November 2012 Archives

Garmin BlueChart Mobile & WiFi Adapter, hands-on #2

Nov 29, 2012

While my "hands-on # 1" enthusiasm for the BlueChart Mobile app was pretty clear, I'm not as bullish about Garmin's Marine WiFi Adapter kit. But first the good news. All I had to do was plug the black Garmin Ethernet cable above into Gizmo's test GPSMap 7212, make the other connections to the little black POE (power over Ethernet) box, and plug the results into a 12v socket {correction: Garmin is supplying 110 AC POE adapter, not 12v, see comments}. It didn't really matter where I put the adapter itself as it has the WiFi horsepower to reach an iThing anywhere on boats larger than mine. And it all just worked. Well, almost...

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Garmin BlueChart Mobile, hands-on #1

Nov 28, 2012

As mentioned yesterday, there was significant news today regarding Garmin's BlueChart Mobile app. In fact, anyone with a relatively current iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone -- that is, one that's running iOS 6 or better -- can download the basic and free BlueChart app right now. And I think you should because I suspect that the app has value even if you don't go on to buy detailed charts ($30 for U.S. coastal) or the extra NEXRAD weather data (at just $4 it's nearly a no-brainer). But I say "suspect" because when I tested BCM after the Lauderdale show, the loaner iPad3 was already fully loaded with charts and Premium Weather. But I sure saw a lot to like...

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Gizmo south photo album #1; self-involved!

Nov 27, 2012

I think we've had some great product coverage recently, thanks largely to Kees Verruijt's excellent METS coverage, and I'm glad to report that Kees, Dan Corcoran, and others have more entries in the works. I know I've said it before but this winter Panbo truly will get more voices, and more frequent entries. Which makes me feel indulgent about posting non-electronics photos of my beloved boat!  I spent some of the Thanksgiving holiday going through the images I collected during the trip south, and I couldn't help but feel very thankful for the vessel I lucked into and the coast I live along...

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METS 2012 show report part 3: wrap up

Nov 21, 2012


So what else did I see? Well, I'd like to tell you about three more products that caught my eye. Lets start with a very well made range of marine torches and flashlights produced by Exposure Marine. This is a new market for the company Exposure Lights that have been making lights for bikes until now...

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METS 2012 show report part 2: NMEA 2000 related

Nov 20, 2012

In part 2 I'd like to talk about the items related to NMEA 2000 in some form or fashion. Actually it's becoming hard to find a new marine electronics product that does not have an N2K interface! From batteries to sensors, they all seem to grow a NMEA 2000 interface. Lets start off with the better known specialists first. Maretron had a lot of gear that I hadn't seen before like a very new 3.5" color display, unnamed as of yet, that is essentially a smaller version of the DSM 250. Not only does this fit in better with the 110 mm displays from other manufacturers, I thought the screen actually looked better as well because it has the same amount of pixels at higher DPI. Thus it gets rid of the slightly grainy display that I felt let the DSM 250 down. It probably also uses less power too...

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METS 2012 show report part 1: MFDs and navigation displays

Nov 19, 2012


As my first, and hopefully not last, series of entries under my own name I'd like to report on my visit to the METS 2012 trade show. If I had to call an overall theme then it would be touch screen chartplotters and the increase in companies working on Lithium batteries. I counted 5 companies offering these, and I probably missed a few. Last year there were few touch chartplotters and this year the Big Four all had lots of them, and there was a little surprise as well with a new range by a company I'd never heard of, Lorenz of Italy. Let me start of with some good Airmar news, the first highlight of the show for me...

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Simrad RS35 & Lowrance Link-8: DSC VHF + AISrx + N2K = YES!

Nov 16, 2012

It would be interesting if the new Simrad RS35 VHF and its optional HS35 wireless mic could actually work channels 9 and 16 simultaneously, but I think that the product image above is just a Photoshop mistake. However, this radio and its Lowrance Link-8 sibling bring together a unique feature set that's much more valuable, I think. These radios include a two-channel AIS receiver, like the very successful Standard Horizon Matrix AIS line, but they add a NMEA 2000 interface and that should add up to all sorts of plug'n'play goodness...

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Ocean Signal RescueME, best PLB yet?

Nov 14, 2012

The Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB introduced this morning at METS is not just a little smaller than the competition; it's purportedly 30% smaller in volume and that claim seems borne out by the photo. Size is important because the smaller a distress beacon is the more likely it is that the owner will have it with him or her when it's actually needed. Of course when things go wrong a PLB has got to work well too, even if it's years old, and the RescueMe also looks good in those terms...

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DAME Awards: Torqeedo, Navionics, DeLorme, & Furuno

Nov 13, 2012

They did it! Torqeedo has apparently pulled off a giant leap in electric outboard technology with Deep Blue, an 80hp motor that can give even a sizable boat some serious gitty-up. I heard a little about it at IBEX -- like there may be a 440v lithium battery involved -- and I'm sure the Torqeedo site will reveal much more soon. What we do know now is that the METS DAME Design Award judges "inspected 115 products from 25 countries" and first chose Deep Blue as one of 39 nominees (PDF here), then as winner of the propulsion category and finally as the grand DAME that "will bring great benefits to both the users and builders of marine craft." Other interesting products were also honored in Amsterdam this morning...

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New Garmin GPSMap 741sx, 741, etc.; signs of what's to come?

Nov 12, 2012

I believe that Garmin has had a tremendous run with the GPSMap 700 Series introduced in January, 2010, but consider all that's different in the new premier models announced this morning (along with new 500 Series models too). That 7-inch WVGA screen is multi-touch, that sleeker casing can be flat as well as flush mounted, and the processor inside is purportedly 60% faster. Yes, it includes WiFi for easy integration with BlueChart Mobile and apps to come. And there's more...

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