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 Post subject: AIS on an Island
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:38 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:58 pm
Posts: 218
Location: SF Bay
My Garmin 527xs chartplotter has NMEA 0183 input and will read AIS (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_Identification_System) sentences. Since I primarily sail in SF Bay which is very busy with commercial and recreational traffic, I became interested in the possibility of adding AIS to my TI. At first, I was driven more by the technical challenge with a little bit of utility thrown in, but the more I thought and read about AIS, the more I became interested in it for the additional safety it provides. I'm sure there will be plenty of people here that will flame me for overkill, but I hope that there are some that will appreciate it and maybe find a use for it themselves.

My requirements for a kayak AIS device were that it had low power consumption (able to use for a day of sailing on the 9Ah Hobie battery), was waterproof and was reasonably priced. I looked at several AIS transceivers but ruled them out mainly because of the power requirements. In addition, they are quite expensive. The AIS receivers (only receive AIS transmissions - don't transmit your position) available were better in terms of cost and power consumption, but most did not meet IPVx7. Finally, I came upon the Digital Yacht ANT200 AIS receiver which had low power consumption (100mA), was IPVx7 rated and was reasonably (IMO) priced at just under $300 USD.

Wiring was fairly straightforward using the Garmin and Digital Yacht documentation. As there is no standard for wire color and function for NMEA, I won't go into the details of the connections here but would be happy to elaborate in a PM.

For the mount, I used a piece of 1/4 inch starboard and Railblaza spare parts all connected to a Railblaza Starport that I had previously mounted on the stern. Cable was run through a Hobie through hull cable port.

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The chartplotter gives a graphical representation of AIS transmitting vessels. Selecting a vessel gives more information including heading, speed and MMSI number.

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Alarms for distance and time to collision can be set with icons changing according to threat level.

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Range is good (8 NM is typical) considering the height and size of the antenna.

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This was a fun project. I'm happy to have more information about other nearby vessels. Not sure how common AIS compatibility is on chartplotters so if you're interested in doing this, make sure to check.


Last edited by scc on Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: AIS on an Island
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:57 am 
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Location: Blacklick, Ohio
Cool! I like technology, so this peaked my interest. I don't have much need for it being landlocked, but I like your ingenuity and set-up. Too bad you couldn't find a reasonably priced and waterproof transceiver and be able to broadcast as well.

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 Post subject: AIS on an Island
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:28 pm 
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Location: SF Bay
TI_Tom wrote:
Cool! I like technology, so this peaked my interest. I don't have much need for it being landlocked, but I like your ingenuity and set-up. Too bad you couldn't find a reasonably priced and waterproof transceiver and be able to broadcast as well.

Thanks Tom. I agree about transmitting, but the power requirements are relatively high. I do transmit over internet AIS using the Boat Beacon iOS app. I like the robustness of true AIS vs internet AIS as well as having the data integrated on the chartplotter.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


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 Post subject: Re: AIS on an Island
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:10 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:17 pm
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Location: Austin Texas
Don't fear the Luddites. :lol:
That's the coolest thing I've seen all week !

Thanks for posting about it.

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: AIS on an Island
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:33 am 
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Location: Jaco, Costa Rica
Do most charter fishing vessels transmit AIS data? How much range are you getting? I see they say 10 miles.

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 Post subject: Re: AIS on an Island
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:38 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:18 am
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Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
I have the I-sailer app on my Iphone and it appears to support all that stuff, but was wondering if anyone was using it on our small boats. I'm not sure it would be useful in the keys since most of the traffic here is pleasure boats.
On I-sailer we do have live charts with all the channel markers and depths with minimum depth alerts, however because the sand shifts around here the depths shift around quite a bit, the up side to that we get new sandbars to hang out on every few months (lol), and going out the passes can be a different route each time.
Personally I would love an active 3G radar setup on my boat, but already know there isn't anything commercially available for such small boats unless I design and build it myself. Obviously the coolest setup would be self contained solid state unit (no moving parts), with blue tooth or wifi output of the output to my iPhone.
Power consumption is the key issue on our small boats, since I can't currently add alternators to my tiny Honda engines I have to solve that problem first before thinking about fancy electronics like side scan sonar and 3g radar.
It's such a simple problem since the motors already have a flywheel, magnets, and a mag, it should be easy to add a small generator/alternator for charging power for a pair of motor cycle batteries, once I get that, then I can add all the lights and electronics I want. Someday I'll make it just for fun.
FE


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 Post subject: Re: AIS on an Island
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:58 am 
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Location: Blacklick, Ohio
fusioneng wrote:
I have the I-sailer app on my Iphone and it appears to support all that stuff, but was wondering if anyone was using it on our small boats. I'm not sure it would be useful in the keys since most of the traffic here is pleasure boats.
On I-sailer we do have live charts with all the channel markers and depths with minimum depth alerts, however because the sand shifts around here the depths shift around quite a bit, the up side to that we get new sandbars to hang out on every few months (lol), and going out the passes can be a different route each time.
Personally I would love an active 3G radar setup on my boat, but already know there isn't anything commercially available for such small boats unless I design and build it myself. Obviously the coolest setup would be self contained solid state unit (no moving parts), with blue tooth or wifi output of the output to my iPhone.
Power consumption is the key issue on our small boats, since I can't currently add alternators to my tiny Honda engines I have to solve that problem first before thinking about fancy electronics like side scan sonar and 3g radar.
It's such a simple problem since the motors already have a flywheel, magnets, and a mag, it should be easy to add a small generator/alternator for charging power for a pair of motor cycle batteries, once I get that, then I can add all the lights and electronics I want. Someday I'll make it just for fun.
FE


What about covering the entire topside with solar? I think with the surface area you should be able to generate 500+ watts easily enough. They make flexible solar panels that are fairly efficient. Heck, the cruising community has been using solar for years and it's not uncommon to find 1000+ watts of solar on a 40ft boat these days.

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2015 Hobie Tandem Island Hibiscus
"Third Normal Form"

  • Trampolines
  • Hobie cover
  • Davis Spar Fly
  • Kayakbob's Sprayskirts
  • Spine Board Hakas


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 Post subject: Re: AIS on an Island
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:47 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:58 pm
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Location: SF Bay
CR Yaker wrote:
Do most charter fishing vessels transmit AIS data? How much range are you getting? I see they say 10 miles.


The USCG AIS requirements are here http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=AISRequirementsRev

"Fishing Industry Vessels" are required to carry Class B AIS transceivers. The USCG definition of "Fishing Industry Vessels" includes ""fishing vessels" which means vessels that commercially engage in the catching, taking, or harvesting of fish* or an activity that can reasonably be expected to result in the catching, taking, or harvesting of fish*."

By the USCG definition, it appears that charter fishing boats would be required to carry at least Class B AIS on the basis of the activity, but I'm not sure. A charter fishing boat may meet other criteria that would require AIS carriage such as the number of passengers for which it is certified, etc.

For me, the most concerning vessels are the large cargo ships and the fast moving ferries. Thankfully, these classes of vessel are required to carry AIS.

As far as range, I routinely see 8 NM, but I haven't been in a situation where I've had more than about 8 NM line of sight (AIS uses VHF line of sight). I'm very happy with the range especially since the Digital Yacht rep that I spoke with basically discouraged my application (He thought the antenna too close to the water to get adequate range). He recommended a separate AIS box and a 1 meter VHF whip antenna. Glad I didn't listen.


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 Post subject: Re: AIS on an Island
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:12 am 
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Location: SF Bay
fusioneng wrote:
I have the I-sailer app on my Iphone and it appears to support all that stuff, but was wondering if anyone was using it on our small boats. I'm not sure it would be useful in the keys since most of the traffic here is pleasure boats


As mentioned, I use Boat Beacon to transmit AIS position. A potential problem with Internet AIS (iSailor, Boat Beacon) is the lag time for receiving position updates - several minutes to hours. True AIS should update every 2 seconds for fast moving vessels to up to 3 minutes for anchored/moored vessels.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited to correct update times.


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 Post subject: Re: AIS on an Island
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:18 am
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Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
Personally I feel that practical pv solar and really good battery tech (lithium, etc) are still years away and way out of reach for most of us financially and performance wise (15-30 yrs). Though the stuff is really cool and is all of our future once fossil fuels run out in 50 yrs, all the cruise ships and jet liners out there via all of our lifestyles are hastening it's demise. I'm on commercial airliners 4-6 times a week every week year round and my wife takes cruises on boats like the Oasis 3-4 times a year, and thats just us.
Until that day comes I'm goin to continue using my Honda engines (a design that hasn't changed much in a hundred yrs).
I get between 60 and 100 mpg with my outboards, and they are actually very quiet, and typically go out and have fun every weekend for about a buck in fuel, I can afford that. The generator/alternator setup I'm talkin about should only cost me $10 or $20 bucks to make (a few caps, diodes, and voltage regulator chips with a small quantity of copper wire, all tied to a couple cheap motorcycle batteries (not rocket science).
FE


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 Post subject: Re: AIS on an Island
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:03 am
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Location: Bundaberg QLD, Australia
fusioneng wrote:
The generator/alternator setup I'm talkin about should only cost me $10 or $20 bucks to make (a few caps, diodes, and voltage regulator chips with a small quantity of copper wire, all tied to a couple cheap motorcycle batteries (not rocket science).
FE


Will be watching with much interest 8)


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