marine

Phase Angle Control Charging System

To meet the extreme electrical demands of today’s bigger boats, especially at low RPM, Yamaha developed a completely new Phase Angle Control charging system. Now there’s plenty of power for devices like gyro stabilizers, air conditioning, sound systems, and console electronics without the need for a generator.  

What problem does this product solve?
The electrical demand being placed on batteries has become huge, even in larger single engine boats, as accessories and other loads increase due to consumer demand for these products. Additionally, these loads are almost always highest when the boat’s engine rpm is the lowest. Traditional rpm-dependent alternator systems on outboards have not been able to keep up.

How did you become aware of this problem?
Historically, outboard motors provided all the electric power that was available on a boat while on the water. With the increase in size of outboard powered boats, now up to 65ft, and the immense options (such as AC, chill plates in fishboxes, gyros, etc.) that can be placed on these boats, electrical consumption has quickly outpaced the ability of the engine to provide adequate power, particularly at low engine speeds. To help meet these demands, many boats required an additional generator be added. While generators can provide enough power, they take up valuable space, require an additional fuel source (typically diesel), and increase the maintenance requirements of the boat package. The XTO-B and it’s phase angle charging system was developed specifically to provide as much power output at low rpms as possible. This increased output can allow a boat builder to remove the previously required generator and free up space while still allowing the end consumer to power all the accessories on the boat.

What obstacles did you encounter?
Heat was our biggest obstacle. Creating amperage creates heat, and heat is not helpful to outboards. We created a very unique exhaust system to get this heat out from under the cowling which uses the flywheel itself as a ducted fan.

What is noteworthy about the technology used?
This system uses Phase Angle Control to produce very high output at lower rpm and maintains high output throughout the entire rpm band. Phase angle control is a method for increasing the electrical output of a generator system. This requires specialized hi-speed electronics and precise measurement of the rotating assembly of the engine to maximize the potential electrical output of the generator system. This type of control system is rarely seen outside of large-scale industrial applications and has never been implemented in an outboard motor before.

What customizations are enabled with Phase Angle Control?
This allows boaters to customize their boats relative to the electrical demand they have. Since the output is stackable, you get an enormous amount of net usable amps at low rpm. In many cases, it can replace the need for an on-board generator, which allows for more available space on the boat.

How does this product help boaters?
This represents the continued emphasis on the ability to provide and manage power within the boat. As electronics levels increase, this will continue to gain in importance.

All electrical devices on a boat consume electrical power. On a boat there are three possible sources of electrical power: the outboard motor, the batteries, or a supplemental generator. For boats without a generator, a consumer may not be able to power all the devices at the same time without beginning to drain power from their battery systems. If the batteries are depleted while out on the water the operator may not be able to start their engine to return to port. This increase in outboard generated power allows a consumer to power more accessories with less chance to have to use battery or generator power.

Using many electrical systems on a large boat requires careful monitoring of battery voltage levels or the use of a supplemental generator. Neither of these options are desirable and both have their own downsides. By offering more electrical power to be created by the outboard motor, this can enable an end consumer to enjoy more features of their boat without worrying about battery levels or running a supplemental generator.

For more information about the 2020 IBEX Innovation Award winners, click here.

Yamaha Motor Corp

About

Yamaha Marine Engine Systems offers reliable, high quality, four-stroke outboards from 2.5 horsepower to 425 horsepower, a complete line of propellers and fully integrated control systems, such as Helm Master EX. An industry leader in reliability and technology, Yamaha strives to increase confidence, satisfaction and enjoyment on the water.

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2020 Innovation Award Winner

Category: Electrical Systems
“A real breakthrough that will create more power for increasingly electrically hungry outboard boats,” said Ed Sherman.

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