Panbo

Gizmo 2010-2011, Happy New Year!

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 31, 2010
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I was happy to do some late season cruising and electronics testing on Gizmo this year, and am also happy that she's snuggled high and dry under shrink wrap now that winter -- including at least a foot of the white stuff -- is really here.  But something I'm really excited about in 2011 is my plan to take the boat south next fall.  Oh, I don't intend to stop working; in fact, if the manufacturers continue to cooperate with what may be the industry's longest testing program,  Gizmo's flying bridge will look fairly similar to what I put together this season. (Which, come to think of it, I haven't shown off until now; click above for a bigger image, and be assured that I have hundreds of screen shots yet to sort through and write about.)  The thought of a long gunkholing, blogging, and boat-show-ing circuit to, say, Charleston and back is sure motivating me, though...

Truth be told, this lad of 64 has been going to the gym every day in an attempt to reverse the ravages of too much time at a keyboard.  And I just had my house re-roofed, which is only the first of several largely proactive repairs designed to keep my marriage intact even while I'm away for what may be many weeks at a time.  (My beloved spouse, you see, is as passionate about her work as I am about mine, which is wonderful most of the time, but not in terms of this trip.)  And I can't visit Gizmo via ladder and shrink wrap door without dreaming up another project. 

Gizmo_lower_helm2_fall_2010_cPanbo.JPGThe other day, for instance, I think I finally figured out the slickest way to install a fairly large LED backlit LCD for work computing, entertainment, and testing marine software that may not work well on the little Datalux police car PC I installed last summer (and like a lot).  I had been looking into multi-jointed VESA mounts that might let me hang the screen from the overhead and fold it away up there when not in use, but now I realize that I could fasten even a 32" screen -- they're getting thinner and lighter -- to the underside of the swing-up chart table door.  I also plan to make the front of the former chart drawer removable so that, like the screen, the keyboard, mouse, and other paraphernalia will be invisible when I close up my onboard office.  It's always been a lovely spot to work with paper charts, as you can see in this photo of the lower helm before I started hacking around, and it will remain so...but with a very 21st century twist!
   The area around the wheel will remain pretty much as built this season, though I may have to change those Azek panels (easy) to accommodate a different mix of gear (and I will finish the trim ;-).  But there's going to be a lot of work behind the scenes.  I've almost finished removing the main battery bank alternator, hoping to replace its guts and regulator with some smarter stuff.  And next week I'll start analyzing Gizmo's circuits in anticipation of some experiments with distributed power.  There's also a solar panel bank to figure out, as well as added N2K sensors -- like an analog-engine-converter, fuel flow, and various alarms -- and an improved antenna strategy.  And much of the gear you see in these photos is now in the lab, soon to be set up for bench testing some of the stuff I'll try in the real world next spring.  Did I mention that we hope to gunkhole our way up into the Bay of Fundy when my best mate is on school vacation in July? 
   If nothing else, my current excitement level is an excellent way to head into the depths of winter in Maine.  Here's hoping that you too have sugar plum boating visions dancing around, and will have a very happy new year!

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Comments

Happy new year, Ben! I'm looking forward to sharing an anchorage with you somewhere next year with a few rounds of Dark 'n Stormy's...

Posted by: Jeffrey Siegel at December 31, 2010 12:12 PM | Reply

Hi Ben, thanks for the many interesting reports and sometimes exciting debates (AIS B...) this year. I visit Panbo daily and have learned a lot from it.
Happy new Year!
Ronald

Posted by: Bremer Speck at December 31, 2010 12:30 PM | Reply

Our best to you and yours.

Posted by: CAW at December 31, 2010 1:16 PM | Reply

Ben: Just love the room on Gizmo, I hadn't realized you have so many nice toys (I suspected it!!!). Happy New Year, thank you for running this site, it keeps me entertained and informed to no end!

For the new year - five wishes, since my sailboat cockpit doesn't have the real estate you have on Gizmo!

1. N2K Wireless wind transducers
2. "Hole-less" knot logs in N2K
3. The perfect cockpit 4-5" multi-screen instrument or chartplotter that will show everything on the N2K network and fit in the Navpod in the size of an ST-60.
4. N2K AIS B transponder (with built in splitter?)
5. A Seatalk 1, Seatalk NG, NMEA N2K and 0183 converter that flows in all directions and actually coverts all PGNs and 0183 / Seatalk codes in a single box with low power consumption!

2011 will be fun!

Thank you again Ben! This site is great!

Posted by: Anonymous at December 31, 2010 2:52 PM | Reply

Happy New Year from s/v Cayenne lying Guadeloupe. Your enthusiasm is infectious, which makes Panbo the special resource that it is. Recent AIS discussion highly illuminating. Class B, filtered or not, is great. I've had many nice exchanges with big ships at sea who could see my AIS class B signal at 8-10 miles with my antenna only 14 ft. above the water. I can see them coming at 15-20 miles, and they've always been happy to talk to a sailboat at 3 o'clock in the morning (a little break from the boredom) and alter course when needed. I'll be 64 tomorrow, and pursuing a rum based diet in hopes of not living too long for my own good.

Posted by: Reed Erskine at December 31, 2010 4:37 PM | Reply

Happy new year Ben & Panbots!

Sounds like a great plan that 2011 cruise...

As a belated Christmas present, I've just released (under GPL v3) a small script that will run on any Linux, Mac or Windows system that has a AIS receiver (or transmitter) wired up and transmits the received data over TCP/IP. This can be seen as a small proof-of-concept NMEA-to-TCP server.

Posted by: Kees at December 31, 2010 4:54 PM | Reply

Thanks, Kees! I was just fooling with a relatively new iPad AIS app called Sea Hawk, which lets a user pick his own TCP/IP feed. It's a dite buggy, but may work with your script (and only costs $2).

And hey, Reed, good to hear from you and glad you made it to the tropics. I hear tell there's going to be freshly imported Brugal 5 Star at my neighborhood party tonight. I will toss back a nip in your direction. (Once spend several weeks docked on a research vessel within sight of the factory in Peurta Plata, DR, and could watch my crew standing in line for the tasting tour, then coming out the other side and getting in line again ;-)

Posted by: Ben at December 31, 2010 5:51 PM | Reply

Ben,
I have adapted a Maretron EMS100 to work with a new Westerbeke 55D4 that was installed this winter in my Gozzard 36. If you are interested, I woul be glad to send you the details.
Bob

Posted by: bob bergoffen at December 31, 2010 7:17 PM | Reply

Happy New Year from Shanghai, China.

Long Life, Prosperity, and Happiness to you Ben and all the many commenters on Panbo that make this the number one destination on the web, every day, even while traveling!

Posted by: Dan Corcoran (b393capt) at December 31, 2010 7:22 PM | Reply

Ben,

Happy New Year to you too. I am in the Midwest and have had a foot of snow the last two days so we are hunkered down for the New Year. Wish I was sailing in some place warm like the other posters. Just found your site this year and have been following you on a regular basis. Appreciate your reviews and coverage of such a great field. I have started my own blog and aspire to be as popular at you someday. My site is more focused on Marine Apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. I just started to review some Android Apps too. I would appreciate a link and will link your site on mine also.
http://i-marineapps.blogspot.com/

Hope to stop back to Panbo often in the new year!

Posted by: MMesserli at December 31, 2010 8:25 PM | Reply

Ben - Keep up the good work, if you have the time during the Miami Boat Show let me know I'll host a few at our club CRYC in Coconut Grove. Happy New Year!

Posted by: Jeffrey at January 1, 2011 9:15 AM | Reply

Happy New Year Ben

Here on the west coast we enjoy and learn a lot from you and the others that post.

If you feel the bug, there is an open invitation to you and the Mrs. to come to CA for some winter boating. It has been cold recently...Got down to 53 degrees! :)

All the best and thanks for all you do.

Posted by: Anonymous at January 1, 2011 10:11 AM | Reply

Ben,

Great shots of Gizmo, and pretty cool idea about under-mounting the new flatscreen. I'll look forward to hearing more about how that project came out. I like the overhead console too - but why does the Icom 604 show "no position, no time"? ...Hate it when that happens... :-)
Seriously, all the best in 2011 and keep up the great work,

Posted by: Grant at January 1, 2011 11:16 AM | Reply

You caught me, Grant! I never did get around to connecting a GPS to the Icom this season; my patience for NMEA 0183 wiring has grown thin ;-) But I am planning to do a series of DSC tests in the lab this winter, and I'll have to get into it.

Posted by: Ben at January 2, 2011 9:49 AM | Reply

Yes, I can relate about NMEA 0183 wiring. I'll be interested to see what you discover during your DSC testing - currently (ver. 2.05), the Furuno MFD on our vessel will provide the 0183 position data TO the Icom 602 VHF, but will not accept the DSC data FROM the radio to display DSC calls....one of the many litle bugs we're hoping to see addressed in the next version.
Cheers,

Posted by: Grant at January 2, 2011 11:06 AM | Reply

Happy New Year from Bermuda, where we are now after spending Christmas in Conn. Had a beautiful run just after the big storm. All my antiquated electronics worked perfectly, I saw the big ships on our AIS and they saw us. We'll be here a week or 2 (71º this morning) and then on to the tropics. Gizmo could do the trip (not Bermuda, but the tropics) by island-hopping from Fla.

Posted by: Michael at January 3, 2011 8:57 AM | Reply

Great to hear from you, Michael. You are certainly proving that your design is as much a "go anywhere" motorboat as it is "live anywhere" and that must be very satisfying. And hats off to your seamanship, too. I just read your log about losing your rudder on the way to Bermuda a year ago...and steering with a drogue made from a deck chair. WOW!

http://www.mp-marine.com/Cruise09_2.html

Posted by: Ben at January 3, 2011 9:56 AM | Reply

Ben: Off topic. What make are your engine controls?

Posted by: David at January 3, 2011 3:36 PM | Reply

David, Gizmo's two shift/throttle sets are electronic models made by Volvo Penta. I like their smooth, easy operation a lot, but did have trouble at one point with a lower throttle that sometimes shifted into forward on its own. It turned out to be a loose connector, which was disconcerting, but it has not happened again since I secured the connector better.

Posted by: Ben in reply to David at January 3, 2011 4:44 PM | Reply

Thanks Ben.

We have a "new" boat. Old boat (twin engines) had only one steering station but with single lever dual function controls, which were nice. New boat (single engine) has two stations with, at each station, the
ubiquitous Morse dual lever single function units. Am looking for unit to serve two stations with single lever dual function and yours looked interesting.

Posted by: David in reply to Ben at January 3, 2011 5:11 PM | Reply

Ben-
I don't know why I didn't notice this sooner - but is there really a Furuno Radome on Gizmo that is just below the windsreen on your flybridge?

Do you really want that 4Kw coming back at you? Not only that but sidelobes from that small dome antenna are going to cause ghosting as well. Why would not want to know what is behind you in a fog? I've been very close to WA State Ferry's who arrive only announced on AIS, but many other intimidating vessels can approach from behind without an AIS transponder.

I've always wanted to know why people mount radomes at "private parts" level and give up 50% of the scan range - please fill me in!

Posted by: DaveV at January 10, 2011 12:28 AM | Reply

Dave, I suggest you take a look at the number of radar scanners that Ben's got installed:

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2009/08/18_radomes_3_weirdness_edition.html

It's hard to install -FOUR- radomes without compromising something on a normal sized boat...

Posted by: Kees in reply to DaveV at January 10, 2011 6:15 AM | Reply

Right, that Furuno radome mount was especially temporary -- the wonders of Velcro! -- and was due to the fact that the Garmin xHD open array was occupying a lot of space on Gizmo's antenna mast. Which is largely why I've returned the GMR604 and hope next season to go with the four radome arrangement I had in 2009, visible these days at the top of the Forum: http://www.panbo.com/forum/

By the way, the Furuno DRS2D is 2.2kW.

Posted by: Ben in reply to DaveV at January 10, 2011 9:21 AM | Reply

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