Κυριακή, 24 Απριλίου 2016

Serial over Air for Maritime use

   As I read somewhere on the Internet lately, a quote said that getting over old methods is much harder than creating new ones. Hence some protocols older than my age will be haunting us forever. A bright example is the RS-232 serial protocol that will keep haunting us for the remaining of our lives. Obsolete, yes, useful though and established to millions of embedded devices, we must cope with the overhead it carries and adjust our modern designs to support this last century serial communication protocol.
   Of course any modern communication design has to be cable free, especially in a boat where weight, complexity and oxidation matter. One might say that wireless is not secure, and another one that it's not reliable. Well true in some cases, but be assured that modern wireless devices designs have grown enough to provide industrial grade security and reliability if not yet military.
Many thanks goes to our friends who designed and built the ESP8266 chip that draws a path to the future of embedded wireless devices. Disregarding the yet undiscovered hardware "design flaws" that can be used to undermine the security of this device, we bet on it and use it for our open wireless communication solution within a sailboat. I name it SEA OWL (Open Wireless Link).
  Using ESP-201 (that has an external antenna and more available ports) to interface with various electronics on board like Navigation equipment, Auto pilot, Wind instruments, depth meter, speed meter, and many sensors that measure things like air/engine/water temperature, XY rotation (inclination), battery/engine/solar voltage, engine RPM, acceleration, speed etc, we are linking the dots and connecting everything to our central management systems that consists of a very low cost and low energy consuming ARM based device that logs everything, and also handles AIS, Wi-Fi, and GPS data combining all this to a lite database and also transmitting telemetry home.
Most of this has already been integrated and might also be available as a commercial ready made solution if there is enough interest.
More details will follow soon!