Process control system/software

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by Northwindii, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. Northwindii
    Joined: Dec 2015
    Posts: 11
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    Location: Norfolk

    Northwindii Junior Member

    I am interested in options to add process control automation to a large trawler style yacht. So, for example, a system to manage 4 fuel tanks and a day tank. Open valves, turn on pimps, and monitor tank levels. Have alarms or logic to prevent overfilling and protect pumps from running dry. I'd like to control this with a Graphicsl interface on a computer screen.

    Seems like this is old hat for industrial process control. There should be a lot of reliable, severe environment systems available.

    Any ideas or suggestions?
  2. Poida
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Australia

    Poida Senior Member

    Hi there

    Unfortunately when people put a post up like this they do not indicate their level of experience in the subject they are talking about. So we have no idea if you are an electrical engineer or just somebody with a pipe dream.

    I guess if you was an electrical engineer you wouldn't be posting here.

    I have no experience in marine equipment only industrial but industrial equipment is suited for harsh environments. If you have a craft that warrants that type of controls nothing should be exposed to sea water anyway unless you are sinking.

    The first thing to do is work out a circuit diagram of everything you want to do.

    And the sequence of how things will operate.

    I have programmed PLCs but not HMI units but with some PLCs you can follow what is happening on a computer screen and run components manually.

    Learn to program the PLC yourself otherwise it will cost a lot of money to employ someone every time there is a problem or you want to make a change. And you can diagnose any problems yourself if they occur.

  3. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    This sounds like a job for an Arduino style micro computer with some electronic bricks like relay boards, sensors and an LCD display unit.
    Easy to program in C++ with any PC or tablet, see for details.
  4. DGreenwood
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: New York

    DGreenwood Senior Member

  5. BMcF
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: Maryland

    BMcF Senior Member

    We've been very happy with the range of PLC products offered by Automation Direct. We've relied on their off-the-shelf industrial PLC and related automation products when we need to add "optional" control functionality not directly supported by our real-time control system network.
  6. PaulBailey
    Joined: Dec 2015
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    Location: Canada

    PaulBailey New Member

    What level of Automation do you want to achieve?
    Did you tried any MCU before?
    Also what type of sensing you require into your setup?
    Any pre-loaded sensors are available into it?

  7. Northwindii
    Joined: Dec 2015
    Posts: 11
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    Location: Norfolk

    Northwindii Junior Member

    Firstly, there are next to no current systems. This is a great old boat with a lot of character and no modern facilities. I plan to keep much of the old stuff for looks and, in a few cases because they don't make it like they used to. But, where there is a big difference, I intend to install good working systems.

    Also, I want to reduce the number of crew. As an old yacht, she was designed for a large crew. Not only is there is no automation, but boat is setup such that every operation requires 2-3 crew. As an example, there is no internal access to the bridge. The helm and throttles are 4 feet apart.

    So, here are my projects.

    1) Leave the helm intact, but update all the electronics to the latest and greatest. Add charting systems, radar, and autopilot.
    2) Fuel Management. Build a fuel manifold with automated valves such that fuel can be transferred around from the wheelhouse.
    3) Rework ventilation. Add some damper controls to wheelhouse. Improve and ventilation and temp. Add de-misting vent filters in places.
    4) Automate control of certain other valves to allow actuation from the wheelhouse.
    5) Add a monitoring system such that issues can be monitored form the wheelhouse and crew quarters.
    6) Add automation to some lighting controls. For example, navigation lights.
    7) I would like all systems to have independent feed back. So, a valve/pump circuit would be verified by a flow meter.

    I am in the early stages of planning so any input would be appreciated.
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