Hour Meter on Volvo MD2020

Feb 20, 2016
96
None None None
Hello:

The meter is a digital one. Usually the screen on the meter is blank. Every once in a while though it burps up some nonsensical characters. They don’t look like letters or numbers just little blips.

I wonder whether there is a way to replace or repair the hour meter so I know how many hours are on the engine, or at least how many hours I’ve run the engine in a given season?

Thanks.

Michael
 
Feb 10, 2004
3,508
Hunter 40.5 Warwick, RI
This has been discussed many times over the years. Search this site for tach problem, blank tack, etc. You will find a great deal of info. Bottom line is that most owners install a separate mechanical hour meter. The tach issue you describe is a systemic problem across many engine manufactures and models.
 
Jun 19, 2004
360
Morgan M28 O/I Ocean Gate, NJ
I replaced my old mechanical hour meter with an electronic one from Amazon about 15 bucks. I hooked it up to 12 volts and let it run for a few weeks until the hours closely matched to the old one. You could do the same with yours
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,725
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
@Rich Stidger has it right. I had the same issue with my Volvo Penta digital hourmeter built into the tach. I replaced with the same make/model and it failed again the same way within 2 years. There is a defect in the design or build but V-P did not acknowledge it. I still use the second tach with dead hours display (every once in a while it wakes up). I added an electro-mechanical display that ticks when it advances the digits and it seems bullet proof. (It is cheap too, but well made). It looks like this one
https://www.amazon.com/Aimilar-Mech...091966&sr=1-2-spons&keywords=Hour+Meter&psc=1

Edit: You know you're old when the browser spell checker doesn't recognize a correctly spelled word like "electro-mechanical".
 
Last edited:
Feb 10, 2004
3,508
Hunter 40.5 Warwick, RI
Ok. I take it that all the original hours are gone?

Michael
Actually, my tachs that failed (three of them) continued to accumulate running hours but the display was mostly dead. Every once in a while, maybe twice per summer season, the display would come alive and I could write down the latest total hours. So it is likely that if your tach could somehow have the display fixed, it would work again and have all of your hours displayed. The common belief is that the display portion of the circuitry has a bad connection- but exactly where that might be is a mystery to me. And as a former electrical engineer I have looked extensively only to be frustrated.
 
May 24, 2004
6,792
CC 30 South Florida
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The hour meter is a most useful gauge and it is inexpensive to get a replacement. The above can be purchased for around $20. It fits a standard 2" hole and gets wired to the Key Switch circuit. The gauge can be used to schedule routine maintenance based on engine use and it can also be used to calculate fuel availability and consumption as well as range. With practice we can calculate how much usable fuel we have left in the tank to an accuracy of +/- 1/4 gallon. This on the water gives us the ability to calculate if we have enough fuel to get to our destination or refueling point.
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,725
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
Actually, my tachs that failed (three of them) continued to accumulate running hours but the display was mostly dead. Every once in a while, maybe twice per summer season, the display would come alive and I could write down the latest total hours. So it is likely that if your tach could somehow have the display fixed, it would work again and have all of your hours displayed. The common belief is that the display portion of the circuitry has a bad connection- but exactly where that might be is a mystery to me. And as a former electrical engineer I have looked extensively only to be frustrated.
I read the same thing and took mine apart. Cleaned the contacts on the ribbon cable but no luck.
 
Feb 10, 2004
3,508
Hunter 40.5 Warwick, RI
I read the same thing and took mine apart. Cleaned the contacts on the ribbon cable but no luck.
I know. Sorry. I wish I could fix mine too. Buy a mechanical gauge and mount it somewhere convenient. I put mine in the engine compartment since I don't need to see the hours all the time.
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,725
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
I know. Sorry. I wish I could fix mine too. Buy a mechanical gauge and mount it somewhere convenient. I put mine in the engine compartment since I don't need to see the hours all the time.
Yup - I bought a mechanical one too. Great minds think alike. :)
 

Ward H

.
Nov 7, 2011
3,129
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
I hooked it up to 12 volts and let it run for a few weeks until the hours closely matched to the old one.
What a good idea. I’m adding this to my winter project list.