Starlink for boats?

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by Cruising Happiness, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. Cruising Happiness
    Joined: Jan 2020
    Posts: 13
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Florida

    Cruising Happiness Junior Member

    I read that the user terminal draws 17 watts. I'm not sure if this is way way off base. There is much speculation based upon tiny details and fcc filings, until it comes out of private testing.

    Edit: read this too which may be the user terminal:
    • AC Input: 100-240Vac, 2.5A, 50-60Hz (250 watts?)

    • DC Output: 56V, 0.3A (16.8 watts)
    I don't know how much power it will take. Should get more info in 3 months when it's out of private beta.
  2. Rumars
    Joined: Mar 2013
    Posts: 1,054
    Likes: 456, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 39
    Location: Germany

    Rumars Senior Member

    Right now the antenna is engineered to be mounted on a stable, non moving platform like a house. The tracking apparatus is probably a single small servomotor that moves once or twice per hour. Energy consumption for this is negligible. When the platform moves every wich way at a high rate (boat on waves) you need a much more sofisticated suspension that can keep the antenna stable and pointed in a certain direction regardless of what the thing it is mounted on does. While we have the technology to do so, it uses many more servomotors that have to act many times a minute. Energy consumption goes up and while it won't be kW/h it can become a significant factor, not so much for a powerboat or if you have a generator, but for sailboats on batteries. Proably comparable with a fridge or autopilot now.
    Boats are a fringe market and not exactly an economic priority. Developing, testing and implementing mass production of such an antenna takes time, even if the technology is actually pretty mature.
    Let's say they go commercial next year, the priorities then will be achieving full coverage over land, wich will take at least one year. Probably another one for full world wide cover (all satellites operational). The mobile markets will have aircraft as priority since it is simpler to implement and higher returns, then commercial ships where space and waterproofing is not essential, and lastly the recreational marine market. Best scenario is they have a mature consumer level product on the market in 3 years, but 5 is a more realistic one.

  3. Dejay
    Joined: Mar 2018
    Posts: 569
    Likes: 105, Points: 43
    Location: Europe

    Dejay Senior Newbie

    Just to add some resources. There is a subreddit discussing this:

    There is also an article that reads as if he has already tested a starlink dish and it works without stabilization. Maybe this is on a relatively quite lake? In any case it seems using gyro stabilization there is no major hurdle:

    CocoonCruisers likes this.
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