This is where we are right now. We will talk about the contents of the course and how to make the most out of it.
This module is specifically for beginners who do not yet have background knowledge about Volts, Amps, Resistance, Power and Energy. But even if you already know these things, the relatively short and easy to understand lessons of this module might be a good refresher.
In this module we will dive into boat electrics by covering the most important electrical components we find on a boat. We will learn how they work and how we can represent them in a circuit diagram. We will use this knowledge when we learn how to design and plan a system at the end of the course.
The fourth module is all about basic marine electrical wiring. We will learn what conductors are suitable for boat wiring and what are not, how to properly size conductors, and how to install them in a professional and reliable way. This module includes the topic of overcurrent protection, which is absolutely crucial if you want to prevent the risk of fires on your boat caused by overheated conductors.
Here you will learn how lead acid batteries work and how to treat them in a way that enables them to reach the life expectancy for which they were designed.
In this module we will talk in detail about battery charging regimes and the right choice for a charging device.
In the seventh module you will learn about systems design and how to plan your energy needs based on the devices you use and the charging sources you have. This will give you the peace of mind that you have an adequate system to meet your lifestyle expectations together with the necessary control over the way you store and manage the energy on your boat.
In the last module we will put everything we have learned together in the form of case studies. We will do this by planning the complete DC-system for different scenarios on an imaginary boat.
Over time, and depending on the feedback we get from you, we will add bonus lessons that cover some interesting related topics. Once you have signed up for this course, you will get access to this additional future content free of charge. We will send you an email as soon as new bonus content is released.
Using this course
We highly recommend that you do the lessons in the right order, because they build on each other. But of course you can always go back to a topic anytime you want.
Most of the lessons have a video at the top of the page. All the relevant information will be in these videos, so in theory you can learn all you need to know by just watching the videos.
If the video is too quick for you, you can easily go back a bit on the timeline on the bottom of the video and listen to parts of it again.
We have provided lecture notes for each lesson. They are placed below the video. (What you are currently reading are the lecture notes...)
Here you can review the content at your own pace. The lecture notes are also a great help if you search for a specific topic. Just enter your term in the search bar on the top right of the page and you will find a list of all lessons where the term occurs in the lecture notes.
Sometimes the lecture notes contain additional examples or provide more in depth explanations of certain topics than what we cover in the video. So in general it is a good idea to use both the video and lecture notes if you want to get the full benefit of this course.
Comments & Feedback
We also have a comment section under each lesson. If you have specific questions about the content or suggestions on topics that you would like to learn more about, please write a comment there. This way we can improve the course over time and also add bonus material if there is a need for it.
The Basis: ABYC & ISO Standards
Let's have a quick look at the standards that are the foundation and basis for this course. We designed the content to be compliant with the ABYC E-11 and the new ISO 13297 standards.
The ISO and the ABYC are the two organizations that write the principal standards governing small craft. That typically includes recreational boats up to 24 meters in length for ISO or 70 feet for ABYC.
The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) is a non-profit, member organization that develops voluntary global safety standards for the design, construction, maintenance, and repair of recreational boats. It was incorporated on February 1, 1954, in New York State. The core mission of the ABYC has always been to create construction and other standards that will make boating safer. The standards are developed by voluntary groups of technical experts including boat builders, technicians, engineers, boat and accessory manufacturers, surveyors and investigators, retailers and dealers, yacht brokers and designers, marinas, law firms, government agencies, boat owners, insurance companies, and more (and including our own Nigel Calder). As an independent consensus-based body, these industry experts work together with the sole purpose of protecting the safety of the boating public.
The ABYC’s Standards and Technical Information Reports for Small Craft cover all major boat systems. The development and regular review of these standards provide boat building guidelines that correlate directly with a significant reduction in the number of boating accidents over the past six decades.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) develops high quality voluntary International Standards designed to facilitate international exchange of goods and services, support sustainable and equitable economic growth, promote innovation and protect health, safety and the environment. The sub-group of the ISO that addresses small craft (up to 24m/70 feet), is known as Technical Committee (TC)188. Although the mission of the ISO is somewhat different to that of the ABYC, TC 188 has developed a set of standards that are closely aligned with the ABYC standards and in fact for much of its existence TC 188 has been chaired by an ABYC member.
With respect to boat electrical systems the principal difference between the ABYC and ISO standards lies in the fact that the ABYC standards tend to be more detailed. In order to provide the most detailed information in our lessons, we follow the ABYC standards. Where there are minor disagreements with the ISO (only a handful) we point these out.
The ABYC standards are not mandatory (the ISO are). But if something goes wrong, for example if a fault in the system sets your boat on fire, you will have a much easier time dealing with insurance claims if you can document that your system was installed according to the standards.
Unfortunately, even on new boats it is not uncommon to find electrical system details that violate the ABYC and ISO standards. It is our hope that those who master our lessons will be able to do at least as good a job at designing and installing boat electrical systems as most professionals, and significantly better than many!