Panbo

Category: Electrical & Engines

Gizmo 2014, glass bridge shakedown cruising #1

Jun 30, 2014

Gizmo_2014_fly_bridge_cPanbo.jpgRedoing almost all of Gizmo's electronics has taken longer than I would have guessed last fall, when it seemed like a good idea to rip everything off the boat. And sadly, I'm not done yet. But the hoped-for glass bridge theme is revealing itself and I like it a lot. But then again, new equipment and even just re-installed old gear also means fresh opportunities for things not to work together correctly. In this entry I'll go over much of Gizmo's test setup for the next year and a half -- though by design there's room for more -- and also note a couple of features that have worked well and not so well during recent shakedown cruises...

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Smartgauge battery monitor, RC proclaims "paradigm shift"!

Apr 23, 2014

Smartgauge_testing_courtesy_Compass_Marine.jpgIf you like sailing with some electronics running, or just anchoring without a generator, you're probably very interested in the State of Charge (SoC) of your battery banks. Voltmeters, however, only hint at what's going on, and true battery monitors require careful calibration and the installation of shunts, but still tend to get out of whack over time. Well, darned if the great RC Collins of Compass Marine didn't go to extraordinary lengths to prove that the Smartgauge -- a little known product that's been around for almost a decade -- can somehow accurately measure SoC without calibration and without a shunt, and yet still get even more accurate over time. Apparently when it shows your Charge at 92%, as above, your battery bank really is at 92% capacity...

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NMEA 2000 color instrument power testing, looks good

Apr 21, 2014

Raymarine_i70_power_testing_cPanbo.jpgWhen Garmin recently introduced GNX20/21 displays, it led to questions about the power needs of similar but all-color NMEA 2000 instruments. And that led me to finally make up a special N2K cable that I can use with my trusty Power Analyzer Pro to measure the 12 volt current flow to an individual N2K-powered device. So what you're seeing above is that a Raymarine i70 working with live data at 100% brightness level is using 0.13 amps. That's not much by most standards, but dropping down a hair to 90% brightness reduced the power draw 20%...

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Miami 2014, glass bridge everywhere

Feb 18, 2014

Mercury_Simrad_glass_bridge_cPanbo.JPG

The Garmin and Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit won a lot of awards and shook up the competitors. I think it's why Raymarine rolled out its nifty-seeming ECI-100 so quickly, and I suspect it motivated Mercury Marine to put together the clean "glass dash" above. The Simrad NSO evo2 driving those two MO19-T monitors is not only doing the boat's CZone switching -- even able to activate the four outboards -- but its Mercury Vessel View app seemed a terrific interface to all those engines...

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Victron Color Control GX, more than a power display

Jan 16, 2014

Victron_color_control_GX_in_action.jpgThe photo could be sharper, but I like it for two reasons. First, it's confirmation that an ambitious product, which doesn't even have a manual yet, actually works in the field. Second, it's doing interesting work on an intriguing new vessel that has deep Panbot roots. You'll learn much more about the boat on February 4th when we celebrate Panbo's 10th birthday, but today, please say hello to the Victron Color Control GX...

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Maretron N2KView: prices slashed, architecture improved, and BNWAS

Jan 13, 2014

FPB-78_w_N2KView_courtesy_Dashew_Offshore.jpgI find Steve Dashew's latest FPB 78 long-range powerboat design so intriguing that I won't link to it until the end of this entry for fear of losing you!  The relevant detail in the rendering above is Steve's plan to occasionally use that giant 65-inch 4K resolution TV monitor so he can still see his radar and Maretron N2KView monitoring info as he moves about the vessel's giant main cabin while underway. I got to spend time with the Dashews on their original FPB Windhorse, and it's one heck of an equipment endorsement to be chosen for the next one. I also know that Steve's expert evaluation of Maretron's hardware and software systems came before the major and excellent-sounding N2KView product changes I'm about to outline...

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Maretron FFM100 fuel flow monitor test (part 1), as good as it gets?

Jan 9, 2014

Maretron_fuel_flow_install_cPanbo.jpgWhen I first wrote about Maretron's FFM100 fuel flow monitor, I was enthused about both its advanced sensor technology and the possibilities of a system designed from the ground up for NMEA 2000. Now that I've installed the system on Gizmo and tested it a bit underway (before the weather closed in), I'm even more impressed. But I have also learned how difficult it can be to accurately measure how much fuel a diesel actually uses in real time... 

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Long tests: Interlux Pacifica Plus and Torqeedo Travel 1003

Dec 4, 2013

long_test_2_Interlux_Pacifica_Plus_cPanbo.jpgThat's a darn impressive photo, I think. When Gizmo was hauled on November 22, she hadn't been out of the water since May 2012, and most of that copper-free Interlux Pacifica Plus bottom paint had already endured a seven-month test in 2011, as I wrote about then. So, after more than three seasons, most of the running surfaces are still slick (and probably still self-cleaning when the boat occasionally goes fast).  I did use the remains of the original two gallons to repaint the belly band before the 2012 launch; Gizmo lay in cleansing South Carolina fresh water from November that year through March of this year, and I scrubbed the belly band from the tender last July. But notice how almost no barnacles or mussels -- the critters that can really slow a boat down -- adhered to the Pacifica Plus...

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Actisense EMU-1, analog engine gauges to NMEA 2000 happiness

Oct 13, 2013

Actisense_EMU-1_install_cPanbo.jpgIt's great to test an unusual device that promises to do something new and desirable for the good vessel Gizmo and find out that it installs fairly easily and works quite well. That Actisense EMU-1 is now converting the analog gauge data from the boat's 14-year-old Volvo Penta diesel into NMEA 2000 messages that can be displayed in multiple ways on most any MFD or instrument screen on board and can also be custom alarmed and logged. I'm going to be better informed about my engine's health, which is very important, while also gaining some scarce helm panel real estate for better uses than dumb analog gauges...

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IBEX13 #1: Garmin/VP Glass Cockpit vs Raymarine ECI-100

Sep 20, 2013

Volvo_Penta_Glass_Helm_IBEX_cPanbo.jpgI just spent five full days at IBEX 2013 -- as press guy, Innovation Awards judge, and NMEA seminar presenter -- and I'm heading home with LOTS to write about. I'll start with the deep integration Garmin and Volvo Penta put into the handsome Glass Cockpit system I was checking out above, and how smartly Raymarine has responded to this market-share threat. In my view it's a happy story about how competition and technology are making boating better...

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