Category: Cabin & deck gear

West Marine Expo, ACR LED Searchlight, Scanstrut USB, Navico Compass & Triton Gills

Mar 29, 2016

West Marine Expo Cover 2016West Marine's first ever Marine Electronics Expo will kick off in four states (NY, FL, CA, CT) on April 8th (thru 9th) and also online. Besides some deals on electronics gear, there will be live educational seminars from Icom, Shakespeare, Lowrance, Fusion, Uniden, Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, Spot, Delorme, and maybe more at the select stores...

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SL Fridge Optimizer, smart new product from a new company

Feb 2, 2016

Arvid n Annika of_Stainless_Lobster cPanbo.jpgHere are Arvid and Annika Elias as they showed me a prototype of their very first marine electronics product in the press room of last fall's Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. I was quite impressed and am now pleased to report that the Stainless Lobster Fridge Optimizer is official and shipping. If you'd like better monitoring and control of your boat's electric refrigeration system, and/or automated defrosting (fridge only, not freezer), and/or improved battery time at anchor, read on...

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TBF: Icom M93D, Garmin Quatix 3 & GNX Wind, Imtra Largo LED, and Navico makes ForwardScan more accessible

Jan 22, 2016

Icom_M93D_DSC_VHF_prototype_aPanbo.jpgI'm slightly reluctant to mention this Icom M93D announcement because it's only "scheduled to be available in the second half of 2016" with price unknown, but, dang, it sure looks like an interesting DSC VHF handheld radio. I still think that many boaters don't realize the added safety, tracking, and navigation capabilities possible when GPS is integrated with portable VHF, though the Standard Horizon HX870 (that Icom is clearly gunning for) has been earning great reviews for a while. Also, note the lovely color-screen Icom GM600 fixed VHF "coming soon" with an SSB sibling.

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Underwater lights, Lumishore EOS blazes trail

Dec 21, 2015

Lumishore_EOS_Mini_controller_aPanbo.jpgLet's talk about the pleasures of lighting on this shortest day of the year (at least on this side of the equator). Not that many boats have underwater lights (yet), but it is a highly dynamic and competitive sector nonetheless. Every year it seems like multiple manufacturers are offering greater LED brightness in more rugged fixtures with yet further advanced features and nicer controls at less cost in money, electricity, and install hassle. One product family that shows many such areas of improvement is the new EOS Surface Mount system from Lumishore, a company which seems to be leading the pack, at least currently...

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Digital Switching: Raymarine, Empirbus, Simrad, Naviops, Offshore, Octoplex, Garmin and CZone

Nov 30, 2015

Raymarine_digital_switching_FLIBS2015_cPanbo.jpg

Digital switching is one of the most intriguing aspects of modern marine electronics, but also one of the most mysterious. At FLIBS, for instance, I wasn't the only boater jealously admiring sexy screens like the one above running on a Raymarine gS15 multifunction display. But when you try figuring out how you can get this elegant level of system control and monitoring onto your boat, you'll eventually realize that there is a complex conglomeration of hardware and software behind it, and it's usually under marketed and lightly documented. In fact, the whole concept still mainly makes sense for new and higher end boats, because it's an expensive and entirely different way of doing things, and those builders remain understandably cautious about adopting it. Nonetheless -- and another sign of a re-invigorated recreational marine industry -- I detected lots of digital switching progress at the fall shows...

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FLIBS 2015: Telemar superyacht helm, Hatteland 55-inch Chart Table, and Triton luxury submarines

Nov 12, 2015

Hatteland_Series_X_55_inch_chart_table_cPanbo.jpgImagine running Coastal Explorer, or your favorite charting program, on a 55-inch multitouch display with 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution -- also known as UHD or 4K -- secured to a sturdy base with pushbutton up/down and tilt controls. I've never so enjoyed tapping out a route, and the Hatteland 4K Chart Table is way sexier than that...

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TBF: FLIBS, dAISy, YDVR, G-Metrix OBD2, and DAME nominees

Oct 30, 2015

FLIBS_transit_map_n_app_aPanbo.jpgWith Panbo's first TBF now a week old, how about some more acronym madness? This marine electronics TidBits Friday can't include any of the tasty stuff being served at next week's Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS), but there certainly will be some, and I've been studying the transportation options for making the most of my four days at this huge event. The MyBoatShow app has not achieved perfection, but it's better and may help. Come if you can or come by here for some TBL, and in the meantime...

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One LED flare replaces U.S. required pyros, Sirius Signal but not Ocean Signal

Sep 14, 2015

Sirius Signal LED flare aPanbo.jpg

The pitch is compelling. The $100 Sirius Signal SOS C-1001 LED "flare" isn't just a floating SOS flasher visible at night "up to 10+ nautical miles...for at least 6 hours." It is also the only such device that meets the U.S. Coast Guard requirements for an electric distress light and can thus permanently replace the three pyrotechnic flares otherwise required on all U.S. recreational vessels over 16 feet operating in coastal waters, the Great Lakes, and many major rivers (and on even smaller boats at night). Given that the cheapest flare set costs about $33 and expires 42 months after manufacturing (and you might not want the cheapest because pyros are inherently dangerous to you and the environment), the Sirius substitute may be a "no brainer"...

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Testing Lithium Ion engine jumpers (plus), from Weego and Cyntur

May 22, 2015

WeeGo_Jump_Starter_Battery_Pack_Pro_cPanbo.jpg
Most boaters will not experience the benefits of a Lithium Ion main battery bank any time soon, but nearly instant gratification is possible with a portable Li Ion charger pack, some of which can even jump start a small diesel engine. Brands and models are proliferating like fruit flies, but I'm particularly keen on the WeeGo Jump Starter Pro above, which I've been testing for a couple of months. It is a veritable Swiss Army knife of an on- or offboard power source...

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Teak Isle, Boat Outfitters, and Qi wireless phone charging

Apr 29, 2015

Teak_Isle_wireless_Qi_phone_charging_demo.jpg

Yes, you can have wireless phone and tablet charging built into your boat right now. What's more, the Qi wireless charging standard that's powering the demo above is picking up support at a rapid rate, and the company building it into boat cabinetry is top drawer (so to speak). In fact, you should know about Teak Isle and its DIY retail outlet Boat Outfitters even if you don't give a hoot about induction charging...

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