Copyright (c) Marc Dacey/Dark Star Media unless otherwise indicated. Above photo (c) Marc Dacey. Powered by Blogger.

2011-01-02

A product plug for a plug product? Or a future Dremel experiment?


Now, isn't this a bit of cleverness?

You don't really have to explain it, really. You just look at it, and then you look at the collection of assorted power adapters stuck into a six-outlet thingie stuck into the two plug outlet stuck in your pilothouse...OK, my pilothouse, and you say "Oh...how obvious". Thanks to The Incredible Hull blog, by the way, for this one.

I bet I can make one at home that's way more resistant to rust for use at sea...particularly in the pilothouse where if stuff isn't getting recharged, it's connected via USB to something else.

http://store.fastmac.com/product_info.php?products_id=458

That's the bit that interests me: a tidy way to have a "hub" that could be routed through an existing outlet so I didn't have to leave it flopping on the helm. In fact, I could see using a standard outlet that had maybe two 12 volt "cigarette lighter" DC sockets and two or three USB slots. Hell, throw in an SD card reader.

There are "helm" versions of a lot of charging/power sockets, but they are pricey and I don't actually want them. Steel boat and all...let's keep the electrics "inside", dry and out of the weather as much as possible. I don't even like the idea of outside speakers, really. Inside speakers with an IR remote to mute the stereo...sure. I love my music, but I love the music of the sea more, so I don't feel the need to "patio-ize" my aft deck. To each, his own.

But back to the AC plug box as a form factor for a variety of little connectors: Substitute "nav station" for "pilothouse"...the idea is taming the beast of a load of wires and low-draw chargers haphazardly connected every time you have the inverter running. "Sun's shining, wind's blowing, and we're motoring offshore to pump the tanks, kids! CHARGE UP!"

Let's not ignore the utility of having a sequestered laptop or little ITX box somewhere dry and out of sight, and being able to plug in a thumb drive from the helm to bring up different charts on a small monitor, or photos of what the reef looks like at different points in the day, or docs that are pre-loaded (Port captain goes off work at 1600h!). I can see plenty of plug and play reasons to have a hub, audio jacks (ship's intercom? SSB speaker relay?) or even a VGA socket permanently installed to some other networked resource or device that is perhaps already running and just awaiting a signal to access a flash drive or a webcam.

"Blank plates" cost about a buck, and a heavy gauge steel surround (suitably rust-proofed) might be worth experimenting with. That is, if somebody's hasn't already thought of it.

2 comments:

Silverheels III said...

All unprotected steel or iron will rust quickly on an ocean-going boat. Steel AA or AAA cells and the steel contacts in small battery operated devices, AC receptacles, Ethernet and USB connectors, tools and brass colored decorative wood screws will corrode in less than a year. Like plumbing....electronics fail at the interfaces. Multiple connections on Hub style networks will be troublesome. Even while inside the boat protected from the weather, the salt air will getcha!

Rhys said...

I'm redoing the cabin flooors with SB screws because they were done with black galvanized drywall screws (sigh...). Not a huge deal because two people can zap a whole cabin quickly...one subtracts while the other adds and you vacuum up the debris. But the salt air comes into it. I am investigating various strategies, from conformal spray on circuit boards and contacts to packing seldom-used goods in silica-gelpacked boxes. Other things will get a light coating of lithium grease or other barrier coat, and/or a pass with an emory board to remove surface crust.