Having trouble with your nav lights, interior lights or other electrical equipment not switching?
Before the digital age the first thing would be to check the fuses, however with digital switching being a commodity on the latest yachts, a fuse box for low power equipment is nowhere to be found.
On many yachts Empirbus, a Garmin brand, is the chosen system for digital switching. A variety of electrical equipment from lights, pumps to wipers, blinds and heaters can be switched digitally.
Multiple IO-units are connected by a bus system and communicate through inputs like switches or touchscreens. Subsequently electrical equipment is switched through outputs.
The best thing about digital switching is being able to program the various in- and outputs: create scenarios by switching multiple outputs at once or include timers and delays for pumps or heaters. The program is written in Empirbus software on a desktop and uploaded by the technician to the Empirbus unit. Once the program is uploaded the systems parameters cant be altered without a desktop computer.
Boat lights, horn, radar not working
When we are asked to solve issues regarding digital switching, the first thing we do is actually like the old days: check the fuses. Nowadays we don't search for the fuse box, but the actual Empirbus unit that is switching the equipment.
Steps to reset digital switching fuses:
1. Locate the Empirbus unit that is switching the faulty electrical component (normally we'd use electrical diagrams but if these are not available you'll want to open interior panels)
2. Leds on each channel should be green, a red channel led means a tripped fuse.
3. To reset the channel to normal operation:
1. Press the right arrow button. ”SEL” will be shown in the display.
2. Use the right arrow button to step to the desired channel.
3. Press and hold RESET/AUTO for two seconds. The fuse is now reset.
4. Press the left arrow until the message “SEL” in the display disappears.
If the problem that caused the fuse to trip still remains, the fuse will trip again. In this case an electrician is required to diagnose the underlying issue.
Remote problem solving
Empirbus doesn't offer an out of the box solution to remotely fix issues related to the system. Also, once the program is manually uploaded, it can't be changed without a connecting a laptop to the system.
The workaround for Empirbus technicians is to ask the owner to connect a laptop to the empirbus-unit onboard and access through teamviewer. Empirbus software needs to be installed on the laptop in order to : another hassle for owner or crew alike.