Currently have a DSC PC5010 alarm panel installed on a marine vessel. A Skyroute has been installed to send alarm data back to the central station. Alarm transmission works well as long as cellular coverage is available in the area. They can, however, dock at ports where there is little cellular coverage.......
Challenge: They have a GlobalStar GSP1600 sat phone on board and wondering about interfacing alarm with sat phone.
Anyone had an experience or recommendations? The GlobalStar has a data port which will take RS-232 data 9.6kbs. and I know DSC has a PC5401 data interface module.
Jamie, there's one big reason why I don't use any wireless transmission devices on my boat alarms. Doing so would require the boat owner to notify the central station every time they were docked at a new port. I'm presuming that the owner knows where the boat is, that is .... he'd piloting it. If he's the only one getting the call, and he's willing to pay for it, then it's a go. If there are others on the call list or any authorities, if the central station doesn't know that the boat is in another port, others on the call list receiving a call that the boat alarm is tripped, ..... somewhere .... is of no use. If you think the captain/owner is going to remember to tell central station every time he's in a new port, ...... it aint gonna happen. And, as you've mentioned, there's no guarantee that you're going to have service everywhere the boat can go.
If the alarm is only going to be used out of it's home port, then it'd be worth it.
There are some paging type alerts that will ( or claim to) be able to transmit to a special pager within a mile of the boat. But my experience with them has been about a quarter mile to half mile .... at best. I've not experimented with higher or longer antennas though.
How do get the DSC control panel and its peripherals to be sea-worthy? I mean I hooked up a system to my own yacht once and the panel all oxidized in around 6 months. I noticed that I had to use special cabling, special IPXX rated boxes, etc. I didn't bother to do it again so I threw the panel out. But just out of curiousity: HOW DID YOU DO IT???
The paging idea is great and I've used similar units for vehicle alarms, however range will be a factor as they will probably be out further than a mile.....which raises the question.....what about response time?
So far, the captain has been great to report into our central station every
24hrs to let us know where they are located. I'm with you, they probably will stop that routine!!
No motion detectors in boats. Too many things moving around. Too much heat when cabin is secured. Guess what may happen when the boat is in it's slip and the guy in the next slip keys his 25 watt, VHF radio?
Most standard alarm components are not manufactured to withstand the corrosion that occurs on a boat and will usually fail within a couple of seasons. When I install this kind of item, I will completely disassemble the unit, spray the electronics with waterproofing, multiple coats. Then when mounting and wiring, I will seal it with duct tape and silicone, as appropriate, as the last step, after final testing the system.
Contact on the ports and hatches if you can. I've used PE beams ****in the cabin**** with great success. But the best system overall is the Sure Action stess sensor system used in addtion to contacts on hatches and perhaps a beam or two, depending upon the size of the boat. It's expensive but any system you would put on a boat is going to be expensive. Keep in mind, if you've never done this before, that it is MOST IMPORTANT to comply with US Coast Guard regulations with regard to spark retardation in any type of equipment, it's placement, the wiring and connections. This, to avoid igniting gasoline fumes. Marine type wire must be used or it will corrode. DON'T use plain copper wire and only use stranded wire ... never solid wire. It's a must to use stainless steel hardware and anti ultra violet plastic wire ties. The list goes on and on, so be sure you know what you are doing before you just put any old system in a boat. I find that it's a common misconception by many installers and boat owners alike, that a boat alarm is similar to a car alarm installation. Believe me, it's not.
It still amazes me that someone who owns a half a million dollar boat with $20,000.00 worth of electronics, and all kinds of TV's, DVD's, fishing poles worth thousands of dollars, ..... when you tell him it's going to cost a thousand or two to alarm his boat, they just wont pay the price. They'd just rather lock it up with a $5.00 cam lock and leave the boat tied up at the dock all week long, accessable by anyone, at any time. Just as you experienced, they'll either try to do it themselves, using standard equipment or hire someone who *SAYS* they know how to install a marine system with the same results. Within a season or two, the system will rust out. My experience in on salt water boating. Fresh water boating will require a few more years to disintegrate. I'd say the most important thing is your wiring connections and use and placement of equipment with regard to spark retardation. I've seen some of the local marine electronic companys who advertise boat alarms, do some of the worst systems ...... ever.
The proof of what I say is in the fact that I installed my system over ten years ago and only had a photo beam fail, so far. For customers, I've got systems still working well over 15 years now. Using standard equipment but installed to my spec's.
Thanks Jim.. That's really helpful. But could you please be a bit more specific? Such as what type of water resistant sprey do you use? What is the code of the wires used? What type of PE's used? Brands, names, codes etc...
On the other hand you mentioned the US Coast Guard regulations. Do you know where I can get a copy of this? And more importantly is there any international standards/regulations for hooking up security systems in boats. The ISPS code is for ships. I wasn't able to find anything under this code for smaller boats. But could there be standards and/or regulations for smaller boats?
Well, you go to the electronic supply store and you ask them for waterproof spray for printed circuit boards.
Also, you go to the boating supply store and ask them where the marine wire is located. They only sell wire for boats and usually have an ample supply of various types. There should be a Boat US or a West Marine, somewhere near you, if you're in the US and near recreational boating areas
Photo electric beams come in all shapes and sizes. I've used Optex and New Line. But I don't remember the exact model numbers. Just go to a manufacturers web site and pick a unit that will fit in your application. I don't think that there would be that much difference between manufacturers, to matter.
Any mention I've ever seen refers to a set of guidelines set up by an organization that I think is called the National Yachting Association or some such name. It's been a long time since I had to refer to them so I don't remember the details. They have a website, so a Google search will get you there eventually. Try marine specifications or marine wiring regulations, You'll find it pretty quick. I know I've seen some books available with instructions for boat wiring too. Try Amazon. Try calling Sure Action too. I'm sure they can offer you some suggestions.
I never did anything internationally, so if there is anything available, I'm not aware of it.
Keep in mind that I've been boating and in the alarm industry for over
30 years. A unique combination that puts me in a position that few alarm installers get to experience. So much of this information, to me, after all these years, is just common sense and certainly much of it is simply routine for me. The alarm installer without the boating experience would never even think of some of the things required to install an alarm in a boat. And it's likewise for the boat owner who doesn't have the alarm experience also.
All of the information you need is easily available on line. The experience and intuition......... thats another matter.