Category: Cabin & deck gear

Macris MIU15 underwater LED, OceanLED Xtreme news, and Rigid Dually spot

Feb 2, 2014

Dodson_launch_Macris_LED_courtesy_Macris.jpgI like the look of underwater lights, but I imagine that the pair on this Dyer 29 launch is also quite useful to the operator and all the passengers stepping on and off in the dark. What's unusual here is surface-mounted LED light fixtures so thin that installing them around midships made sense. The manufacturer, Macris Industries, also seems to offer a lot of lumens per dollar of fixture cost...

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Garmin VIRB "action" camera, also great on a slow boat

Jan 27, 2014

Garmin_VIRB_Edit_software_test_cPanbo.jpgI think that Garmin hit a home run with the VIRB action cameras they began shipping last fall. I've been testing the regular model since late September and the Elite model since mid December, and I can picture all sorts of enjoyable ways to use either camera around a boat. I'm documenting a minor cruising adventure in the scene above, but could be remote controlling the camera to film my crew and me while playing a big fish or rounding a racing mark. However, I've also come to think of the entire "action camera" concept as a bit of a misnomer... 

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Iris NightRunner nav camera, too good to be true?

Nov 12, 2013

Iris_NightRunner_camera_at_FLIBS13_cPanbo.jpgIris Innovations used some magnet magic to highlight the sveltness of the NightRunner dual payload pan/tilt/zoom navigation camera system it debuted in Fort Lauderdale. The real magic, though, seems to be in the pricing. At about $5,000 including a full-featured joystick control pad, the NightRunner isn't that much more than a fixed Raymarine T200 with the same 320 x 240 thermal resolution and no daylight camera at all, and the NightRunner installation doesn't seem much harder. Meanwhile the dual payload PTZ model most similar to the NightRunner appears to be the  FLIR M-324L (or its sibling Ray T400) with a full retail price of about $15,000!  How is this possible?

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FLIR M-Series nav cam test, Raymarine integration appreciated!

Oct 17, 2013

FLIR_M-618CS_test_Slew-to-Cue_cPanbo.jpgI've long thought that the usefulness of a navigation camera would increase significantly with tight integration to a boat's principal navigation system, and now I'm convinced. When I redid Gizmo's antenna mast last spring, I got to top it off with a powerful FLIR M-618CS dual camera system that was sometimes very handy as I cruised up the coast. But when I finally got around to integrating it with the Raymarine e-127 above, its safety value took a quantum leap. While it's obvious from the lower-right camera window that this particular test day was very clear, also obvious to me was the camera system's potential as I can make it quickly pan and tilt to any spot on the chart screen, on which it will stay locked no matter how Gizmo manuevers and -- in the case of MARPA and AIS targets -- regardless of how the target moves...

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Brian's P47: "Picking a Partner"

Aug 30, 2013

Maine_Cat_P47_Audrey_Louisa_cPanbo.jpgA handsome addition to Camden Harbor recently has been the latest launch of the power catamaran design that was almost Gizmo, and darned if it doesn't have a certain gizmological flare. Check the high-low combination of solid state and magnetron radars, for instance. In fact, the gadget-loving owner, Brian Strong, is a regular Panbo reader and he wrote up an interesting explanation of his electronics choices...

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VIRB cameras, the Garmin 'ecosystem' expands

Aug 21, 2013

Garmin_VIRB_elite_Panbo.jpgYesterday Garmin big-footed into a new niche with new VIRB action cameras -- VIRB as in verb, as in action (I think). It's not a boat camera per se, but I expect that one will be useful and fun around a boat, and it's also another indication of the company's product 'ecosystem' strategy. Garmin was just getting into dedicated marine electronics when I began covering the subject in depth over a decade ago, but, nonetheless, the major players almost unanimously cited the big Kansas complex full of engineers (with its own factory in Taiwan) as their biggest competitive fear. I suspect it was capabilities like this that caused the concern. VIRB is not an assault on any marine companies, but CNet's sharp analysis is aptly titled "Garmin gets up in GoPro's grill with VIRB HD cameras"...

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Eva-Dry your boat interior

Aug 14, 2013

EvaDryArticle1_cDCorcoran_for_Panbo-7436l.jpgOne of the products above has proven itself a far superior option in keeping my 39-foot sailboat pleasantly dry and odor free, despite an occasional need to close up the boat with wet sails or gear down below.

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Dan Corcoran (b393capt) | Permalink | Comments (14)

Testing iPad cases & mounts: Lifeproof, Lifedge, Life Jacket, RAM & Tallon

Jul 15, 2013

Lifeproof_iPad_mini_fre_case_cPanbo.jpgI've been testing three waterproof iPad cases that all have "Life" in their name for some reason (anyone?). Frankly, none got me excited until I recently snapped my iPad mini into the Lifeproof frē case above (running Garmin BlueChart Mobile).  The design is stellar, I think.  The LifeProof is so light and snug that the mini still feels mini, but it now has a protective rubbery edge and non-slip back; it survived 30 minutes submerged in my sink, yet all the buttons plus the charge port still work fine. I suspect I'll always use this case on the boat and maybe everywhere.  That's not to say that I know everything about the ever-changing world of pad cases.  Let's review the testing and discuss...

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BEP CZone Signal Interface, a NMEA 2000 winner

May 3, 2013

That screen above makes me so happy!  I had been reluctant to give up on Gizmo's standalone tank monitoring system but circumstances forced a change. Had I realized how easy and relatively inexpensive it was to switch the tank senders over to BEP CZone NMEA 2000 monitoring -- and how accurate and flexible the output would be, even to the point of custom (and juvenile) tank labels -- I would have made the leap a long time ago...

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Aquabotix factory visit, and hand's on the HydroView

Dec 20, 2012

I believe that this gentleman -- Durval Tavares, the founder and president of Aquabotix -- earned that grin the hard way. It's no surprise that getting something as complex as a "remote controlled underwater camera vehicle" with an iPad interface to market would be a challenge, but when I visited the company HQ on Tuesday I was impressed with just how many details and disciplines are in play behind the scenes. I was also impressed with the cheerful, collaborative work environment Tavares and his team have created and I quite enjoyed taking my first HydroView driving lesson in the factory test pool (video example here)...

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