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Old 10-14-2021, 08:34 PM   #1
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Boat Monitor

Any suggestions on a reliable monitoring system. Iíve got the Siren Marine MTC system ( thatís no longer being manufactured)and itís not very good. Itís suppose to send text messages when something is outside parameters, but doesnít work and tech support canít get it to work. They want me to update to their newest system, but I have no way of knowing if itís any better. Any knowledge or recommendations from the group here?
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Old 10-14-2021, 08:53 PM   #2
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I have Boat Command. This is a mature product (old compared to the competition). But it works well. If my primary bilge pump runs or if the high water alarm trips, I get both a text message and email immediately. The owners manual is terrible, though.
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Old 10-14-2021, 10:14 PM   #3
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Old 10-14-2021, 11:11 PM   #4
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Old 10-15-2021, 08:16 AM   #5
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I am in the process of designing one myself as a winter project. The first version will be for testing using a Rpi4. Will interface to the N2K bus as well. Will support WIFI, CELL, SAT COM (Iridium SBD or SWARM). All messages will come in via email, as well as commands to the device. Like I want to turn on my AC before I get to the boat a few hours in advance ! haha. But def want to have temp, bilge pump counts, etc, reported periodically to me, or when an out of range setting is detected.
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:13 AM   #6
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Here is a real time screen shot from my boat monitor.

I am in the middle of a work rotation and am 150 miles from home. (60 more work days till retirement )

The system I use (and I have had several) is based on a Zigbee and Zwave hub made by Aeotec, and the server platform I use is free and owned by Samsung Smartthings. The GUI displays I use are Actiontiles based.

I get real time notifications vis email, text, and through the app plus the system works autonomously to control things like the heating systems.

The sensors are all extremely reliable and are wireless. The batteries last about a year and I get notifications when a battery gets low prior to that sensor going offline.

I also have a dedicated display on the boat that cost me all of $120 and is based on a Amazon fire.
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Old 10-15-2021, 11:39 AM   #7
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I installed the new Siren system this spring after reviewing all the similar priced competitors. Had a problem with the original unit that they immediately replaced. Unit has been flawless. There have been a few places were cellular service was spotty or nonexistent which obviously impaired the unit (as well as my phone).

Click image for larger version

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My one gripe about the unit (and their competitors) is the wire size. While the amperage draw is minuscule, working with 20 gauge or less wire is a big PIA. I ended up taking the wires I might possibly use from both harnesses, adding heat shrink ring connectors, and attaching them to terminal blocks. The center one in the below picture in the common negative buss.

Click image for larger version

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I also decided that I wasn't interested in the wireless sensors and did everything hard wired.

I have:

2 high water alarms
Shore power monitoring
12 VDC monitoring
Motion detection for intruders
Geofencing to alert me to boat theft.

And engine shutdown from my phone should someone steal my boat.

I may also add a temperature alarm for the refrigerator and freezer in the future.

With all the additional wire stuff and a few relays, I'm into it for less than $1K.

Ted
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Old 10-15-2021, 05:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
I installed the new Siren system this spring after reviewing all the similar priced competitors. Had a problem with the original unit that they immediately replaced. Unit has been flawless. There have been a few places were cellular service was spotty or nonexistent which obviously impaired the unit (as well as my phone).

Attachment 122115

My one gripe about the unit (and their competitors) is the wire size. While the amperage draw is minuscule, working with 20 gauge or less wire is a big PIA. I ended up taking the wires I might possibly use from both harnesses, adding heat shrink ring connectors, and attaching them to terminal blocks. The center one in the below picture in the common negative buss.

Attachment 122116

I also decided that I wasn't interested in the wireless sensors and did everything hard wired.

I have:

2 high water alarms
Shore power monitoring
12 VDC monitoring
Motion detection for intruders
Geofencing to alert me to boat theft.

And engine shutdown from my phone should someone steal my boat.

I may also add a temperature alarm for the refrigerator and freezer in the future.

With all the additional wire stuff and a few relays, I'm into it for less than $1K.

Ted


Thanks for sharing your experience with the 3 Pro. I think I will have them send me one on Monday since I already have all the Siren Marine sensors. ( some wireless and some hardwired)
Iím currently monitoring
Main bilge pump
Hi water
Battery voltage
Shore power
Engine room temp
Shaft log temp
Geofencing
I also like your idea of monitoring Refrigerator/ freezer temperatures.
By the way, I have a beautiful new Stainless Summit Refrigerator with an Icemaker sitting in my garage just waiting to be installed as soon as I get a little free time. Iíll keep you updated on the project.
Don
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Old 10-15-2021, 05:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Propnut View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience with the 3 Pro. I think I will have them send me one on Monday since I already have all the Siren Marine sensors. ( some wireless and some hardwired)
Iím currently monitoring
Main bilge pump
Hi water
Battery voltage
Shore power
Engine room temp
Shaft log temp
Geofencing
I also like your idea of monitoring Refrigerator/ freezer temperatures.
By the way, I have a beautiful new Stainless Summit Refrigerator with an Icemaker sitting in my garage just waiting to be installed as soon as I get a little free time. Iíll keep you updated on the project.
Don


Ted
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksanders View Post
Here is a real time screen shot from my boat monitor.

I am in the middle of a work rotation and am 150 miles from home. (60 more work days till retirement )

The system I use (and I have had several) is based on a Zigbee and Zwave hub made by Aeotec, and the server platform I use is free and owned by Samsung Smartthings. The GUI displays I use are Actiontiles based.

I get real time notifications vis email, text, and through the app plus the system works autonomously to control things like the heating systems.

The sensors are all extremely reliable and are wireless. The batteries last about a year and I get notifications when a battery gets low prior to that sensor going offline.

I also have a dedicated display on the boat that cost me all of $120 and is based on a Amazon fire.

Are you monitoring 12V DC and 120V AC directly? If so, what specific sensors are you using for this? Thank you.
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Old 10-22-2021, 10:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murofrelwart View Post
Are you monitoring 12V DC and 120V AC directly? If so, what specific sensors are you using for this? Thank you.
The sensors that I seem to like are contact closure sensors made by Echolink. They have a screw terminal inside to connect wires to.

For my DC system I have my SOC meter to close the alarm contact if the voltage falls below a preset level. In my case with my loads I chose 12.25 volts.

For AC monitoring I have a relay behind my panel monitoring each of the shore power inlets. If either of these loose voltage, the relay triggers the sensor.
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Old 10-22-2021, 10:54 AM   #12
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I have both the old and new Siren, BRNKL, Cortex, Boat Command (wrote an article on that a few years ago on Panbo) and three others from manufacturers that I’m not ready to chat about yet, mainly due to challenges.

I like all of these systems because their standalone, and I hate them because they’re standalone. Dedicated wiring and sensors to bilges, batteries, etc. which I already have as part of an extensive NMEA 2000 network. So a lot of extra connections. Sensors that fail in every way you could think or imagine - wireless versions burning through their batteries in a few days, disappearing randomly and not alerting you (bad!) and a whole litany of other challenges.

Then you have the connectivity challenges - most of them have their own LTE or cellular connection, and have thought that out poorly. Single provider, mediocre external antenna (if even offered) which means they really only work in good signal areas. That might be OK for my home marina, but what about if I am at anchor somewhere? Or visiting another marina? When things are more likely to fail?

I’m a bigger fan of something that uses existing sensors and data which you already rely on, are likely wired in and highly reliable, and the data can be pulled from that and used in a similar way. Maretron N2Kview is one commercial option, although it has its own challenges, but there are also open source tools like Signal K, Grafana, WilhelmSK and the like. These aren’t as all-in-one as the dedicated boat monitoring systems, but I think they offer a lot more flexibility and reliability in their own way, similar to Kevin’s system.

It comes down to what you want. If you want basic systems with a slick app and know the limitations of when it works, then one of the dedicated remote monitoring systems is likely a good idea. Beware their wireless sensors and reliability however. If you want visibility into even more, and wired sensors everywhere, then I’d look elsewhere.
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Old 10-22-2021, 01:02 PM   #13
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I have both the old and new Siren, BRNKL, Cortex, Boat Command (wrote an article on that a few years ago on Panbo) and three others from manufacturers that Iím not ready to chat about yet, mainly due to challenges.

I like all of these systems because their standalone, and I hate them because theyíre standalone. Dedicated wiring and sensors to bilges, batteries, etc. which I already have as part of an extensive NMEA 2000 network. So a lot of extra connections. Sensors that fail in every way you could think or imagine - wireless versions burning through their batteries in a few days, disappearing randomly and not alerting you (bad!) and a whole litany of other challenges.

Then you have the connectivity challenges - most of them have their own LTE or cellular connection, and have thought that out poorly. Single provider, mediocre external antenna (if even offered) which means they really only work in good signal areas. That might be OK for my home marina, but what about if I am at anchor somewhere? Or visiting another marina? When things are more likely to fail?

Iím a bigger fan of something that uses existing sensors and data which you already rely on, are likely wired in and highly reliable, and the data can be pulled from that and used in a similar way. Maretron N2Kview is one commercial option, although it has its own challenges, but there are also open source tools like Signal K, Grafana, WilhelmSK and the like. These arenít as all-in-one as the dedicated boat monitoring systems, but I think they offer a lot more flexibility and reliability in their own way, similar to Kevinís system.

It comes down to what you want. If you want basic systems with a slick app and know the limitations of when it works, then one of the dedicated remote monitoring systems is likely a good idea. Beware their wireless sensors and reliability however. If you want visibility into even more, and wired sensors everywhere, then Iíd look elsewhere.
Steve, I really like the Zwave and Zigbee solutions. Mt smartthings hub for example works through the onboard network that we already have, so I do not need to duplicate network connectivity for just one device. It evern works over the SATCOM link.
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Old 10-25-2021, 12:36 PM   #14
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If you have a lot of Victron equipment onboard, you might look at the CerboGX. You need your own communications onboard (an LTE modem or some kind of live onboard wifi) but it's relatively inexpensive and provides monitoring on the web and through an app with no monthly fee.
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