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Old 11-25-2010
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Custom Electronic Design

I know there are some other engineers out there so I'm wondering if anyone has tried any custom electronic design for their boats. I'm a hardware engineer with plenty of experience designing 12V systems, but no experience designing for harsh environments.

I've got a few ideas that would be fun to design and cheap to implement - until you consider the environment anyways:

-Design a small board for the electrical panel with a display for voltage and current draw. It would have a micro-controller so I imagine I could think of a couple other things for it to do (current/voltage history, averages, etc.)
Microcontroller with analog input and flash memory $3
Two character display $4

-Design a battery distribution board for the house/starter banks that could monitor battery current/voltage, implement a battery sensing relay and provide short circuit protection in addition to a regular fuse.
Current sensing (would need bi-directional) $1
High power mosfet, good for ~20A, several could be put in paralel $2
Mosfet driver $6

So, on paper its all real cheap (Fab the PCB at But how can it be designed to hold up? Waterproof enclosures I suppose. Protective coatings or epoxies? Any other thoughts? Anyone tried anything like this?

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