Boat Fuel Management - part 2 (and more...)
In part 1 I described how I came to work with Internet of Things (IoT) products and how I first thought about using them for marine applications. After thinking about it I came to the conclusion that there is no reason the same products couldn't be used for RVs or many other applications (more to come on that in future blogs!). I ended my last blog talking about Optio Fuel - What it is, how it works and when you can get it. Well, here it is!
Optio Fuel is the first product we will be launching at Interactio. In it’s simplest terms it is a bluetooth enabled fuel flow sensor that calculates your optimal cruise range based on your current fuel consumption and how much fuel you have available (based on your fuel tank volume). It connects to your smartphone or tablet and has a super simple user interface that tells you:
Your current, live fuel use - accurate to one tenth of a US gallon per hour
Your current range, shown on a Map as a blue, shaded circle
Your optimal range, what we call EcoRange shown as a green circle with the EcoRange Leaf symbol beside it
Let’s look at a real world example of how you would use Optio Fuel on your own boat.
As soon as you start your engine you will see the numbers on the Fuel Tab of the Interactio App jump to life. The numbers will display your fuel flow/consumption as you are idling. The blue range circle usually covers the entire map at idling consumption, so the real action starts once you clear the marina or anchorage and begin to throttle up your engine. As your engine RPMs increase you will see the consumption numbers start to climb and your blue range circle will get smaller. The green EcoRangeTM circle will stay consistent as it is calculated based on the averages of your last 3 trips so it doesn't move as much as the blue circle, which is “live”.
Once you start to get close to your cruising speed, you will see the blue and green circles are closer - now just adjust the throttles up or down (usually down a bit) until your blue range circle is lines up with the green EcoRangeTM circle and that’s it - you are now running at the optimal speed to maximum range for minimum fuel.
It’s very easy and what’s even easier is it continually adjusts your EcoRangeTM based on boat loading, weather, tides, current, engine performance, etc. For instance, maybe the last time you were out in your boat you were with a friend fishing but this time you have your whole extended family on the boat - now there’s 8 of you - OptioFuel will learn and calculate your optimal range and update the EcoRangeTM circle for you automatically. You don't need to worry about anything except keeping the blue and green circles lined up. Easy peasy!
Once we had the OptioFuel prototypes working and were is detail deign for production we started thinking about other ways to bring IoT to boating. This opened up a whole raft of other ideas and cool products. We are currently working on 9 separate but complimentary products including the Interactio remove switching IoT hub, our IoT battery isolator and many others. Keep watching the blogs for more details and updates and as always, if you have any questions, suggestions or comments we’d love to hear from you.
Please feel free to contact us!