Applications with alarms and home control will not surprise anyone. And what about the full control of the boat's systems?
Expectations and reality
The creators of yachting software and equipment paint the following picture: early in the morning, while still lying in his bed, a yachtsman lazily opens his smartphone and checks the weather outside the yacht, which is in the marina, in a special application. Not just a weather forecast, but real-time weather data from sensors on board.
Then, imposingly eating a sandwich and sipping coffee, the yachtsman slowly checks the battery charge level and the condition of the solar panels on board. A small wind turbine and solar panels keep the required level of charge, but in which case, all in the same application, you can start the generator with the click of a finger.
While the yachtsman is going to the marina, he checks the condition of the engine through his smartphone. Now, it’s already a stone’s throw to the pier - it’s time to start the power supply system on board. It seems that the above is like a fantasy. But no, in the case of a remote-controlled yacht, expectations are not far from reality.
CAN standard on new yachts
Most new modern yachts are already equipped with systems that are similar to those described above. Of course, direct control from a smartphone is still far away, but a full-fledged control system on yachts can be found more and more often. Most of these systems work on CAN technology.
Technical referenceCAN (eng. Controller Area Network - a network of controllers) is an industrial network standard focused primarily on combining various actuators and sensors into a single network.
The CAN protocol itself was originally created to meet the needs of the automotive industry. Most modern cars are equipped with a similar system.
The main advantage of the technology is the absence of a complex switching system between devices. If earlier, in order to combine all the on-board instruments of the yacht, it was necessary to lay “kilometers” of wires among themselves, but thanks to CAN, this problem is a thing of the past. Some CAN systems still require centralized control and extensive electrification work on board, but they are an order of magnitude less expensive than traditional cabling.
Just a couple of years ago, it was believed that the only indisputable advantage of CAN for yachts was the reduction in the number and complexity of wiring on board. However, such industrial giants of the yachting market as Brunswick, B&G and Garmin have found another fairly obvious advantage.
Thanks to the CAN protocol, it is possible to achieve ease of integration of new equipment into the system. That is, if you already have a device with a CAN bus (conditional chartplotter), then connecting another device somewhere on the tank is much easier than laying a new section of wiring.
In addition to the fact that all devices are combined into one network, it also becomes possible to control all these devices from one point (for example, the CAN control node will be located at the chart table), set up user scenarios (automatic on/off of generators, refrigerators, solar panels, etc.) .d.).
Some may say that this is similar to a “smart home”, but in general, the CAN protocol is closer to its more complex version called IoT, aka the Internet of Things (Internet of Things).
By the way, in addition to Brunswick, B&G and Garmin, Raymarine, C-Zone also added support for the CAN protocol. The shipyards do not lag behind - among the pioneers of the movement, the shipyards Hanse, Moody, Oyster lit up.
Prices and specific products
An illustrative example of working with the CAN protocol is Raymarine. The main product of the company in this direction is YachtSense. YachtSense is a remote control module, the main node of the entire system.
The device is equipped with a number of sensors that transmit data about the state of the yacht to your smartphone. The main module of the system costs about 995 euros, and additional sensors and devices connected to it will cost another 395 euros / piece.
Garmin is currently developing and fine-tuning the Empirbus project. Empirbus, like YachtSense, is built around a central module and plug-in sensors. The price of the entire system is 2469 euros, which is comparable to a complete system from Raymarine. Another big project is SailSense's PowerRail CAN system. The cost of PowerRail is 2520 euros.
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