Panbo

Sonar wars: Lowrance StructureScan 3D, Raymarine SonarChart Live & GoFree Hooked

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jul 27, 2015

Lowrance_StructureScan_3D_split_screen_aPanbo.jpgThe competition around sonar burns hot on many fronts and the more the merrier, I say. At the recent iCast show Lowrance introduced StructureScan 3D, which displays in many ways like the Garmin Panoptix Down looking sonar which I saw demonstrated last February in its Forward looking version. Trade Only's Chris Landry noticed the similarity too and reports that SS 3D will also be supported on Simrad NSS evo2 displays. The necessary StructureScan 3D transducer and module are due out in December and purportedly improve on SS HD's standard down and side views as well as enabling the new 3D mode...

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Yacht Devices NMEA 2000 temp & barometer sensors, some good ideas but...

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jul 22, 2015

Yacht_Designs_NMEA_2000_thermometer_aPanbo.jpgOne of the most valuable improvements I've made on Gizmo is a Maretron TMP100 able to put six different temperature sensors on the boat's NMEA 2000 network, particularly the one I've set to alarm me if the engine block gets even slightly hotter than normal. I wrote about the plan in 2013 and will detail how well it worked out soon. Closely monitoring certain temperatures can save a lot of hassle and money though one impediment is the need for either a Maretron DSM display or a USB Gateway to configure the setup. It's intriguing then to learn of Yacht Devices' $99 N2K temp sensor with its clever cost-free configuration. But there are some potential issues...

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Nobeltec PC Radar & TZ v2 app, blazing trail two ways?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jul 18, 2015

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Nobeltec Furuno PC-Radar was announced at the Miami boat show, but I don't think it's gotten the recognition it should. Yes, it's like the Furuno MaxSea PC Radar that came to Europe in 2013, but now the feature/cost proposition seems to fit a wider range of boats, plus it's actually available over here. It's also noteworthy that Nobeltec's TimeZero v2 app is now out with support of Furuno WiFi radar and it's interesting to see how these two radar solutions compare. It looks to me like Nobeltec and Furuno are blazing two distinct paths to primary limited visibility navigation without multifunction displays...

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YB3i tracker/messenger, a highly evolved system

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jul 10, 2015

YB3i_on_Gizmo_rail_collage_cPanbo.jpg

The hardware portion of the YB3i tracker/messenger couldn't be much simpler or tougher. It's just a little bigger than the GPS mushrooms also installed on Gizmo's flybridge and it feels solid, while the ScanStrut Rokk rail mount that it fits is truly rock-like. The black cable only leads to a power source (9-30v DC) and the YB3i can get along without that for quite a while, thanks to an internal backup battery. And finally, the single LED "interface" is really only needed for extreme trouble shooting. But such hardware simplicity is only possible because of the impressive array of satellite services, cloud server wizardry, and mobile apps that comprise the rest of the ecosystem...

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Foggy, Brooklin Boat Yard builds an artful automated sloop

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jul 4, 2015

FOGGY_at_BBY_6-2015_cPanbo.jpgMaine is rightfully well known for boatbuilding but the craft was largely dormant when I got here in the early 70's, and it stayed that way for quite a while. In the late 80's many of the talented builders I worked with at WoodenBoat School were doing repairs and restorations. A commission for most anything larger than a sailing skiff was a big deal. But wow, did that change. It's been wonderful to witness remarkably crafted custom vessels launch at yards like Lyman Morse (now also in Camden!), Rockport Marine, and Hodgdon Yachts to name a few. In fact, I only learned on June 20th that Brooklin Boat Yard -- already masters at composite "Spirit of Tradition" beauties -- was working on the extraordinary sloop above...

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SRT acquires Class B AIS patent, consequences uncertain

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jul 1, 2015

SRT_Acquisition_of_Patent_release_clips_aPanbo.jpgFor me, this story began with a March 5th email titled "AIS patent wars - a tax on safety?" It referenced the SRT stock market announcement partially shown above and went on to say:

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SOTDMA Class B AIS, the "new" middle way?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jun 25, 2015

SRT_5W_SOTDMA_AIS_Class_B_on_way_aPanbo.jpgIt may be a while before we see the first 5 Watt SOTDMA Class B AIS transceiver actually available for sale, but it certainly is interesting to see a prototype trumpeted in SRT's Summer 2015 Pulse Newsletter (available here). Given SRT's main role as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), we may first see this "new" AIS technology -- perhaps with even more features -- branded as Simrad, Raymarine, True Heading, Digital Yacht, Comar, etc. (and/or marketed under SRT's own Em-Trak label). Or maybe Furuno, AMEC, Vesper or another of the independent AIS manufacturers will be first out with SOTDMA Class B? I don't know. More important is SOTDMA Class B as a new middle ground between the Class A AIS used on large vessels (which also works on the SOTDMA protocol) and the CSTDMA Class B technology that we're used to...

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Coastal Marine WiFi, a winner!

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jun 22, 2015

Coastal_Marine_WiFi_hardware_cPanbo.jpgSince early May I've used the Coastal Marine WiFi kit with all sorts of onboard WiFi devices and all sorts of Internet hotspots, and I'm very impressed with its smart design and easy, reliable performance. Yes, the overall system architecture is quite similar to several other good boat WiFi "booster" solutions like the various Wave Rogue and Bitstorm Xtreme kits, but there's a lot of nuance to making these systems easy to install and operate. And whereas many boaters are still understandably confused about the WiFi booster/router combo that's so unlike what they use at home or office, I'm going to dig deep into how the CMW goes together and what it can do...

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Coastal Explorer PC charting revisited, with love to WPx

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jun 16, 2015

Coastal_Explorer_DR_mode_w_route_n_WPx.jpgThe last days of Gizmo's trip north were a difficult dance of wanting to get home quickly versus not wanting to suffer the consequences of a relatively small powerboat in biggish winds and seas. I'm still recovering. But it's a good time to detail the Coastal Explorer planning tools that surely helped me make the best of the situation, and particularly the brilliant yet rare feature known as "WPx"...

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The paper chart, still the best?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jun 2, 2015

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It's true that I don't navigate on paper charts anymore, but I appreciate them and use their electronic equivalent more than ever. One reason is what I learned last January while preparing for a TrawlerFest seminar called "Soup to Nuts Navigation" (which I'm reformulating right now for the new Cruising Boat Expo here in Essex, CT). The other is having just run up from North Carolina -- including the entire New Jersey ICW, which can't fit much more boat than Gizmo -- with just about every chart type and brand in view. I think we would have had more trouble than we did because my mate and I learned navigation starting with paper charts and we referenced the equivalent heavily...

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