Panbo

Category: The Trade

Edson Marine: old school, new school

Jul 31, 2014

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I visited Edson Marine headquarters while Gizmo was in New Bedford, Massachusetts, during my cruise home in May 2013, and one vivid memory is this old catalog that co-owner Will Keene showed me. My old sloop Alice had one of those Mahogany Steering Wheels, and while I'm sure it cost more in 1946, it's amazing to realize that you could once buy one for $15, Ebonized Rim included. I also enjoyed seeing how well Edson has kept on keeping on since Jacob Edson invented and started manufacturing the first diaphragm pump in 1859...

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Raymarine 2014: science, cadence & "IReverywhere!"

Jun 25, 2014

Raymarine_freeze_test_courtesy_Raymarine.jpgThis frozen aSeries MFD has almost finished a two-day low temperature test, but that's only the beginning of its suffering. Next it will run another two days in a high temperature cabinet with 85% relative humidity, and there's still 19 more days of torture to Raymarine's ERT (Early Reliability Test) Qualification Process. The quality of the testing tools and seriousness with which they're used was as impressive as the Raymariner on-the-water lab, and I'm publishing more photos below because it's reassuring to see what proper modern marine electronics have to go through before reaching our boats. But I'll also attempt to describe the product innovation processes in play at Raymarine's R&D center, which seemed equally impressive though much harder to photograph or quantify...

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New Raymarine a9, a12 & gS19 -- aboard the mighty Raymariner

Jun 9, 2014

Raymarine_a9_gS19_a12_aPanbo.jpgRaymarine recently announced three new multifunction displays, extending the multitouch aSeries to 9- and 12-inch screen sizes, and the glass bridge gS Series to 19 inches (the proportions of my collage are approximate). Given four additional a9 and a12 models with digital sounder or Chirp DownVision built in and the fact that all these new MFDs can network with all the aSeries, cSeries (non touch), eSeries (hybrid touch), and gS models already available, is any other manufacturer offering so much choice? They all run the same software -- now up to Lighthouse II, release 10 -- so you may already be familiar with most of the features, but the new MFDs do have a few new hardware highlights, some of which I got to see in action aboard Raymarine's remarkable testing vessel...

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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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Lowrance Elite 5/7 cheap CHIRP, the sonar wars rage on

Mar 26, 2014

Lowrance_Elite-5_CHIRP.jpgLowrance just launched Elite-5 and -7 CHIRP fishfinders and plotter combos today, but they showed off working prototypes during the Navico writer's event I attended in January. What seemed to particularly excite the product managers was the Elite's new ability "to produce low, medium and high CHIRP sonar ranges and display two user-selected ranges simultaneously" using just an "affordable" HDI Skimmer transducer. Apparently they didn't realize that this tranducer could usefully CHIRP until they tried it, and now they think they have a edge in the sonar battle that's taking place both on the water and in law offices...

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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...

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Humminbird Ion Series, GeoNav is way more than back

Jan 6, 2014

Humminbird_Ion_Onix_intro_FLIBS_2013_cPanbo.jpgJohnson Outdoors really wants a piece of bluewater marine electronics. I learned a lot about the long, determined history of Johnson Family Enterprises when JO was trying to make GeoNav a major brand back in 2011. But while the GeoNav G12 MFDs I saw demoed had a lot of interesting features, even autorouting using either C-Map or Navionics charts, the competition from the existing Big Four brands is daunting. Plus, the economic timing was terrible and Johnson Outdoors pulled GeoNav's plug, saying that they'd eventually try again under their successful freshwater Humminbird brand name. So, yes, the industrial design of the new Ion series looks like the old GeoNav G Series, but Ion really is "a new species of bluewater technology"...

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Happy Holidays & Bonne Navigation, a 2013 card collection

Dec 25, 2013

RNLI_greeting_card_by_Nick_Monro_courtesy_Sling_the_Hook.jpgI love Nick Munro's signal flag holiday cards -- which you can see more of at the cheery Brit blog called slingthehook: the geek and the girl go to sea -- but unfortunately, they no longer seem available to benefit the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (though other Munro RNLI designs are).  What follows is a highly eclectic collection of notable boating world cards that came my way recently, and I will point out a way you can help the U.S. Coast Guard as well...

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Lowrance Elite-4 HDI, a whole lot of tech for a little dough

Dec 19, 2013

Lowrance_Elite-4_HDI.jpgWhile I don't normally follow the small-size displays closely, the new Lowrance Elite-4 HDI models announced yesterday seems to sport a remarkable ratio of dedicated marine electronics to cost. Their bright 4.3-inch LED-backlit screens, for instance, are substantially bigger than the Elite-4 models they replace, which were praised for their value. The plain Elite-4 HDI model, with a suggested $299 retail price, not only offers both regular fishfinding and high-frequency narrow beam downscanning -- each with a shallow/deep frequency choice built into the included transom transducer -- but also includes GPS, a bundle of lake and coastal cartography and support for all sorts of chart card types...

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METS 2013: Glomex WeBBoat, fingers on Garmin and Simrad, and more

Nov 26, 2013

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The Marine Equipment Trade Show 2013 held in Amsterdam last week lived up to its reputation again. The trade floors were packed with exhibitors, and I was told that the booths were packed with visitors on the first two show days. Fortunately, it wasn't as busy during my third day visit and I could move around easily -- if not as anonymously as before; at Garmin I was welcomed as "Hey, you're the guy from Panbo!"  Ben has already reported on Garmin's down- and side scanning sonar, xHD radomes, etc., plus the new Simrad NSS and B&G Zeus2 Series, but I got to see the new products in action and there was much more to cover, like that neat Glomex WebBoat WiFi/3G access point seen above...

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