Thursday, 21 October 2010

Fitting a Canbus System

I’ve previously mentioned the boat DC distribution system will use canbus technology. It’s slightly more expensive than conventional wiring but provides greater flexibility for output control.

There are a number of companies who manufacture and supply canbus systems and the one we rather like is from Empirbus. The UK distributor is Atlantis Marine and they have been of tremendous assistance to me in planning the system. With conventional wiring the cable runs from the power source through a fuse to a switch and then the outlet. From there a wire runs back to the power source. The greater the distance between the power source and the outlet the larger the diameter of the wire. Moreover, each set of power outlets requires their own wiring back to the power source. With canbus two heavy wires run the length of the boat feeding ‘nodes’. These nodes then supply DC power to the outlets. The nodes are also connected to the switches. Unlike a conventional system where the wiring for the outlet must first go to the switch, the canbus switch wires only send a data signal to the node when the switch is activated. The size of the wires can therefore be considerably smaller. Additionally, the wires only terminate at the nearest node rather than going all the way to the distribution board. Finally, the nodes have inbuilt digital fusing thereby eliminating the need for a DC switchboard fuses, MCB’s etc. The switches in the canbus system are linked to the power consumers by configuring the programming in the node. Additionally, a switch can have more than one function. The nodes are linked together with a data cable.

This is just the basic principle for the system. There are other advantages I will write about at a future date.

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