BEP CZone seen live, more coming
I wrote about BEP’s CZone distributed power last April, but didn’t get to see it live until I got a ride aboard Simrad’s demo boat during the Fort Lauderdale show. Isn’t it neat that the control screen can show you the amperage flowing through a specific circuit (and apparently detect a fault)? And if it’s on an MFD, couldn’t valuable details like that also be on apps pads and phones like I recently saw live with Maretron’s N2KView? In April I also wrote about what a difficult niche distributed power is, but I still think the magic of digital switching is one of the most interesting frontiers in marine electronics. And that we’re going to hear a lot more about it in 2011. BEP, for instance, made a series of announcements during METS…
First up is new AC Control and Output interfaces, with features like automatic load shedding. (Because it’s a lot harder to protect and switch an AC circuit with a MOSFET, I think BEP is using solenoids and mechanical circuit breakers, like Octoplex and others do.) The company also announced an integration partnership with Victron, though the release is not specific about what that means. CZone uses NMEA 2000 to distribute monitoring data and control commands; will Victron adapt to N2K or interface its charger/inverters and other gear some other way? At any rate, it will soon be possible to see the results on new CZone 8- and 10-inch touchscreen monitors like the one below. BEP also announced that its original Simrad NSE integration partnership will be extended to the NSO blackbox system and to the B&G Zeus.
Meanwhile, I understand that NMEA’s working group on power-related NMEA 2000 PGNs is moving closer to the point where a lot of this stuff can be done with a mixture of gear from manufacturers who may not be special partners. In fact, the group is considering using Gizmo as a test platform; of course I’m intrigued about the possibilities but also apprehensive about tearing up my dear boat’s conventional circuit breaker system. More to come, when possible.