Addressable Digital Switching

I have boat, vintage 2002, with a digital switching system for lights. It consists of push-button switch pods located through out the boat and a central control unit. the switch pods and control unit have a four-wire harness (red, black, green and white with Deutsch Connectors on the shielded cable). There are a total of 16 switches, so I assume the switches must be addressable. The central control unit has automotive style relays to turn on/off the lighting loads (12V, 5 and 10 A circuits). Pictures are attached.

The central control unit has now failed. It is encased in an epoxy, so I assume it is not repairable. I believe that the switch-pods and wiring harness are still good. The whole system was built by Carling Technologies and installed in 50 boats of the type I have. I assume it is considered proprietary. understand that Carling then stopped building this type of system, no longer supports it and doesn’t respond to my support email inquiries.

I would like to know if an Arduino unit could replace the failed processor? I would like to retain the switch-pods and wiring harness (the harness runs throughout the boat and would be a pain to replace.

I am new to DIY electronics. I have tried to read up on Arduino, and it seems what I want to do may be possible, but I have questions:
*Is what I want to do feasible?
*Can the Arduino unit read the address codes of my existing switches?
*The Arduino unit is connected to a computer for programming. Does the Arduino unit have memory and is able to operate after the computer connection is removed? There will be a direct 12V poer source.
*What type Arduino unit(s) would be best?
*If new switches would be required, can I still retain the wiring harness.

Regards, franksilkwood

Was it like this current Carling product?

Not sure. My switch pads have 2, 4 and 6 button configurations. The CKP appears to have only a 12 button configuration and a six wire harness. My harness is four wire. Some of these products appear to assume a single switch pad at a driver location, rather than switch-pads distributed where the lights are located.

I don't see why the arduino couldn't replace the main controller. Without knowing the wiring configuration and communication protocol that the switches use it might be difficult. How many switch stations are there? If the switches are proprietary as well, your only option may be to make new circuit boards for the switches, each with an arduino (arduino minimal design with an atmega or attiny chip).

There are 16 switches in five switch pods. I imagine they are proprietary. Is there a way I can determine the communications protocol? Seems like there should be a way to read the addresses and then use, or convert, them for Arduino?

I now think the wiring is CAN Bus. Does that make it possible to read the communications protocol and make use of it?

Yes , power up the switch pods then listen to what addresses and data they broadcast when pressed and released.
You can get mcp2515 can modules from most places. Ali,eBay etc for a few$ only.
Relay modules from same places. A Arduino nano will be sufficient.
Check out Cory folder( think that's spelt right) for his canbus library along with examples.
And no you don't need the pc attached once the Arduino is programmed.

Thank you. This sounds very promising.

Where do I find the "Cory folder"? Looking at the Libraries page and searching, I didn't find anything.

My CAN bus wiring is four-wire (red, black, green and white) with Duetsch DT conectors. Any problem connecting to the mcp2515?

Google says that they probably meant: "Cory Fowler"