Seakeeper has developed a particularly sophisticated anti-roll gyro that eliminates up to 95% of boat roll on vessels 27 ft. and up. A unique feature is its vacuum-sealed enclosure, which protects the gyro’s flywheel, bearings and motor from the marine environment and facilitates a smaller, lighter and less power-consuming design. Seakeeper’s solution uses the CAN bus to coordinate a distributed control system.
“We started using Kvaser because they are compatible with the calibration tools that we use for software programming and testing. From there, we found they were useful, rugged and cost effective to use in our production process and during our extensive testing programs. Kvaser’s interfaces have proved to be rugged and reliable in harsh environments, where there is regular exposure to salt water, high shock loads and temperature extremes.”
Among the attributes that set Seakeeper’s gyro apart from competitor solutions is its ‘smart’ nature, whereby it automatically gauges variables including sea state and boat speed, then optimizes performance quasi-instantaneously. Explaining CAN’s role in the Seakeeper control system, Bob Lawrie, Director of Advanced Projects at Seakeeper Inc.: “We use the CAN bus to coordinate various sensor readings and actuator outputs to optimize stabilization. Our CAN network has a system controller, an IMU (which senses boat motion), a drive (which powers the motor that spins the flywheel), and a user interface display. We also have a second, electrically-isolated CAN bus located in the user interface display that allows replication of the user interface functions on larger display screens.”
During control system development and testing, Seakeeper used a combination of the Kvaser Leaf Light Rugged and Kvaser USBcan Light 2xHS to connect to their calibration tools. Recounts Lawrie: “As a calibration tool interface, these provide access to all data needed to monitor and log data, adjust calibration parameters and optimize the control system. We also use the Kvaser interfaces to log data to proprietary software during our final assembly test qualifications and to program the controllers on the CAN bus during production and for software updates in the field.”