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Our friends at BEP Electric in New Zealand made an interesting announcement at the METS showing in Amsterdam this week that fully illustrates what the future looks like in power distribution on boats. I’ve described this before as the “convergence of traditional marine electrical wiring and electronics”. Well the convergence continues in the AC power distribution end of things with this weeks announcement. Check this out:
bep c zone


Integrated Marine Electronics Leader Unveils AC Mains Control and Output Interfaces for
Onboard AC Systems

Auckland, New Zealand – BEP Marine, an Actuant Electrical brand and leading manufacturer of marine electrical products, announced today another powerful addition to its line of CZone™ Digital Control and Monitoring solutions, the CZone AC Mains Control Interface (AMCI) and AC Output Interface (ACOI). Designed to complement CZone DC control products, the AMCI can be set to sense which AC power supplies are available and automatically switch to select which will provide power to a vessel; while the ACOI module provides distributed power to onboard AC devices. The new CZone AC power products eliminate the complexities associated with AC power control and greatly enhance safety and convenience at sea.

Designed to function as an AC mains selector switch, boaters can operate the CZone AMCI using any of the CZone displays to select which mains power device (e.g. generators, inverters or shore power) will supply power to the vessel. Removing the confusion from needing to understand how many amps of load are required on board and how many amps are available from each power source, the AMCI can be set to automatically change supplies when one supply current rating is exceeded – for example switching from shore power to larger onboard generator when the shore power supply max current is exceeded. The AMCI has a manual bypass and an easy-to-understand display screen for easy selection and operation. Developed primarily as part of the CZone system, the AMCI can also be used as a stand-alone AC mains control system, making it an ideal option for new builds or retrofit installations.

The CZone ACOI provides complete on/off control and power distribution protection for AC devices on a vessel. Full control of the ACOI is provided using any of the CZone displays. In the event of a short, the ACOI trips the circuit breaker ensuring power is stopped to the malfunctioning device and eliminates the potential for fire. When power demand exceeds the limits of a connected power supply, the module can be programmed to automatically switch off low priority circuits (load shedding) removing the potential for overloads and annoying tripping of mains breakers.

“With the CZone AC product modules, automation equals simplified operation,” said Jarrod Sagar, product development and marketing manager, BEP Marine Ltd. “Boaters no longer need to decide which power supply to manually switch to, or determine power availability levels. Our system handles all power readings and control, and alleviates the problems that can occur when something as simple as turning on the air conditioning trips the mains breaker shutting off power to the boat. As any boater knows, walks in the rain to reset the shore power breaker on the dock are no fun!”

Fully automatic, the AMCI unit provides six monitored mains power supply inputs and includes a bypass for manual operation. Reverse polarity protection and automatic shut off protects the unit from damage. The ACOI includes eight 50-amp outputs and provides on/off control and complete circuit-overload protection. CZone user-configurable modes, such as “night running” or “at anchor” allow the control of multiple circuits with a single button push, and can include manual or automatic operation selection for both the AMCI and ACOI components. Each device includes easy-to-understand LED indicators that provide status of circuits such as on, off and tripped. Both units operate on 110 and 230 VAC power systems, are rated to the IPx5 standard and protected by an industry-leading 5-year replacement parts warranty.

Pricing and Availability:
BEP Marine’s CZone AMCI Mains control Interface and ACOI AC Output Interface will be available in April 2011. For more information on the CZone AMCI and ACOI, BEP Marine and its entire line of marine electrical solutions, or to locate dealers and distributors please visit

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