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After 60 odd years, Lioness's Wiring is scary.

Time to plan for a total re-do, starting with the 12V Batteries and progressing. While 24 V might make sense if I was replacing windlass etc, I'm not going that route so 12V it is. 

Anyone have experience in putting something like a CZONE system in, and controlling with Keypad / B&G Zeus 2 ? 

I'm starting with aggregating my loads by location, and planning a distributed system; something like this: 

  • Shorepower: 
    • Dual marine 20A charger to house and start banks
    • GFCI outlets for convenience at dockside
  • Batteries: Direct connected loads
    • Mechanical disconnect switches on common throw between House/Start and their busses
    • Combiner to allow House to start Engine
    • Alternator to house bank 
    • Duo-Charge to allow House bank to charge Start battery
    • Engine Panel, keyswitch, glow plugs and fuel lift pump to start buss
    • Fused takeoff for Bilge pump off house battery
    • Windlass to momentary footswitch and disconnect switches off bow house bank
    • 20 Amp bow to stern House bank buss tie
    • Digital interfaces from House buss 
  • Interface #1 at Main Mast: Digital Switched circuits from House Buss (2A typical, 7.5A max, 6 per interface) Keypad above deck 
    1. Steaming light
    2. Nav Lights
    3. Cabin lights
    4. Foredeck and spreader  lights
    5. Toilet vacuum pump
    6. utility/USB outlets
  • Interface #2 at cockpit/cabin Bulkhead 
  1. Zeus 2 MFD (also able to be a control)
  2. VHF Radio & AIS
  3. Panel & Compass lights 
  4. Instruments (H5000, GoFree wifi, Sonarhub & CANBUSS bridge) 
  5. Soundhub stereo 
  6. Radar
  •  Digital high current circuits in combination interface: (4x 25A, 12x 10A) Keypad below decks
    1. Autopilot (20A circuit) 
    2. Refrigerator (20A) 
    3. Utility 12V outlets
    4. Eberspracher Heat
    5. Pressure water pump
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Sounds to complex 

I’ve worked on Superyachts with a PLC controlled system 

a lightning strike will ruin your day 

the equipment is mostly propriety with long lead-time for replacement 

competent electricians have a difficult time servicing the system  

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Working in industrial automation on a daily basis, I can reinforce that whatever you do, don't skimp on connectors. If I was doing a job on my boat, I might budget 50% for connections, hoping to beat it, but making sure I never felt bad about buying the right connector (and installation tool for said connector) for the job. 

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Mads with saillife is doing the CZone digital switching in his recent video.  I can see some convenience of turning things on and off from the plotter at the wheel rather than heading below to a switch panel.  I am sure there are more advantages than that.

Although it looks cool I would personally prefer the KISS method.  Less to buy or break.  

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5 hours ago, ScowLover said:

Working in industrial automation on a daily basis, I can reinforce that whatever you do, don't skimp on connectors. If I was doing a job on my boat, I might budget 50% for connections, hoping to beat it, but making sure I never felt bad about buying the right connector (and installation tool for said connector) for the job. 

I have learned that with NMEA 2000 and other signal path... The CZONE uses a screw clamp on the naked wire rather than crimped eyes on terminal blocks

Would you tin the cut ends beyond any intrinsic tinning, or fit a Ferrule? 

Which style/brand crimper if so ? 

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In the marine environment, I'd personally be inclined to use spring clamp terminal blocks (see Phonenix Contact PT4 as an example). Someone is going to tell me that isn't marine enough, but it tolerates corrosion and deals with varied wire sizes exceptionally well. I am personally disinclined to use ferrules or tin the wire, but I'm not an expert in the marine environment, only industry. I've wired a bunch of systems and never liked the available hardware. When I've used crimpers, make sure to use a controlled cycle tool, ideally with crimps from the same manufacturer. I had one for years that I bought from Gemeco when I was a boat dealer. When that wore out, I bought a Klein and I'm not happy with the dies matching my crimps. It probably works fine with the klein crimps. I would only use heat shrink crimps and the best tool I own for this job is the Milwaukee M18 heat gun. 

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We should have an SA pledge:

”I will not call someone else’s boat ugly”

and

”I will not leave old dead wires from replacement projects for the next owner”

 

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But seriously, with all the LED stuff now we have to massively downsize the breakers and the standard red crimps are still too big. I had to use a couple of those little terminal blocks for a couple runs.

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1 hour ago, ScowLover said:

In the marine environment, I'd personally be inclined to use spring clamp terminal blocks (see Phonenix Contact PT4 as an example). Someone is going to tell me that isn't marine enough, but it tolerates corrosion and deals with varied wire sizes exceptionally well. I am personally disinclined to use ferrules or tin the wire, but I'm not an expert in the marine environment, only industry. I've wired a bunch of systems and never liked the available hardware. When I've used crimpers, make sure to use a controlled cycle tool, ideally with crimps from the same manufacturer. I had one for years that I bought from Gemeco when I was a boat dealer. When that wore out, I bought a Klein and I'm not happy with the dies matching my crimps. It probably works fine with the klein crimps. I would only use heat shrink crimps and the best tool I own for this job is the Milwaukee M18 heat gun. 

I frequently come across spring terminal blocks on professionally wired yachts 

they seem to work just fine 

finding replacements can be a problem , standard screw clamp din terminal blocks are very common 

before doing a big rewire  it would be wise to visit your local professional electrical component supplier , pick up a catalogue to learn of the hundreds of different component possibilities  and ask a million questions 

9EE96962-8690-4D12-83E6-BA93D9E6CDF3.jpeg

FDD221DA-0C9F-400C-94B1-25936A247D29.jpeg

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There are a couple of products, like this one and another written up in recent memory on Panbo
https://panbo.com/raymarine-announces-yachtsense-control-and-switching-system/

I think the first step is to learn if you can find good mounting spots for the electronic switching devices in at least one of these systems. That's no small task, and if you can't, the dream is over. All (or most) of these systems support a fall-back to manual finger control that requires you walk to the corresponding position in your boat to flip manual switches that are integrated or adjacent to the electronic switches.

This necessitates finding several locations that fit both the electronic and manual components, side by side, which can take up a space of 16" inches wide, 8 inches high, and many inches deep. 

So for example, if a water intrusion, lightening strike, etc. takes out the main control pad or something else, you would walk to the part of your boat where those electronics are and manually operate the circuit on/off. To be safe, you need to choose very accessible places that gear and stuff won't pile up and prevent access while choosing places that the new gear won't be protruding out of into walkways.

For this reason, and others, most of these systems are better designed into new boats.

Should it all work out, these systems will greatly simplify your boat electrics to the point of choosing day time, night time, on the hook, and other operating modes rather than hunting and pecking through dozens of switches.

IMHO, more than likely, the dream will end at the physical layer of where to place two to four installs of new electronic circuits and manual overrides.



 

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2 hours ago, b393capt said:


IMHO, more than likely, the dream will end at the physical layer of where to place two to four installs of new electronic circuits and manual overrides.

Good points, already comprehended. 
the example grouping is by physical location, where I have locus of loads. 
ie the main mast base has the navigation, foredeck, spreader, steaming lights and is ~1 m from the vacuum pump for the head  

the instruments & radios are at the nav station  where the current inaccessible panel is hidden 

the high current loads are all in the galley/stern, and there’s a place in the companionway locker for that interface  

 

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I went with a fairly fancy master volt system when I did a full rewire. After 7 years some of the fancy mastervolt stuff started to crap out. I really wish I had kept it simple, and not had to replace items that soon. 

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Phoenix Contact PT series terminal blocks are SUPER quality and easy to use. They are available on digikey, including different colors. I often buy lots of colors to differentiate 120vac, 24vdc, neutrals, safety circuits, and grounds. 

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2 hours ago, ScowLover said:

Phoenix Contact PT series terminal blocks are SUPER quality and easy to use. They are available on digikey, including different colors. I often buy lots of colors to differentiate 120vac, 24vdc, neutrals, safety circuits, and grounds. 

Looks like a pro system 

I’m not an electrician 

typically I’m fitting equipment that must be electrified or doing repairs

For components I use what is available at my local supplier and endeavor to exactly duplicate what the previous professional has specified 

if I needed to start from zero on a new system I would seek pro advice  

wire and  cable labeling is always a challenge  

junction box location and labeling is a challenge 

the overall design schematic is a challenge

 

 

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19 hours ago, Slowboat said:

I went with a fairly fancy master volt system when I did a full rewire. After 7 years some of the fancy mastervolt stuff started to crap out. I really wish I had kept it simple, and not had to replace items that soon. 

Good point, I am currently at nearly 60 years on current breakers... not failing just needs to be brought into this century. 

Arguably the distributed concept works with subpanels, just one more thing to remember where the switches are when they are not all in the same place. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The comms industry spun off a brilliant connector system for marine/harsh environment over a decade ago that sadly was killed off in a buy out. This isn't available from this vendor anymore, but the tech without a doubt kicked arse as the best connection method I'd seen for a marine/harsh environment. The almighty Krone Terminator, a 300V 80Amp rated gastight copper punchdown connector. Sold for 2$ per a single cable to cable connection. 

Krone.png.4fc49b31307ccebe008ca96e6517d19f.png

The connection method is known as IDC, or insulation displacement connector, common in comms infrastructure. You 'punch' the wire into one side of the connector (v groove with offset tangs) with a simple plastic tool. The brilliance was in offsetting the metal tangs of the connector that bite into the copper wire when the cable is punched home. Not only did it give a gas tight seal between the copper cable and the connector (no corrosion) but the angled bite meant it could handle a stupid amount of vibration/pulling/shock abuse without any signal degradation or cable fatigue whatsoever.

The insulation of the cable (purple bit) is clamped/anchored in the connector to give added structural strength to the copper join, we even tested it on railway sidings in hellish conditions over a few years. Testing resulted in literally zero maintenance, not one connection ever vibrated loose or broke down in signal pathway. This was a 95% reduction in maintenance costs over the existing railway siding electrical screw type connectors :).  We used it for NMEA, control and 12V buses on a few big bluewater stink boats, never had one a reported issue with connectors or wiring.  

Krone2.png.5db98d6938407d76487e27bafa19ad14.png

 

You could break the circuit between either side of the connector, or tap the circuit without breaking, bus multiple individual connections together simply and all without impacting the quality of the connection. Fast, re-usable, foolproof, no skills required. Just genius.

Sadly it was dumped as too fringe in a big multinational buyout of the manufacturer.

I cried for months. 

 

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On 2/18/2021 at 6:16 PM, slug zitski said:

I frequently come across spring terminal blocks on professionally wired yachts 

they seem to work just fine 

finding replacements can be a problem , standard screw clamp din terminal blocks are very common 

before doing a big rewire  it would be wise to visit your local professional electrical component supplier , pick up a catalogue to learn of the hundreds of different component possibilities  and ask a million questions 

9EE96962-8690-4D12-83E6-BA93D9E6CDF3.jpeg

FDD221DA-0C9F-400C-94B1-25936A247D29.jpeg

I think these are great. I did a partial rewire on my old boat with these about 7 years ago. No issues. Far easier to use than the tiny screw terminals.

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I've been upgrading systems on our boat as well.  I installed them in 2003-2004 and the instruments and many of the systems pieces (water makers, etc) have vastly changed (mostly for the better).

So, I'm about 2/3 done and have only one thing to offer you.  Think hard about a way to route communications wires away from power wires.  I'm sure the noise and interference problem is somewhat overstated in the supporting documentation (after all a flawless operation environment simplifies their troubleshooting if problem arise).  Unfortunately in our real small-boat world keeping communications cables 1' to 3' away (depending on individual requirements) from power cables or electromagnetic "things" is hard.

  It didn't sound bad originally, but it's been more headache than expected for Arcturus.  Network backbone cable(s) to support both instrumentation and power systems are pretty standard.  Making pieces from different manufacturers  cooperate in the network has been reasonably simple (so far), but "translator" fittings can add up to expensive if you need very many.

I have a Victron energy-system network working with Furuno networking system for MFD, other displays, radar, and wind info and with a Raymarine network for autopilot (which now has four networked components to replace what had been two) plus an Airmar DST with a separate signal processor, a Vespar AIS, and Iridium Go.

I was surprised somehow to find I'd ended up with 21 electronic "modules" to install and wire for power and communications in the refit of my 36' boat (not counting solar panels or wind generators).  All want their wiring separate from all that other annoying wiring.

Good luck!

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Based on most of your posts you are 50-50 project vs product and seem to want a challenging DIY setup that is on the more modern side.  All the off the shelf stuff looks like a major headache with tons of space being used and questionable availability.  You should go to Automation directs website and look at their product lines it's all standard stuff.  You can build a simple PLC based system to cover your whole boat engine etc for a fraction of the cost of the stuff above, plus carrying plenty of spares and preprogrammed swap out components.  Both the ladder logic program and HMI are very cheep.  You can price the whole thing out with components.  Have used there stuff extensively in very harsh marine environment.

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10 hours ago, SASSAFRASS said:

Based on most of your posts you are 50-50 project vs product and seem to want a challenging DIY setup that is on the more modern side.  All the off the shelf stuff looks like a major headache with tons of space being used and questionable availability.  You should go to Automation directs website and look at their product lines it's all standard stuff.  You can build a simple PLC based system to cover your whole boat engine etc for a fraction of the cost of the stuff above, plus carrying plenty of spares and preprogrammed swap out components.  Both the ladder logic program and HMI are very cheep.  You can price the whole thing out with components.  Have used there stuff extensively in very harsh marine environment.

No doubt industrial controllers are less expensive. And not integrable with the MFD for control, and not easily bypassed manually. If I was putting up a factory, or other terrestrial system where I was running a non-stop computer system as well that would be my go to. I have minimal "Smart" home stuff for thermostat, camera, door bell/lock, vacuum/mop robots, that have enough problems even being common vendor. (Google has screwed up Nest something awful, and the Irobot stuff gets lost too often if wife moves a chair) 

I'm seeking plug and play as much as possible, quite content to use older technology that's down the learning curve on manufacturing and software. The 1962 wiring, with various additions & deletions over the decades, has left a rats nest. It's going to be a project requiring rip out and replace, if I can do it with functional improvement, weight reduction,  and clean up the mess allowing future enhancement/replacement that's my goal. 

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It's worth drawing it up and looking at cost.  A basic boat panel with plc DIN rail construction with single fuses and relays would probably fit in a pretty small panel.  Cat 5 to small touch screen and to net any other panels.  Infinate expandable potential.  Also have n2k interface available to bring in n2k data.  If you use toggle relays you have a simple manual backup for all outputs. Since 24dc is a standard would probably go that way but can also do 12.  It's alot simpler than it sounds, use single applications like this all over the ships I've worked on. The average ship single component is pretty close to the amount of stuff going on on a boat IO wise.  Most people want it a level simpler but adding the plc and HMI on top is only a small difference than a traditional layout.

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I used the WAGO quick release terminal blocks when re-wiring. 

No complaints about the blocks themselves, but in hindsight I would get the side entry ones, the top entry ones I have here mean the wiring has to bend out up and down again. The top entry ones are a lot easier to find though.

IMG_20180516_195725.jpg

You can see in this what I mean about the top entry. 

IMG_20180522_161957.jpg

 

I've since changed the power feeds as I wasn't happy with them. 
The best part about these is that the installation can be pretty compact, & you can use the jumpers to easily connect multiple circuits together. 

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If it's tinned wire those are preferable with out ferruls very good connection.  If you exist the panduit and do a service loop the termination is clean on the top ones looks tidy too. And easy to put cover on and off

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I had a 60' boat controlled by Czone.  Couple of observations. Happy to answer any specific questions.

Best feature is you have virtual main panels all over the boat.  Via using the B&G char plotter.  (I am not sure it integrates with other manufactures.)

System was difficult to program.  Really not for the end user, although they may have changed their software in the last two years.   Not sure of how easy/hard the Raymarine system is to program.

For high loads like autopilots we used a relay.  

Raymarine has a better bypass mode.  In Czone you need to move the actual fuse.  Modules need to be in a place that is easy to get at.

In my 6 years of ownership system was rock solid.  Never needed to go into bypass mode.

Curious what other systems besides the windless  you have that are 12V.  24V is so, so much better.  With all the work   you are going to do to change over might want to bite the bullet and go 24v.  Just by 2cents.

 

 

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On 3/16/2021 at 7:19 PM, SASSAFRASS said:

Based on most of your posts you are 50-50 project vs product and seem to want a challenging DIY setup that is on the more modern side.  All the off the shelf stuff looks like a major headache with tons of space being used and questionable availability.  You should go to Automation directs website and look at their product lines it's all standard stuff.  You can build a simple PLC based system to cover your whole boat engine etc for a fraction of the cost of the stuff above, plus carrying plenty of spares and preprogrammed swap out components.  Both the ladder logic program and HMI are very cheep.  You can price the whole thing out with components.  Have used there stuff extensively in very harsh marine environment.

I'm sort of lost here.  I'm assuming the 50-50 comment was aimed my way, and that's probably pretty close if by it you mean I'm as happy to build something as to buy it already finished.

The thing that throws me, and I may be entirely missing something here, is how the PLC units address the communications network issues I raised.  They appear to be a very nice way to replace buss bars and connection blocks, but how do they handle the question of communicating among the various equipment, and keeping the lines away from AC and DC wiring noise?  It isn't clear how to get the information from the various transducers and data generators (wind, speed, radar, etc) to those equipment where it is useful (MFD, displays, things "borrowing" info like gps feed from AIS to chart plotter) and in a form that can be consumed by that equipment.

From what I saw in an admittedly short search of PLC equipment (thanks for the suggestions, by the way, there's some really handy looking equipment in that arena), it looks like they generally use ethernet as a data link.  I was under the impression that the reason car manufactures and marine interests don't use ethernet for critical systems in vehicles is the lack of robust error checking and resistance to data corruption from noise.  That's why N2K and present automobiles run on the "old" CANbus, which does provide those safeguards.  I saw where a form of ethernet is being encouraged for use in cars to provide greater bandwidth for the increasingly digital components, but they apparently haven't got anything sufficiently reliable yet to risk using in vehicles.

Anyway, in some ways I wish I was rewiring the regular DC part of my boat, as the PLC stuff looks very nice for that.  Not nice enough to undertake that task, however!

BTW, not sure about the size/cost savings.  I'm using a Cerbo GX to interface the communications and some of the sensors and regular DC equipment.  It seems to stand up to the PLC equipment pretty well in cost and size.  It's 3" x 6" x 2" with connections for 4 resistive tank-sensor inputs, 4 temperature inputs, 4 digital inputs, and 2 relay outputs.  It runs on 6-70V, and has ports to communicate and connect between ethernet, BMS-Can, Victron's VE.Can, and two other Victron communications types, VE.Direct and VE.Bus.  Add to these HDMI, 3 USB ports, Wifi, Bluetooth, and a micro-SD card reader.  You can use a phone or tablet or laptop for access to configure "things" (as well as viewing info or configuring things via internet if so inclined).  Doesn't seem bad for about $290.  It will handle the bulk of my needs (which, of course, is why I bought it).  I'm not sure if that fits on the 50% project or the 50% product side.  Sort of the straddle point, I guess.

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^ no not directed at you, I don't think I even read your post. Was for OP Lioness and yes over last several years IMO the direction of posts are in the half user built fun to do and half finished product satisfied.  Not really a off the shelf person.

As far as above plc is a super generic term, pointing to Automation direct as a alternative for a more or less open source option for a smart vessel setup.  There usually is no issue talking between various devices, whatever the protocol, can bus, profibus, ethernet n2k etc. The distinction is user generated and infinate expandable capabilities vs. off the shelf work around. Most people don't want to mess with it but for someone who did a basic plc setup and a small touch screen and some programming would be able to do a whole lot on a boat.

Things like turn my anchor light on when it's dark, or turn my steaming light when I'm motoring at night.  Turn the fridges off for x hrs per night from this time to this time to save power.  Full vms display capable, tank levels with alarms, bilge pump cycle counts on and on. Battery monitor and management . All simple off the shelf items that when added up are pretty spendy.

Definitely not for everyone but also not unattainable for someone who wanted to go a little more high tech yet simple route.

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7 hours ago, SASSAFRASS said:

Was for OP Lioness and yes over last several years IMO the direction of posts are in the half user built fun to do and half finished product satisfied.  Not really a off the shelf person.

That's a fair assessment, I'm more than content to use supported integrated single vendor systems, and will pay a reasonable premium for them; but also have had a serious discussion with Navico and my yard about re-purposing a 100lb thrust trolling motor as a bow thruster, controlling it with the Lowrance flavor of NAVICO MFD to access the "bass boat" autopilot station keeping and contour following modes and remote steering. Self deploying & stowing, Zero sailing drag, removable when at slip, racing or offshore and can be used for the dinghy as well. Build a Stainless weldment up that has a 3/8" plate to mount the trolling motor on starboard,  one or two Anchor rollers straddling the forestay, and a "Selden Sprit" ring on the port side. 

Limiting factor to-date has been the switching of parallel to series on the bow house bank, though that would probably lend itself to 24C & PLC network now that I think of it, with 4x 12V and a 4 pole double throw "Frankenstein" switch mounted in the foc'sl for when I wanted Windlass. 

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My primary PLC work is with Horner Automation PLC/HMI combinations. They include lots of CAN options (XL series, not micro), are reasonably priced, and the software is free. Their latest "demo video" about their app shows  weather data being collected from sensors. While I'm a boat guy (and so is my rep for the product), I've never tried to blend marine into that PLC. If I was trying to learn PLC, integrate with marine, or just find something that has reasonable performance for the price, I'd look at Horner. While it doesn't have CAN capability, I've used the $399 X4 on multiple projects blending different hardware needs and it has punched WAY above its price point.

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Yeah, I think someone with the inclination could do alot with basic unit. I have very limited experience with modern smart pleasure boat setups. The last one I was on was very underwhelming, new Jeanue all controled via touch screen but really crappy RnD and almost no user configuration.  Rather than a rack PLC it had a bazillion modules all networked. With all the room allocated it could have been much simpler and user friendly.  Probably the best thing for the OP would be to get a basic unit with a decent amount of digital IO and analog and a small HMI with a power supply and play around at home. It's kinda nerd drugs definitely can find the rabbit hole.

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Found this site, I suspect it's well past what I want, as they are discussing HVAC control on first page. I do have an Eberspracher, and have thought about AC, but not in terms of having them automatically controlled and linked to Alexa etc. 

https://www.finelinemarineelectric.com/blog/what-controls-luxury-yachts-understanding-plc/

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