The primary cause of boat fires is DC shortages and faulty wiring. Even the odd megayacht can suffer these costly and dangerous malfunctions with highly qualified engineers manning the mechanical and electrical systems.
Now there’s a new app developed by Dirty Dog Software that takes care of the most mind-numbing aspect of maintaining marine electrical systems so that you can focus on the more complicated aspects of what’s happening on your boat.
The DC Wire Sizer is the most complete and comprehensive marine DC wire-sizing tool available. Developed for both marine professionals (the Wire Sizer Pro) and the occasional tinkerer (the Wire Sizer Wizard), the app determines the proper wire size, along with the voltage drop and ampacity by using the ABYC E-11 or ISO 10133 formulas and tables.
It uses both so that no one is left out, says Julia Ashmun, managing partner of Dirty Dog Software. “In the first two weeks of sales, we’ve already had purchases from Chile, Finland, France, Mexico, Netherlands, U.K., and Canada, as well as the U.S.,” she says.
And it can do all this – determine the wire size, voltage drop and ampacity – by having the user answer just four simple questions.
It is something that you could just do yourself. Indeed, many people still do. You could work your way through these wire-sizing charts and calculations on your own – trudging through the data until you come upon the answer. But with the DC Wire Sizer around, it would be like doing complicated arithmetic using a pad and pencil when you have a perfectly good calculator sitting in front of you.
Albeit, a calculator that costs $2.99 to use. But that’s a one-time fee, and at the rate engineers are paid in this industry, well…that’s a drop in the bucket for a tool that saves you both time and a headache.
The Wire Sizer Pro is designed for marine professionals, tailored for speed with advanced options. It has seven insulation ratings, five wire bundle sizes and maximum voltage drop percent. For more granular analysis of voltage drop and ampacity, you can tap the results and adjust the wire size or length.
For the less technologically inclined (meaning anyone without the word “engineer” in their job title), the Wire Sizer Wizard allows you to find what you need through four easy questions before it displays the results. With each step, the user finds information, tips and help text that’s instantly available.
And with the “Wire Run List” you don’t even need to write anything down – no more hastily jotting down wire size, length, type, color or name. Wire Run Lists can be saved and reviewed, marked off, filtered through. They can be listed as active (remember, you need to do this), completed (congratulations, you did this), or cancelled (go ahead and forget all about this).
The app’s development was the result of a small development shop interested in writing boating applications that improved the quality, safety and productivity of boating, according to Ashmun. In other words: “Tools that make jobs, like re-wiring, faster and easier so that we can get back to boating,” Ashman says.
The company spent the last year in the Bahamas writing and refining the first app. They then tested it on everything from high-end boat-builders and serious do-it-yourselfers to occasional boaters and even non-boaters, “To truly test ease of use,” Ashmun says.
“In the beta testing, we found even the non-marine professionals started with the Sizer Wizard but after half a dozen wire runs they were comfortable using the Sizer Pro, which was designed to have a faster interface,” she says.
So far, the response has been terrific, according to Ashmun.