ACR GlobalFix V4, NavPod, Stealth PC, Raymarine r16, and MFD ActiveCaptain via C-Map & Furuno

... written for Panbo by Adam Hyde and posted on Mar 21, 2016

ACR GlobalFix V4 EPIRBAt long last an ACR Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) with a 10 year user replaceable battery! Moreover, the new GlobalFIX V4 is exceptionally compact and handsomely designed -- which also may relate to its 2015 acquisition of Ocean Signal -- and of course it includes standard EPIRB features. The $150 batteries aren't cheap, but it may beat tossing a working GlobalFIX V4 that retails for $400 (manual activation, with automatic at $500).

NavPod Gen3 Update

NavPod PP5063 for B&GOcean Equipment moved to Bend,Oregon over three years ago. Since then they've been working on developing and improving their NavPod Gen 3 line of high quality waterproof housings for marine electronics. The new 2016 NavPod brochure now has more than 350 pre-cut models for all the latest electronics gear on the market. With a 10 year warranty, NavPod mounts seem worth investigating for your powerboat or sailboat.

Tough Stealth Marine PC

Stealth WPC-725 waterproof fanless PCA year ago the 115 year old Sparton Corporation purchased Canadian company Stealth.com, a 25 year old maker of ruggedized industrial grade computer systems and peripherals for markets including the military and government (and also acquired KEP Marine, a well known brand of high-end displays and more). Stealth just introduced the WPC-725F, an IP67 (protected from dust and immersion to 3 feet) fanless Windows 10 based PC based on the Intel Core i7 CPU. The computer can also run Linux and its small 10" x 6" x 2" size may make it a good option for tight locations. The Stealth is powered by 9 - 36 VDC making installation simpler. This is a commercial grade product and its US$2100 starting price reflects it. The lack of an HDMI port is puzzling though.

Ray Lighthouse r16: Quantum & more

Raymarine Quantum radome 16 nautical mile range cPanboVersion 16.47 of Raymarine's Lighthouse II software is now available for download to update a, c, e, eS and gS Series multifunction displays. This is the first public release supporting Ray's new Quantum Radar (also seen in demo here). I'm excited to test the new search pattern features which mirror the free SAR search pattern apps I wrote a few years ago. To my knowledge this is the first such implementation integrated into a multifunction display. It seems that Navionic's dock-to-dock autorouting didn't make this release. Other purported updates include:

  • Quicker waypoint entry via rotary/ok input method
  • Improvements to notifications and selection of networked master and repeater displays when master display power is lost or displays are out of sync
  • Ability to operate a Chirp sonar module with a single frequency transducer

AC on C-MAP & Furuno MFD's

NSS7 ActiveCaptain cPanbo
This week's news that Navico and C-Map will become sister companies, with Jeppesen exiting the marine chart business, was a stunner. Hopefully it won't affect Jeppesen's announced timeline to put ActiveCaptain data on C-Map charts starting this spring. If you are unfamiliar, ActiveCaptain is an interactive cruising guidebook generated and amalgamated from other cruiser's crowd sourced data.

We understand that Initially C-Map ActiveCaptain info will be static, with quarterly data refreshes included with chart updates. By contrast, Furuno's new ActiveCaptain feature on NavNet TZtouch2 displays is independent of chart type and the data is refreshed dynamically whenever the MFD can get online. Moreover, AC presentation control and display seem thoroughly developed on the TZ2 platform and users can even file AC reviews, all suggested in Ben's screen photo collage from Miami.

It seems that C-Map is starting with a minimal ActiveCaptain presentation that can display on many MFD's, while Furuno has built an advanced presentation that only works on one model series. It's all good, and bodes well for a future when our community sourced info can show up on any big bright display at the center of our navigation stations.

2016 ActiveCaptain on Furuno TZTouch2 at Miami Boat Show

Comments

With a price tag of $500 why wouldn't I just buy an InReach from DeLorme instead of a pricy EPIRB? It's a whole lot cheaper, provides texting, so I know my emergency message got thru, and I can tell them the nature of my emergency.

Posted by: David Lyman at March 22, 2016 8:30 AM | Reply

In the portion, above, Ray Lighthouse r16: Quantum & more, the picture on the left shows a pole to STBD sticking out of the water, which doesn't seem to be reflected in the radar return.

That would seem NOT to be a good quality radar return.

Am I missing something?

Posted by: Charles at March 22, 2016 8:45 AM | Reply

David - Boats can sink in seconds. The EPIRB activates when splashed and will continue to broadcast to ALL SAR. InReach is a great tool, but not the same. IMHO

Charles - The tree branch IS SHOWING on the radar. The target in the right picture is shaped slightly like a boat, but is in fact ahead and slightly right, much like the tree/pole in the photo.

Having seen the Quantum in action, the details, especially small and close things is great.

Posted by: ValkyrieYachts at March 22, 2016 10:01 AM | Reply

Charles, that screenshot came from Raymarine, so neither Adam nor I was on the scene. However, I'm quite certain that the daybeacon ( https://goo.gl/GrP4Ka ) seen in the Flir camera window slightly to the right of the bow IS the very distinct target seen about 1/32nd mile ahead in the Quantum radar window. I've been out with Quantum and all sorts of boats, nav aids, etc near and far ( http://goo.gl/3HpDwL ). It's a good radar.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Charles at March 22, 2016 10:02 AM | Reply

David, I won't spank you for such thinking (and I would not have to walk far), but VY is correct about Category 2 EPIRBS.

The main concern I hear is that while EPIRBs and PLBs are part of a global governmental SAR system with a long history of successes, InReach and Spot -- termed SENDs for Satellite Emergency Notification Devices -- use commercially managed sat communications and the very first responder is a commercial service called GEOS (with a noteworthy Rescue Center in Texas: http://goo.gl/3McDW )

Also noteworthy are some bumps early in the history of Spot and GEOS, most of them hard to verify. But the horrid loss of the Hunter 37 Aegean -- http://goo.gl/0SQs8z and then http://goo.gl/wH788m -- really raised some doubts (and online furies), though I recall concluding personally that while GEOS should have been faster and more thorough, the four deaths did not seem to be their fault.

At any rate, that was early 2012, the whole SENDs system has to be more seasoned, and I have not heard disturbing stories. In fact, I've been meaning to research the now deep history of SENDs rescues, particularly in regard to InReach's quite reliable two-way text messaging, which seems like it could be very valuable in many distress scenarios.

Regretfully, I haven't gotten around to that idea, but now I know a guy who's perfect for the assignment. Are you awake yet, Adam?

Posted by: Ben in reply to David Lyman at March 22, 2016 10:50 AM | Reply

I just purchased and installed a Gen3 NavPod on Grace as part of my pedestal replacement project (http://www.sailbits.com/blog/2016/03/new-pedestal-guard-and-navpod/).

Although it wasn't obvious on their site, they had a pre-cut version for my fairly new Raymarine eS78, which was very nice. I am pretty bad at cutting a straight line in anything, so this made my install look professional :)

I had a Gen 2 on my previous boat, and the 3's look even better.

I am also squealing a bit as r16 is out, will be updating later today!

Posted by: Steve Mitchell at March 22, 2016 11:30 AM | Reply

Would the StealthPC be a more robust alternative to an iPad glass bridge? It's hard to know where all the pros and cons fall out.

The iPad, along with the Vesper XB-8000, Furuno wireless radar and Nobeltec Timesero app seems like a nice setup especially with the 9.7" iPad Pro now becoming available and a Lifeproof Nuud case for flybridge use.

The StealthPC, to match the above, would need a touch-screen monitor, which could easily be removable since I would imagine the guts wouldn't be able to withstand the corrosive effects of salt air with a permanent mount. I'm not sure if Win10 would require a mouse at some point during "normal" usage since it's more of a hybrid OS, both touch & mouse, where as iOS is strictly touch/stylus.

Inside cabin use, with enough room, would seem to favor the StealthPC.

As an aside, the iKommunicate/NMEA to Signal K Gateway from Digital Yacht is becoming available soon and I wonder which format, iPad or PC, will dominate with a "killer" app.

Given layout restrictions when installing (with the exception of Gizmos' seemingly endless ability to accommodate all systems simultaneously), its almost paralyzing to think of the time and expense involved to "pick a side" and then ponder how "green the grass is over the hill" and regret the choice made. Where does the low-end smart money go?

Posted by: Cliff Walton at March 23, 2016 9:15 AM | Reply

Hi Guys.. I downloaded & installed 16.47 for my e95 a couple of days ago - it's a 1 GB download, so it took a while down here in manana-land..:) On the plus side, the plotter upgrade file also updates everything else in the system except for the AIS650. For me, that included updates to the ACU400 and the ST1-STng converter.
My Navionics microSD card that was bundled with the e95 is only 2 GB, so there is no way to get all of the "USA & Canada" coverage I have paid for into it. My only alternative is to find a place with good Internet, delete what I have now and then download all new coverage for what's in front of me. Pretty annoying, and it will cost me $99 to "upgrade" to an 8 GB card (for $99, I can buy a pocket full of high-end 32 GB microSD cards). My friend who has a 2 GB CF card for his 2006 E80 can't even get updated charts on his card now - he has to buy a NEW card, and doing that down here in Mexico is a major PITA.
I realize that piracy of data is a major concern, but not everybody has the ability to pick up new specialized hardware easily - downloadable is the way of the future, folks.

I bought an earlier version of the NavPod for Atsa back in 2013 - had to do the cutouts for my e95, P70R and GX1600 radio, but it was pretty easy material to work with - measure twice, cut once..:)

Posted by: Hartley at March 23, 2016 1:38 PM | Reply

Hartley. Sounds a bit frustrating for sure, you might contact Navionics support directly and see if they can work a deal with you. The squeaky wheel....

Cliff. The old chicken and egg question? I always suggest that people try to define what they need today and purchase a solution that fits based on budget and priority. Once you need radar your choices are more limited versus the myriad of tablet, pc and software choices. Having said that there is a great case for having a separate radar screen.

It's really hard to anticipate what we might need or want down the road. The advantage of a tablet is that you can take it off boat for other purposes. But... I've found the longevity isn't great in the sense that my iPad 2 is slower than molasses now and Apple doesn't allow you to roll back OS. My fault for succumbing to the upgrade temptation!

Posted by: Adam Hyde at March 24, 2016 8:36 PM | Reply

Hartley,

I am pretty sure I've copied my current Navionics card data to another card and it works fine, as long as you do a low level copy and get all the hidden files.

Have you tried that to another SD card with a computer and SD reader?

Posted by: Steve Mitchell in reply to Hartley at March 24, 2016 11:48 PM | Reply

Cliff - planning your installation around an iPad as your primary MFD is going to be a big disappointment, when you try and view any detail at all in direct sunlight. And as soon as it hits 35C, you're looking at a complete shutdown due to overheating.
There's a reason dedicated marine electronics, especially displays, are designed and priced the way they are....

Posted by: Grant at March 25, 2016 8:26 PM | Reply

Grant,

Completely agree with you. I tried this a year or so ago with my iPad Air 2, an outdoor marine quality case with charging capabilities, all mounted to a Ram mount on the pedestal.

While the detail and zooming, moving around, etc. were great on the iPad, it shut down constantly during the summer due to heat, and the charger could barely keep up charging the iPad all day long while it was doing navigation tasks. By the end of the day, the battery was around 10% and the unit was very warm.

I used both a Bluetooth GPS and also the DMK Yacht box to get info into the iPad, both with the same result.

The shutdown in hot sun and general on-the-edge-of-not-charging scariness pushed me back towards an expensive MFD.

Posted by: Steve Mitchell in reply to Grant at March 25, 2016 8:29 PM | Reply

FL just passed legislation ( https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2016/0427 ) to provide reduced boat registration fees for boat owners who buy an EPIRB.
The reduction in fees is not very much, but at least it brings the idea to boating public and is the outcome of the loss of two teenagers last year off the Atlantic Coast. Maybe someday boats will come already equipped with an EPIRB like automobiles come with seat belts and airbags.

Posted by: Mike Negley at March 28, 2016 4:54 PM | Reply

@Grant and Steve, so I followed up on your posts and found this from an Apple Support page:

"Use iOS devices where the ambient temperature is between 0º and 35º C (32º to 95º F." ... "If the device exceeds a certain temperature threshold, it will present a temperature warning screen ... and
The device stops charging.
The display dims or goes black."

So, even where I boat, Southern New England waters, summer days of 95º F are common enough that this would be an absolute problem, which I never actually considered. So, my dreams of a cheaper "glass bridge" are on hold, Thank you both for the insight, Cliff

Posted by: Cliff Walton at March 29, 2016 9:37 AM | Reply

Cliff - you're welcome - and on a side note, please be aware that the ambient OAT could be WAY less than 95F and you're still going to have a problem if the iPad is exposed to direct sunlight - it does not take long at all for the device to heat up in the direct sun - and its just not bright enough to see anyhow, especially with sunglasses.
Sometimes - most of the time, with marine electronics - you really do get what you pay for.

Posted by: Grant at March 30, 2016 12:18 AM | Reply

Hi Adam,

Sorry for the delay, but we have a good excuse - we've been in motion, sailing from Mazatlan down to Nuevo Vallarta via Isla Isabel..:) Actually sailed about half of it, motored the rest.

I did chat (the keyboard kind) with the Navionics folks, and they didn't have any other ideas. They were also unsympathetic to my desire to purchase additional coverage (Southern Mexico in my case) without having to acquire new hardware.

I haven't tried doing a low-level copy, though I may -- for sure Navionics says it won't work at all. ;) The internet here at Paradise Village is pretty good, so I will probably do some more online exploration.

Thanks for your thoughts, guys!

Posted by: Hartley in reply to Adam Hyde at March 30, 2016 11:54 PM | Reply

Raymarine LightHouse R17 will not only support Navionics Dock-to-dock Autorouting but also SonarChart Live real time map making. Here's one hint...

http://www.navionics.com/en/r17

... and I hope to soon link to a full press release on the partnership.

Posted by: Ben at May 17, 2016 10:24 AM | Reply

Leave a comment