Category: Network & control

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 & Ben Ellison | Permalink | Comments (13)

TBF: Simrad/B&G compact remotes, Ocean Signal AIS MOB alarm, Digital Yacht PC Radar PC & more

Dec 18, 2015

Simrad_OP50_B_G_ZC2_cPanbo.jpgAt METS it was good to see Navico out with a compact remote MFD keypad, which will be available soon as either the B&G ZC2 or the Simrad OP50. There will be landscape and portrait versions to fit different nav stations and that big rotary knob is also a cursor joystick. This $399 NMEA 2000 networked and powered remote includes a "high-decibel" alarm speaker and can switch among as many as six displays with the active display shown on that skinny LED panel just under the remote's brand name (which also shows red/green indicators when the keypad is controlling an autopilot). I'm hoping we'll get to try the ZC2/OP50 when Navico again runs a writer's demo session in late January.

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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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Pilot Line autopilot, unfinished business

Aug 17, 2015

Pilot_Line_autopilot_patent_aPanbo.jpgI hesitate to write about a marine technology that isn't an actual product yet, especially when I don't understand it! However, there may be a story here worth telling. At the end of his career, a very experienced engineer came up with what he believes to be a superior autopilot technology, but it will never become available to boaters unless someone new carries the project forward...

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Coastal Marine WiFi, a winner!

Jun 22, 2015

Coastal_Marine_WiFi_hardware_cPanbo.jpgSince early May I've used the Coastal Marine WiFi kit with all sorts of onboard WiFi devices and all sorts of Internet hotspots, and I'm very impressed with its smart design and easy, reliable performance. Yes, the overall system architecture is quite similar to several other good boat WiFi "booster" solutions like the various Wave Rogue and Bitstorm Xtreme kits, but there's a lot of nuance to making these systems easy to install and operate. And whereas many boaters are still understandably confused about the WiFi booster/router combo that's so unlike what they use at home or office, I'm going to dig deep into how the CMW goes together and what it can do...

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METS 2014: Navico GoFree, Simrad IS35, Victron Bluetooth, LCJ Capteur BaroPlug & more

Nov 28, 2014

Earlier this week we published Henning Dürr's report on METS 2014 and now here's what Kees Verruijt found.

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Navico GoFree cloud content and services
The Simrad NSO evo2, NSS evo2, B&G Zeus2 and Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch MFDs will all get a January software update that allows users to buy new charts, update software, and more directly from their boat displays. Moreover, GoFree is being upgraded to a separate "brand" that covers all the cloud-enabled content and services offered by Navico on all three "hardware" brands...

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Raymarine CAM200IP marine camera, and hello IC Realtime Marine

Nov 6, 2014

Raymarine_FLIBS_2014_2_thumbs_up_cPanbo.jpgWhile I was just goofing around during the Raymarine demo cruise seen via screenshot above, in retrospect my thumbs are seriously up about both the new CP200 CHIRP SideVision sonar and the new CAM200IP marine camera. I've been on the water twice now with SideVision and it seems to have noticeably greater side looking range than the Navico, Garmin and Humminbird side imaging I've previously experienced; there are numerous factors at work here, though, and they'll have to wait for a future discussion. Today I'm writing about advanced boat cameras, particularly the CAM200, which could be an excellent addition to most any boat running Raymarine LightHouse II software...

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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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IBEX ConnectWorld, thanks to Chetco Digital

May 2, 2014

IBEX_2013_ConnectWorld_hosted_by_Chetco___cPanbo.jpgA surprise high point of last year's International Boatbuilders Exhibition (IBEX) was ConnectWorld. For several years the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) had staged a substantial ConnectFest NMEA 2000 networking demonstration on the show floor -- remember the Fish Gate 100? -- but for some reason they dropped out in 2013. I arrived skeptical about a hurried effort to keep the idea alive managed by a manufacturer instead of NMEA. What I found, however, was that Chetco Digital Instruments had put together a nice demonstration of multiple brand devices sharing data across multiple networks. While NMEA 2000 made a lot of it possible, there's some great development going on beyond the N2K backbones and I'm excited about what we'll see in Tampa at IBEX 2014...

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The state of marine Ethernet connectors, and hello to RayNet

Apr 29, 2014

Raymarine_RayNet_cables_cPanbo.jpgIt's not an exciting photograph, I know, but cables are a fairly big deal when you or your installer get down to the real nitty-gritty of putting a marine electronics system together. While it's great that the NMEA 2000 cable and connector standard is pretty much taking care of lower speed sensor networks regardless of equipment brands, the sore spot now is the Ethernet cables used for high speed data like radar, sonar, IP cameras, and chart sharing. Though standard Ethernet cables easily connect many different devices in our homes and offices, marine connectors are not standardized. In fact, some Raymarine customers are dealing with two proprietary Ethernet connector designs as the company transitions to the RayNet plugs seen above. But RayNet makes sense to me and shouldn't cause undue pain once all the available options are understood...

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