Lorawan Server

What is lorawan

Lorawan is a wireless wide area network technology, based on Lora  narrowband  Spread Spectrum technology.

What Does a Lorawan Server Do

A lorawan server is in the Internet Cloud, and processes data received from  remote field sensors (measuring environmental factors), which are known as nodes.

The data from the nodes is received by a device called a  Lora Gateway    , which then sends the data to the Lorawan Server.

The Server

There are a number of suitable servers available, and some are open source. Open Source means that you are able to download, use and modify the server code, with some licence restrictions (check first).

For example here is an Open Source Lora (WAN)  server  https://forum.loraserver.io

I intend to install this code, and will be expanding this post with more information, as I go along.

Be sure to check back on a regular basis.

Craig.

How to Build a Lorawan Gateway

What is Lorawan

First of all, what is Lorawan. It is a wireless technology that allows small amounts of data to be sent between a remote sensor (such as a river level detector), and the Internet.

Lorawan technology is very efficient at sending the sensor data over long distances, whilst consuming very little power. This means that a the sensor devices can be battery powered, whilst the batteries last for years.

What is a Gateway then

A Lorawan Gateway is the device that receives the wireless signals containing data, that has been transmitted (using Lora wireless technology) from the remote sensors (river level monitoring, air quality etc).

Once the Gateway has received the wirelessly transmitted data, the gateway forwards the data onto the Internet.

Gateway connection to the Internet can be via a variety of means, such as Wifi, Ethernet, 3G, 4G, 5G etc.

Building the DIY Gateway

For beginners to building their own DIY 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.

Type:

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.

network=

{
ssid="The_SSID_of_your_wifi"
psk="Your_wifi_password"

}

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

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:

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, as to which pin is which on the Concentrator and Raspberry Pi boards, why not get in touch.

I also offer workshop training, where I can train your students to build their own Lorawan Gateways.

@acraigmiles

www.craigmiles.co.uk

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

How can I make my diesel engine last a long time

How you can make your diesel engine last a long time

Diesel engines can last for the life of your car or boat, with regular and cost effective maintenance.

Changing the Oil Regularly

Changing the engine oil on a regular basis is important in order to make your diesel engine last a long time.

This is because when the engine is running, the oil forms a very small ‘cushion’ between the moving metal engine components.

This ‘cushion’ of oil greatly reduces friction inside the engine.

Friction is the enemy of engine longevity, as it causes premature wear , and failure of the engine components, such as bearings.

Over time, the engine oil in a diesel engine will become contaminated with carbon and microscopic pieces of metal.

The oil will also lose efficiency due to the hard work it has to do, under extreme heat conditions.

Therefore oil should be changed regularly, and never later than the manufacturers service schedule.

The make your diesel engine last a long time, I would recommend that ideally you change your oil more regularly than the manufacturers service schedule.

The reason for this, is that manufacturers may extend the service times, in order to make the vehicle more attractive to buyers.

This often happens with engines fitted to road vehicles, such as cars especially.

Under ideal conditions such as long motorway driving, the oil may well be ok to leave in longer, but many cars sit in traffic jams, or only make short journeys.

Short journeys are especially bad for vehicles, as the diesel engine does not have time to warm up to its correct operating temperature.

Because the engine has not warmed up, the oil will not be working at maximum efficiency, and increased wear can result.

Engine sludge can also occur in engines, regularly only driven short distances.

I personally change my diesel engine oil every 6000 miles, on a vehicle that is supposed to only need changes every 12,000. I start to feel a difference in smoothness at around 6000 – 7000 Miles, and that tells me its ideally due a change.

As most of my driving is long distance motorway, I would probably change it at 5000 Miles, if I did a lot of town driving.

For tips on changing the oil in a diesel engine, check out this link to my page on oil changes.

Fuel Filters

Another important way to ensure your diesel engine lasts a long time, is to regularly change the engine fuel filter.

Your marine diesel may well have two fuel filters fitted, to filter different size particles, however you road vehicle is likely to have one filter.

Fuel can be contaminated with dirt, microscopic organisms and even water, therefore filtering of the fuel is important.

In a diesel engine the fuel will enter the engine via the injectors.

These injectors have a single, or multiple very small holes at their ends, to allow the fuel to pass through.

If dirt is pumped through the injector, via the fuel, the injector can become blocked.

A blocked injector will result in poor running of the engine, and injector replacement, which is quite costly.

Hard Engine Use When Cold

As previously mentioned, the oil and the engine need time to warm up to there normal operating temperature.

Therefore running an engine at high RPM before the engine has warmed up, can reduce the life of the engine.

This is because of increased friction , caused by the oil not being up to optimal temperature.

High Revving

Diesel engines don’t need to be revved as high as petrol engines, to achieve maximum power and torque.

Keeping engine speed down will help extend the life of the engine.

Components such as the alternator will also benefit from keeping the engine revs down.

This is because they will spin slower, which puts less stress on bearings, belts and other components.

Fuses in Two Way Radio Installations

The importance of fuses in radio equipment power supplies

A safe two-way radio equipment installation requires the ability to quickly disconnect the supply to the equipment, if a fault develops. Fuses are a cost effective solution, for equipment safety.

What are Electrical Fuses

Fuses are devices that protect equipment installations, from excess electrical current.

Excess current is caused by a fault in the equipment, or system wiring, and can cause equipment damage, or even fire.

The fuse works by ‘blowing’ if a certain current through it is exceeded. When the fuse ‘blows’, the electrical current ceases to flow, due to a physical break inside the fuse, preventing current flow through it.

Types of Fuses

Electrical fuses come in a variety of package types, and current ratings.

For example, package types include ‘cartridge’ and ‘blade’ designs.

Fuses are also made to blow at different current thresholds, so can be matched to the piece of equipment it is connected to.

There are also fuse types known as ‘slow blow’ fuses.

Slow Blow fuses are designed not to blow due to a short spike in electrical current. Short spikes can be caused by surge currents, which is a very temporary increase in current, when a piece of equipment is started.

Importance of correct Fuses

Fitting an incorrect fuse can either reduce safety, or reliability.

For example, if a fuse is fitted that has too high a current blow rating, then if a fault develops with the equipment, the electricity will find another weak point in the system. This weak point could be the radio equipmenmt itself, and the excess current could damage it.

On the other hand, fitting a fuse that has too small a current rating will reduce system reliability.

This is because the current being drawn by the radio equipment is more than the fuse can cope with, and therefore will blow.

Two way radio equipment, draws less current when receiving, than when it is transmitting. Therefore the fitting of a too small fuse, may not become apparent, until the two way radio transmits.

Always refer to the manufacturers equipment specifications to understand the maximum current that the equipment will draw, and select a fuse slightly larger.

If no manufacturers data is available, then using an Ammeter in series with the DC supply, can determine the current drawn. Remember however, to also test on transmit, and with maximum transmit power selected (if an option).

(c) 2018 Craig Miles / Yesway Ltd.

www.craigmiles.co.uk

How Does a Marine Diesel Engine Work

How does a marine diesel engine work

Diesel engines are widely used in both road vehicles, and marine installations. But how do diesel engines work ?

Marine diesels, and diesel engines in general are a ‘compression ignition engine’.

Air is drawn into the cylinder, and then compressed.

This compression of the air is caused by the action of the piston in the cylinder, moving upwards.

At an optimal point in this compression of the air, fuel is injected into the cylinder.

The resultant fuel / air mixture, vaporises and becomes heated, due to the pressure in the cylinder.

The fuel / air mixture ignites, and the explosion, forces the piston down the cylinder.

As the piston is attached via a connecting rod, to the Crankshaft, the crankshaft turns.

Engine Efficiency

Approximately 40% of the fuels chemical energy, is converted into mechanical energy. This is the engine efficiency.

Marine Diesel Turbochargers

Turbocharging is a common method of increasing diesel engine performance.

What a turbocharger does, is increase the mass of air, entering a cylinder.

 

Decided to start blogging about positive thinking and optimism

Positive Thinking, Optimism & Success

After listening to Tony Robins, and other success gurus on youtube, I have decided to create my own optimism and success blog.

If you don’t know who Tony Robins is, I well recommend that you check out his videos on youtube.

Be selective about who you follow

I rate his advice, because he has helped top athletes and company directors, as well as a president of the USA (Bill Clinton).

Other people I listen to are the late Jim Rohn, Dale Carnegie, and Bob Proctor.

In the case of Bob Proctor, he is very much still alive, and prior to becoming a success in the ‘self help’ industry, had built up a international cleaning business.

I think it is important to be selective in who’s advice you listen too, as it seems to me that there are a lot of ‘self help success’ types, that are successful for talking about success.

Bob Proctor had created a ‘real’ business prior to entering the self help industry, and therefore I respect him more for it.

Model success

Tony Robins often talks about ‘modeling success’.

Modeling Success basically means emulating the actions of people who are already successful in an area of life (such as business), that you also wish to be successful in.

For example, if you wanted to be a stock broker, you would study how a successful stock broker acted, talked, even how they stood. Basically acting like the type of person that you wish to become, acts.

Avoid The News

Knowing what is happening in the world around you is important, however it is all too easy to become totally immersed in the in-depth analysis and discussion, that often follows the headlines.

In the age of Social Media, such as Facebook and Twitter, it is tempting to add your opinion to the events of the day.

This in my experience makes you feel less happy, as other people online have different views of the world, and you can quickly find yourself in an argument.

This raises your stress levels, and lowers your happiness levels.

Avoid Social Media

Recently I read an  online article by the guardian newspaper which interviewed a number of people who had given up using social media.

The group interviewed, ranged in ages from 17 to 25 years old.

They all reported feeling happier, and getting more done, as they were not comparing themselves to others, and being under pressure to portray having a great life, all the time.

Yesterday (9th January 2018) I decided to do the same for a month.

Exercise

My planned month off social media (which may become permanent) will be offset by an increase in exercise, as I will have more time.

Today I am planning to walk to the office and back,  which is approximately five miles each way.

Lorawan IOT Gateway construction

Lorawan- building an IoT  Gateway for the Things Network

Lincoln Things Network

I am the initiator of the Lincoln Things Network which is a worldwide crowd funded initiative, bringing lorawan wireless IOT (Internet of Things) to the world.

The local Lincoln group which I founded can be found at https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/community/lincoln/

The network receives environmental data from sensors. These sensors  transmit their data (such as air quality), via the radio frequency of 868Mhz (in Europe), to a device known as a ‘Gateway’.

The Gateway device receives the data, and puts that data onto the Internet, via Ethernet, or another connection method (such as 3G).

Once the data is on the Internet (in the cloud it can be used for a number of purposes.

Purposes include triggering an action, such as turning a physical piece of machinery on or off, or even alerting delivery drivers that a vending machine needs more salt and vinegar crisps (without the need of any human action to check and order stock).

Lorawan Gateway Construction

The first lorawan gateway for the city of Lincoln is being sponsored by Yesway Ltd, which also trades under the ‘Yesway Communications’  brand.

Yesway Ltd are sponsoring the components that go into the gateway.

The components consist of a lorawan wireless board, made by the German RF specialists IMST, and a UK designed Raspberry PI to run the software needed.

Additional components needed, include a suitable antenna and case.

The system gateway is almost ready to install  now, and has been designed to be able to withstand harsh outdoor conditions.

 

More information to follow shortly, as things progress, but in the mean time why not take a look at the Lincoln Local Things network group page.

 

 

tips for draining oil on a marine diesel engine

Tips for draining engine oil on a small marine diesel engine.

The oil in a diesel marine engine is used for lubricating the internal components, such as crank bearings.

Without lubrication there would be a high level of Friction generated inside the engine.

This friction would be due to the metal components ‘rubbing’ together, in other words ‘metal on metal’.

Such high levels of engine friction would result in damage to the engine components and rapid engine failure.

The  job of the oil inside a marine diesel engine is to create a ‘cushion’ between the metal components, to minimise friction.

An example of engine components that do this, is the ‘big end bearings’.

The Big End Bearings connect the pistons (via a connecting rod) to the Crankshaft.

When the engine is started, the oil pump starts to pump oil around the engine via  a series of small holes.

These holes supply pressurised oil to the engine components, such as the Big End Bearings.

The oil being fed to the bearings creates a thin cushion of oil between the bearing faces and the crankshaft, therefore ensuring that engine friction is minimised.

Draining the Oil

The tips and advice I am giving on this page are aimed at small diesel engines, such as three & four cylinder diesels from manufacturers such as Volvo & Yanmar.

Firstly, as with all combustion engines the engine should be warmed up to normal operating pressure.

This is because the oil will drain easier when warmed up.

Once the engine is warmed up to normal operating temperature, it should be shut down, and the appropriate safety shutdown / lock off procedures followed (refer to engine handbook / company policies & operating safety rules).

Use a suitable oil drain tray, and place underneath the engine, just under the ‘sump plug’.

The sump, or drain plug can now be loosened by turning in an anti-clockwise direction.

At this stage it is important to double check that your receptacle for draining the oil into is large enough (before you totally remove the sump plug).

Information about how much engine oil is held inside the engine, is available in the manufacturers handbook.

Once the sump plug has been removed the warm engine oil (assuming you have warmed the engine up to normal operating temperature) will start to flow out.

Refilling with fresh engine oil

Once all the oil has been drained out from the sump plug hole, then you are ready to start refilling.

Before you do, it is normal practice to replace the Oil Filter at the same time as you carry out an oil change.

Most oil filters on small marine diesels are screw on (though not all), and therefore can be quickly and easily replaced.

Using a suitable oil filter tool to grip the old oil filter, turn  anti-clockwise. The filter should then come loose, and be able to be spun off.

If the oil filter does not easily come off, due to previous over-tightening, then elsewhere on this site, I will explain how to overcome this issue.

Once the old oil filter is off, fit a new oil filter by carefully screwing it on in a clockwise direction.

Before fitting, first fill the new oil filter with fresh engine oil. This helps with quick recirculation of oil when the engine is started, as oil does not need to be pumped into the filter to fill it.

Before you start to fit the new filter, smear a light coating of engine oil around the filter rubber seal. Moistening the rubber seal helps make it seal, and prevent leaks.

Tighten the new oil filter finger tight (see manufacturers instructions). The filter should not be tightened hard on using tools, as this can damage the filter, and lead to leaks.

It also can make it hard to remove during the next oil filter change.

Once you have fitted a new Oil Filter, and replaced the drain plug you are ready to refill the engine with fresh oil.

To prevent possible leaks, it is advisable to either replace or heat up the copper drain (sump) plug washer, to make it malleable again.

If you reuse the same copper drain plug washer, you should suspend it from a suitable piece of  metal, and heat up the washer using a plumbers blow torch, until ruby red.

This will make it malleable again, and help prevent leaks from the drain hole.

Fit the washer onto the drain (sump) plug, and refit by screwing in a clockwise direction.

The drain plug should not be overtightened, otherwise you can damage the thread on the engine sump, which is what the drain plug screws into.

The manufacturers service instructions will contain information as to the correct torque settings.

The torque settings tell you how tight to tighten up the sump plug.

To tighten to the correct torque, a ‘torque wrench’ should be used. These are adjustable to set the correct torque.

Once the new filter is correctly fitted,  and the the sump plug screwed back in, to the correct torque, the new oil can be added to the engine.

It is important for the longevity and performance of your marine diesel engine, that the correct grade of oil is used.

Check with the engine manufacturers servicing handbook, for the correct grade and quantity of engine oil.

Once the new oil has been added crank the engine over to get up the oil pressure. This is ideally done without actaully starting the engine (see manufacturers servicing notes).

Once the engine is running, check for any leaks, and remedy if necessary.

Finally, record the date and engine mileage / hours at the time of the service, so that the next routine service can be carried out at the correct interval.

 

 

(c) Craig Miles 2017, including photographs & content. All rights reserved.

Insulated Neutral Earthing Systems on Ships

Insulated Neutral Earthing on Ships

Insulated neutral earthing systems on Ships and land based electrical installations differ.

In this article we look at insulated neutral earthing systems on ships, and compare them with land based systems.

Marine Engineering

Insulated Neutral Ships Earthing Systems

Ships earthing systems are typically different from land based installations, when it comes to their Earthing systems.

The system commonly used is known as the ‘Insulated neutral’ system.

As the name implies, the neutral phase wire is totally insulated from (and therefore not earthed to) the ships hull.

On land, the earth connection is ‘tied to’ the neutral connection typically at the local electrical substation, and at the point where it enters the building.

If a fault occurs on a land based installation, the RCD will trip quickly, and cut the supply.

This is ideal for land use, as the priority is to protect human life and livestock.

However, on ship the priority is to keep essential equipment running. For example it would not be acceptable on ship, if an electrical fault caused the Steering Gear to stop working.

For example it would not be acceptable on ship, if an electrical fault caused the ‘Steering Gear’ to stop working, as would be potentially dangerous.

Therefore by using an insulated neutral electrical system, when a fault occurs, the equipment is not disconnected, as would be the case on land.

Instead what happens is that a warning light / alarm will be triggered on the earth fault indicator panel, but the equipment on that circuit will still operate.

Should a second fault occur on the other phase wire, then the safety trip devices would be activated, and the equipment would no longer operate.

It is therefore important to repair a single earth fault as quickly as possible, to ensure safety.

Earth leakage from equipment circuits can also be monitored using the insulation resistance monitor, which will give precise readings of the insulation resistance.

An Earth Leakage monitor will also sound an alarm, if an earth fault occurs on the ship.

This can be logged over time.

Land-based Installations

On land based electrical systems, such as those found in homes and factories, the neutral wire (or phase) is connected to the ‘Earth’.

The Earth wire is a safety feature that allows the safe direction of ‘fault currents’ into the ground, and away from people and livestock.

As electricity will travel along the easiest ‘path’, the earth connection provides this.

If a piece of equipment with a metal case did not have an adequate earth, and a fault caused the casing to become ‘live’, then the electricity would travel through a person touching the case.

This is because the human body will conduct electricity (it is very moist). The electricity therefore will use the persons body as a low resistance path between the ‘live wire /or casing’ , and the earth (ground).

Just to be clear about this, what is happening is that the electricity is in effect using the body as a conductor, similar to a wire.

The above scenario is not good for the human body, and a current as low as 30mA (milliAmps) can kill.

That is why electrical installations are designed with safety features such as earth connections, bonding & RCD’s.

Bonding

Electrical bonding is the connection of metal objects, such as copper water pipes, and gas pipes together.

They are connected via earth straps, and clamped to the metal pipes.

If you take a look behind your bathroom sink, or under your kitchen sink, you should see them (talking about UK installations specifically).

The idea behind connecting the pipes together by wires, is for safety.

This is because the wires are also connected to the earthing system of the building.

If a fault developed, and one of the metal pipes became ‘live’, then there is a low resistance path for the electricity to flow safely away to.

It is important that all metal pipework is ‘ earth bonded’ , due to the following scenario:-

Imagine that the pipe to the cold water tap of a bathroom sink was earth bonded correctly, but not the pipe to the hot water tap.

If an electrical fault occurred and the hot pipe became live, then what is know as a ‘potential difference’ will occur.

Basically the voltage between the two pipes (hot and cold) ,and hence the metal taps, is different.

Therefore if you hold both taps, the electricity will flow through your body, as a path for the electricity.

RCD – Residual Current Device

A Residual Current Device, or RCD is a safety device, which has largely replaced the ‘fuse’ in most current installations.

The RCD detects when the current is at an abnormal level and quickly disconnects the supply. Normally the current flowing in each phase (live & neutral) will be equal, but in a fault

Normally the current flowing in each phase (live & neutral) will be equal, but in a fault condition the RCD will detect an imbalance and disconnect.

An imbalance might be caused by someone touching one of the two phases (wires).

Disclaimer: This article is for information only, and not to be relied upon. If you are unqualified, don’t mess with electricity.

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MCA AEC Course

MCA AEC Course

Last week I successfully got my MCA AEC Course certificate.

The AEC, is short for Approved Engineering Course, and is an internationally recognised marine engineering qualification, run by the UK MCA (Maritime & Coastguard Agency).

The course was a mix of engine theory and practical hands on work using tools, and covered both diesel engines and also petrol (Gasoline).

Both two and four stroke engines were worked on, including a Volvo four cylinder push-rod diesel engine; a three cylinder diesel Yanmar; 2-stroke jet ski engine, and a 4 stroke outboard motor.

Jet Ski Engine

The AEC qualification allows me to work as:-

  • Chief Engineer on sailing yachts over 24m in length and less than 200gt and 750 Kw within 60 miles from a safe haven
  • Chief Engineer on motor yachts over 24m in length and less than 200gt and l500Kw within 60 miles from a safe haven
  • Act as the Assistant Engineer on vessels over 200gt within 60miles from a safe haven (under the Large Yacht code LY(2)

The course adds to my experience as former lecturer in marine electrical maintenance and installation, at the world renowed South Shields Marine School.

If you would like practrical help, I am available for hire, and have a registered business.

I can help you with both practical marine maintenance in engine and electrical systems.

I can also train you, using my experience working as a lecturer at South Shields Marine School.

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