Here are some common questions and answers.
SharksHead connects wirelessly to up to 250 different sensors and actors around your boat, RV, motorhome, house or cottage.
One type of sensor module can measure temperature, air pressure and the relative humidity level in the air. By deploying several such sensors, many different areas can be monitored simultaneously.
Other types of module measure the level of explosive gases or carbon monoxide. This is most important to detect a 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, going back many years. This is most useful if you're trying to spot long term trends.
The sensors also constantly compare the measurements against various thresholds and will then alert you if something is out of line.
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 WiFi or WLAN network (but without interfering with them).
The modules send their sensor data to the HQ. Those can be voltages, currents, power and energy, equipment temperatures, atmospheric temperature, pressure and humidity, presence of water or people, 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. If your boat has Internet and you can access it from land, the same level of control is possible via an encrypted connection.
It's not difficult to wire up the devices to the battery or system bus, as the modules take 12V DC which is generally safe to handle.
Having said that, if you've never installed any electrical device on your boat before, we would strongly recommend a licensed or certified electrician to perform the electrical work in order to satisfy all regulations in your country.
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 connection is usually run via a breaker panel that also acts as a fuse in case the wires ever get shorted.
The plastic enclosures can be mounted on 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.
The provided hook and loop tape, double-sided sticky tape or cable ties would work fine, too, especially if you haven't decided yet where to finally attach a module.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, based on this Wikipedia page we are only scanning those channels within the WiFi range that are allowed to be used world-wide.
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.