Panbo

Teak Isle, Boat Outfitters, and Qi wireless phone charging

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 29, 2015

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Yes, you can have wireless phone and tablet charging built into your boat right now. What's more, the Qi wireless charging standard that's powering the demo above is picking up support at a rapid rate, and the company building it into boat cabinetry is top drawer (so to speak). In fact, you should know about Teak Isle and its DIY retail outlet Boat Outfitters even if you don't give a hoot about induction charging...

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Raymarine eS Series, long live the glass bridge

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 24, 2015

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On Monday Flir unveiled Raymarine's eS Series, and shortly thereafter, extensive detail on the new 7-, 9-, and 12-inch multifunction displays went online. A cynic might say that the eS Series is simply a refresh of the existing eSeries with its similar HybridTouch mix of keypad and touchscreen controls. But that would ignore multiple hardware improvements plus the amazing evolution of Ray's Lighthouse II operating software since the lower-case "e" MFDs entered the market in 2011. For instance, click the photo above bigger to better see the full support for Navionics, C-Map, and LightHouse cartography (discussed here recently). Also, not to be ignored is the glass bridge style, which makes sense in all its ramifications and is very much here to stay, I think...

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Digital Yacht Sonar Server, keeping it simple!

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 20, 2015

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I'm really impressed with the Digital Yacht Sonar Server introduced last week, though it has almost nothing to do with the technology involved. In fact, I think the DY developers could have engineered this product in their sleep, as could several other companies that specialize in NMEA 0183 utility hardware. What's brilliant here is a simple, reasonably priced, and fast-to-market solution for certain boaters who are understandably hot to use the Navionics SonarCharts Live app feature on their phone or tablet. And Digital Yacht has backed up their marketing smarts with deep info on how to install the Sonar Server...

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Navico WR10 Wireless Pilot Controller & BT-1 Bluetooth-to-N2K gateway

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 15, 2015

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Last week Navico introduced a Wireless Pilot Controller that can be added to B&G, Simrad, and Lowrance autopilots that connect to their control heads (and/or MFD controls) via NMEA 2000. It can do more than the keys indicate -- like tack a sailboat that's being steered in wind mode -- and it will retail at $349 with a BT-1 Bluetooth Base Station. The WR10 remote will also be available by itself for $150 as four can work with one BT-1 at once, and eventually the remote may be able to work directly with the Bluetooth built into displays like the recently introduced Lowrance HDS Gen3 or the new Simrad Go7 / B&G Vulcan V7 twins...

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10 years in the Panbo wheelhouse, some improvements made

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 13, 2015

Panbo_office_desk_3-10-2014.jpgWhile I was already fairly "seasoned" when I wrote my first Panbo entry 10 years ago yesterday, I feel like I have a few more years of obsessing over marine electronics left (Panbo itself turned 10 on 2/4/2014). Today, though, I'm going to share a few non-marine infrastructure improvements I've made, mainly to Panbo's completely redone edit office. I haven't been very shy about personal matters over the years, but I never showed the horrid mess of a home office where I did much of my work. And I wouldn't now, except as a "before" to an "after" I'm very pleased with...

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Apple Watch boat applets, Pocket Mariner is raring to go

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 9, 2015

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I find the Apple Watch fascinating, even if I have no plans to own one myself, and I encourage anyone else with an interest to read David Pierce's Iphone Killer: The secret history of the Apple Watch at Wired.com for a deep look at what the obsessed designers were up to. The first hands-on reviews are coming out now, pre-orders start late tonight, and at least one boating apps developer will be ready to go when the watches release to the public on April 24...

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Onboard WiFi and cell booster strategies, the diagrams

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 6, 2015

Online_Boat_no_boosters_cPanbo.jpgI've given numerous seminars about what modern mobile communications can do on boats these days and I'll be presenting the latest version at TrawlerFest's new Essex, Connecticut, location in early June. Aside from guidance about useful apps and the neat ways phones, tablets, and the Internet are integrating with marine electronics, boaters want to know how to improve their WiFi and/or cell connections with shore. But when I start talking about typical methods of installing wireless boosters, confusion sometimes follows! So, I'm working on a series of diagrams that Panbo readers might also find useful or might help improve...

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2 new "standalone" 7-inch MFDs: Simrad Go7 and B&G Vulcan V7

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Mar 31, 2015

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The brand new Simrad Go7 looks like an all-glass version of the Simrad NSS7 evo2 Combo, but its design may actually define an interesting new "standalone" glass bridge MFD style that trades some of the multi in multifunction for a much lower cost. The Go7's suggested retail price is just $799 without charts or transducer, and its B&G Vulcan V7 sibling is also just $799 with an added bundle of sailing features. I put "standalone" in quotes -- and we need a better term -- because these chartplotter/sonar combos can make many useful connections over NMEA 2000 and WiFi, though they do not include the Ethernet needed to fully network with radars, other MFDs, and external sonar sources...

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Wemar Nautipad, why not e-paper instrument displays?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Mar 29, 2015

Wemar_Nautipad_displays_aPanbo.jpgThey look like excellent instrument displays, especially when you realize that they're portable, wireless, waterproof, touchscreen tablets that rarely need charging and shouldn't be wicked expensive. Unfortunately, though, they're not currently available. I hesitate to write about a discontinued product, but the seemingly well-developed Wemar Nautipad system above could come back on the market if another company wants to give it a go, and e-paper screens seem like an interesting idea for boats anyway...

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Wireless autopilot controls: Madman for Raymarine, Si-Tex SRS-100 for any brand

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

Madman_ap_control_for_Raymarine_cPanbo.jpgSome people think it's crazy to run an autopilot with a smartphone, so maybe it's fitting that a company called Madman Marine is the first to make this possible with Raymarine pilots. But then again, Madman's AP-WRC3iF comes with two fobs that run on a separate wireless frequency and that can also make course changes, initiate autotacks and change pilot modes. And it only costs about $235 U.S. plus shipping from Australia (with the fob-only model at about $190)...

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