Richard Berg, the founder of Unichip Marine is a world-renowned race car engine tuner, working with many high-level motorsport teams. His philosophy: “let’s make it better” applies to better performance, better reliability and better safety.
Richard purchased his first boat in 2016, a SeaRay 215 with a Mercruiser petrol engine, and quickly realised that the marine industry was decades behind the automotive industry in terms of engine control and emission requirements. Understanding that it is hard to get petrol fuel in UK waters he decided to source a diesel sports cruiser in order to start the development of Unichip Marine.
Once Richard had his new craft, he was left extremely disappointed with the performance. Being a heavy boat and a single engine, it wasn’t as fast as he expected. Very quickly, Richard had fitted and tuned his first unit to the Mercruiser diesel engine. The boat performed great, easy to get on plane, backing out of the throttle very quickly to settle down to a comfortable cruise.
Achieving such great results, Richard discussed his project with various professionals in the marine industry. They informed Richard how widespread engine problems are with pleasure craft, with many boat owners concerned with the reliability of their expensive engines. Richard came to appreciate that most problems arise from faulty wiring and gauges at the helm, caused by corrosion and poor connections. This in turn would lead to overheating of the engine, and in the end failure.
The scope of the project turned from making a performance system to a safer system. With today’s technology, making better performance from engines is easy, as is safer performance. Ensuring safe performance when influenced by an outside source is the challenge, but this is what Richard lives for!
Working with many endurance 24-hour race car teams, 80% of the success is down to reliability and being able to still turn the laps of a race circuit safely when something goes wrong. We can achieve this with the modern electronics found in all passenger vehicles. So much so, that you rarely know it is happening.
Modern engine control systems monitor many parameters on the engine giving them the ability to still perform under a fault condition. However, this level of technology is extremely basic on older boat engines. As an example, you will see a 50% drop in engine performance if the engine coolant temperature sensor fails. Due to the technology used on the older craft there are many system checks that are left to the marine engineer to resolve often resulting in large diagnostic repair bills. There is also the fact that most marine engineers are trained and experienced on modern systems from the last decade, not with the older systems that many of us still use.
Every boat operator would like to get on plane a little quicker, and the Unichip Marine will help get you there.