Last updated: March 1, 2013
This is probably going to be my favorite department in the store, with an evolving mix of gizmological goodies that for whatever reason need to find new homes. In many cases, though I really should know better by now, I bought cool high-tech stuff and put it on the shelf, only to discover 3 years later that I need a newer version. In other cases, I bought the wrong gadget, extracted something useful from the boat, or simply changed my design. Whatever the case, this page is a collection point for random treasures new and used (with only one of each available unless otherwise noted). Things are removed immediately when they are sold, but if you want to confirm or have other questions before buying something, please feel free to drop me a line.
I bought this for my boat music studio, but decided *cough* that it is overkill for near-field and general entertainment use in such a small enclosed space. These are much-loved (read the Amazon reviews) and run very cool and quiet, thanks to Class D (digital switch-mode) operation. 215 watts per channel into 8 ohm speakers, or 350 watts into 4 ohms. They are $299 on Amazon, and this has only been out of the box once for a few minutes so I could ogle its geeky beauty. I’ll take $275, and this would be perfect for a gigging rack setup or larger home entertainment system. Specs at the Crown product page. (In case you’re wondering, I’ve decided instead to use a Fusion marine stereo, which is a more conventional approach and realistically all I need. Having both as planned would require error-prone speaker switching, and I don’t even have the physical space for speakers robust enough to handle this if invertently cranked. Every time I read the Crown reviews I want to keep it, but it’s just overkill for my needs… <sigh>)
This allows a single charging source on your boat (alternator, typically) to charge three battery banks while preventing them from discharging into each other…. preventing, for example, the starting battery from being run down by house loads. This model can handle 165 amps total and weighs about 5 pounds; they sell new for $212-323, depending on how carefully you shop. Specs are at the manufacturer’s site; the 1-3-165 is the one in the bottom row of the table. I removed this one from my boat while re-doing the battery management system (combining the original split bank and going to an ACR for charge/discharge isolation), and it’s looking for a new floating home.
Removed from Nomadness: two brass halogen marine dome light fixtures with wood (teak, I think) trim rings to allow surface mounting with side wire-exit. I am changing everything to LEDs… but these were in my galley and work fine. Each has a mini toggle switch, and they take those common push-in halogen bulbs (12 volts). The photo makes it look like the wood is varnished, but it is not. The fixture diameter is 3-1/2″ and the wood ring is 4-1/2″. These would also be great under-counter lights in an RV; the teak mounting pads give them a beautiful finished look.
This unit was lightly used for a solar array that the previous owner added to my boat (removed before I bought it), and its function in life is to allow a single charge source to feed two battery banks, but prevent them from discharging either back to the source or to each other. This is the smallest of the series, and can handle 70 amps… it was manufactured for West Marine as the BI-70/2. They seem to run about $100-125 new, so here’s a chance to pick up one for a good price and help me shed tonnage at the same time!
Installed between the AC safety ground and the DC bonding system, this blocks the stray currents that accelerate galvanic corrosion. Paying attention to this is important on any boat, but critical on a metal one like mine. This unit came with Nomadness, and did its job just fine… but being a perfectionist, I decided to go with the much more expensive and heavy isolation transformer approach. Probably overkill, but that’s me. For most boats with 30-amp shore power, this is just the ticket, and there is a PDF of the installation instructions on the Newmar site if you want to see what’s involved. Mine needs a new home…
This amazing little powerhouse was going to be the always-on machine running data collection and web server aboard the boat, but I decided to splurge on power and use a Mac Mini for more convenient development. This is current tech, and packs a 500 MHz embedded ARM9 CPU with 128 MB of RAM and 512MB of flash… plus an SD with the filesystem. You can read the specs and see current pricing at the Technologic Systems website. This one has the extra on-board regulator so it will take a nice loose 12V, and has been protected for development with a little homebrew plastic case. There is an active Yahoo group (TS-7000) of folks who know this machine well, and it has lots of I/O.
I bought this from Sparkfun in 2005 for $139.95, and it was mounted in the Shacktopus system… but never powered up. As you can see from the photo, I have stacked the active antenna on the GPS module, and added stand-offs so the unit can mount just below a non-metallic surface. Power is drawn from USB, and it generates the 3.3V from there. A power LED indicates operation, and a coin cell holder (CR2032) allows the GPS to hot-start. The GPS itself is from Laipac, and is a very simple “plug and go” device that puts out 4800-baud sentences as soon as it’s powered up… I’m pretty sure the module here is the TF30. If you buy this, please remind me and I’ll email you the schematic and a documentation PDF about the USB eval board.
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