Panbo

May 2010 Archives

Lowrance Simrad SonicHub, some details revealed

May 26, 2010
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Here's what excites me about innovations like the Navico's SonicHub:  If you're going to spend fairly big bucks on what is essentially a dedicated waterproof computer with goodies like an extra bright screen and custom soft keys -- like a Lowrance HDS or a Simrad NSE -- plus a rugged NMEA 2000 sensor network running around your boat, why not have them do as many display and networking tasks as possible?  I first heard about SonicHub last weekend -- in a very pleasant way -- and now that I understand more of the details, it sure looks like a winner...

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NoLand RS11, analog to NMEA 2000 engine monitoring

May 25, 2010
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What follows is a first time guest entry by regular Panbo commenter Adam Block, who is planning a 2011 Pacific crossing aboard his Nordhavn 47 Convexity.  Adam says "he had no idea what he was getting into when he started a recent electronics upgrade," but he did manage to convert analog (generator) engine data into NMEA 2000 for display in the N2KView software above and elsewhere.  He's also written a clear explanation of the options available for this tricky task, and the specifics of the NoLand RS11 he used...

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Green Marine monitors, first look

May 24, 2010
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Yes, the photo is largely under exposed, but the point was to illustrate the relative brightness of the new Green Marine LED-backlit AWM-1900 monitor I checked out in the lab last week.  I think it would be usable in sunny conditions, and it's fast enough to show an action movie without noticeable blur, either in a PIP window as shown, or full screen.  It was also pleasantly surprising to find that even an inexpensive Asus netbook (dimly showing neat NavMonPC freeware) supports a dual monitor desktop these days, including the AWM's 1280 x 1024 native resolution.  I did not test the monitor's promised front side water tightness, but it's quite apparent that the back side has to be well protected...

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Fusion rocks the docks, and the boat?

May 22, 2010
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Synchronicity!  No matter what I'd get a big kick out of this photo taken yesterday at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show in Australia.  But in fact I spent part of the day installing a Fusion stereo on Gizmo and I'd meant to write soon about the company's just released iPod/iPhone docks.  Plus there was a major marine entertainment product launch at the show which Fusion may have something to do with...

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BlueAIS Class B, standalone with room to grow

May 20, 2010
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One of the very first Class B AIS transponder prototypes -- the Shine Micro RadarPlus -- was a standalone design, and it seemed to make a lot of sense (though for some reason it never came to market).  It's a little surprising then that EMA's new BlueAIS is the first truly available standalone Class B, to my knowledge.  Everything is in that 8-inch square waterproof box, and its single cable -- which carries power, RS232 and 422 data feeds, and even "silent mode" switching to a little breakout box (with LED indicators) below -- can be had in lengths up to 300 feet.  The configuration purportedly performs very well and, because EMA already has a lot of experience with similar standalone marine communications designs, there are numerous mounting options now and interesting possibilities to come...

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Verizon Droid Incredible, indeed it is

May 18, 2010
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While it's been disappointing to learn that carrying around two smart phones does not make a guy extra smart, I am incredibly happy about owning that Verizon Droid Incredible at left.  It's not a phone I'd recommend to everyone -- and Android marine apps certainly aren't much yet -- but given what I want from it, and where I live, the Incredible makes that iPhone 3GS seem feeble and limited.  I feel like I just got out of Apple/AT&T jail, and I'm shaking my head because I liked it in there!  Let's begin with the built-in GPS and motion sensors...

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Garmin 2010, GPSMap 740 and GMR 604 xHD first looks

May 17, 2010
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Garmin may have lost its bid for Raymarine last week, but, as noted, there's plenty of evidence that it's building a daunting marine electronics line on its own.  Check out the little  GPSMap 740s and the big GMR 604 xHD (pedestal) above for examples of growth in both directions.  It's hard to imagine getting much more MFD into a casing less than 9 x 6 inches and under 2.5 pounds.  Meanwhile, all that cast aluminum in the radar base contributes to a heft of 46 pounds, not including the 12 pound array.  Which is actually 4' 3.5" wide, but still fit on Gizmo's antenna mast...just.  Yup, both are now installed on the boat, along with a Garmin 5212 and a skeleton N2K sensor network.  My dash board projects are not quite ready to show off, but the testing season has begun...

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FLIR buys Raymarine, good for everyone?

May 14, 2010
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"We are all very happy here," reads the email I just got from a contact at Raymarine, and that sure makes sense. The agonizing process of getting sold is over, and in the end they were bought (full announcement above here) by a strong company which is not a direct competitor but is "very serious about commercial and recreational marine."  That phrase, already demonstrably true, comes fresh from Lou Rota, FLIR's VP for Maritime Business Development.  Rota also told me that there are no plans to move or substantially change Raymarine operations, and that FLIR is very hopeful that it can continue to work closely with manufacturers like Furuno, Simrad, and Garmin in terms of integrating its thermal cameras into their navigation electronics.  I suppose that Garmin, which recently made a very public bid for Ray, may be unhappy about this turn of events, but...

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The damn iPad: iNavX, X-Traverse, Navimatics & AC

May 12, 2010
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It's so sad:  Nowadays when I contemplate my amazing portfolio of iPhone marine apps (discussed here, here, here, and elsewhere) in iTunes, featured right across the top of my PC screen are the ones now also optimized for the iPad.  But I don't have an iPad (though I did touch one).  And behold the difference.  The size of what you see when you click on the image above will depend on your particular screen's pixels per inch, but the proportions are right regardless.  iNavX on a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 748 pixel iPad is obviously quite different from iNavX on a 3.5-inch, 320 x 480 pixel iPhone.  There's room for more chart and bigger touch buttons, not to mention nav data and a compass ribbon across the top.  Damn...

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Inmarsat, Iridium, & Globalstar...the horse race

May 11, 2010
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Competitive heat is really building in the portable global sat phone/messenger sector, and once it gets sorted, it's got to be good news for those of us who venture beyond cellular networks.  Last week Iridium announced that its smaller, cheaper 9602 SBD modem is ready ahead of schedule for some 90 "integration partners," and a few weeks before that Inmarsat detailed its IsatPhone Pro (due in June), including its game changing pricing.  And while I discussed both of these developments here in January, it's Globalstar that may be the long term dark horse in this race...

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