Remote Motor Control

Our client
Hydronautica, an internationally active company, concentrates mainly on electronic controls of drive systems for commercial and pleasure craft. Hydronautica mainly focuses on intelligent systems to control a ship from any place on, or next to, the ship, if necessary by one person!

Problem definition
Brunelco has meanwhile developed a large number of products for Hydronautica. Many of these products can be interlinked to form a very comprehensive and intelligent control system. The development of these products was based on a number of problems:

  • Electronic Motor Control (EMC): the completely electronic control of various components in the ship’s propulsion system (gas regulators and reversing gears of several engines) from one engine control system. Besides a very high reliability and easy installation, the system had to be suitable for every engine configuration!
  • Remote Motor Control (RMC): the possibility to operate all the engines of the ship wirelessly: from one or more stern thrusters to one or more bow thrusters. This made it possible for one person to manoeuvre or moor the ship in the most difficult situations such as tight harbours or busy locks.
  • EZY Dock: the intuitive control of the ship by means of a joystick, whereby the user does not have to worry about which engine to use in order for the ship to make the right manoeuvre. The development of the EZY Dock had to make mooring and sailing in ports child’s play.
  • EZY Pilot: full autopilot functionality which, by combining it with the RMC system, had to be made possible at a fraction of the cost of standard autopilot systems. With the EZY Pilot it had to be possible for the ship to sail on a predetermined course.

The RMC has become a very reliable wireless control system:

  • The wireless communication between the hand transmitter and fixed electronics on the ship is very reliable and insensitive to external interference signals. This communication is bi-directional so that a command is confirmed for verification before it is executed. In addition, the hand transmitter and fixed electronics on the ship are connected to each other so that no unintentional commands from surrounding ships are received and executed.
  • The hand transmitter works with rechargeable Li-ion technology and can work for weeks without recharging;
  • The hand transmitter is very durable and waterproof: by using an inductive charging system there is no need for an opening for a charging plug!

The EZY Dock has become a joystick that is very intuitive to operate:

  • Thanks to the connection with the RMC electronics, the EZY Dock has become a very cost-efficient solution. The intelligence of parallel control of different engines in the driveline of the ship has been solved by means of software routines in the RMC control;
  • The EZY Dock joystick can be perfectly combined with the RMC hand transmitter;
  • A maximum of 2 EZY Dock joysticks can be used.

With the EZY Pilot it is easy to keep the ship on course:

  • A simple module can be used to set the course to be sailed, and it can also be adjusted by means of the RMC hand transmitter;
  • The EZY Pilot is equipped with a GPS receiver and an electronic compass and is linked to the RMC system. In the EZY Pilot, steering corrections are calculated that are carried out by controlling both the main engine(s) and the bow thruster from the RMC system.
  • Apart from the EZY Pilot module itself, no additional electrical or hydraulic components are required! This makes the EZY Pilot a cost efficient solution.

Applied expertise and (development) tools

C, Visual C++
802.15.4 compatible radio modules