Here are some common questions and answers.

What does SharksHead do?

SharksHead monitors different sensors on a boat or some other environment that can provide the 12V DC power, like a motorhome (aka RV) but also in a building.

One type of sensor module can measure temperature, air pressure and the relative humidity level. By deploying several such sensors, many different areas can be monitored simultaneously.

Another type of module measures the level of explosive gases. This is most important to detect a gas leak before it can be harmful to the occupants or even cause an explosion.

The data is stored in an on-board database so you can check various graphs about the past, up to the last few years. Pretty neat if you're trying to see long term trends.

It also constantly compares these measurements against various thresholds and will then alert you, via several means, that something has breached a threshold.

How does it work?

The headquarter module (HQ) is the heart of the system and should be installed in a central area of the boat. This could be at the chart table on a sailing boat or on or behind the dashboard of a motor cruiser.

It communicates to the individual modules via a 2.4GHz wireless link, which is the same frequency band as your household WiFi or WLAN.

The modules send their sensor data data to the HQ. That can be voltages, currents, power and energy, equipment temperatures, atmospheric temperature, pressure and humidity, as well as the state of its hardware components, such as a relay being closed.

The HQ in turn can control the modules, e.g. remotely disconnect a battery from the bus if the battery voltage is too low.

All this functionality can be accessed from anywhere on the boat via a web browser, even by multiple devices simultaneously.

Can I install it myself?

We recommend a licensed or certified electrician to perform the electrical work in order to satisfy all regulations in your country.

Having said that, it's not difficult to wire up the devices to the battery or system bus.

The Headquarters (HQ) and modules need a 12V DC connection to the bus. If you've connected other small power devices like lights or fans before, this would be no different.

The plastic enclosures can be mounted in a dashboard or behind a bulkhead using small screws or bolts and nuts. These are not provided in the package as every installation is slightly different and would need different types or lengths of screws.

Hook and loop tape, double-sided tape or cable ties would work fine, too, especially if you haven't decided yet where to finally attach a module.

Is it safe?

We would answer that with a resounding "yes"! However, no prudent boater or sailor would take someone else's word for it.

So how can we prove it? We have a track record of our system running for more than 2 years continuously on our test vessel. Ultimately, it's "your boat, your decision". As with many other electric and electronic devices, the liability of the manufacturer extends only to the replacement of a faulty product and not to other direct or indirect damages or losses.

Over time, there will be more and more reviews and feedback from other users, of course. We encourage you to check the relevant websites like the Cruisers Forum, which is also where we hang out.

Suffice to say that a lot of the functionality and usefulness of SharksHead is based on the monitoring of sensor data, which does not interfere with any actions you take.

How much of my precious power does it consume?

All components should be running at all times in order to read and store sensor data and be able to react to thresholds.

In detail: The HQ uses about 60mA (at 12V) and each module consumes on average 10 mA.

With 4 modules and an HQ we're looking at 100mA overall, which is equivalent to 100 mA * 24 h = 2.4 Ah per day. At 12 V, that's a mere 28.8Wh.

As a comparison, the average boat today consumes 100Ah or more per day to run a fridge/freezer, lights and radios. SharksHead adds at most a 3% to the overall power consumption. However, it also might be able to help you conserve much more power than that.

Does it interfere with my WiFi or WLAN?

No, it peacefully co-exists with them. Even though we are using the same frequency band (of 2.4GHz), SharksHead dynamically selects a channel within that range that is not in use by your or any other network nearby.

Does it work on all types of boats and even RVs?

Whether you run a 21 foot fibreglass sail boat or the RMS Queen Mary II this system will work! Now you might want to read the fine print:

The big advantage of deploying a wireless system does not come without its own limitations.

On your average 27 to 50 foot fibreglass sail or power boat the radio modules should be able to reach the central component (HQ) from stem to stern, so to speak. If they don't, you can add a module as a radio relay in between the far flung place and the HQ. It will automatically pass on all the data from this and any other module that's on "the far side".

Coming back to the QM II: Even though the Cunard line hasn't fitted SharksHead just yet, it would work on the refurbished grand lady as well since we can string more than 200 modules (as relays) in a very long line to cover a cruise ship or a container ship.

Can someone hack this system?

We're using state-of-the art encryption libraries to prevent eavesdropping.

Every module uses a different encryption key which is randomly chosen and never gets transferred in the clear. Even we don't know the key, and we wouldn't want to, anyway.

Since the modules are very low power and have little memory storage, the encryption cannot be as strong as, say, an https connection over the internet. And it doesn't have to, since the transmission can only be read if someone is physically very, very close to you.

Feel free to contact us if you need more details.

Is it legal for world-wide use?

Yes, based on this Wikipedia page we are only scanning those channels within the WiFi range that are allowed to be used world-wide.

What will it cost me?

We strive to keep the cost for an average boat to less than 1 "boat unit". One boat unit is generally considered $1000. Please check out our shop for current prices.