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Old 12-04-2018, 22:48   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia
Boat: Roberts 45
Posts: 641
Vessel management system -- one beta tester spot open


Back in 2016 we've been reaching out to the CruisersForum to look for individuals that are interested and willing to test our SharksHead (SH) wireless vessel management system. It took us an additional 18 months to improve the system, test it further on our own sailing vessel and set up a website.

The main feature of SH at this stage would be the battery management option, not to be confused with a battery charging system. What sets SH apart from most existing solutions is:
  • the continuous monitoring and logging of voltages and currents
  • the possibility of removing a battery from the bus using a relay
  • it's wireless, hence easy to retrofit

SH also records (cabin) temperature, air pressure and humidity and displays historical data in a graphical format via a web browser.
We will also send you a consumer controller which can remotely turn an on-board device on and off and report its current consumption.

Future extensions might include an engine monitoring system, tank level monitoring, as well as fire, gas, bilge and intruder alerts.

The first complete sets have already been shipped to a small number of beta testers and we now have one spot left in the current program.

If you're interested, please let us know via a reply post or direct message on this forum or via an email to

We would then send a complete base set of SH modules at no cost to you, wherever you are in the world. You can keep the system and you can extend it later with more modules if you like it and find it useful, otherwise just throw it away or give it someone you don't like... We're not going to hassle you with emails for years to come.

What we expect from you is feedback on how the system performs and what you like or dislike about it. And feel free to tell others about your experience.

The limitations of today's system are also mentioned on our website, most notably:
  • it only supports 12V bus voltage, this could be two 6V batts in series
  • the battery controller we ship at the moment can handle up to 30 A in or out per battery

Ideally, we are looking for a beta tester who is not only fluent in Englsh but also in a second language and would be willing to help us translate the user interface.

For further information please visit our website, in particular, have a read of the "Beta test" page under the "Documentation" tab:
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Fair winds,
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Old 19-01-2019, 02:28   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia
Boat: Roberts 45
Posts: 641
Re: Vessel management system -- one beta tester spot open

A quick follow-up of the (SH) beta test, for the record

We've received a lot of constructive feedback during the beta test:

The graphs have seen a lot of work, e.g. 7 day and 14 days are possible as well, up to 2 years worth of data on one page, and you can still go back in time.

Our test boat has a 3G USB dongle so we can access it at any time. It’s a great feature, we just don’t know how many issues our customers would run into, especially outside of Australia. That would be very difficult for us to diagnose, as there are so many GPRS/2G/3G/4G/5G systems out there and so many providers of SIM cards. We might start to offer it to our Oz customers at first and use a Telstra dongle.

As for the BC, it seems we have either failed to show the advantages of being able to disconnect any batt from the bus or it’s just a feature no one wanted in the first place?

In other words, SH has some features that are not common in this market:

For example, we believe that a wireless system is much easier to install or retrofit than one where every sensor, like the bilge water switch, has its own cable run to the main switch board. There are other wireless systems out there, but most are still based on cables or a combination of cables and WIFI plus Bluetooth.
Secondly, many batt monitors are limited to real-time data, what’s the voltage and the Amps right now. Great… The better ones offer back data of a day, a week or up to one month. Well, our batts don’t degrade noticeably in a month, but they do over a 6 or 12 months period! Hence we offer “unlimited” history.

As an example, I was just looking at the 2 year bus voltage graph on the test boat and can clearly see when the 6 old 70 Ah AGM batts started to fall apart in June 2017. I then disconnected the weakest ones which brought the voltage back up to 12.5V. Then in October I gradually added the LFP batts to the bus, bringing it to a stable 13.1V.

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What is unique about SH is this concept of treating every batt as if it was a batt bank. Other than manually removing the leads from a batt to check its self-discharge rate the typical boat owner doesn't know if one of his batts is on the way out until it’s too late: until it drags down the other batts enough for him or her to notice the drooping bus voltage even shortly after sunset. At that point he has no choice but to replace both of them, or all three, or four, because he still doesn’t know which one is the weakest…

So yes, we need one batt controller (BC) per batt, not to sell more BCs, but to allow this insight into the individual batt health. The whole system, even with 4, 5 or 6 house batts, should still cost under one “boat unit” and would pay for itself the next time he replaces his batts. Hence we don’t see it as adding complexity to the boat but to much better manage the complexity you already have on board.

The "starter kit” has two BCs as most boats have at least two house batts.

So our beta testers only got one BC. They can only monitor and disconnect one batt from the bus. That way you can see how many Ah went into the batt and how many came out of it.

SH will (very soon) show you the efficiency of the charging process, which also indicates the health of that particular batt. It also shows you the bus voltage at all times, whether the batt “under test" is connected or not.
We’re also working on showing the user the state-of-charge (SOC) of every batt and the whole system.

If we keep lumping all batts in parallel like in every classic setup, none of this would be possible. It would be impossible to test the resting voltage without turning off power to the whole boat for 12 or more hours. Not practical for a live-aboard with a fridge and lights that need to be on for safety.

Other features on our list are killer features like measuring the actual capacity of each batt! This is something only professional marine electricians would ever do, yet we want to bring this to a boat near you. No, make that: to your boat!

To top it off, or round up the list, we’re also releasing a gas sensor and alarm module, a bilge water monitoring and alarming module as well as an intruder alert module this quarter. This is all to make boating safer and more enjoyable.

So there are lots of exciting features in the pipeline and we are going ahead full steam, literally. Not too hard in the heat of summer, of course...

Stay tuned and follow @sharkshead on twitter or Facebook and get in touch.

Fair winds,
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alarm, alerting, batteries, BMS, charging, LFP, monitoring, sensor

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