Lighting Digital Control System


#1

I have a question about a Digital Lighting Control System on my boat that is no longer working. I know this is not exactly a home automation issue, but @Superhouse seems to deal with similar issues in an understandable way.

my boat was built in 2002 with a digital switching system for lights and heater fan. It consists of five push-button switch pods with a total of 16 switches. Each pod is constructed on a PCB. The switch pods are daisy chained to each other and to the control unit with 4 wire cable and with DT Duetsch Connectors at each switch pod and at the control unit. When a switch is activated, a back-lit light illuminates at the switch. The control unit has 16 relays connected to the loads via fuses (7 at 5A, 7 at 10A, 1 at 15A and 1 spare). The system was built by Carling Technologies for Tomco Marine and installed in about 50 American Tugs (the boat I have). The control unit on my boat has now failed, and Carling no longer supports the product. The control unit is potted, so I assume it can not be repaired. I would like to find a way to continue using the wiring harness and, hopefully, the switch pads, since they are installed throughout the boat and buried in the finishes. I need to find a replacement for the control unit. I am hoping an Arduino based system would work, but my understanding is pure beginner.

The 4 wire harness has red, black, green and white wires. The red and black test as 5V supply and ground from the control unit. I haven’t been able to find out how the switches/pods communicate with the control over the shared harness.

Any explanation of how the control side works would be appreciated, as would an approach to solving my problem.

Regards, franksilkwood


#2

Might simply be CAN bus…


#3

I think it probably is CAN bus. The nodes consist of six switch-pods (with a total of sixteen switches) and a control unit. Is there a way to replace the control unit while retaining the switches/pods and wiring harness? Would an Arduino micro controller work?


#4

It’ll take some research into the CAN messages being sent by the switches, but should be doable.
I haven’t done anything with it yet to learn how it works, but I picked up a CAN receiver module that supposedly works with Arduino.