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Old 04-11-2017, 03:08 AM   #1
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Boat alarm saves boat from harm

A couple of days ago I received a notofication from my boats alarm system.

The first message was at 5:47 PM indicating that the shore power was out.

A few minutes later I received a notification that the 12 volt DC battery was below 12.25 volts, indicating that the batter charger was not working.

I continued getting alerts of the battery voltage every two hours.

At 08:00 the DC battery was at 11.54 volts indicating that the battery bank was nearing the limits of its capacity. With the two furnaces running plus fridges, freezers, Satcom gear, etc... I'm guesstimating a 35 amp DC load which after 14 hours would be around 500 amp hours depleted from a bank that was 800 amp hours when new five seasons ago. Not a great situation.

I called the harbor and asked if they had a power outage going on. The nice lady said no, everything was fine. She offered to send someone down to check on the power going to my boat.

About an hour later I got an alart that the power had been restored to the boat. A few minutes later come another alert that the battery voltage was above 12.50 volts.

A little while after that the harbor called and told me that they had found my 50 amp shore power breaker off. Not tripped, but off intentionally.

My slip borders a transient berthing area and power theft is not unheard of. It appears that someone stole my shore power after the harbor staff had went home for the night, and had re-connected it in the morning before they arrived. In doing this they had left my shore power breaker in the off position.

The harbor is adressing the power theft issue through increased patrols by the local police department looking for power cords running across the dock to the transient berths. That is good.

What is better is that my boats alarm system saved my boats battery bank from a high probability of damage, by alarting me of the issue in time for corrective action to be taken.
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Old 04-11-2017, 07:37 AM   #2
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Different alarm - high water alarm - that I installed after I purchase my current boat. My main bilge pump did not turn on due to fault wiring and when water got too high, the alarm come on. It come on in the middle of the night and loud enough to wake up the dead. I found the leak and fixed. Fix the wiring too. I have set up - main bilge pump, 4inches above water alarm and another bilge pump.
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Old 04-11-2017, 07:49 AM   #3
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..................... A little while after that the harbor called and told me that they had found my 50 amp shore power breaker off. Not tripped, but off intentionally.

My slip borders a transient berthing area and power theft is not unheard of. It appears that someone stole my shore power after the harbor staff had went home for the night, and had re-connected it in the morning before they arrived. In doing this they had left my shore power breaker in the off position.

The harbor is adressing the power theft issue through increased patrols by the local police department looking for power cords running across the dock to the transient berths. That is good ................ .
It could have been someone using the other side of the pedestal and turned your breaker off while trying to turn theirs on. On some pedestals it's not intuitive.

I've been to marinas where they actually lock the covers on the pedestals with padlocks because of power theft. When you take a slip for the night, they come down with a key and unlock them. That might be a better idea and if your pedestal allows this, you could put your own lock on it and give the marina a key.

I had the power fail a few weeks ago. The breaker was tripped. I reset it and a few minutes later it tripped. I plugged my boat into another pedestal and it worked fine so I explained this to the dockmaster and he replaced the breaker.

I have no alarm system, maybe I should look into one. What system do you have?
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:07 AM   #4
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It could have been someone using the other side of the pedestal and turned your breaker off while trying to turn theirs on. On some pedestals it's not intuitive.

I've been to marinas where they actually lock the covers on the pedestals with padlocks because of power theft. When you take a slip for the night, they come down with a key and unlock them. That might be a better idea and if your pedestal allows this, you could put your own lock on it and give the marina a key.

I had the power fail a few weeks ago. The breaker was tripped. I reset it and a few minutes later it tripped. I plugged my boat into another pedestal and it worked fine so I explained this to the dockmaster and he replaced the breaker.

I have no alarm system, maybe I should look into one. What system do you have?
One of them is a Sensephone WEB 600, The other is a Lowes Iris.

I thought about locking the cover but then they would just disconnect my shore pwer cord under load. And I really wish it cold have been a mistake but we each have our own pedestal.
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:19 AM   #5
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One of them is a Sensephone WEB 600, The other is a Lowes Iris.

I thought about locking the cover but then they would just disconnect my shore pwer cord under load. And I really wish it cold have been a mistake but we each have our own pedestal.
You could secure your power cord to the dock or your boat so it wouldn't reach to another boat.

I saw someone at my marina unplug someone's boat to plug his in. That came close to fisticuffs when the first guy found out about it.

It's a real shame that some folks can be so dishonest as to steal electrical power but there are folks that do this. I've seen them pull into a marina after hours, fill their water tanks, dump their garbage plug in their electrical cords and then leave in the morning before the marina reopens.

They may only be depriving the marina of $50 but it's still theft.
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:30 AM   #6
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You could secure your power cord to the dock or your boat so it wouldn't reach to another boat.

I saw someone at my marina unplug someone's boat to plug his in. That came close to fisticuffs when the first guy found out about it.

It's a real shame that some folks can be so dishonest as to steal electrical power but there are folks that do this. I've seen them pull into a marina after hours, fill their water tanks, dump their garbage plug in their electrical cords and then leave in the morning before the marina reopens.

They may only be depriving the marina of $50 but it's still theft.

I have a camera in the pilothouse facing the power plug. Up to now the camera has not recorded anything, it as been for me to monitor the weather, and snow loading on the boat while I'm away.

That camera is going to be replaced in the next week. The new camera will have a micro SD caed and will record everything.

If I get a power alarm on the boat I'll check the camera and call the police.
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:34 AM   #7
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One of them is a Sensephone WEB 600, The other is a Lowes Iris.



I thought about locking the cover but then they would just disconnect my shore pwer cord under load. And I really wish it cold have been a mistake but we each have our own pedestal.


If my marina had Wifi, I would consider using some type of notification system. Unfortunately, it doesn't and I'm too cheap to pay for a separate cell hotspot just for the boat.
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:43 AM   #8
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You don't need wifi to have an effective alarm.

Just Google "12v GSM alarms" and eBay will bring up dozens of cheap alternatives that just send you a text with the condition (bilge pump, power failure, etc) or call you if a door sensor is triggered.

What's good is that many of the systems use wireless sensors which makes installation a doddle.

Install a pay as you go sim card and $15 credit will last ages.
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:39 AM   #9
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How about LVD to shut loads off from the bank at X% SoC?
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Old 04-11-2017, 10:04 AM   #10
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You don't need wifi to have an effective alarm.

Just Google "12v GSM alarms" and eBay will bring up dozens of cheap alternatives that just send you a text with the condition (bilge pump, power failure, etc) or call you if a door sensor is triggered.

What's good is that many of the systems use wireless sensors which makes installation a doddle.

Install a pay as you go sim card and $15 credit will last ages.


Thanks. That is something that I didn't know. That suddenly makes it much more reasonable.
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Old 04-11-2017, 10:12 AM   #11
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Yes wifi only needed if you have a video camera / cctv permanently running.

Some GSM alarms have sensors that will take a photo and sms it to you when triggered by motion, but I haven't gone for that.

For an alarm that will contact you with all the key functions only a sim card is required. Most will also operate the other way, i.e. will switch on for example the heating or fridge remotely when you call, alternatively can be configured to be triggered by additional sensors on board to contact you for other things (frost alarm or similar).

Just have a browse through eBay, lots of choice out there.
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Old 04-11-2017, 10:17 AM   #12
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you've built up a fine system, to warn the things ...
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Old 04-11-2017, 03:21 PM   #13
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WesK,
I use a device called iSocket. You can get them for the US, Europe or Australia (and anywhere in between I suppose). You plug it into any PowerPoint on the boat, turn the inverter off and the shorepower on. As soon as the shorepower goes off for any reason, it sends you as SMS message to your phone. Very simple. Has saved my batteries a few times already! H.
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