Maretron DCR100, NMEA 2000 switching

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

7 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    PS: I think that Digital Switching Systems has had an N2K DC relay module for some time, but I can’t find it on their site:
    http://www.digitalswitchingsystems.com/
    DSS seems more oriented to production boatbuilding than custom or retrofit jobs and, in fact, just put up a YouTube video about its partnership with Lumitec (LED lighting):
    http://www.youtube.com/digitalswitching

  2. Tim Docker says:

    I am bit confused here – if it can measure the current and switch the load, why can’t it emulate the circuit breakers in software?

  3. Patrick says:

    Tim,
    It’s inappropriate to rely on software to perform the function of a circuit breaker. If anything happened and there was a delay, even slightly, a dead short could cause serious damage.
    Still a job best left up to a physical circuit breaker.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I’d like to expand on that. There is a silicon circuit breaker known as a MOSFET that is the heart of DC distributed power systems. I’m not sure what’s in the DCR100 but while it shares some MOSFET features like the ability to sense the current passing through, it does not seem to have the same circuit protection abilities, not to mention the fused back-up that exists on all distributed power modules I’ve seen.

  5. Taniwha says:

    It’s good that Maretron have started down this path finally (it’s been a long time coming), but it seems to me that they’ve taken the “half pregnant” approach.
    Without having looked at this product in detail, it looks like you need to switch all of the physical circuit breakers on in order to be able to use the remote or secondary switching and measurement options offered by this (or else run down to the main switchboard whenever you want to use a distributed switch, which would be pointless).
    It seems to me that this would lead to a setup very similar to a house, where you have a hidden central breaker panel with the breakers always on, and individual control switches near the point of the load. This has some merits, but I think it misses at least one of the main points of a distributed power system: reducing that complicated wiring loom and structure.
    I really disagree with the statement that it’s inappropriate to rely on s/w and distributed systems to do the job of a circuit breaker, but if that’s the philosophical approach that Maretron is taking, maybe they should concentrate on developing more of their excellent monitoring and reporting units and leave distributed power to others.
    Maybe a bit harsh (and I don’t mean any offense to Maretron – I use their displays and other components), but I’m really struggling with the direction that this component has taken.
    No,w the buss extender is a totally different story – well done on that. I am definitely of the opinion that building in redundancy in an N2K network using bridges and extenders is an essential element of good network design.
    Cheers,
    Paul

  6. Jeff Shukis says:

    The deal-breaker for me is the need to spend $2,500 on the “Platinum” version of Maretron’s N2KView software in order to switch on a few circuits. I’m not buying until I find a vendor whose control software carries a reasonable price.

  7. Dave says:

    Firstly there ate several software reprogrammable circuit breakers in the industrial marketplace. ETA make a fair range of them. It’s an established product. BTW Ben MOSFETs or more likely IGFETs are the switching elements but not in themselves current sensing , but it’s a very easy add on circuit wise
    The big confusion with this products and others is how they fit into a system. How do you activate them. Simrad have gone se way by integrating Support for BEPs C-Zone but there’s no consistent non- proprietary way as yet
    Dave

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