Your Courses at the BOATHOWTO University

You want to understand, extend or rewire your boat's DC systems? Check out our Boat Electrics 101 course:

Premium Course

61 lessons

Beginner

In this course you will learn everything you need to know about DC systems on boats. Beginning with the basics about current, voltage and resistance, we teach you how to (re-)do all DC wiring on your boat, complying to ISO and ABYC standards.

Boat Electrics 101: Bonus Modules

BE101 Bonus Content

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In this course, you will learn about Solar, Wind, and Water power as a means to generate energy on boats. It is included as bonus content in Boat Electrics 101.

17 Lessons - Intermediate

BE101 Bonus Content

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In this mini-course you will learn about important considerations when it comes to the choice of LED lights for your boat.

1 Lessons - Beginner

BE101 Bonus Content

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In this talk, Nigel gives an overview of the challenges in designing a safe and reliable DC system. The talk was originally recorded as part of the IBEX 2021 Seminar Series.

1 Lessons - Intermediate

BE101 Bonus Content

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Nigel Calder gives an update on today's battery technology. Including important, but often overlooked, considerations on the topic of lithium-ion vs. lead-acid batteries.

1 Lessons - Intermediate

BE101 Bonus Content

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In this bonus lesson we look beyond boat electrics. Our friend John Neal offers valuable insights into offshore sailing with small crews. But watch out! The photos of his presentation could make you want to cast off your lines immediately! John is one of the worlds most experienced offshore sailors and we highly regard his expertise. Check out his sail training expeditions and consultation services at  mahina.com !

1 Lessons - None

Advanced Marine Electrics 

In our Advanced Marine Electrics program, we delve deeper into topics that go beyond DC systems. The program consists of independent modules with topics such as Grounding and Lightning protection, AC systems, Alternator and Generator installation and Lithium Ion battery technology.

Section 1 - Installation & Safety

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In the lessons of this brief overview module, we separate out the different components of a grounding system and investigate its core installation requirements. A proper grounding system is vital for the safety of AC and DC systems, corrosion prevention, and lightning protection.

3 Lessons - Intermediate

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In the lessons of this module, we explore fundamental safety risks with respect to AC systems on boats. And how to prevent life threatening accidents. This module includes crucially important differences with AC systems onshore.

3 Lessons - Intermediate

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In this module we cover onboard sources of AC power, including DC-to-AC inverters, onboard generators, and polarization and isolation transformers. We also talk about preventing corrosion caused by the shorepower grounding conductor and how to deal with varying shoreside voltages.

5 Lessons - Advanced

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In this module, we explore the electrochemical processes that result in galvanic and stray current corrosion. And of course we learn about passive and active measures to control and prevent it.

4 Lessons - Intermediate

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There is no such thing as a "lightning proof boat". But we can do a fair amount to protect the crew and the boat in case it gets hit by lightning. We discuss various approaches to lightning protection in this module.

5 Lessons - Intermediate

Section 2 - Power Generation & Storage

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In this module, we will examine (high-output) alternators as a power source and how to choose the right type of alternator for your engine. The videos for this module are still a work in progress. But you can access all the content in the form of lecture notes.

5 Lessons - None

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In this module we learn how the voltage of an alternator is regulated to appropriate levels for battery charging. Voltage regulators for alternators have evolved over time from simple devices with a single setpoint to complex and sophisticated controllers acting on data from a mass of sensors to optimize, control, and troubleshoot DC systems.  The videos for this module are still a work in progress. But you can access all the content in the form of lecture notes.

2 Lessons - Intermediate

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We dive into the world of marine generators and explore various types and their installation requirements. We also look at ways to maximize the efficiency of a generator by combining it with inverters and a large battery bank. The videos for this module are still a work in progress. But you can access all the content in the form of lecture notes.

4 Lessons - Advanced

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Lithium-Ion batteries (in particular the LiFePO4 / LFP variants) are becoming increasingly popular on boats. We look at the advantages and disadvantages of this fascinating new technology, plus installation and safety requirements for lithium-ion batteries on boats. There are a plethora of brands and BMS types on the market and systems evolve quickly, so we will not cover individual manufacturers, but instead focus on general requirements and best practices covered in the new ABYC E-13 and related standards.

5 Lessons - None

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To keep up with the power demands for the lifestyle of modern boats, we need a substantial amount of energy. Without regular access to shorepower, the only practicable way to produce this energy is with a fossil fuel driven engine. In this module we explore how we can optimize the energy produced with a high-output alternator and how this eliminates the need for a standalone generator in many cases. The videos for this module are still a work in progress. But you can access all the content in the form of lecture notes.

4 Lessons - Intermediate

Section 3 - Networks & Technological Trends

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This module gives an overview of onboard networks. The focus is on NMEA2000 networks. We learn how they are set up and how to troubleshoot the physical layer if problems arise. The videos for this module are still a work in progress. But you can access all the content in the form of lecture notes.

5 Lessons - Intermediate

Text-Only Module

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In the text lessons of this module, we talk about the technology behind digital switching systems. We learn why they help to significantly reduce the amount of wiring on a boat, but also talk about the risks and potential downsides of such an installation.

4 Lessons - None

Text-Only Module

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In the text lessons of this module, Nigel dives into considerable detail with respect to the trending topic of Electric & Hybrid Propulsion in recreational marine applications. The lessons of this module are based on extensive original research that Nigel conducted funded by the European Union. The lessons contain a wealth of experimental results that are a valuable resource for any boater seriously considering replacing a diesel engine with an electric or hybrid system. The articles of the module are highly technical and aimed at professionals or boatowners who have a very deep interest in the details of such systems.

4 Lessons - Advanced

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