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Ericson Artificial Intelligence

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In this age of autonomous vehicles, machine vision coupled with machine learning, it’s astonishing to find that my boat came equipped with artificial intelligence…Thank God it did, because natural intelligence aboard my boat is in rare supply!

I discovered Ericson A.I. while in my slip. I had instructed ‘Miga’ to increase throttle, in order to back out of my slip. But luckily for me, she knew better! As much as I tried to move the throttle lever, it seemed unusually stiff. This must be the forced tactile feedback I read about in all the nerd magazines I get.

Amazing. Truly.

I deferred to the boat’s better judgement, and decided turn off the engine and not leave the slip.

But how would a boat made in 1985 seem to have it’s own brain and decision making tree? Well, through the wonderful process of corrosion and metal fatigue of course!

Thus, diving deeper into the inner workings of this mechanical/kinetic neural network, I found the programming at the cortex to be rather interesting. The design was manufactured by Merriman / Yacht Specialties. As I took it apart, I could clearly see pieces that had broken off. The rest of it self destructed as I removed it, as would be fitting to ensure that a foreign competitor couldn’t just copy the code.

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Luckily for me, a company online had a perfect match and was selling it for $295...

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In addition to the Control Head, I decided to remove the transmission cable bracket, seen below. It also had a self destruct mechanism in place which was triggered during removal. Unbelievable IP security on these boats, tighter than Apple... sheesh!

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I had a new one fabricated by a local shop. ELCO WELDING, 1711 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291. Great shop, very, very fair and run by Bob, a true craftsman.

While at it, I read Christian’s detailed posts about the pedestal disassembly and followed fastidiously. The remark he makes in one of his postings about baggies/labeling everything I took to heart, and have been doing with every repair since. This technique seems to have warded off Loki, who used to create mischief and materialize additional parts that don't fit back together during the final stages of a given repair.

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I replaced the cables with SeaStar CCX633xx XTREME 3300/33C Type Control Cable with 10-32 Threaded Ends.

In closing, although I was excited to learn that some of our boats include A.I., I really don’t think the technology is there yet… and was worried that although I tend to be an early adopter of said technologies, I DO believe in safety first.

So, at this time, I have had to remove Miga’s A.I. capability from my Ericson, and now have complete manual control.

Sorry Miga.

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Updated 07-13-2018 at 11:40 AM by vcirelli

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  1. toddster's Avatar
    Advanced technology is subtle and all around us. Some years ago, I was astonished to read in the manual for a Bosch power tool, that it automatically stops working when it needs repair!
  2. MMLOGAN's Avatar
    My crew automatically stop working when the beer runs out.

    Great write up Vince. Keep them coming. I'm sure there have been other "upgrades" you have performed.
  3. vcirelli's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by MMLOGAN
    My crew automatically stop working when the beer runs out.

    Great write up Vince. Keep them coming. I'm sure there have been other "upgrades" you have performed.
    Ha! Thanks Matt - I have a Möbius strip checklist of things in progress and things that need work