Panbo

Category: How-to

Gizmo south: TFU, IBEX, NMEA, HSR & other self promotions

Sep 2, 2014

TrawlerFest_U_Baltimore_electronics_cPanbo.jpg

I didn't write the seminar title, but I do understand the value of a grabby headline and I'm excited about being part of the entirely revised TrawlerFest in Baltimore. Paul Comyns and I will make a valiant attempt to cover all the important electronics bases for the knowledge-hungry, long-range-cruisers-to-be that tend to take the all-day "TF University" courses. An interesting added challenge for the presenters is to provide money-saving tips. I'm already working on concepts like how GPS, AIS, and improved signal processing have made it possible to "make do" with a smaller radar, but please suggest other reasonable cost-cutting strategies. And TFU is just the beginning of my fall speaking engagements, one or more of which you might want to attend or at least kibbutz about...

Continue Reading

Garmin SmartMode, and here comes Simrad Bridge

Aug 22, 2014

Garmin_8000_SmartMode_home_page_cPanbo.jpg

Garmin's SmartMode station control seemed like an obviously great idea when introduced with the 8000 Glass Helm series in early 2013. The basic feature simply lets you group 8000 displays at a helm (station) and control what the various screens are showing all at once. But the interface designers went a smart step further by naming the default SmartModes after the overall tasks at hand, instead of the conventional specifics about the tools needed, like "chart/radar/cam". Thus the 8212 now being tested on Gizmo came with CRUISING, DOCKING, ANCHORING, and FISHING modes already suggested, and I've been adding my own in the same task-not-tool spirit...

Continue Reading

The DIY lithium battery bank; Bob Ebaugh has 330 cycles so far

Aug 1, 2014

Bob_n_Elaine_Ebaugh_cruise_courtesy_MarAzulAdventures.jpg

Bob and Elaine Ebaugh did it, leaving Florida in April, 2011, on their DeFever 44 Mar Azul and spending more than two years cruising a big Caribbean loop. Their blog, Mar Azul Adventures, is a good read, but you might miss the fact that during the cruise Bob managed to research, assemble, test and install a 1,200 amp hour do-it-yourself lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery bank to replace the 12 golf cart batteries they'd worn out. He also wrote a thorough white paper about why he chose DIY lithium and how he put the system together...

Continue Reading

Changing transducers -- "So you have a 5200 problem?"

May 16, 2014

Gizmo_forward_transducers_May_2014_cPanbo.jpg

I'm tentatively proud of Gizmo's 2014 forward transducer installs (which you can see better by clicking on the photo above). I knew it would be hard to remove the three ducers installed there in 2010 and "mistakes were made" during the replacement phase, but I'm fairly sure the boat is set up now to properly compare EchoPilot FLS with ForwardScan, and I also look forward to checking out the manly HD version of Navico StructureScan. Plus, there are yet other possibilities for the forward retractable casings and two new fixed transducers back aft...

Continue Reading

Shaft Razor long test, with a look at the competition

Apr 5, 2014

Shaft_Razor_line_cutter_installed_on_Gizmo_cPanbo.jpgThere are still patches of icy snow left from a memorable March in Maine, but I enjoyed a recent afternoon wandering around the boatyard checking out shaft cutters. Pictured above is the Shaft Razor that's been protecting Gizmo from line wraps since the spring of 2010. Like my stainless rudder it picked up a lot of barnacles last fall, but that double set of super-sharp serrated teeth were still quite effective. The Shaft Razor is also a good value that has required zero maintenance, and while I saw some interesting competition around the yard, I wouldn't trade it...

Continue Reading

Gemeco iNstall ipad app, for do-it-yourselfers too

Jan 23, 2014

Gemeco_iNstall_home_menu_aPanbo.jpgFirst of all, Gemeco's iNstall app is free if you already have an iPhone or iPad. Second, though aimed at professional marine electronics installers, some of its tools are valuable to do-it-yourself types and even just regular boaters...

Continue Reading

3M Scotchloks, is my love so wrong?

Dec 29, 2013

3M_Scotchlok_UYbx_connector_test_cPanbo.jpgIn October I promised to eventually discuss the 3M Scotchlok IDC connectors I used to tap into Gizmo's engine gauge wires in order to install an Actisense EMU-1 Engine Monitoring Unit. Given that two experienced commenters already strongly dismissed these connectors for boat use, I did more research and testing. Tentative conclusion: while 3M does indeed state that Scotchloks like those tiny UY butt connectors above are meant only for 22-26 gauge solid copper conducter wires, they still seem like the fastest, surest way I've seen to splice the fine gauge stranded wires we often deal with afloat. Could it just be a mistake that's kept a lot of useful Scotchlok models out of 3M's limited marine line, or did I miss some major difference?

Continue Reading

Ancor goes NMEA 2000 & the BEP Pro Installer line

Nov 15, 2013

Ancor_NMEA_2000_cables_n_connectors_cPanbo.jpgPerhaps, coming soon to a marine electronics store near you (though not yet online) is a fairly complete line of NMEA 2000 cables and connectors under the well-known Ancor brand. I particularly like how the kits and explanatory packaging will encourage consumers to set up their own small networks. The 2 and 5-meter cables, for instance, are sold as Backbone/Drop Cables, while the 10-Meter is simply a Backbone Cable (because a spur shouldn't exceed 5 meters). I saw the preview Ancor line above at IBEX, but learned more about it in a special Soundings Trade-Only advertorial publication designed for next week's METS show...

Continue Reading

Azek PVC board, great for electronics panels?

May 6, 2010
Gizmo_main_helm_project_cPanbo.JPG

At first I was just going to replace the electronics panel at Gizmo's lower helm, but I got carried away.  And at this point I've got a boat that I can't start -- because the engine instruments, and much else, are disconnected -- in a slip that I'm just bumming until the real occupant's yacht is launched (which accounts for slow posting here).  But the project is going well, and I'm particularly pleased with the Azek expanded PVC board product I'm experimenting with for the dash panel(s)...

Continue Reading

Medusa Power Analyzer Pro, & some results

Mar 4, 2010
Medusa_Power_Analyzer_Pro_cPanbo.JPG

The average boater doesn't need a power analyzer like this, but battery scrooges and testers like me might be interested.  This Medusa Research Pro is actually designed for radio control hobbyists but its features and value appealed to my inner geek, and so far I've been really pleased with what it can do...

Continue Reading