Distributed Power over N2K, and goodbye E-Plex?

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

14 Responses

  1. robert says:

    Very disappointing to hear about E-plex. Ever since their introduction the appear to be one of the more flexible systems (still do). But the information on their website, while it does look nice, has not been changed/updated in years. Which leads me to think not much has evolved in their product line. A sure sign of not enough $$ for development, needed for a technology like this in its early days.

  2. Ben says:

    I’m very bummed to hear about e-plex. I’m currently having a vintage bus restored and modernized and wanted to use their system. They seemed to have the most evolved yet simple system out there… now I have to do a bunch of research to figure out the best multiplexing system that might survive the econimic slump. Please let me know if you have any up to date info about the alternatives. SavantAV looks to be very elegant for AV control, etc, but I see little about how they have things setup to integrate with engine, generator, tank monitors and other systems.

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    It’s interesting that not one of the distributed power manufacturers chose Ethernet for networking. Most systems seem to use NMEA 2000, or at least CanBUS, except for E-Plex (proprietary) and Capi2 (RS232, apparently). I thought Ethernet was good for everything 😉

  4. Kees says:

    Ben, you probably meant to say RS-485 as the underlying tech for Capi2? RS-232 = 1 sender, 1 listener. RS-422 = 1 sender, multiple listeners. RS-485 = multiple senders, multiple listeners. Okay I admit RS-232 brings home the fact that’s it a pretty down-to-earth tech a little more…

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    You’re right, Kees; I got confused. Thanks! It turns out that Capi2 just uses RS232 to communicate between the system and a PC. Apparently the system network is proprietary and only needs a single signal wire (beside 12v plus & minus).

  6. Kees says:

    Wow, 1 wire Ethernet — cool 😉

  7. Ben W says:

    I talked to Brett M. today. He’s the Sales General Manager at ED&D who are the people who make the E-plex system. Here’s what I found out:
    E-plex is NOT going away. Instead ED&D’s largest VAR is taking over distribution of the system. That company is Energy Solutions and is based in the UK (www.Energy-Solutions.co.uk). You can still order parts from the US through June 1st and then there will be a 4-8 week lag time while inventory is transferred to the UK before Energy Solutions will begin fulfilling orders.
    I didn’t have time to ask about future development (newly designed modules, etc.), but it sounded like the system is by no means “going away”.

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I’m not sure if the deal is as definite as that, Ben W; what I hear is that Energy Solutions may buy ED&D, but may rebrand the technology as a new system. It’s also not clear what’s going to happen regarding existing warranties.
    Meanwhile, on Friday I spoke with the guy who’s heading up the NMEA 2000 committee writing distributed power messages. He says the project is making headway, and the day really is in sight when integration like the Lowrance HDS/DSS seen above is common, and even multiple brand distributed power components will be able to work together. If they use N2K for networking, that is (E-Plex doesn’t).

  9. Michael says:

    Received this from BASS today to reassure me to proceed with an e-Plex install on my 46′ sailboat refit:
    PRESS RELEASE (May 26)
    “BASS PRODUCTS, LLC is named the first Technical Application Center to support the E-Plex, UK product line. Energy Solutions Company representative Paul Holland announced today the pending purchase of Wes-Garde UK and E-Plex. This move assures the E-Plex product will continue to be supplied by two of its largest users, Energy Solutions Company, UK and BASS PRODUCTS, LLC.”
    Have to admit, I’m on the fence between using e-Plex with these risks and switching to a simpler Maretron N2K backbone with their sensors. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the comparison and relative risks.

  10. Adam says:

    Does anyone know if Octoplex is shipping product? Since I have N2KView Platinum I theoretically have the ability to control Octoplex breakers. That means all I’d need to buy to get started would be one of their 8-breaker N2K-linked distribution panels and a couple of breakers. If the price weren’t insane I might consider doing so just for the experience…

  11. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I’m glad to hear the E-Plex has a new home, but it’s too bad the transfer was so chaotic. I also wonder if Energy Solutions has agreed to assume all E-Plex warranty obligations, and if it has the resources to develop E-Plex over the long haul. Bass Products, by the way, was the company that installed E-Plex on the Lyman Morse cat Mala Conducta referenced above. I can’t find anything about this deal on either company’s site:
    As for Octoplex, it’s definitely shipping and is often installed with N2KView as an alternate interface. I’m not sure it lends itself well to small experimental systems, though. For instance, it’s designed to use dual NMEA 2000 networks for redundancy. Maretron is pretty shy about discussing future products, but there’s little doubt they’re working on distributed power for mid-size vessels.

  12. Tom says:

    It should be noted that the Eplex system on the mala conducta was integrated with Offshore Systems fuel and water sensors NMEA 2000. Was an easy fit.

  13. Paul Holland says:

    It was great to see all the concerned comments about the e-Plex sale on your site. The purchase of the E-Plex product line was concluded 3 weeks ago by a subsiduary company of Energy Solutions – E-Plex Ltd. The exercise was not the easiest, but we have now moved the inventory and are already shipping orders. A dedicated team is in place to support and develop the product and we are busy visiting the major users. i am writing this whilst travelling the Mid West. I will ensure that we post more details as they are available.

  14. Melanie Lay says:

    As a further update to the information left by Paul Holland here are the contact details for E-Plex Ltd, which is the new company handling everything to do with the development and distribution of E-Plex products. The website is http://www.e-plex.co, this is still under construction but will soon be live with information & downloads on all hardware, software and applications. In the meantime any technical or sales enquiries can be sent to [email protected] or telephone +44 1634 778704. We are also happy to receive any comments on things which would be useful to have on the website, please let us know.

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