Raymarine LightHouse R17 part 2: hands-on Navionics Dock-to-dock, SonarChart Live & more

... written for Panbo by Adam Hyde and posted on May 23, 2016


When Raymarine's significant LightHouse software Release 17 became public last Thursday, I'd already had a chance to test a beta R17 version on the water and was able to discuss the new global weather display feature along with the LightHouse WiFi capabilities that can make weather data access fairly easy. In this part 2 entry, I'll share my experiences with the new Navionics SonarChart Live display and Dock-to-dock Autorouting, and also discuss R17's new NMEA 2000 Audio app and other improvements...

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Raymarine LightHouse R17 part 1: hands-on new weather viewer, WiFi & more

... written for Panbo by Adam Hyde and posted on May 19, 2016

Raymarine Lighthouse r17 AnnouncementIf you have a Raymarine a, c, e, eS or gS Series MFD, you just got an astonishing array of free new features thanks to the just announced and available LightHouse Release 17 software update. In fact, I got the chance to try an early version of R17 on my boat Journey and have so much to report that I'll divide it over two entries. In part 1, we'll look at R17's new full-featured weather display capabilities, as well as some advanced chart and waypoint enhancements, plus the unique WiFi capabilities that Ray has introduced over recent LightHouse releases. In part 2, I'll share my adventures with the first MFD implementation of Navionics SonarChart Live and Dock-to-dock Autorouting, and there's even more to milestone Release 17...

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Gizmo's new Firefly battery bank, working out the details

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on May 6, 2016

Gizmo_Firefly_Carbon_Foam_AGM_battery_bank_cPanbo.jpgWhen I wrote about replacing Gizmo's house battery bank, I was already inclined to try Firefly Oasis AGMs, and my enthusiasm has only grown. It certainly helped to have RC Collins and Nigel Calder testify further in that entry's comments about how deeply they've "abused" these batteries in ways that boaters like me tend to do. I'm excited about gaining significantly more usable, easy-to-replace power capacity, and the Firefly's smart, colorful exterior design is a nice bonus. But the switch from two conventional 8D AGMs to a four Firefly bank naturally led me to rethink Gizmo's battery storage, cabling, charging, and monitoring systems. The job isn't done yet, and maybe discussion of the details with you all will change the design again...

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Mercury & Navico: new VesselView Link, VesselView 702/502 displays and MFD engine interface

... written for Panbo by Adam Hyde and Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 30, 2016

Simrad_VesselView_via_Mercury_VesselView_Link_cPanbo.jpgPerhaps the most remarkable aspect of this collage is what you can't see. There were no Mercury gauges or displays whatsoever on this Navico demo boat thanks to a new Mercury black box called the VesselView Link that offers complete gauge and control integration. Simrad and Lowrance VesselView engine interfaces have also been vastly improved, and Mercury is offering similar full MFD integration on its own new VesselView 702 and 502 displays. So a clean single-brand helm electronics setup is now available under three different brands, and seems reasonably priced even for a relatively small boat. Plus, Mercury offers several other rigging choices including basic NMEA 2000 gauge data output to any brand MFD. Explaining all the possibilities is harder than using them, but let's give it a try...

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SSECN and MITA cruising info apps, Doyle Bon Voyage, and Cuba Ho!

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 26, 2016


If I was once again in New Bern, North Carolina, about to cruise north with spring -- instead of watching late April freaking snow fall in Maine -- I'd certainly have the new Cruisers' Net app loaded on my iPad and might well use it all day every day while I was still in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). It's absolutely loaded with solid, well presented information, and I'm happy to add that the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) has done something similar for my local cruising waters...

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ScanStrut Rokk Mini, premium marine mount system

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 22, 2016

ScanStrut_Rokk_Mini_cable_tie_mount_fishing_cPanbo.jpgI used the Garmin demos in Miami to also test the new Rokk Mini mounting system recently introduced by ScanStrut. There are many ways to attach a Virb XE camera to a boat, as I'll detail further down, and almost all are less expensive than the system of three Rokk components at work above. But I doubt that there's any mount with so much range of motion and yet so rock solid when you find the position you want. The Rokk Mini system is also exceptionally well made and can solidly mount phones, tablets, smallish marine displays and more...

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Yacht Devices N2K display, RedPort & PredictWind, NMEA & ABYC, and ONWA radar

... written for Panbo by Adam Hyde and posted on Apr 18, 2016

Yacht Devices NMEA2000 Text DisplayYacht Devices appeared suddenly on the marine electronics scene last summer when Ben discussed their new temperature and barometer sensors. Not resting on their laurels, they then launched a $189 voyage data recorder that similarly came with either DeviceNet or SeaTalkNG connectors to minimize additional drop and/or adapter cable expense. More recently they joined NMEA and have now launched a new NMEA 2000 (N2K) text display which seems to be the least expensive and least power thirsty N2K data display available...

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Garmin demos: GPSMAP 8600, ForwardVu, Fantom, Virb XE, Quatix3 & more

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 15, 2016

Garmin_GPSMAP_8617_on_Contender_25_aPanbo.jpgAt this moment in time, the Garmin GPSMAP 8600 multifunction display announced in February may be the most powerful premium MFD available. That's the "little" 8617 model of the series above -- apparently now shipping at $7,500 retail -- and that Quatix 3 smart/fitness/boat watch is not trivial technology either. So even given two full days with four Garmin-loaded boats, I feel like I only grazed the surface of all that's going on. And frankly, the story is similar across the four major electronics brands and beyond. Next week, for instance, we hope to share some startling new features that may be coming to an MFD already on your boat. Today, though, let's look at some Garmin demo highlights...

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Kite fishing for sailfish with Ben and Garmin

... written for Panbo by Adam Hyde and posted on Apr 11, 2016

Garmin Media Event 2016 Miami Ben Ellison Adam HydeMy first official Panbo trip wasn't what I expected; it was much better. Garmin smartly decided to expand on their Miami Boat Show Fantom radar demo and many recent product introductions by inviting electronics writers to spend two full days with four well equipped saltwater fishing boats in Miami. While Ben suggested some topics to cover, the story I must tell largely involves kites and sailfish, though the electronics could not be ignored...

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Iris NightPilot, Humminbird SmartStrike, Vesper AIS update, and Icom 7300 HF Radio

... written for Panbo by Adam Hyde and posted on Apr 7, 2016

Iris NightPilot thermal camera at Fort Lauderdale Boat Show 2015Stormtroopers will be pleased with a new value-priced gyro stabilized thermal camera from Iris Corporation. The Iris255 NightPilot looks like an accessory from Star Wars and includes some pretty hi-tech wizardry considering its $4,895 suggested retail price. Specs include 320 x 240 resolution, 8x digital zoom, and built-in heater with automatic temperature control for cold conditions. And since Panbo wondered if the Iris NightRunner PTZ cam "was too good to be true" in 2013, the company seems to have established itself as a serious player in lower priced thermal cameras...

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