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Old 30-11-2016, 15:53   #1
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Marine electrionic certifications

Hi All -

I was thinking about the process for getting certified to repair marine electronics (radar, plotters, etc)

I've a degree in electronic engineering so I have a good grasp of the basics and my first job out of school was creating testing systems for submarine radar consoles and other equipment - so I have a pretty good base on troubleshooting systems.

I'm going to be retired shortly and thought this might be a good sideline to get into.

I've been googling around, but haven't found where anyone like Raytheon or B&G have a training program for techs.

Any suggestions.
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Old 30-11-2016, 16:08   #2
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Re: Marine electrionic certifications

ABYC has partnered with NMEA to offer a combined Marine Electrical and Electronics certification program. However, unless you are currently working in the marine field, I doubt that the certification will help you toward retirement.
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Old 30-11-2016, 16:32   #3
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Re: Marine electrionic certifications

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmksails View Post
Hi All -

I was thinking about the process for getting certified to repair marine electronics (radar, plotters, etc)

I've a degree in electronic engineering so I have a good grasp of the basics and my first job out of school was creating testing systems for submarine radar consoles and other equipment - so I have a pretty good base on troubleshooting systems.

I'm going to be retired shortly and thought this might be a good sideline to get into.

I've been googling around, but haven't found where anyone like Raytheon or B&G have a training program for techs.

Any suggestions.
I'm in the same boat, career and retirement-wise.

It's still a field where smarts and experience often counts for more than paper. About 12 years ago, I started helping a small marine electronics store owner with the repairs, just based on my general electronics experience. The owner provided the marine specifics, i supplied general electronic competence, and together we got stuff fixed. And I learned a bunch. More recently, I hung out for a summer as a diesel apprentice, and worked for a while assisting a busy boat electrician.

So ask around, offer to help out a store or chandlery. Do you do electronics work for fellow boatowners? Also a way to gain experience.

Factory-training seems tougher to get, unless you're onstaff at an authorized dealer. This is another reason to try to strike up a relationship with a dealer; to get access to that training. It could be win-win for the dealer to sponsor you, if you're going to be a competent resource for them afterwards.

You can definitely go after ABYC and/or NMEA certifications at any point. It's good knowledge, and all other things being equal, it can be a door-opener, because not many people hold those certifications. I'm ABYC-certified in Marine Electrical, and it's been a plus when discussing opportunities.

Where am I at? I enjoyed doing the boat electrical work, but it can be a physical bear, carting tools and stuff, temperature extremes, and the need to hustle to get enough billable hours in the day. Also, I continue to work in my primary field and it pays better. But my options are open and if I can ever talk my wife into fulltime cruising...
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Old 30-11-2016, 21:11   #4
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Re: Marine electrionic certifications

When you say "repair", do you people will bring you their broken chart plotter or radar, and you will take it apart, figure out what's wrong, replace parts as needed, test, and return it?

If so, I expect that will be very difficult with today's products and company business models. Here's why:

- I haven't seen a schematic for an electronics product in decades. They used to be pretty commonly available, but I expect are all consider proprietary now.

- Surface mount components are much harder to work on by hand, and some are near impossible, even with specialized tools. Even with specialized tools, swapping a BGA device, for example, has a reasonable probability of wrecking the whole board.

- With the exception of passive components, pretty much all devices are programmed in one way or another. Just buying a replacement component won't help without the tools, or more importantly, the code to program it.

- How will you test the equipment? You will need a lot of other equipment to be able to perform reasonable testing.

In all my experience in the electronics industry, everything is manufactured by a contract manufacturer, and any repairs are sent right back to the same contract manufacturer. They have the parts, the test fixtures, the programming ability, schematics, and the designer's training and support.

It's really hard for me to see how anyone could be successful without heavy manufacturer support, and I can't see much incentive for them to help when they can just dump the whole problem on their contract manufacturer.
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Old 01-12-2016, 01:59   #5
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Re: Marine electrionic certifications

a lot of the things are only a couple of days and not a huge deal... like the nmea course is a weekend I think. ABYC eletrical is a couple of days. I did a garmin "installer" course last year but it was more of a weekend of them trying to sell you stuff and market their products then teach you anything. as an installer and not a salesman I found it a waste of time.

nothing really gets repaired now a days. if you can't trouble shoot the problem on the boat with a cabling or setup issue it's pretty much throw it out and buy a new one. or send it back to the maker. and that does for any device, not just boats. when was the last time you had a tv repaired?...
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:13   #6
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Re: Marine electrionic certifications

I understand the modularity of modern electronics makes actual circuit repairs rare, but it's the networking of all these devices that can open problems that are beyond the general users ability to solve. I've seem many questions posted on this forum asking about why 2 devices are not talking to each other correctly.

For the past 10 years I've run an IT support department and I know how a simple problem like a poor connection or a software glitch can sometimes be very difficult to isolate and fix. This is where the opportunity might be.
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:03   #7
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Re: Marine electrionic certifications

In the U.S. you need, at a minimum, an FCC-issued GROL licence to work on marine, aircraft, or international fixed public radio services transmitters, radars, etc. The GROL is a General Radio Operators Licence which can be obtained after a technical exam. See, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genera...erator_License

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Old 02-12-2016, 21:58   #8
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Re: Marine electrionic certifications

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmksails View Post
I understand the modularity of modern electronics makes actual circuit repairs rare, but it's the networking of all these devices that can open problems that are beyond the general users ability to solve. I've seem many questions posted on this forum asking about why 2 devices are not talking to each other correctly.

For the past 10 years I've run an IT support department and I know how a simple problem like a poor connection or a software glitch can sometimes be very difficult to isolate and fix. This is where the opportunity might be.
Got it. I think that makes a lot more sense and is definitely an opportunity. General ABYC training and NMEA training would be the best starting point. But the rest will be practical experience. Most of the problems are in the quirks and peculiarities of individual pieces of equipment. But if you have good diagnostic skills, that will place you miles ahead of the average marine technician.
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Old 03-12-2016, 14:29   #9
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Re: Marine electrionic certifications

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmksails View Post
I understand the modularity of modern electronics makes actual circuit repairs rare, but it's the networking of all these devices that can open problems that are beyond the general users ability to solve. I've seem many questions posted on this forum asking about why 2 devices are not talking to each other correctly.

For the past 10 years I've run an IT support department and I know how a simple problem like a poor connection or a software glitch can sometimes be very difficult to isolate and fix. This is where the opportunity might be.
I agree you have the right idea, and a good base to build on.

Here's a fun toy.
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