Friday, November 1

New Product – Simarine PICO

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Forever and a day, recreational camping has tried to mimic the comforts of home, but in a more portable package. Whether that’s seen in the mansion-like canvas tents of yesteryear or the modern, go-anywhere full-luxury off-road caravans off today, we’re trying to bring a little bit of comfort on the road with us. So it’s no surprise that as we see more automation and connectivity in our homes and cars, we’ll start to experience it in our campers, too. Redvision, the latest innovation from Redarc is one great example, although not the cool camper-trailer tech getting around at the moment.

This little display is the brains behind a number of camper-trailer electronics management and monitoring systems. Kimberley Kampers, for example, uses it across the range, and the Kimberley is often regarded as one of the most technologically advanced camper and caravan builders on the market.

Simarine is a small tech startup from Slovenia, mainly concerned with building smart tech solutions for boat owners who want to keep an eye on their vessels from afar. The PICO, an advanced battery monitor with the ability to keep tabs on more than just that, is the centre-piece of the company’s tech and incredibly useful even if you prefer waterways that can be driven through.

Considering it’s capable of monitoring a superyacht which could have up to six battery banks, fourteen tanks and 20 other inputs, it’s more than capable of handling the rigours of an off-road camper trailer which probably just has the two batteries and tanks. More than just monitoring, though, it gives useful information like the time until discharge or the state of charge as a percentage, rather than just a voltage, so there’s no need to do any math in your head. It can hook to WiFi and so is capable of sending a text message warning to your phone, or if in range and connected, sound an alarm if things are getting too low, so it’s just as useful in camp as it is in storage (especially if you have expensive batteries, like lithium’s, you’d rather not have discharge too much). A free app is available for both Apple and Android phones so there’s full control of the unit from your camp chair.

Although it can be used as a simple monitor, it’s real strength is it’s ability to monitor so much. It could be set up to tell you what temperature the fridge is at, how much fuel is left in the diesel heater tank, how effective the solar panels have been at different times of day, how hot or cold it is inside or out of the camper (or both) amongst so many other things. More than you need to know, really.

The display unit is water and dust proof, so can be mounted inside or out (more useful for boat owners, realistically), has a 3.5in screen an scratch-proof Gorilla glass. It’ll even work if your hands or the screen is wet as it’s operated by four CapSense buttons, rather than a touchscreen. It’s not bad value, either. In Australia it’ll set you back about $420 for the display, plus the cost of shunts you’ll need to monitor different parts of your camper trailer. Expect the basic kit to cost around $600. Check out the video below, outlining some of the things it can do.

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