Category: Electrical & Engines

Evinrude E-Link, one leg of a generous open architecture attitude

Jul 4, 2016

Evinrude_E-Link_WiFi_gateway_n_app_aPanbo.jpgI suspect that a lot of now and future Evinrude E-Tec G2 outboard owners are going to appreciate the new E-Link hardware and app system almost as much as the Fourth of July. The easy-to-install NMEA 2000 WiFi gateway will cost about $360 and will neatly put all G2 gauges, calibrations, and fault codes into otherwise free E-Link Android and iOS (Apple) apps. One E-Link gateway will handle multiple outboards and the system doesn't require or preclude any other monitoring and control options. In fact, you may soon see a full G2 interface on your favorite multifunction display...

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Gizmo's new Firefly battery bank, working out the details

May 6, 2016

Gizmo_Firefly_Carbon_Foam_AGM_battery_bank_cPanbo.jpgWhen I wrote about replacing Gizmo's house battery bank, I was already inclined to try Firefly Oasis AGMs, and my enthusiasm has only grown. It certainly helped to have RC Collins and Nigel Calder testify further in that entry's comments about how deeply they've "abused" these batteries in ways that boaters like me tend to do. I'm excited about gaining significantly more usable, easy-to-replace power capacity, and the Firefly's smart, colorful exterior design is a nice bonus. But the switch from two conventional 8D AGMs to a four Firefly bank naturally led me to rethink Gizmo's battery storage, cabling, charging, and monitoring systems. The job isn't done yet, and maybe discussion of the details with you all will change the design again...

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Mercury & Navico: new VesselView Link, VesselView 702/502 displays and MFD engine interface

Apr 30, 2016

Simrad_VesselView_via_Mercury_VesselView_Link_cPanbo.jpgPerhaps the most remarkable aspect of this collage is what you can't see. There were no Mercury gauges or displays whatsoever on this Navico demo boat thanks to a new Mercury black box called the VesselView Link that offers complete gauge and control integration. Simrad and Lowrance VesselView engine interfaces have also been vastly improved, and Mercury is offering similar full MFD integration on its own new VesselView 702 and 502 displays. So a clean single-brand helm electronics setup is now available under three different brands, and seems reasonably priced even for a relatively small boat. Plus, Mercury offers several other rigging choices including basic NMEA 2000 gauge data output to any brand MFD. Explaining all the possibilities is harder than using them, but let's give it a try...

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Adam Hyde and Ben Ellison | Permalink | Comments (16)

Journey: A boat with the right attitude!

Apr 1, 2016

Mente Marine ACS automatic trim tab control systemFive years ago when I told a friend that I was purchasing an attitude control system he said "does it bolt to your head?" Perhaps it should but I'm happy it didn't! I'd recently purchased Journey, a 1976 26' Tollycraft Sedan that I found time consuming to trim properly, even for a boat guy in love (and still so). Purchasing Mente Marine's automatic trim tab control system was at the top of my list of improvements but would it stand the test of time and be worth the installation effort and cash?

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Adam Hyde | Permalink | Comments (8)

Gizmo's house battery replacement: consulting with Cole, Collins, Calder, Schwab & you

Mar 18, 2016

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The time has come. Actually, it was a specific day late last October when I Torqeedoed out to Gizmo only to find a dead ship. Not even a modest LED light nor the panel voltmeter would power up, and this dual Deka 8D house bank measured 5 volts at the studs. While I later figured out that only one had suffered a catastrophic malfunction, I'd already sensed that these AGM batteries were on borrowed time. They'd been on the boat at least a season when she became mine in early 2009, and at least occasionally mistreated since. But the real issue is what to do next...

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TBF: Torqeedo Hybrid, transparent displays, DY Aqua Compact PC, Volvo screen repair & more

Jan 8, 2016

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Let's begin 2016 TidBit Fridays with Torqeedo Deep Blue Hybrid, a new system I'd like to know a lot more about. It seems to be the most fully integrated electric propulsion and power management system yet, by far, and two independent gentlemen who know a lot more about these technologies than I do feel that Torqeedo has done a great job here. And it's not just for sailing catamarans 40 to 80 feet; Nimbus 365 Coupé Cruisers are being built with twin 80hp equivalent electric inboard motors and the Deep Blue components seem to lend themselves to many configurations. I'll know more very soon...

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TBF: Spinlock, Humphree, Actisense, Victron, GC Rigging, and Minn Kota's must see

Dec 11, 2015

Spinlock_Lume-on_DAME_winner_cPanbo.jpgIt's easy to understand and appreciate Spinlock's new Lume-On lifejacket illumination lights. The $20 pair should stick easily to the underside of any inflatable bladder (as long as you can get access) and then use the bladder's translucence to nicely diffuse their flashing LEDs if and when they are water activated. It seems a small cost in money, weight, and hassle for an added aid to person overboard recovery, and thus Lume-On won a 2015 DAME Award in the safety category. It also shared the overall DAME award (the Grand DAME?)...

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

Nov 30, 2015

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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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Veethree Engine Gateway/Monitor is powerful, coming EGM 800 is wow

Oct 12, 2015

VeeThree_EGM_kit_cPanbo.jpgVeethree is a serious instrumentation company with significant engineering and manufacturing facilities in Florida and India (impressive corporate video here). The vast majority of their business is OEM, so while the ruggedly-built Engine Gateway Monitor (EGM) above is packaged as a retail product, you're not apt to see one at a marine store and it's even hard to find at Veethree (go to the bottom of this marine page). But my testing suggests that it could be useful on many boats, especially with a few of the firmware features coming to its big brother, the 800 EGM...

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MFD engine alarming improves, but still needs more Maretron-ization

Sep 17, 2015

Garmin_741_engine_alarm.jpgOn Oct. 4th I'll present a seminar titled "Electronic Engine Monitoring Comes of Age" at TrawlerFest Bay Bridge in Stevensville, Maryland. This Garmin 741 photo will be useful as it shows three new and different ways Gizmo's old diesel engine can now indicate a low oil pressure problem. Thanks to the Actisense EMU-1 I installed in 2013, the simple low pressure alarm switch on the Volvo Penta can trigger an informative pop-up (and audio alarm) on all the networked Garmin screens regardless of what function(s) they're showing. And if the engine gauge page is up, the familiar low oil pressure icon lights up and, better yet, the customizable digital psi dial can go red based not on the alarm switch, but rather on a minimum pressure I've set. That's all good, but modern marine electronics can do even better...

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