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Old 09-29-2019, 01:43 AM   #1
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Vessel monitoring with floathub

Sitting at home tonight, Iím checking in on the boat.

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I installed a floathub earlier today and itís absolutely working as intended. I can see that the wind has died down a bit, my current battery voltage off just a tad due to resistance by the time it gets to the breaker(will need to track that down now!). I can see my middle bulge pump cycled twice (both times a test after installing). I did not leave an ais source running, but earlier today I could remotely see the ais targets around my vessel and this unit can stream to ais services as a shore based reporting location, or maybe even not so shore based too.

It also tracks gps location, heading, speed and can send me text alerts.

In fact, I could leave the boat in an anchorage and check that I had not drug anchor while up at town.

Took just over an hour, mostly pulling a few short wires to monitor bilge pumps and connecting to NMEA. Worked first time and the setup only took about 15 minutes.

Will be interesting to tabulate all my bulge pump runs over the course of a week/month.

Best part is this little unit is dirt cheap. Was just over $200 since I sprung for one with cellular built in, but it will work over WiFi when at the slip.

So far, this has been way easier than other methods Iíve used to monitor from afar.
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Old 09-29-2019, 01:48 AM   #2
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Iíve had one of these for a while and they are pretty sweet. They added a feature a while ago to track your trips and send you a summary which Iíve found very nice.

I also have mine connected to an AIS source so I am sending a list of nearby targets that I can peruse from afar.

The folks who make it are super helpful too. Not something you find from all remote monitoring companies.

I wish it were easier to upgrade though. Requires lots of technical knowledge or just shipping it back. Hopefully theyíll improve that over time.
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Old 09-29-2019, 01:53 AM   #3
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One thing I canít figure out. I often give people links to spot or vesselfinder with my mmsi, for friends who want to vicariously follow along. If itís possible to do this, I canít figure out how.

Also, I pulled their code from git the other night and started combing through it before remembering why I did not build one with an off the shelf arduino. These guys did a great job and made it really affordable for all it seems to do.
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Old 09-29-2019, 01:55 AM   #4
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They donít have public sharing (yet). You can share with other users of float hub but thatís sort of limiting.

I use several maps I embed on my site from MarineTraffic and VesselFinder I believe but those are only for AIS. I just so happen to be a mobile base station though so my record is almost always showing. I also have a Garmin inReach which has a map too and always works.
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Old 09-29-2019, 01:57 AM   #5
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Also noticed my air temp was 80 degrees. Itís installed behind my main electrical panel. Iíve got two actisense gateways among other stuff back there. Something is generating some heat in the small space!
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Old 09-29-2019, 01:59 AM   #6
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Yeah the temperature is useless on mine. Itís in an electrical closet with warm air that leaks in from the engine room. I donít want to put it anywhere exposed in the cabin where it could get a good temp. They should add some points to use a standard off the shelf probe. I canít remember if I suggested that on their support site. Things start to blur together.... seems familiar.
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Old 09-29-2019, 02:57 AM   #7
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That is a Really Great looking device, everybody should have one or something like it!

I use a home automation based device (Smartthings) that does the same kind of thing and can say that you, with your floathub will come to really appreciate KNOWING the status of your boat while your dock neighbors HOPE their boat is ok.
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Old 09-29-2019, 06:43 AM   #8
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Recently installed the BRNKL. Screen shot below, each sensor has one. There is an anchor watch and a google sky view when you first log in. Motion sensor takes a picture. Alerts sent to cell phone. Each sensor has an alert setting.
Can be viewed on computer.
Canadian company out of Victoria BC

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Old 09-29-2019, 08:20 AM   #9
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Here are some screen shos of what the Alarm system displays.

This is on my iphone
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:21 AM   #10
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I don't see where their web site says whether FloatHub accepts NMEA 2000 data.

I really like the concept, but I don't see myself connecting NMEA 0183 wires from every device to it. Am I missing something?
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Old 09-29-2019, 10:14 AM   #11
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I don't see where their web site says whether FloatHub accepts NMEA 2000 data.

I really like the concept, but I don't see myself connecting NMEA 0183 wires from every device to it. Am I missing something?


It doesnít accept n2k, at least not directly. But then Iím feeding it exclusively n2k data anyway. like many things n2k, I wound up with a need for not just one but two gateways (n2k to 0183), one high speed, one low for various devices already onboard. So my n2k ais and my n2k weather plumb in through the single gateway into this device with a single jumper. It also acts as a WiFi gateway if you donít already have one.

So just get a gateway, chances are you have equipment that will want to listen to your n2k network on 0183 anyway!
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Old 09-29-2019, 10:19 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Soo-Valley View Post
Recently installed the BRNKL. Screen shot below, each sensor has one. There is an anchor watch and a google sky view when you first log in. Motion sensor takes a picture. Alerts sent to cell phone. Each sensor has an alert setting.

Can be viewed on computer.

Canadian company out of Victoria BC



Attachment 94585


I already want to do more, so this might be in my future too. Itís a lot more expensive, but maybe worth it.
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Old 09-29-2019, 10:21 AM   #13
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Here are some screen shos of what the Alarm system displays.



This is on my iphone


Wow
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Old 10-14-2019, 12:44 PM   #14
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I didn't know

I didn't know that my bilge pumps don't run for weeks at a time! That's great, but I only just found that out!

I figured that they might run a time or two every few days, but ten years on with GFO that has not been adjusted since install they apparently don't weep at all when sitting.

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Last week I turned on my VHF AIS receiver and I've discovered I rather like keeping an eye on the channel outside my marina from afar. I don't know why. I could get this without the device, but the fact that I'm getting it from my own boat seems to matter. It makes no sense!

I know the floathub will share to other services, and if you do so they will happily share it back with you. Anybody take the time to relay to outside services such as marinetraffic? I'm either going to do that, or stream that data via raspberry pie to a local hard drive.

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I just ordered a smart things hub. I'm going to use it to monitor temp and humidity and do some remote 12v switching as well.

I like knowing things. This really feeds my addiction, especially when I'm two hours away.
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Old 10-14-2019, 01:47 PM   #15
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I am so happy to see this thread on remote vessel monitoring as this specific solution isn't one we've used but the main point is there are many very moderately priced solutions today and really makes sense for everyone to have some type system allowing themselves to monitor their boat.

I think these are more than worth it for your regular marina, anchorages, and marinas as you cruise. Even more, for those worrying about leaving their boat somewhere for extended times, these are incredible protection. If you're paying someone to occasionally check on it, now you can also check behind or ahead of them. Even useful monitoring when a boat is hauled out.

I do still recommend cameras so you can see what is going on too. Cameras are also inexpensive today.
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghost View Post
I didn't know that my bilge pumps don't run for weeks at a time! That's great, but I only just found that out!

I figured that they might run a time or two every few days, but ten years on with GFO that has not been adjusted since install they apparently don't weep at all when sitting.

Attachment 95272

Last week I turned on my VHF AIS receiver and I've discovered I rather like keeping an eye on the channel outside my marina from afar. I don't know why. I could get this without the device, but the fact that I'm getting it from my own boat seems to matter. It makes no sense!

I know the floathub will share to other services, and if you do so they will happily share it back with you. Anybody take the time to relay to outside services such as marinetraffic? I'm either going to do that, or stream that data via raspberry pie to a local hard drive.

Attachment 95273

I just ordered a smart things hub. I'm going to use it to monitor temp and humidity and do some remote 12v switching as well.

I like knowing things. This really feeds my addiction, especially when I'm two hours away.
I recently added a autoflush for my watermaker. Easy peasy. On my smartthings hub I added a smart outlet. That smart outlet drives a 120 volt relay that operates the 12V low pressure pump on my watermaker.

Then I made a automation that turns on the smart outlet for 10 minutes every monday and friday morning. It also sends me a alert that the watermaker is flushing.

I am going to add a bilge pump cycle sensor that will notify me when the bilge pump activates.

The way I figure it is that a leak would cause the bilge pump to cycle more often, and if the bilge pump fails then the rising water would trigger a high water sensor.

I want to know before that happens. I want to know that the bilge pump is cycling.
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:46 PM   #17
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So, your using a 120v relay for your 12 v switching. Do they have any native 12v powered relays? Iíve just started looking, so apologies for asking you to do my work for me! Lol.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:21 AM   #18
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Remote monitoring and control is in the "Wild West" phase, even for home systems. Bringing it to the boat is going to offer even more options. The smart thing to do is probably wait until the market has matured.

But where's the fun in that? I've been playing with a few "Smart Home" options, and have currently settled on the open-source "Home Assistant" software on a Raspberry Pi.

Now, sitting on the boat, it seems like such an inconvenience to have to get up and walk across the saloon to change the thermostat. And when I'm away from the boat, not knowing the status of every system seems so... primitive!

I can see a whole bunch of wasted time and money in my future as I start to play with some new toys. A second Raspberry Pi for the boat, maybe a "MyFi" type cellular data connection, all tied into the boat systems...
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:37 AM   #19
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Remote monitoring and control is in the "Wild West" phase, even for home systems. Bringing it to the boat is going to offer even more options. The smart thing to do is probably wait until the market has matured.

But where's the fun in that? I've been playing with a few "Smart Home" options, and have currently settled on the open-source "Home Assistant" software on a Raspberry Pi.

Now, sitting on the boat, it seems like such an inconvenience to have to get up and walk across the saloon to change the thermostat. And when I'm away from the boat, not knowing the status of every system seems so... primitive!

I can see a whole bunch of wasted time and money in my future as I start to play with some new toys. A second Raspberry Pi for the boat, maybe a "MyFi" type cellular data connection, all tied into the boat systems...
I think it's very much in the maturing stage right now as the capability has been here for years, both home and on boats. The cost today is about 10% of what it was 5 to 7 years ago and the supplier options many times more. 5 to 7 years ago it was something special and nice to have but not an expenditure most boaters were going to make. Now it is rapidly on the way to becoming a standard, must have, and will become a standard feature before long.

Just to know how fast this market has moved, in 2013, Jamie Siminoff appeared on Shark Tank with his doorbell. The sharks all rejected him. In 2018, Amazon bought the company for $1 Billion.

The security system we installed for our home when we purchased it in 2012, we upgraded in 2018 after purchasing a Smart Home business and the cost at retail was about 20% of the original. We purchased the business in 2017 and automating a 100'+ yacht today is less than 20% of what it cost in 2014. Smart Home in 2017 was still somewhat a novelty, but now anyone can do it.

A side benefit already seen in residential neighborhoods and in business areas is that security cameras of all types have become so much more common. Police investigation of burglaries and other crimes now immediately includes finding all the homes or businesses with cameras. I saw recently an investigation into the disappearance of a teenager. Through various cameras, they were able to track her walking several blocks and at that point with cameras at intersections collect all the vehicles in the area that night. Then they saw her two days later with a man in a Walmart hundreds of miles away.

Now, the negative is that from the moment you step out your front door, you no longer have any privacy. It won't be long before everything you do outside your home will be on camera.

Home automation will be as common 10 years from now as television is today. Boat automation should be close behind. Security and alarm systems will be standard on new boats, just as much as radar is today.

I suspect many here still think of it as gadgets and gimmicks. Well, I've seen several home burglaries in progress on Live PD now that were reported by the homeowner who was hundreds of miles away but they saw it on their camera. Simple alarms notifying owners will save hundreds of boats from sinking. It's easy today to collect all information on your home or your boat and then make that available wherever you are. Now, you've operated televisions by remote for decades, so why shouldn't everything in your home be the same. The part that excites many is the ability to then reduce utility costs significantly.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:59 AM   #20
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As someone that has an automated home (lights, shades, cameras, alarm, voice and app control) I'm here to tell you it's an adventure. It's not just a simple replacement of switches, even with electrical code standards. LED dimming is a mess, and I have the best dimmers you can buy (Lutron).

Looking at my boat wiring... there's many more complications. The first of which is space. While a US wall box might not seem large, boat switch boxes are tiny in comparison. There's just NO ROOM for the hardware necessary for dimming and remote control. And then there's the mish-mash of how negative returns are handled (hint, they don't come back to the switch location).

So the direction many boats seem to be taking is panelized systems, where everything is controlled at a panel, not at the switch locations. This translates into higher priced gear that's almost instantly obsolete. Try getting replacement parts a decade from now when the salt air takes it's toll...

I'm all for remote monitoring, and have a FloatHub that I just keep not having/making the time to install. Too much time on the boat gets spent for actual recreation, not geeking out.

But meanwhile my Blink cameras do a nice job of keeping tabs on the boat. My boat guy always gets a laugh when he gets my phone call within a minute of going onto the boat. The salon view here has been remarkably free of false triggers. Camera placement angle is key, you want to avoid picking up pedestrians on the docks going to other boats. This view is daytime with Phifertex on the aft windows.
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