The VoltSafe high voltage magnetic smart plug is one of those ideas that makes you say ‘of course!’ when you first see it, which is why it is so deserving of the 2023 IBEX (International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition) Innovation Award.
The way we transfer electricity hasn’t really changed much for 140 years. Two or three pieces of metal are stuck into a receptacle, and aside from the look of the male and female component, we plug our toasters in the same way our grandparents and great grandparents did.
That system works fine for toasters and TVs, but things like electric vehicles and electric boats need more capabilities than just moving electrons. That’s where VoltSafe comes in.
New world of possibilities for marinas
It opens up a whole new world of possibilities for marinas that adopt it. The magnetic plug and technology behind it create an ‘electricity gate’ that actively controls and monitors power right at the outlet itself. It also enables an ‘electrical fingerprint’ for the plug so it can be monitored on a computer dashboard or smartphone app.
Its those energy monitoring and other capabilities like automated billing that can help streamline the lives of marina owners and managers and make operations more efficient, secure, and cost-effective. The VoltSafe Marine system has its own pedestal, or can be retrofitted to existing shore power pedestals and there is a simple adaptor for boat owners with L5-30A cord sets.
With the electrical fingerprint, the plugs only turn on once the outlet recognizes an exact electrical signature from its boat counterpart. Internal integrated circuitry maintains the plug in a power-off mode until that fully-secure connection with the pedestal is established.
So, if the plug is accidentally dropped in the water, (say by an absentminded boater who pulls away from the dock while still connected) it’s not going to pop all the breakers or electrocute anyone. These are the kind of safety levels found in the aerospace sector. The other long term safety factor is that the sealed surfaces of the connector prevents the premature corrosion that can occur with standard plugs, especially near salt water.
VoltSafe future includes data communication
The other possibilities that open up with the VoltSafe magnetic connection is something prongs would never be able to provide. Things like data communication, AC or DC power, device load classification and more.
Sanad Aridah, Co-Founder and CTO of VoltSafe, says “With VoltSafe technology, we’re future-proofing marinas in anticipation of evolving boat technology. Our mission is to deliver the safest, most dependable, and user-friendly shore power experience at marinas.”
VoltSafe was recognized in the Boatyard and Marina Hardware and Software category of The IBEX Innovation Awards program, which is managed by the NMMA National Marine Manufacturers Association. The Awards are an annual competition recognizing outstanding design and engineering in multiple product categories. VoltSafe also won an innovation award at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in November of 2022.
A panel of expert judges, including members of the media, designers, and engineers, reviewed submissions and judged based on innovation, engineering and overall excellence. VoltSafe was chosen out of nearly one hundred entries submitted by everyone from startups to blue chip brands. “Being recognized by a panel of esteemed marine industry experts with this award is truly gratifying” said Aridah when accepting the honour.
VoltSafe has launched pre-orders for its shore power pedestals at IBEX. Interested marina owners and managers can find out more on the VoltSafe Marine website.