Category: Electrical & Engines

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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Joe's 1969 Allied 42 yawl, fully problem solved & awaiting owner #3

Aug 20, 2015

Allied_42_Furly_B_cPanbo.jpgFull disclosure: a major motivation for this entry is to help sell my old friend Joe McCarty's boat by describing how well he rebuilt it, particularly in terms of reliable systems. The Furly B is being brokered by Robinhood Marine, where Joe was general manager for 20 years, and I had a good look at her just before the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show opened last Friday. The visit confirmed what I pretty much already knew; Joe bought an excellent old boat and he made her better than new. Actually, the background story for a new owner is far better than that...

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Volvo Ocean 65, powered by Mastervolt Li Ion

May 16, 2015

VOR_65_power_overview_courtesy_VOR_Roman_aPanbo.jpgI'm happy as an oyster slow cruising Chesapeake Bay with my favorite first mate, but if I had a teleporter I surely would have jumped on an invitation to check out a Volvo Ocean 65's systems in Newport yesterday. I doubt I would have encountered a scene as tidy as the photo above -- which looks forward in the main cabin of Dongfeng with most of the engine, power, battery, and keel ram covers removed, as well as the pedestal galley -- but then again all that technology has now zig-zagged almost around the planet in often demanding conditions. There's a lot of gear on these one-design racers that has performed impressively, as best I know, but I'm particularly taken with the Mastervolt Lithium Ion battery system...

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Lowrance MotorGuide Xi5 SmartSteer trolling control, life changing

Feb 5, 2015

Lowrance_SmartSteer_MotoGuide_Xi5_in_action.jpgTwo Maine blizzards later it's nice to recall that just a week ago I was casting a lure off a similarly tricked-out Yellowfin 24 Bay Boat. I didn't land a pose-worthy fish like my friend Chris Woodward, but the important thing about this photo is how well that trolling motor is holding an "anchor" position. Note the nonchalant skipper, despite a brisk wind and strong current both pushing him toward the channel marker aft, not to mention rocks to starboard and us to port. The pro I was with -- the impressive Tom Rowland of the Saltwater Experience TV series -- seemed equally confident about the reliability of the MotorGuide Xi5 and its do-anything integration with the twin Lowrance HDS 12 Gen3 displays, and it was easy to buy his claim that the combination has significantly improved his boating life.

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TorqTrac: Torqeedo electric outboards get app monitoring & more

Jan 19, 2015

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I declared my love for the Torqeedo 1003 electric outboard in 2011 and the feeling only deepened after two seasons of long testing, despite a glitch or two. Well, wow, the same motor has run like a top ever since, and as of a few days ago, it has a very cool accessory. The TorqTrac Bluetooth module and apps were announced some time ago, but apparently the $149 kit is only becoming available now. The version 1.0 app does not look like what was originally announced, or even what's shown at Torqeedo USA right now, but my first underway tests suggest that TorqTrac is going to add some nice spice and utility to my Torqeedo 1003 relationship...

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USB charging on a 12v boat, fie on Apple?

Oct 21, 2014

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It was easy to gather a slew of devices currently on board Gizmo that hunger for a USB power supply at least occasionally. Heck, when the Verizon Android Galaxy phone is providing an LTE WiFi hotspot and also streaming Bluetooth audio to the Fusion IP700 stereo as it is now -- I'm online while listening to a Maine radio station -- it needs to be charged almost constantly. The hard-working phone is also why I keep those two USB charged/charging batteries topped up for shore trips (and, yes, they do make great press event swag, thank you Simrad and FLIR). The Phonak hearing aid accessory needs nightly charging and while the DeLorme InReach Explorer in the background can go for days doing satellite tracking and a few messages, I prefer to keep it plugged in so my Share Map stays complete. In short, I need multiple 12v USB power sources to keep this crew happy and thus, this entry will cover several types I've tested. There are a lot of cables involved too, but it's nice that all the gadgets pictured use a standard USB mini or micro size power/data plug, with one very significant exception...

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