Silverleaf VMSpc report

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Tom

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Some folks might recall my previous messages discussing the issue of fuel capacity and fuel gauge reading on our Monaco.; It was nearly impossible to figure out how much fuel was remaining in the tank and I'd make unnecessary fuel stops. Others reported having similar problems.

Part way through this trip I decided to rely entirely on VMSpc, a software package from Silverleaf that runs on my PC. The software reads and displays numerous parameters outputted by a diesel engine, one of which is fuel burn. So far so good. e.g. the last fill was within a half gallon of the reported fuel burn.

The VMSpc software is a freebie download from Silverleaf, but you need to buy their interface box (cost $395 plus shipping). The output of the box is serial so, if you only have USB ports on your PC, you also need a serial/USB adapter.

If you have to have all the best toys, Silverleaf also sells a stand-alone box that also reads and displays other things, but be prepapred for sticker shock. They also make the in-dash units that are used by various motorhome manufacturers.

 

Bob Zambenini

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Yes, Tom, its amazing how accurate the fuel used is with my Vmspc. My gauge went out a couple of years ago and for several months I just used the VMSpc and did not worry about the erratic gauge. Then for some reason the gauge  started working again. Each time I fuel up I note it usually within a half gallon unless I have been using the generator a lot but that is not often with me.

Also, if you desire there are a couple of parameters you can call up that shows the total engine hours and the total gallons of fuel used. You many not want to know the total gallons of fuel used in the life to the engine!  :) :)

I keep a spread sheet of my motorhome expenses and have a page for fuel used and it calculates the MPG over the past four  refills.

At my stage of life I am wondering why I keep all this info! I don't do it with my two automobiles!

The other info on the spreadsheet if useful for things like when to change oil, service transmission,  when I bought my last set of batteries, etc.

But when I sold my previous motorhome, this spreadsheet was a very big plus. They guy was interested and asked about when certain things were done so turned on my laptop and he got very interested. He asked about mpg and I showed him the file of every tank fill in the 9 years. He said 'If I buy it can I have a copy of all that?' and I said sure, I will print it all out. He did so i believe having good solid records of maintenance and performance was a factor.

Bob
 

Tom

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Hi Bob,

Yes, I have a number of other parameters on screen. In fact, I'm using a copy of Ned's gauge file. The on-screen fuel gauges weren't making a lot of sense for my engine (operator error) until I changed them on the way to Moab.

I too keep spreadsheets in addition to keeping records in Rolling Stock (they serve slightly different purposes for me). Rolling Stock is a great record keeper though and readers interested in buying it can contact the author via this page.

Great story re the records you passed along to the buyer of your previous coach.
 

Tom

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Here's the rest of the story re my original reason for buying the interface box(es) for VMSpc...

We were on our way down the California coast by boat, next stop being Marina Del Rey, where we'd planned to meet up with Carl and Cindy Lundquist. It was a long run from the prior fuel stop at Morro Bay and, as we rounded Point Dume to enter Santa Monica Bay, I told Chris "20 more minutes and we'll be there". That's when I noticed that, for the first time, both fuel gauges read the same and both read darned close to empty.

My mental calculations said we couldn't have used that much fuel and Al Griefer, who was alongside in his boat with accurate fuel flow meters, confirmed my calculations. That's when Chris said "the gauges didn't read quite full when you fuelled at Morro Bay" and I was then immersed in doubt. I throttled back and idled into the marina where they kept the fuel dock open for us as 20 minutes became 2 hours. When I filled up, my mental calculations had been correct and I had 153 gallons spare!

The following day I called Silverleaf and ordered two boxes, complete with custom 50 foot harnesses and had them shipped to our daughter who was flying to San Diego to spend Christmas aboard with us. But, when they arrived, my PC wouldn't read the engine parameters although, when we plugged one of the boxes into Al's boat, everything read just fine. Al then figured out that the pin configuration of the diagnostic connector was different for a CAT marine engine vs a Cumins marine engine. (Actually, the diagnostic connector on Cummins marine and RV engines and CAT RV engines all have the same pin configuration; The CAT marine engine was the odd one out, which was a surprise to Silverleaf).

We then jury rigged it to work with my CATs until I could get new diagnostic plugs, but still no fuel burn indication. Called Silverleaf and Martin gave me the PID number for the gauge, but still no joy. I finally came to the conclusion that my CAT marine engines don't output cumulative fuel burn.

One of those Silverleaf boxes is now on my coach and the other is on another forum member's coach. (Hope it's working OK).
 

BernieD

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Tom said:
One of those Silverleaf boxes is now on my coach and the other is on another forum member's coach. (Hope it's working OK).

Tom

The Silverleaf is working fine, tho I have a problem at bootup with the serial/usb showing as the Microsoft serial mouse and I have to uninstall the system hardware. After driving from Moab to Torrey, I reworked the display. Some of your displayed gauges I have in Ned's Rolling Stock and eliminated the duplication. Others like the histograms and multiple gaugaes I deleted due to readibility and replaced them with simple gauges.

My Driver Information Center readout, another engine computer readout display, gives me the trip mileage, fuel usage and fuel averages also and I have found the MPG and fuel used data generated by the engine to be extemely accurate, generally within 1-2% of actual when refueling.
 

Ned

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Bernie,

Open the device manage, open the Mice and Other Pointing Devices, find the MS Mouse entry and disable it.? That should solve the serial/usb adapter problem.
 

BernieD

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Ned said:
Bernie,

Open the device manage, open the Mice and Other Pointing Devices, find the MS Mouse entry and disable it.  That should solve the serial/usb adapter problem.

Ned

That's what I did in Mob, but the system kept hanging. Rebooted and just uninstalled it in Device Manager and it worked fine to Torrey. But when I rebooted in Torrey, it reappeared.
 

Jeff

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Bernie:

That happens to me UNLESS I start computer with both VMS and GPS disconnected, then connect VMS and then connect the GPS. Don't know why it has to be done in that order but it works for me.

Once I have connected in this way the laptop can go to sleep without problems.
 

Tom

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Thanks for the report Bernie. Glad it works, but sorry about the startup problem. I used to have that problem on one of my notebooks and both VMSpc and GPS, but not the one I'm currently using with VMSpc. Used to drive me nuts.

Some of your displayed gauges I have in Ned's Rolling Stock and eliminated the duplication.

Didn't realize that RS reads engine parameters. BTW I think I explained they were Ned's gauges  ;) and also suggested you'd need to customize them for your needs.

I'm very much a happy camper with the fuel burn accuracy.
 

BernieD

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Tom said:
Didn't realize that RS reads engine parameters. BTW I think I explained they were Ned's gauges  ;) and also suggested you'd need to customize them for your needs.

I'm very much a happy camper with the fuel burn accuracy.

Tom

RS doesn't read the engine parameters but some of the data is entered manually and the program calculates some of the data. Similarly, Silver Leaf doesn't enter some of the data that we store in RS. I post the mileage and fuel purchased in RS which calculates MPG (both refill average and period to date) and tracks total fuel, miles and costs (of cousre SL doesn't track costs).

Sure you explained that they were Ned's gauges and that I would need to customize them. I just wanted to let you know I am well on the way ;D ;D
 

Tom

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OK, thanks for clarification Bernie. I thought you might have a new rev of RS that did things mine didn't. Being around Terry, I just have to have the newest toys  ;D
 

Tom

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Does anyone know if it's possible to interface VMSpc with one of the mapping programs such as DeLorme or S&T so I can read road speed? The road speed from the diagnostic connector appears to be significantly high.

TIA
 

Ned

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I doubt it, the mapping programs understand GPS speak but not ECM speak.  The GPS will give you an accurate speed.  Our VMSpc agrees quite well with the GPS, within 1MPH.
 

Tom

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I guess I need to figure out why they're so different. Several GPS units agree with each other, but VMSpc is high by 6-8 mph.
 

Ned

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Did you change the tire size and not have the ECM recalibrated?  I believe there are some correction factors you can use in VMSpc to correct for such descrepancies.
 

BernieD

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Tom said:
I guess I need to figure out why they're so different. Several GPS units agree with each other, but VMSpc is high by 6-8 mph.

Tom

Probably in the tires. Your dash speedometer/odometer probably have the same error. It depends on how the engineers calibrated the tire circumfrence, tire wear factor, rear axle gearing and where your tires are in their wear pattern.

I just rely on my GPS to monitor my true speed.
 

Tom

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BernieD said:
Your dash speedometer/odometer probably have the same error.

The dash speedomoter is close to the GPS readings, so it appears to be the ECM that's the odd one out.
 

Ned

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Then the ECM isn't calibrated correctly for your tires.
 
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