Al Thomason

For Al Thomason, smart regulator design isn’t just an engineering challenge, it’s an important part of his daily life. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Al made it his goal to retire early from the tech sector and live the boating life full time.

But, with a dual degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a career ranging from software development to senior product management with companies like IBM, Epson and Canon, Al was painfully aware that most of the products available off the shelf were unable to meet the needs of the batteries aboard his 1961 Ed Monk Sr. trawler Viking Star, but he had the unique ability to create a better solution.

“It became apparent to me deficiencies in existing charging equipment made it impossible to properly implement battery manufacturer recommended charging profiles,” said Al, “and undesirable interaction between discreet charging sources just amplified charging issues.”
Al set out to design a voltage regulator that addressed all of the charging challenges he felt were beyond the capability of products he found online and at the marine supply.

Among the challenges Al confronted was the inability to regulate based on any value other than voltage. He also found conventional voltage regulators were unable to communicate with other charge sources, which was a significant disadvantage when charging large battery banks.
Using his own boat as his laboratory and test subject, Al began the arduous task of designing a completely new regulator technology incorporating the ability to monitor current and voltage to determine battery condition, as well as designing a can bus based protocol which allows charge sources and monitoring equipment to work together to ensure optimal battery management.

After a development process that required a multi-year effort to combine breakthrough hardware design, thousands of hours of coding, and hundreds of hour’s worth of testing in the lab and on the water, Al’s charge control system is now available through Wakespeed
We are pleased to offer the Wakespeed WS500 advanced controller before the end of 2018, a game-changing product that, we believe, will change the way we all look at smart voltage regulation.