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Old 24-10-2017, 12:57   #1
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Vessel monitoring options with wireless sensors

Looking for some guidance on vessel monitoring. What systems are out there?


I really want a complete wireless sytem so I can avoid running wires.


What is out there that is all wireless and will communicate via a cellular network?


I dont mind paying a little more upfront if i can avoid monthly monitoring fees.


I would like to montior the follwing at a minimum...


Shore Power
High water in bilge
Bilge pump cycling
Vessel tracking
interior temp and humidity
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Old 24-10-2017, 13:18   #2
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Re: Vessel monitoring options with wireless sensors

There are several out there but I think everyone requires a subscription of some kind. I have seen wireless ones before but I can't remember where.
I have played with the old Siren marines units (they have been redesigned) and they seemed pretty good. Also played with a Go free system but it was fairly bulky and expensive as I recall.
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:22   #3
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Re: Vessel monitoring options with wireless sensors

I'm experimenting with something similar. For cost reasons I'm just using wifi, since just about every marina/club has it. And of course this just monitors the boat when she's at the marina/club... but that's when you want remote monitoring the most.

Wireless sensors in the boat are possible, but the ones on your list would be fairly easy to wire up. Most of those conditions could be sensed at or near the main DC panel. Wireless sensors require batteries which would have to be replaced periodically.

Full commercial cellular-based marine monitoring systems which include position reporting are available. In any event, you need some sort of subscription to an online monitoring service, or at least your own server somewhere.

A round-up of options is here.
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:26   #4
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Re: Vessel monitoring options with wireless sensors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
I'm experimenting with something similar. For cost reasons I'm just using wifi, since just about every marina/club has it. And of course this just monitors the boat when she's at the marina/club... but that's when you want remote monitoring the most.

Wireless sensors in the boat are possible, but the ones on your list would be fairly easy to wire up. Most of those conditions could be sensed at or near the main DC panel. Wireless sensors require batteries which would have to be replaced periodically.

Full commercial cellular-based marine monitoring systems which include position reporting are available, but the few I've seen are rather expensive. In any event, you need some sort of subscription to an online monitoring service, or at least your own server somewhere.
good point on the Wifi. I keep my boat at my cottage and the wifi extends to the dock. What sytem are you experimenting with curretly?
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:40   #5
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Re: Vessel monitoring options with wireless sensors

A Raspberry Pi running openplotter can do all that with the addition of some cheap sensors, then send the whole thing over wifi.
Little bit DIY but not too hard. The Pi draws about 0.3A.
Or even cheaper but more diy is using natural little board like the esp8266.

I've just made a nmea to wifi for less than the cost of a beer in London, esp8266, serial to TTL chip, runs off 5v and talks to a Raspberry Pi onboard.
There's a web coms method called mqtt for transmitting the data across the web.
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:54   #6
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Re: Vessel monitoring options with wireless sensors

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Originally Posted by offshore27ns View Post
good point on the Wifi. I keep my boat at my cottage and the wifi extends to the dock. What sytem are you experimenting with curretly?
I'm playing with a homegrown system, very similar to what Conachair just mentioned. I'm currently using ESP8266, and also a thing called the Onion Omega2, which is like an even smaller Raspberry Pi, with built-in wifi. The ESP8266 has the ability to go into deep sleep and wake up periodically, which could reduce battery drain.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:17   #7
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Re: Vessel monitoring options with wireless sensors

I've considered this, and decided that Ham radio APRS could be a good choice. It's similar to AIS, but adds a few bytes of extra data to each packet which can be boat parameters. There are also a bunch of fixed-position (towers) that act to transfer the radio signal to the Internet. The hardware is cheap, and the service is free, but it's a techie DIY approach.
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Old 12-11-2017, 15:53   #8
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Re: Vessel monitoring options with wireless sensors

Take a look at SignalK (www.signalk.org). I use our node server to monitor and alarm on many systems on the boat. Nothing there yet for the bilge, but if you’re into homebrew hardware, it could easily be done.
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Old 12-11-2017, 16:27   #9
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Re: Vessel monitoring options with wireless sensors

I installed BoatCommand. I love it. It uses low bandwith GSM, so it will work anywhere there is a cell signal. Yes, there is a monthly, but come on, for what you get it's peanuts. And you dont depend on any crappy marina wifi (lest those that require www login, which will not work with any system).

https://boatcommand.com

I just love the system, it's simple, it works. I get:

- Bilge 1 count / alarm
- Bilge 2 count, highwater alarm
- Temperature
- Movement / security
- Battery 1 and Battery 2

And I can do some other stuff like external relays and such.

Im very happy. Running the wire is just part of owning a boat I guess.
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Old 13-11-2017, 18:24   #10
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Re: Vessel monitoring options with wireless sensors

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaucho View Post
I installed BoatCommand. I love it. It uses low bandwith GSM, so it will work anywhere there is a cell signal. Yes, there is a monthly, but come on, for what you get it's peanuts. And you dont depend on any crappy marina wifi (lest those that require www login, which will not work with any system).

https://boatcommand.com

I just love the system, it's simple, it works. I get:

- Bilge 1 count / alarm
- Bilge 2 count, highwater alarm
- Temperature
- Movement / security
- Battery 1 and Battery 2

And I can do some other stuff like external relays and such.

Im very happy. Running the wire is just part of owning a boat I guess.
I've got the same setup in my boat and I love it. Instead of monthly there is the option to pay for a year at a time. I believe it cost me $80 for the year.
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Old 18-11-2017, 19:37   #11
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Re: Vessel monitoring options with wireless sensors

I have been thinking about the new product called floathub. Pretty cool...
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