Category: Weather

Yacht Devices NMEA 2000 temp & barometer sensors, some good ideas but...

Jul 22, 2015

Yacht_Designs_NMEA_2000_thermometer_aPanbo.jpgOne of the most valuable improvements I've made on Gizmo is a Maretron TMP100 able to put six different temperature sensors on the boat's NMEA 2000 network, particularly the one I've set to alarm me if the engine block gets even slightly hotter than normal. I wrote about the plan in 2013 and will detail how well it worked out soon. Closely monitoring certain temperatures can save a lot of hassle and money though one impediment is the need for either a Maretron DSM display or a USB Gateway to configure the setup. It's intriguing then to learn of Yacht Devices' $99 N2K temp sensor with its clever cost-free configuration. But there are some potential issues...

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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.


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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Miami 2014 comms #1: WiFi, Cellular, and V-SAT advances

Feb 21, 2014


That's the Web browser built into the Humminbird ION10 MFD that I first saw demoed in Lauderdale (pre browser), and the test was pretty realistic for a boat show. It was easy to log the ION onto my phone's WiFi hotspot and if you click the image bigger, you'll see how well it rendered a complex site like It even supports tabs for multiple sites, so if I were out fishing on, say, a sunny center console, I could have had a weather site open while still checking my gmail or moderating Panbo comments, all on a bright waterproof screen. This is a MFD first, I think -- the Standard Horizon CPN1010i can access the Web, but not while in navigation mode -- though the lack of ION detail on Humminbird's site suggests that they are taking their time getting it out the door.

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Improved current data? Let the IHO know you care.

Oct 9, 2013

IHO_Surface_Current_Survey_page_cPanbo.jpgMaybe you, too, have an opinion about how predicted currents should be overlaid on electronic charts?  Well, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) is developing an S-100 specification for "the delivery and presentation of navigationally significant surface currents" and right now they're running an online survey of all interested parties. What waters do you care about (coastal for me)? What prediction frequency would you like? Are you willing to pay? How should the data look? And more...

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Garmin BlueChart Mobile, hands-on #1

Nov 28, 2012

As mentioned yesterday, there was significant news today regarding Garmin's BlueChart Mobile app. In fact, anyone with a relatively current iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone -- that is, one that's running iOS 6 or better -- can download the basic and free BlueChart app right now. And I think you should because I suspect that the app has value even if you don't go on to buy detailed charts ($30 for U.S. coastal) or the extra NEXRAD weather data (at just $4 it's nearly a no-brainer). But I say "suspect" because when I tested BCM after the Lauderdale show, the loaner iPad3 was already fully loaded with charts and Premium Weather. But I sure saw a lot to like...

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Furuno NavNet TZTouch, best use of MFD WiFi yet?

Oct 29, 2012

I first learned about Hurricane Sandy in an interesting way. While enjoying sunset in the Calabash River anchorage a week ago today, I was also fooling with various WiFi features built into a just-installed Furuno NavNet TZT14. Actually I was trouble shooting the seemingly flaky WiFi connection when I discovered that the TZT could connect to my Android phone's WiFi hotspot and even use that connection to quickly download a GRIB weather file. I've never seen an MFD do that before! Then I was admiring the TZT's neat controls for viewing the GRIB predictions -- like the intuitive way you can slide your finger along the forecast time bar seen at the screen's bottom -- when I noticed the tropical cyclone headed my way!  But I lucked out; Sandy just slapped the Fort Lauderdale boat show around a bit, and now I'm aboard Gizmo is in a hurricane hole that's below the immense storm anyway. Today I'll be thinking particularly about other cruisers who didn't get this far south already, but I do have time to describe how Furuno is trying to do MFD WiFi different...

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Beam Oceana 800, and weather via sat phone

Jun 21, 2012

Panbo thanks Bob Ebaugh for taking some time out from a Caribbean cruise to write this review detailing his experience with several satellite phones, particularly an Inmarsat model built by Beam for fixed marine installation:

Early this year one of Ben's industry friends was interested in an evaluation of a Beam Oceana 800. I was in the right place at the right time, and thanks to the kindness of Satellite Phone Solutions, one was loaned to me for the season as I travelled from St. Martin to Grenada. We already had an IsatPhone Pro and Globalstar handheld on board, so I can make some comparisons between the 3 different products for voice and data communications.

Continue Reading Wind Map, genius!

Apr 13, 2012

It's a beautiful data graphic even as a static screenshot, but you must check out's live Wind Map. Is it just me or is Wind Map the best presentation of macro wind direction and speed ever? It let me almost feel what that big low over the upper Midwest was doing yesterday, and if I was teaching weather I'll bet this is a live graphic that would help students truly get it. And while the two talents behind may characterize Wind Map as "a personal art project" I can't help but wonder how this presentation style and data source might benefit boaters...

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Rally season: trackers, goggles, and a weather router issue

Nov 11, 2011

Of course I admire another boating writer willing to put weird things on his head for the sake of research and a little levity. But consider me dubious regarding the anti-seasickness goggles Charlie Doane modeled aboard a yacht he almost crewed aboard for the Carib 1500 rally. The rally -- which runs from Hampton, Virginia, to the Virgin Islands -- got delayed by what became tropical storm Sean, and Charlie had to bail, but he still came up with an interesting story about the rally organizers and weather routers who try to help passage makers in this difficult season...

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NMEA 2011 Expo, neat new stuff #2

Oct 10, 2011
Furuno NavPilot 700 safehelm n power steering module cPanbo.jpg

Yes that's an Accu-Steer reversing hydraulic pump meant to push a rudder around, but that block on top is a patent-pending sensor co-developed with FurunoUSA, and the whole package leads to the very interesting "Safe Helm" and "Power Steer" features coming to the latter's NavPilot 700 (which explains why the pilot came out elsewhere earlier).  Safe Helm sounds a lot like the "Shadow Drive" feature so far only seen on the Garmin GHP 10 pilot for hydraulic steering systems; instead of poking a StandBy button, you simply turn the wheel to disengage the pilot and steer around an issue, then let the boat settle on a course again to re-engage. It's elegantly simple (I've tried the Garmin version), and it's potentially great that it's is no longer exclusive to one manufacturer. And apparently Furuno's unique method also means that the pump can be used to power assist a steering system, with numerous controls for how that's done -- like variable assist at different speeds -- built into the NavPilot 700...

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