DIY Boat Monitoring Skills
Skills you will needBy the time you get your boat monitoring system working you will either have refreshed or learned a number of skills. There are plenty of tutorials on Youtube and the Internet that can teach you any you don't already possess. Here is a brief discussion of some of them.
Before I give my list, let me comment on the photo above. I did not go directly to a PC Board. While I regretted that in hindsight, I did built a breadboard. You may want to do the same particularly if you are at all nervous with the process. This will allow you to make changes before finalizing the design. Note the wires which would normally go to the boat in this photo go to a test breadboard that just has wires that I can take to 12 volts or ground so that I can test the operation.
- The Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is very straight forward and is what I use to program these devices. The randomnerdtutorials I link in the software section are as good a place as any to walk you through it. For the basic IDE go HERE.
- Soldering. I use a Weller soldering station and like it a lot. It is much better than the inexpensive soldering iron I used when I was designing test equipment and soldering up prototypes. Obviously a any soldering iron will work. The station I use is so old I can't even find it on eBay. The new ones look like they are digital and around $100. If this is your only project, just get a cheap soldering iron. Sparkfun makes one for $15 that DigiKey carries. Should be fine. Get a small chisel tip. For solder, I use 60/40 solder, .032, rosin flux.
- Programming in C. That is the language of the Ardiuino environment. You don't need to be an expert but you should probably know why programmers are always writing "Hello World". Don't let this intimidate you. Any book on C or Arduino programming will do. It isn't difficult. The hard stuff is in the tutorials and I can answer any project specific questions.
- If you are going to build a PC Board, you will need to know Eagle. There are others PC Layout tools but Eagle has the most support for the hobby community. I used the Jerromy Bloom tutorials. I worked with his dad. Both excellent engineers.
- A custom Eagle parg for your ESP32. I have several ESP32 parts in my library that I built. Just ask if you want one.
- Wiring, crimping, heat shrinking, drilling, boxing, etc. If you don't already know all of this I wonder how you own a boat. If you don't know this kind of thing, forget this project as I don't want you to catch your boat on fire or electrocute yourself. Just buy one of the existing systems and have someone install it. You might be able to do that for $1,000 or so or a boat buck as they say.
- Buying parts. Mouser, DigiKey. I like DigiKey because they offer cheap shipping on small quantities and their customer service has been good to me. The parts for this are cheap so shipping can eat you alive.
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The information on this web site has not been checked for accuracy. It is for entertainment purposes only and should be independently verified before using for any other reason. There are five sources. 1) Documents and manuals from a variety of sources. These have not been checked for accuracy and in many cases have not even been read by anyone associated with L-36.com. I have no idea of they are useful or accurate, I leave that to the reader. 2) Articles others have written and submitted. If you have questions on these, please contact the author. 3) Articles that represent my personal opinions. These are intended to promote thought and for entertainment. These are not intended to be fact, they are my opinions. 4) Small programs that generate result presented on a web page. Like any computer program, these may and in some cases do have errors. Almost all of these also make simplifying assumptions so they are not totally accurate even if there are no errors. Please verify all results. 5) Weather information is from numerous of sources and is presented automatically. It is not checked for accuracy either by anyone at L-36.com or by the source which is typically the US Government. See the NOAA web site for their disclaimer. Finally, tide and current data on this site is from 2007 and 2008 data bases, which may contain even older data. Changes in harbors due to building or dredging change tides and currents and for that reason many of the locations presented are no longer supported by newer data bases. For example, there is very little tidal current data in newer data bases so current data is likely wrong to some extent. This data is NOT FOR NAVIGATION. See the XTide disclaimer for details. In addition, tide and current are influenced by storms, river flow, and other factors beyond the ability of any predictive program.