Marine Electrical Training Online

My passion is vocational education and helping others to succeed, including marine electrical training online.

I formerly worked in marine electrical training, as a marine electrical lecturer and trainer at South Shields Marine School, in the UK.

During that time I was privileged to help upskill trainee electro technical officers, and deck cadets, from companies around the world.

I am so proud to have worked with people from many countries, including Nigeria, India, Qatar, as well as the UK.

Examples of companies whose employees I have trained, include Carnival Cruises, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and the UK Border Force.

I also trained electrical apprentices from organisations, such as the NHS, and industrial maintenance engineers.

I work in RF Systems & Electrical Training, offering worldwide service. I am proud of my numerous happy clients who have improved their theory knowledge, practised vocational maintenance skills on real machinery, built their confidence, and met their career ambitions.


How Marine Generator Works & Fails


How Does a Marine Diesel Engine Work

Tips for draining oil on a marine diesel engine

Marine Radio Equipment Installation

Single Phasing In Three Phase Marine Induction Motors

Industrial & Marine Induction Motor Servicing Tips

Induction Motor Servicing Tips For Ships & Factories



Things Network Gateway Diy Build

What is the Things Network

The Things Network originated in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2015.

The idea was to create a crowd funded Internet of Things network, that was open to the public.

The network uses LoraWAN spread spectrum wireless technology to enable data from environmental sensors, to get onto the Internet.

The network has quickly expanded through crowd funding and volunteers installing their own ‘Gateway’ devices.

The Gateway devices receive data that has been transmitted from sensors, and puts that data onto the Internet cloud.

Sensors can include pollution monitoring devices, Smart Parking detectors, flood warning sensors etc.

The LoraWAN that I mentioned is the wireless technology that allows the transfer of data from the sensor (which might be in a field a mile from the Gateway), to the receiving Gateway device.

LoraWAN Characteristics

Lorawan is suitable for applications that only require small amounts of data to be transferred at a time. Therefore LoraWAN would not be suitable for transmitting video from a CCTV camera (WIFI would be more suitable).

Data transfer is also quite slow.

What LoraWAN excels at is allowing small amounts of data to be sent over relatively long distances (such as 10Km), while consuming very low battery power.

The good communications range, and low battery power consumption make it ideal for the Internet of Things, or IOT for short.

To start using the Things Network, there are a few options available.

Firstly you can buy a ready made indoor Gateway that the initiators of the Things Network have now manufactured.

A second option is to buy a Gateway designed for commerical LoraWAN use. These Gateways are often designed for outdoor use, and feature weatherproof construction.

A third option to get onto the Things Network, if there is no local Gateway within range, is to build your own Gateway.

There are a few options and ways to build a Gateway, including using an RF board from RAK Wireless.

The option that I used to build my Gateway, uses an 880A LoraWAN Concentrator board from IMST of Germany.

The RF Concentrator board is controlled and connected to the Internet via a Raspberry Pi.

Full details for construction are given below.

Building the Gateway

For beginners to building their own gateway, I would recommend joining, or founding a local Things Network .

The Lorawan Gateway that I am going to describe here, is designed to operate on the Things Network, however other lora networks can easily be installed.

The main components that you will need are:-

1) A Concentrator board from IMST of Germany. The Concentrator board is the wireless communications part of the system, responsible for receiving the wireless data signals, from the remote environmental sensors (Air quality sensors etc).

2) A small computer to store the software that controls the Concentrator board. We are going to use the UK designed Raspberry PI 3.

A Micro SD Card, for holding the software used by the Raspberry PI.  A small 4 GB card is fine.

3) A suitable Antenna (or Aerial), with pigtail connecting cable.

4) A suitable 2 Amp rated power supply, with a micro USB connector.

5)  7 Female to Female connecting leads, suitable for raspberry PI.

4) A suitable case, to house the components.

The first thing I need to make you aware of is the risk of static electricity, to your IMST ic880a Concentrator and Raspberry PI.

Static can damage the sensitive electronic components, therefore it is advisable to take precautions, such as not touching the board components, and wearing an anti static wrist strap.

The first thing you need to do is to format the micro SD card, that will be fitted to the raspberry PI, to hold the gateway software.

The SD card association has a free piece of software, for Windows PC and Mac, to do this. My card was already formatted, so I skipped this step.

The next step is to burn the actual software that will power your gateway, onto the Raspberry PI.

To do this, I used https://etcher.io/    

I first installed Etcher onto my  linux desktop computer. As most people use Windows PC, or Mac, you will need to find a suitable alternative to Etcher.

I also downloaded the operating system needed to run the Raspberry Pi, which is called Raspbian Stretch Lite , onto my desktop PC.

Put your micro SD card into your computers micro SD card reader. If your computer (like mine) does not have a card reader, then external USB plug in ones can be purchased cheaply (I got mine from my local Asda supermarket for £6).

Fire up Etcher, or whatever card  burning software you prefer, and select the copy of Raspbian Stretch Lite , that you previously downloaded to your PC.

Follow the instructions, and burn the operating system software onto the micro SD card.

Once you have successfully burned your Raspbian Stretch Lite, onto your SD card, insert it into the Raspberry Pi (the slot is on the underside of the Pi).

The next thing to do is to connect your Raspberry Pi to a suitable monitor (I used a TV, that had a HDMI connection), and also connect a USB keyboard, power supply, and mouse.

The power supply should be 5 Volts DC, and Raspberry Pi power supplies are widely available. I used a USB phone charger, with 5 Volts output, and a current rating of 2000mA.

Boot up your Raspberry Pi (connect the power), and you will see lots of computer code scrolling across your screen (if you have done everything successfully, so far).

When the Raspberry Pi asks you for a user name and password, use the following default ones (the  bit after the  ‘ : ‘ ).

Username: Pi

Password: Raspberry

After you have successfully logged in, type:

 sudo raspi-config

Numbered options will now hopefully be on your monitor screen.

Select [5] Interfacing Options, and then P4 SPI

Then select [7] Advanced Options , and then [A1] Expand Filesystem.

You now need to exit the raspi-config utility, either by hitting the ‘CTRL’  and  ‘X’ keys, or by typing sudo reboot

Next you are going to Configure the locales and time zone.

Type this in, to set the locales, and follow instruction.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

Next, type this in to set time zone.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

The next stage is to update the raspberry Pi software, do this by typing:

sudo apt-get update

Then install any upgrades to the operating system software, by typing sudo apt-get upgrade

Next we are going to install Git , which is needed to be able to download the Things Network software from Github.


sudo apt-get install git

The next step is to create a user called TTN (the things network).  This user will eventually replace the default raspberry pi user, which we will delete.

sudo adduser ttn

Then:    sudo adduser ttn sudo

Logout, by typing logout

Once you have logged out, log back in using the user name and password that you have just set up, when you added a user.

You can now delete the default Raspberry Pi user, by typing

sudo userdel -rf pi

Set the WIFI  SSID and password details, which can be found on the back of your home router / Hub (usually).

To set the WIFI details type

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf 

Once you have typed in the above text, you should see some code on the screen. Add the following to the end of the existing code, making sure that you enter your SSID and password details, in place of the shown text.




Now we are going to clone the installer from Github. This will download the software which runs the gateway, from the Github repository.  Type each of the following three code lines into your Pi, one at a time, hitting the return key after each line of code.

  git clone -b spi https://github.com/ttn-zh/ic880a-gateway.git ~/ic880a-gateway
  cd ~/ic880a-gateway
  sudo ./install.sh spi

Identifying the LoraWAN Gateway

The software will give the gateway the default name of ttn-gateway.

This however may need to be changed, to prevent issues with other Things Network Gateways within wireless range.

Wiring it Up

The next step is to connect the  Concentrator board, to the Raspberry Pi, and also connect the antenna.

The components including the antenna should be mounted in a protective box,  and the antenna connected to the Concentrator board.

It is very important that the Concentrator board is not powered up, with no suitable antenna connected, of damage could occur to the board.

Once the antenna is connected, then the next step is to connect the Concentrator to the Raspberry Pi.

Connect using female to female connecting wires, as follows:

iC880a Concentrator pin Description RPi physical pin
21 Supply 5V 2
22 GND 6
13 Reset 22
14 SPI CLK 23
15 MISO 21
16 MOSI 19
17 NSS 24


It is important that you identify the correct pins, by referring to the manufactures data sheets (Both IMST & Raspberry Pi).

We accept no liability for loss or damage caused, by following these information only instructions.

For help, and to learn more about the Things Network Gateway, or what the Things Network can do, why not get in touch with me.



Craig Miles (C) 2018 -2021 , all images and content, unless stated separately.

Lorawan Server

LoRaWAN architecture and uses in Sensing

Lorawan IOT Gateway construction



Preventative Maintenance For Electric Motors

Preventative Maintenance

Preventive maintenance programs are the key to the reliable, long-life operation of electric motors.
Whilst AC Induction Motors are particularly reliable in service, almost all electrical equipment requires periodic planned inspection and maintenance. Planned preventative maintenance ensures electrical motors, and starters are kept in good working condition at all times. This is critical for businesses that rely on electric motors. A scheduled routine of motor inspection should be carried out throughout the motor’s life. The periodic motor inspection helps prevent serious damage to motors by locating potential problems early.

Periodic Preventative Maintenance Inspections

Planned electric motor maintenance programs are designed to help prevent breakdowns, rather than having to repair motors after a breakdown. In industrial operations, unscheduled stoppage of production or long repair shutdowns is expensive, and in marine shipping environments, a potential safety issue. Periodic inspections of motors are therefore necessary to ensure the best operational reliability.

Preventive maintenance programs require detailed checks to be effective. All motors onsite (factory, ship, etc) should be given their own individual identification (ID) number and have a record log. The record log is usually computerised these days. The motor records kept should identify the motor, brand, inspection dates, and descriptions of any repairs previously carried out. By record keeping, the cause of any previous breakdowns can help indicate the cause of any future problems that might occur.

All preventative maintenance programs should refer to the equipment manufacturer’s technical documentation prior to performing equipment checks.

There are simple routine maintenance checks that can be applied to three-phase induction motors, which help ensure a long service life to a motor. 

The Simple checks that can be carried out, include a review of the service history, noise, and vibration inspections. Previous noise issues could for example be due to motor single phasing. The previous vibration may have been due to worn bearings, which allow the Stator to turn. Other checks include visual inspections (damage and burning), windings tests (insulation resistance & continuity), brush and commutator maintenance (dc motors, not AC Induction Motors), and bearings and lubrication.

Inspection frequency and the degree of inspection detail may vary depending on such factors as the critical nature of the motor, its function, and the motor’s operating environment. An inspection schedule, therefore, must be flexible and adapted to the needs of each industrial or marine environment.

Induction Motor Preventative Maintenance

The main failure points of AC Induction Motors are either the Stator coil or the bearings which allow the Rotor to rotate.


Stator coils are wound coils of copper wire, that surround the Rotor of an Induction Motor.

In Single Phase Induction Motors there is a single length of copper wire, that is wound as the Stator.

In three-phase Induction Motors, there are three separate lengths of copper wire, that are wound together, to form the Stator.

Therefore in a Single Phase Induction Motor, the Stator can go faulty if breakage occurs somewhere along the length of the single would copper wire.

In a three-phase induction motor, however, there are other reasons that a motor may fail, and also preventative maintenance checks we can make.

The three separate coils of wire contained within the stator of a three-phase induction motor, need a high insulation resistance between them.

Dust or moisture can reduce the insulation resistance between the three separate coils of wire.

If the insulation drops too much (below 1-2 Mega Ohms), then the motor may stop working.

Periodic checking of the insulation resistance can help identify issues before they prevent the motor from running.


The bearings by the fact that they are a moving part, and therefore subject to friction, are more likely to fail.

Periodic preventative maintenance, or automatic (using IOT Sensors) Vibration testing can be used as an early indicator of bearing wear.

(c) Craig Miles 2019-2021.  craigmiles.co.uk

+44 (01522) 740818


Induction Motor Servicing Tips For Ships & Factories

Induction Motor Servicing.

Induction motors are used widely in factories and on ships.

They are very reliable machines, but faults can develop over time.

That is why you need Induction motor servicing to be carried out.

Potential faults include burnt out Stator windings, worn bearings, and water damage which causes low insulation resistance.

This article covers tips on Induction motor servicing.

Safety & Isolation of supply of induction motors.

Correct electricity supply isolation procedures are critical for safety.

Taking a casual approach to electrical supply isolation can prove fatal.

Three phase Induction motors, typically operate in factories at around 400 Volts AC (Alternating Current).

Marine installations typically operate at an even higher 440 Volt Alternating Current (440 VAC).

It is important that no one works on a piece of three-phase machinery, such as an Induction motor unless you are qualified to do so.

On board ship, proper authorisation, such as a valid ‘permit to work’, signed off by a ships chief engineer, should be in place before carrying out any Induction Motor servicing.

On land seek authorisation from the responsible senior managers, with appropriate responsibilities for safety.

For work to be carried out aboard Ships, permission from someone such as the Chief Engineer is appropriate.

Once permission has been gained, and the appropriate paperwork issued, only then can work commence.

Certainly in the marine environment, and normally onshore as well, ‘locks and tags’ will be issued.

The lock is to ensure that once an isolator switch has been turned off, no one can switch it back on accidentally.

The ‘tag’ details who has isolated the supply, and is working on that circuit.

Only the person who has been issued with the lock and tag set, can remove them.

Double check that circuit is dead.

Don’t assume that just because you have locked and tagged the appropriate electrical isolator, that you are safe to work on a circuit.

The isolator may be incorrectly labeled, or even worse, you have taken someone else’s word for it.

Before you stick your fingers in, and potentially kill yourself, you need to use an appropriate device to check that the circuit is safe to work on.

Induction motor servicing can be dangerous, if proper procedures are not followed.

There are three possible devices that can be used:

  1. Test Bulb
  2. Multimeter / Voltmeter
  3. Line Tester

Firstly lets look at the test bulb as an option.

A test bulb with appropriate leads and clips attached, can provide indication of a live circuit, but has a flaw.

If the bulb filament breaks, then you could falsely assume that the circuit is safe to work on, with possibly fatal outcomes.

The second option is the Multimeter / Voltmeter which these days will probably be a ‘solid state’ digital type, rather than the older analogue types, which are commonly referred to as ‘AVO’s’ in the UK.

The Multimeter / Voltmeter being ‘solid state’ is more likely to be a bit more reliable than, a filament bulb tester. However it still may be broken, and you would not necessarily know. An example being the test probe wires may be ‘Open Circuit’.

The third option, the ‘Line Tester’, will provide the most reliable indication of whether a circuit is safe. Therefore this is the preferred option.

The reason that a line tester is safer is because it contains four separate Neon bulbs (some modern ones are LED).

The bulbs light up according to how high the voltage is, for example a 400 VAC supply would light not only the 400VAC light, but the lower voltage indicator lights as well.

So imagine that the 400VAC indicator bulb has broken.

The lower voltage indicator bulbs will still light up, for example the 230VAC and 110VAC indicator bulbs.

Therefore the engineer will still have an indication that there is voltage in the circuit, and can investigate further.

Before using a Line Tester you should use a ‘proving unit’. A proving unit is a small hand-held device capable of producing a voltage such as 250 Volts.

The Line tester can thus be tested using the proving unit, prior to testing a real live circuit.

To test the Line Tester the two probes are pushed against the Proving Unit which then produces a voltage.

This will be indicated by an indicator LED lighting up on the proving unit itself.

The Neon or Led indicator lamps of the Line Tester should also light up at the same time, to indicate the voltage being supplied.

Tips when changing bearings on Induction Motors

Bearings on Rotor

The bearings on an induction motor, allow the ‘Rotor’ to rotate inside the ‘Stator’ which surrounds it.

Over time they can become worn, which may increase noise and vibration of the motor.

Bearings are not usually adjustable, so replacement is required.


Importance of  Bearing identification code facing outwards.

When refitting bearings to an induction motor you will notice that the bearing itself has a code written on the one side of it.

This code is the product identification code, and is what you need to quote in order to order the correct replacement bearing.

Once the correct replacement bearing has been obtained, and is ready for fitting, ensure the following.

Firstly, that the bearing identification code is facing away from the Stator, and outwards towards the end of the motor shaft.

This will help you in the future, if you ever have to replace the bearings again.

The reason for this is that you can just remove the end plate of the induction motor, and read the bearing code easily, provided it has been fitted with the code facing outwards.

If the bearing code was facing inwards, then it is harder to read the bearing code, and might mean that the motor shaft has to be disconnected from its mechanical load.

This adds to the motor downtime, and hence has financial and productivity implications.


Ways to remove bearings from induction motor shaft.

The ideal way to remove an old bearing from the induction motor rotor shaft is to use a bearing puller tool.

Removal is then just a matter of fitting, the tool into position, and winding in the screw thread in a clockwise direction.

As this happens, the bearing is slowly pulled up and off the shaft.

If however you don’t have a puller, other methods, such as  using a metal bar to leverage between the bearing and the end of the shaft can be tried.

However this is not the way I recommend, and you do it at you own risk of injury and damage to the motor shaft.


Methods for fitting a new induction motor bearing.

Ideally, you will have a hydraulic bench press, that you can use to put massive pressure down onto the bearing to ‘press it’ onto the shaft, in the correct position.

When using such a press, a number of precautions should be observed.

Firstly, ensure that you are fully competent to use the hydraulic press. Even fairly cheap versions are capable of exerting many tons of pressure, which can be dangerous to human health.

Secondly, ensure that the tube or sleeve that you fit over the shaft of the motor is only just wide enough.

The reason for this is that a wide metal tube (or sleeve) put over the motor shaft in order to push against the bearing, can damage it.

This is because too wide a tube will make contact with the plastic middle of the bearing, or the outer metal edge.

Both of these two scenarios are bad, because the pressure applied to anywhere but the centre metal part of the bearing, will cause damage.

This damage can result in the replacement bearing being ruined, which defeats the object of replacing it.

Using a hydraulic press is the method that we would recommend, however, this option is sometimes not available.

In particular to engineers working at sea in a marine environment, such as a cargo ship.

If you find yourself in this situation, then there are other ways to re-fit a replacement bearing to an induction motor.

One method is to take advantage of the fact that metals contract and expand due to cold and heat.

This method involves carefully wrapping up the Stator part of the induction motor in a polythene bag and putting it in the freezer overnight.

This will vary slightly shrink the size diameter of the bearing shaft.

The second part to the operation involves gently heating up a pan of engine oil so that it is warm.

Obviously, extreme care needs to be taken, so that either fire is not caused by the oil igniting, or the engineer receiving burns while trying to handle the hot bearing.

Once the bearing is warm, the Stator can be removed from the freezer, and the warm oiled bearing should slip fairly easily onto the shaft.

The oil can then be wiped off the bearing with a non-fluffy cloth, and motor reassembly can begin.



Transformers & The Different Types of Electrical Transformers

Induction Motor Starter Types








Electric Morris Minor

This blog post is about my design suggestions for an electric Morris Minor.

There have already been some prototype electric Morris Minor conversions already, which I will discuss.

In addition I have designed alternative ways to successfully convert classic cars such as the Morris Minor.

History & background

The Morris Minor is a British car designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, that was launched in 1948.

The Morris Minor originally was produced with an 918cc Side valve Petrol engine, but this was replaced in the early 1950s by an Overhead Valve (OHV) engine.

The OHV engine was improved and its size increased during the remainder of its production. and the later models were 1098cc in cubic capacity size.

The standard Morris Minor had the engine connected to a four speed longitudinal mounted gearbox, attached at the back of the engine.

The gearbox output is connected to a long single drive shaft, which runs underneath the car.

The drive shaft connects the gearbox to the rear axle.

The rear axle incorporates a ‘differential’ which fixes the speed ratio, between the rotational speed of the drive shaft, and the rotational speed of the road wheels.

Therefore as the engine power is transferred via the gearbox and drive shaft, to the rear axle, it is a rear wheel drive car.

Any design for an electric Morris Minor, will probably stick with the rear wheel drive configuration.

The reason for keeping the electric Morris Minor as Rear Wheel Drive, or RHD for short, is engineering design simplicity.

The front suspension on a Morris Minor was advanced for a British car of its time (1948).

The front suspension used torsion bars, as the springs, and featured ‘rack and pinion’ suspension, that is still used in modern cars.

The shock absorbers are different to the type used in modern cars, and are known as ‘lever arm shock absorbers’.

To convert an electric Morris Minor into powering the front wheels, known as front wheel drive, would require major suspension modifications (unless hub motors were used).

This is because the original Morris Minor steering and front suspension system, would need a lot of component changes.

Of course its possible to make a front wheel drive Morris Minor, but more expensive, and also changes the cars handling characteristics.

If however you are hell bent on a front wheel drive electric Morris Minor then its possible.

My solution would be to use hub integrated motors.

Hub integrated motors consist of an individual electric motor powering each driving wheel.

For instance to create a front wheel drive Morris Minor, you would have two motors driving each of the two front wheels.

If you wanted to use hub motors, but to keep the traditional Morris Minor rear wheel drive configuration, you would fit the motors to the two rear wheels.

So let’s decide to stick to the original rear wheel drive layout for our electric Morris Minor.

There are four ways that you could configure the electric motor layout. This also applies to many other classic cars, which share the same basic layout.

Firstly, the original internal combustion engine can be removed, whilst leaving the Morris Minor gearbox, driveshaft and rear axle (Inc differential) in place.

An electric motor is then attached to the original Morris Minor gearbox.

Some electric motor conversions that use this layout configuration, are clutch less in design. The torque & high rev range of many electric motors mean that the car can be driven in the same gear for most of the time.

Other electric car conversion designs still incorporate a conventional clutch.

The advantages of retaining a clutch are better motor speed control, and more importantly more retention of the original Classic Car experience.

A second option for mounting the electric motor in your Morris Minor, would be by removing the gearbox and either mounting the electric motor at the front end of the drive shaft and directly attached to its front end.

Or alternatively the drive shaft could be removed, and the motor mounted directly to the rear axle differential input shaft.

This second method of attaching the electric motor directly to the rear axle differential connection, has advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage is a saving of weight, by removing the drive shaft which runs underneath the car, from front to back.

Less weight is a good thing for performance of your electric car.

The disadvantage is that it makes it a bit harder to mount, than if you mounted the electric motor at the front end, and retained the driveshaft.

It is harder to mount, because you need to create a mounting cradle which attaches to the rear axle, and supports the weight of the electric motor.

Morris Minor Hybrid

You may well of heard of Hybrid cars.

If not, then let me explain what they are.

A hybrid car is a car that uses a combination of combustible fuel, such as petrol or diesel, and electric power.

A hybrid car might drive the wheels using an electric motor at low town speeds, and petrol at higher speeds.

Alternatively, the petrol (or diesel) motor could be used, if the battery was low on charge.

The use of electric motors at low speeds around towns, has obvious environmental advantages.

However you might also still want a traditional petrol motor for long distance trips.

My design for a Morris Minor Hybrid, keeps the petrol engine, whilst also adding electric front-wheel drive.

The rear wheels continue to be driven by the Morris Minors petrol motor.

Whilst the front wheels are driven by ‘in-hub’ electric motors.

A simple solution would be to have a manual switch, to be able to select the drive system.

Alternatively an automatic electrically controlled system could be used.

I am currently considering the design for an automatic system, and will provide further details in the future.

Gearbox Considerations

If you want design simplicity for your electric Morris, then keep the original gearbox.

The electric motor is simply attached to the gearbox, in place of the original petrol motor.

This is done via a special adapter plate, and a coupler.

The potential problem with using the original gearbox is excess motor torque.

Vehicle Electric Motors produce a lot of torque at low RPM (Revolution Per Minute).

The standard Morris Minor gearbox was designed to handle a maximum engine torque of 60 lb/ft (81 N·m) at 2,500 rpm.

The above torque figure is for the most powerful Morris Minor, built from 1962 onwards.

The gearbox was upgraded in 1962, along with the engine size (to 1098cc from 948cc), and gained Baulk-Ring-Synchromesh .

To ensure that you do not suffer premature gearbox failure, it is important that you consult electric motor manufacturers’ datasheets.

For an ordinary road going car, this should not be an issue, if precautions are taken to select a suitable motor.

For those looking to upgrade their Morris Minors performance, then this is definitely a consideration.

The characteristics of electric motors is instant maximum torque at very low rpm.

This sudden surge of torque needs to be considered, as it could damage the standard minor gearbox in a relatively short time.

The morris minor has been converted and upgraded for many years by enthusiasts, including the gearbox.

One popular conversion is to fit the Ford Sierra gearbox.

The Ford gearbox offers two advantages.

The first advantage, is that the Sierra gearbox gives you five forward gears, compared with the minors original four.

The second advantage of changing the gearbox to the Ford unit is strength. The gearbox is stronger and can handle more power.



Zigbee Technical Characteristics

Characteristics Overview

Zigbee characteristics make it suitable for short range wireless communications.

It is based on the IEEE 802.15.4-specification, created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The technology is used to create personal area networks, also known as PAN(s).

PAN’s are created using low-power digital radio tranceivers, using Zigbee technology.

 PAN’s are used in applications including home automation, data collection, and medical devices.

Zigbee is designed to be used in small scale projects requiring wireless connection.

Characteristics of the technology is low-power consumption and RF transmit power, low data transmission rate, and short communication range.

  • Developed by Zigbee Alliance
  • IEEE 802.15.4 based specification
  • High level communication protocols
  • Used to create Personal Area Networks (PAN)
  • Uses small low power digital radios
  • Typically used for home automation, medical device data collection, other projects requiring low power & low bandwidth
  • Conceived in 1995, standardised in 2003, revised in 2006

Features of Zigbee

  • Low power
  • Low data rate
  • Close proximity data communications
  • Wireless ‘ad hoc’ network (WANET), which is a decentralised type of wireless network.

Zigbee Advantages (compared with other WPANS, such as Bluetooth & WIFI)

  • Simpler
  • Less expenditure

Applications (typical uses)

  • Wireless light switches
  • Home energy monitors
  • Traffic management systems
  • Other consumer & industrial equipment, requiring short communication range & low wireless data transmission rate
Typical  Performance
  • 10 – 100 meters range (per device), based on line of sight
  • Range dependent on both power output & environmental characteristics
  • Long distance communication possible by passing data through a ‘mesh network’, which allows the data to transfer through ‘intermediate’ devices between zigbee nodes
  • Long battery life, due to low power consumption
  • Secure communication using 128 bit symmetric encryption keys
  • 250 kbit/s, which is suited to intermittent data transmissions, such as from a sensor or other input device.

Wireless Data Overview

What is 802.15.4 and Zigbee?

IEEE 802.15.4 is a technical standard which defines the operation of low-rate wireless personal area networks (LR-WPANs).

It specifies the physical layer and media access control for LR-WPANs, and is maintained by the IEEE 802.15 working group, which defined the standard back in 2003.


WLAN is short for Wireless Local Area Network.


WPAN is short for Wireless Personal Area Network.

Zigbee versus Bluetooth & WIFI

For the Internet of Things (IOT) & IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) the choice of wireless technology, depends on application.

If large amounts of data need to be transmitted between the sensor, and the receiving end, then Wifi may provide the best solution.

An example of an application requiring high data rates is transmitting video images, such as those from a CCTV camera.

WIFI is ideally suited to such an application.

Where WIFI has disadvantages however, is in power consumption and maximum amount of user nodes.

The relatively high power consumption of WIFI, compared with Bluetooth (especially Bluetooth Low Energy), and Zigbee, has issues.

The main issue is that the technology is not well suited to battery powered operation.

If WIFI links are used for data transmission, from remotely located sensors, then regular battery changes are necessary.

Of course if a mains electrical supply is available, then this isn’t an issue.

Bluetooth offers better (lower) power consumption than WIFI, so is a better solution for battery powered equipment.

The disadvantage of Bluetooth is that only 7 connections can be made simultaneously.

The connection time to establish a new connection is also longer in both Bluetooth and WIFI, compared with Zigbee.

Zigbee offers very low power consumption (especially in sleep mode), making it suitable for remote sensors, with long battery lives.

Battery lives can be a few years!

Zigbee is best suited to applications that require small amounts of data to be transmitted at a time.

An example is medical data monitoring of patients, or wireless light switches (Home automation).


Bluetooth Integration Services Smart Factories


Wet three phase Induction Motor Effects

Flooded or Wet Induction Motors

First of all, try not to!

When designing a marine of industrial installation, you need to consider the IP, or ingress protection rating of your Induction motor.

By choosing a motor with a high enough IP rating, it is possible that when you submerge your Induction Motor, nothing will happen.

This is because the higher the IP rating,  the better the motor casing is at keeping out dust & moisture, from the motors delicate ‘internals’.

Lets imagine a scenario, that an incompetant person has decided to save a few ‘quid’ by specifying an IP54 rated Induction Motor.

This motor will withstand dust & a splash of water, but not submersion, and is therefore suited to dry factories on land, but not a typical marine environment.

So what would actually happen if it gets submerged?

Inside the induction motor are tightly wound coils of copper wire, called a ‘stator’.

It is important for the motor to work, that there is a high ‘Insulation Resistance’ between each of the three ‘Stator Windings’.

Despite being wound tightly together, the stator windings are in fact insulated from each other by the coating on the copper wires.

What happens if water gets into the stator windings, is that the ‘insulation resistance’ between the three separate windings that make up the stator, goes down to very low levels.

The insulation resistance between the ‘phases’ can be measured using an insulation resistance, or IR tester.

Insulation Resistance (IR) testers, often refered to as ‘Meggers’ after a famous brand of IR testers, inject a high voltage through two separate stator windings, or  between a winding and the casing of the Induction Motor.

The display on the IR tester shows the resistance between the separate stator windings.

The insulation resistance should be very HIGH.

On ships, SOLAS (Marine regs) specifies a legal minimum of 0.5 Mega Ohms.

In practical terms you should not accept an Insulation resistance of less than 1M (Mega) Ohm on board ships, and not less than 2M Ohms for land based installations.

Low IR on board ships will cause an Earth Fault alarm to be triggered.

Induction motor servicing tips. Photos (c) Craig Miles 2017-2021.

How to Dry Out a Flooded Induction Motor on-Board Ship.

If you find yourself in the situation of having a flooded motor, with resulting very low insulation resistance, the situation can be remedied.

Firstly consider safety, as water and electricity are not a good combination, and water can conduct electricity.

Follow all correct electrical supply isolation procedures (Valid Permit to work, Locks & Tags etc).

Check and re-check that you have correctly isolated the supply,  using an appropriate tester, such as a ‘live line tester’. Also check that the tester works (using ‘Proving Unit, or known test supply) , both before, and after testing the isolated supply.

Once you are satisfied that the motor is safe to work on, then drying out the stator windings of the flooded motor, can be done in two ways.

The first method is to dismantle the Induction Motor, so that the stator windings are exposed, and to place the motor in a warm environment.

As getting the motor back in service quickly is important, a warm air source, such as a hairdryer can be used to warm the windings, and chase out moisture.

If using something like a hairdryer be careful, as hairdryers have a low IP rating, as they are not designed to come into contact with water.

Therefore keep it at a safe distance from the motor.

Never stick one inside the stator of a damp motor for instance (disclaimer: this blog is for information only, and should not be relied on legally, as it’s free. If you injure yourself, due to lack of proper formal training, then I accept no liability)

Periodically you can re-check the Insulation Resistance readings until they have risen back up to acceptable levels, and the motor is dry.

Important note:  Seawater is corrosive, and the motor is likely to need washing / cleaning out, with freshwater etc, before you start the drying process.

The second method that can be used, is to gently heat the windings up using an electrical welding set.

A  low current from the welding set is passed through the windings, which causes them to gently heat up, which helps dry them out.

I am not going to elaborate on the second point too much, as you really need ‘hands-on’ training on how to do it, and I accept no liability / nor want you to injure yourself.

Your marine training provider can show you how to do this.

Once the windings have totally dried out, and the insulation resistance is back to the pre ‘flooded’ levels, then the motor can be reassembled and re-connected.

Induction Motor Maintenance & Testing

Induction Motor Starter Types

Induction Motor Servicing Tips For Ships & Factories



Computers Lifespan Extension Using Open Source Software

Computers lifespan is determined by two main factors.

The firstly being what is known as the hardware MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures), and the second being how long the operating system is supported by Microsoft or Apple.

Computer hardware will normally last far longer than the software operating system, that they were supplied with.

You can sometimes upgrade the operating system to a newer version.

For example from Microsoft Windows XP  to Windows 10, but this costs money.

Another issue is that newer commercial operating systems generally need more computing power to run. This is because they are designed to run on the latest computer hardware.

To be continued……



What is Design Thinking

What is design thinking all about?

The process of design thinking can be broken down into five steps:

The first step is known as the Empathize stage. During this stage, the products intended users needs are researched.

The research involves getting to know the users wants, needs and objectives.

This is achieved by observing people and talking with them.

By engaging with people (desired users), you can understand them on a psychological and emotional level.

The designer should set aside all assumptions and preconceptions, thus allowing a real user insight to be gained.

Stage two of the process involved defining your user’s needs and problems.

The third stage of the design process is the Ideate stage. The purpose of this stage is to challenge assumptions and create ideas.

Stage four is the prototype stage, where you start to create solutions.

Finally, in stage five, you try out the solutions that you have come up with during the prototype stage.




Podcast New on Anchor FM By Craig Miles

My new podcast hosted on the popular podcast hosting site Anchor FM has just been launched.

The podcast will be talking mainly about marine electrical engineering, and wireless radio communications.

Craig Miles • A podcast on Anchor

Electrical engineering and wireless radio communications are converging now more than ever, due to Industry 4.o (I40), and the enormous increase in the growth of Industrial Internet Of Things, IIOT.

For example, the humble AC Three-Phase Induction Motor is now becoming an ‘ Internet connected’ device.

You will find three-phase Induction Motors everywhere in industries such as manufacturing and shipping, but traditionally they were not connected to the internet.


This is the type of topic that the podcast is focused on, though it may occasionally meander slightly 🙂



Synchronising Two Generators Connected In Parallel

Synchronising two generators that are connected in parallel is important to do correctly, to avoid potential damage.

A two generator system is found on ships for example, as SOLAS regulations require more than one marine generator on-board.

Lets first consider the generator that is already connected to the ship, or a land-based electrical system.

This generator is producing a three-phase voltage output typically of 440 Volts for a marine ships installation or 400 / 415 volts for a land-based (shore side) generator system. An example of a land-based installation application is powering a hospital emergency power backup system.

Being a three-phase generator means that three voltage sine wave outputs are produced.

Each of the three voltage outputs is sine waves because the generator produces Alternating Current (AC)

to be continued soon, so check back….





Generator Reverse Power Protection On Ships

Generator reverse power protection on ships is required, to protect against failure of the Prime Mover.

Under normal operating conditions the ship’s generator is turned by the Prime Mover, which allows the generator to operate, and produce power.

Under conditions where the Prime Mover is not turning one of the ship’s generator, the generator will effectively act as a motor.

This condition is called ‘generator motoring’, and needs to be avoided.

The reason that we don’t want the generator acting as a motor, is that it presents a load onto the ships electrical system, and draws active power from the system.

To protect the ships electrical system against ‘generator motoring’,  generator reverse power protection is incorporated into the ships electrical system.

This protection is in the form of a ‘reverse power relay’, which is incorporated into the ships electrical system.

Reverse Power Relays can be either of the mechanical or electronic types.

Mechanical types consist of an aluminium disc, set between an upper and lower electromagnet.

The upper electromagnet coil is the Voltage (Potential) coil, whilst the lower electromagnet is the current coil winding.

Eddy currents are produced by the operation of the electromagnets, which try to exert torque on the aluminium disc.

The aluminium disc is mounted on low friction bearings, but a mechanical ‘stop’, prevents it from turning clockwise due to the torque produced by the Eddy currents.

However, the disc is designed to freely rotate in the reverse direction, during a reverse power fault.

The action of the aluminium disc turning in a reverse direction, causes it to close the normally open switch contacts, therefore triggering the disconnection of the ‘motoring Generator’.


How Marine Generator Works & Fails | Craig Miles



Automating NHS Hospitals Using Robots

Robots automating NHS Hospitals could save the National Health Service a lot of money over the long term.

Since April 2020, I have worked part-time in an NHS hospital, initially as part of the Deep Clean Team, and most recently as a Housekeeper.

This has given me a privileged insight into current NHS hospital operations.

Firstly I should point out that there is a human cost to automating the NHS, in terms of Jobs.

Automation of industrial processes is already rapidly underway, and accelerating in this Covid world.

Whilst it is inevitable that jobs will be lost due to automation and robotics, there is also a more positive side.

The positive side is that new jobs will undoubtedly be created to replace the lost jobs.

There is indeed scope for optimism.

If you doubt my optimism, then think back to the jobs of years ago.

There are, for example, few telephone switchboard operators in the world anymore, as they were replaced by automatic systems to route calls to the desired location.

Ward Clerks…

Automating NHS hospitals using Robots will be to be continued..


Hospital Cleaning Monitoring Using IOT

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

What I truly want!

For some time now, I repeatedly wake up between 1 pm – 2 pm, with the same emotional thought.

That thought is that I should leave the UK, and move to mainland Europe.

To be more accurate, it’s more of an intense feeling of mild panic, as the end of the Brexit transition period looms.

Should I say or should I go

A difficult choice, as I have family in the UK, but I have been increasingly horrified at the way the UK has been acting towards our close neighbours.

I also don’t agree with the way the UK government treats its citizens.

Whilst the UK is one of the best places in the world to live, I have long been horrified at the way it doesn’t put its citizens first.

Recently the Prime Minister said that the first duty of the state is to defend the realm.

Whilst defence is important ( we are NATO members), shouldn’t the first duty of a country, be to its own people’s welfare.

Recently I was listening to a podcast, in which the person being interviewed, defined leadership.

Leadership is about encouraging, and helping those below you, to improve themselves, to grow!

This surely is what the EU does, in helping poorer EU countries to grow and improve, through financial assistance.

The current UK attitude seems to be to cut the International aid budget. This is in addition to a widespread desire to stop paying money into Europe (EU).

The UK is a wealthy country, and surely by helping our worldwide neighbours improve, we help ourselves, in the long term.

This is because as the countries we help get wealthier, they can buy our products and services. People buy from people they like!

I’m also a big believer in the truth that you should treat others as you wish to treat yourselves.

So back to the question, should I stay, or should I go?

I think I should, but it’s scary and exciting at the same time.

I will update this blog post, and keep you updated later.

Craig x.

School Statements are counterproductive

Is Labelling kids with special needs is counterproductive.

As a former supply (substitute teacher, I had the privilege to work in over 50 schools.

This experience covered both primary and secondary schools, which gave me a fantastic insight into the attitudes of many children.

One thing I noticed was that some children would use their special needs statement, as a reason why they could not attempt a new piece of work.

One such example was a year five girl, who stated that she could not start a maths task because she had been told she was dyslexic!

With encouragement, and a clear explanation of the task, she was able to start and complete the task, however, this initial reluctance to start was concerning.

It could well be that she needed further task explanation and support, but she was quick to define her abilities to attempt a task, by her ‘statement’.

Whilst I am not saying that we shouldn’t put support in place to maximise student attainment potential, there is the danger that students can start to identify themselves, by the educational ‘label’ they have been given.

Why are we trying to get fish to climb trees?

Fish are brilliant swimmers (except dead fish), but generally lousy tree climbers.

We as human beings are all unique individuals, all with valuable skills and insights, to potentially contribute to improving society.

Whilst we are all one species, we do differ in many ways, compared to other species.

Do you know any greyhounds with dyslexia, or chimpanzees with ADHD?

As human beings, we are all brilliant and talented, but in schools sometimes it seems like we are trying to get fish to climb trees.

I say that we are trying to get fish to climb trees because surely ADHD or any other educational label is just trying to understand and fix, the fact that children are different.

We are trying to get all children to fit into a narrow definition of success, within the school environment.

Attempting to get all children to achieve in a narrow definition of success, suits schools & Ofsted, but not children.

We are surely failing our children’s mental health and self-esteem if we are forcing them to be something they are not.

Whilst we can argue about the relative influences of nature versus nurture on a child’s development, the fact is that we have natural abilities and talents, not to mention interests.

A potential new approach to schools

We have the opportunity to creatively redesign schools for the future of society.

Primary school should be about discovering & nurturing a child’s passions and interests, not getting stressed taking SATS tests.

If a child shows an early interest in music, then tailor a personalised education plan around music.

I’m not saying forget maths and English, but these can be made relatable to the child’s core interest (s).

Childhood should be a joyous experience of personal discovery, not an attempt to fit in to a narrow range of learning criteria.

Labelling kids with special needs is counter productive.

Is Labelling kids with special needs is counter productive.

As a former supply (substitute teacher, I had the privilege to work in over 50 schools.

This experience covered both primary and secondary schools, which gave me a fantastic insight into the attitudes of many children.

One think I noticed was that some children would use their special needs statement, as a reason why they could not attempt a new piece of work.

Once such example was a year five girl, who stated that she could not start a maths task, because she had been told she was dyslexic!

With encouragement, and clear explaining of the task, she was able to start and complete the task, however this initial reluctance to start was concerning.

It could well be that she needed further task explanation and support, but she was quick to define her abilities to attempt a task, by her ‘statement’.

Whilst I am not saying that we shouldn’t put support in place to maximise student attainment potential, there is the danger that students can start to identify themselves, by the educational ‘label’ they have been given.

Why are we trying to get fish to climb trees

Fish are brilliant swimmers (except dead fish), but generally lousy tree climbers.

We as human beings are all unique individuals, all with valuable skills and insights, to potentially contribute to improving society.

Whilst we are all one species, we do differ in many ways, compared to other species.

Do you know any greyhounds with dyslexia, or chimpanzees with ADHD.

As human beings we are all brilliant and talented, but in schools sometimes it seems like we are trying to get fish to climb trees.

I say that we are trying to get fish to climb trees, because surely ADHD, or any other educational label is just trying to understand and fix, the fact that children are different.

We are trying to get all children to fit in to a narrow definition of success, within the school environment.

Attempting to get all children to achieve in a narrow definition of success, suits schools & Ofsted, but not children.

We are surely failing our children’s mental health and self esteem, if we are forcing them to be something they are not.

Whilst we can argue about the relative influences of nature versus nurture on a child’s development, the fact is that we have natural abilities and talents.

A potential new approach to schools

We have the opportunity to creatively redesign schools for the future of society.

Primary school should be about discovering & nurturing a child’s passions and interests, not getting stressed taking SATS tests. We should also not be labelling kids at such an early age.

If a child shows an early interest in music, then tailor a personalised education plan around music.

I’m not saying forget maths and English, but these can be made relatable to the child’s core interest (s).

Childhood should be a joyous experience of personal discovery, not an attempt to fit in to a narrow range of learning criteria.























My Personal Passions & Values

Passions & Values:

Helping people
Breaking down inequalities
Helping people believe they can constantly improve themselves.
Challenge conventional processes & ways of thinking


Internationalist, with a belief in close friendship & cooperation between nations.
Believer in taking international best practice, and applying it to local communities. To constantly improve the lives of those who live in those local communities.
Adventurous spirit,..likes to try new & different things.
Curious,..likes to experiment & learn, even if I fail…its ok, as I learn.
Human rights….I don’t care where someone was born…I got lucky (being born in a safe & wealthy country), so think everyone should be treated equally, no matter where they were born.


If I punch you in the face, you are likely to punch back! Conversely, If I let your car out of a side street, you are then more likely to do the same for someone else, further down the road (it works).

Preferred business working environment:

Flat organisational structure
Laid back and friendly
Creative ideas valued, and encouraged
Everyone in the business genuinely valued……the dustman that collects the bins from the Prime Ministers house, is just as important as the prime Minister…..they are both part of a team……remove one, and the system breaks down.