electrical

Simple systems: It's about design, not quantity

What do we mean when we say a boat's systems are "simple"?

There's a temptation, at times, to say that simplicity is about cutting back. About leaving out whole systems to save on installation and maintenance dollars. I don't think that's really what it's about.

What we're really looking for when we say "simple" is, more often than not, elegance. Maintainability. Reliability. The least complex, least costly way to fill a stated specification. The ability for the captain to understand, and repair, every system on the boat.

Boat manuals need to include electrical schematics and software details

Good drawings take time to make. Time costs money. Therefore, good drawings are not cheap.

Some boat builders seem to think that this logic leads to a fourth point: "Therefore, we will not include drawings."

Er, guys? Not cool. Seriously, not cool. Just see what happens the very first time the owner has to have something fixed, and the technician spends most of a day rooting around in the bilges trying to figure out where the hell all the wires are going.

Does electric drive make sense in a boat?

Electric cars are trendy these days. Hybrid electric systems are perhaps a little less exciting, but still get a large share of marketing attention. Boatbuilders have been getting in on the act too, but does it make sense to consider electric drive for a boat?

In today's article, I'll summarize three common powertrain architectures (battery electric, hybrid IC/electric and conventional IC engine) and outline the logic that might lead you to choose an electric drive system for your boat.

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