1995 - Volvo Penta EDC

Electronics become seaworthy

Introduced in 1995, Volvo Penta's EDC is the first dedicated marine electronic diesel control system. Developed by Volvo Penta and factory-mounted on the engine, it not only offers new levels of performance, it also raises reliability and safety to new levels. The man responsible for the development of EDC, Pelle Nestvall, was awarded the Volvo Technical Prize in 1996.

"A very strong argument for the diesel engine is the reliability it offers, which is important in many situations. During the development of the EDC system we focused very much on the reliability and security aspects of the system", says Pelle Nestvall.

Engine mounted system: The control unit for the EDC system is engine-mounted. To withstand the harsh conditions at sea it is baked in polyurethane plastic and put into a die-cast aluminum box of very high quality. Every connection is protected against all types of disconnection and shorting out. The fact that the control unit is engine-mounted also makes the engine very simple for the builder to install. The whole system is made up of plug-in cables and no mechanical linkage is necessary. Installing multiple helm stations is very easy, with up to eight positions being possible. "We purposely built the system to mimic a very good mechanical system. That way the driver feels right at home and one is aware of the electronics by the improved performance such as completely stable idling and very quick response in acceleration, rather than a different way of having to operate the engine. The only thing a perceptive owner will notice is a slightly longer starting period. This is because the engine is cranked over a few extra turns to pre-heat the combustion chamber. This gives very low start up smoke and practically no emission of hydrocarbons."

Easier service and fault detection The EDC system and the control unit constantly monitor the status of important engine systems. If anything is wrong, the driver is alerted by a flashing code on the operating panel. All information is also stored by the system and can be called up by a serviceman using a special diagnostic key. "The system also stores values of eight major parameters, providing the serviceman with valuable information as to whether the engine has been run unnecessarily hard and if the installation needs to be modified. Among other information the serviceman can ascertain is whether the cooling capacity is adequate, the air supply sufficient, and the propeller correctly matched".

The technology behind Volvo Penta EDC
How it works EDC is an electronically controlled central processing system that receives data from various sensors located at key points within the engine's operating systems.

What it does Information is computed continuously to determine the precise quantity of fuel required at any given moment, taking full account of variations in operating temperatures, air pressure and other contributing factors, to optimize engine efficiency.

No ordinary control cabling, the conventional control cables used in traditionally installed systems are replaced with electrical wiring for both gearshift and throttle control. Also the gearbox is electronically operated for really smooth and precise shifting. Much less force is required for operating the controls and no noise or vibrations are transmitted through the control cabling from the engine. Plug-in electrical connectors make installation very simple and with no need for adjustments. Multi-station installations are easy to plan and install with up to eight possible control stations.

Self-diagnostics with memory The EDC system has a self-diagnostic facility for quick and easy service, maintenance and repair. Vital technical information is stored in order to optimize installation and performance.

The benefits with EDC:
Higher on-board comfort
  • Improved engine response
  • Lower and more stable idling
  • Control levers operated more smoothly and precisely, requiring much less force
  • No engine vibration or noise transmitted through the control cables
  • Compensates for high fuel temperature to avoid power loss in hot climate
Maintained efficiency and endurance
  • Self diagnostic facility
  • Very few moving parts in the control and governing system
Easier installation
  • Plug-in electrical connectors instead of conventional cabling
  • No adjustments of control cabling needed 
  • Multi-station installations with up to eight control stations, easy to plan and install
  • Better for the environment
  • Low smoke and noxious exhaust emissions 
  • Over fueling during start-up eliminated