I am currently working on a project and need some help. I am considering developing an automated system on a boat where it has several sensors(temp, water level, fire alarm) along with gps and radar where if the sensors detect an issue, an automated response will occur and everything interfaced with a display system using arduinos. The questions is how can that be achieved as a general outline and what level of difficulty do you think. I am kind of new to this yet hope you can help as I am interested in pursuing and adding more specs to the project.
So, basically your project is to duplicate the existing commercial marine electronics vessel monitoring system, but start from scratch and use Arduino micro-controllers.
I would suggest that you buy a Mega (for its extra hardware serial ports) and develope small sketches for each of your parts. There will be help on the internet for the common components. Once you have each piece working independently it will be easier to put them all together.
There are a lot of good tutorials in the useful links thread.
Google "Maretron" and see the products they offered. They were my customer for many years. We built a great number of circuit boards for them. They were bought out over a year ago, but you can get an idea of the various devices they offer and how they interconnect them. There is also a thread on the Arduino forum relating to the NMEA 2000 protocol and boards to talk with that system.
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Can you please tell us your electronics, programming, arduino, hardware experience?