Panbo

Category: Wireless & Apps

Calypso Cups Bluetooth LE wind sensor, TDWLB pressure too

Aug 27, 2015

Calypso_CUPS4_Bluetooth_wind_sensor_boxed_cPanbo_.jpgCalypso Marine Instruments is a new company located in Spain and their first product is the CUPS 4 wireless and solar-powered wind sensor seen above before assembly. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy -- also known as BLE or Smart Bluetooth -- to send wind data to BLE compatible mobile devices. I've used both iOS and Android versions of Calypso's own AnemoTracker app to view the data, but other apps can access it and a NMEA bridge/display will porportedly be introduced at METS...

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U.S. Coast Guard mobile, a good app with a compelling back story

Aug 13, 2015

USCG_app_home_screens_cPanbo.jpgThe free USCG Boating Safety App has a lot to offer, as indicated by the home screens seen above on my Android phone and iPad Mini. Version 1.0 also seems almost surprisingly fast and polished, which may make more sense when you learn that it was developed by a small, highly-motivated team instead of a large government bureaucracy. In fact, the app is a gift to us from a grieving father trying to honor a son who was an enthusiatic CG Auxilary volunteer on the path to becoming an active duty Guardsman...

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Team Soltero: StarPilot, GMN, RedPort, Bliss & so much more

Aug 4, 2015

Bliss_anchoring_in_Pulpit_Harbor_cPanbo.jpgBehold the 39-foot trawler Bliss about to anchor behind Gizmo in Pulpit Harbor. She's a custom Jay Benford design (based on a Cascade sailboat hull) that already turns heads, but note the cabin top presence of both Inmarsat FB150 and Iridium Pilot antennas (the latter formerly known as OpenPort, and tested for Panbo on VOJ). The serious satellite communications -- and there are more devices less visible -- are because owner/operators Luis and Kim Soltero have spent much of their thirty year marriage creating a remarkable portfolio of satcom services and devices, and they're still at it. Yes, we had a Bliss/Gizmo geek rendezvous and it was a blast...

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Sonar wars: Lowrance StructureScan 3D, Raymarine SonarChart Live & GoFree Hooked

Jul 27, 2015

Lowrance_StructureScan_3D_split_screen_aPanbo.jpgThe competition around sonar burns hot on many fronts and the more the merrier, I say. At the recent iCast show Lowrance introduced StructureScan 3D, which displays in many ways like the Garmin Panoptix Down looking sonar which I saw demonstrated last February in its Forward looking version. Trade Only's Chris Landry noticed the similarity too and reports that SS 3D will also be supported on Simrad NSS evo2 displays. The necessary StructureScan 3D transducer and module are due out in December and purportedly improve on SS HD's standard down and side views as well as enabling the new 3D mode...

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Nobeltec PC Radar & TZ v2 app, blazing trail two ways?

Jul 18, 2015

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Nobeltec Furuno PC-Radar was announced at the Miami boat show, but I don't think it's gotten the recognition it should. Yes, it's like the Furuno MaxSea PC Radar that came to Europe in 2013, but now the feature/cost proposition seems to fit a wider range of boats, plus it's actually available over here. It's also noteworthy that Nobeltec's TimeZero v2 app is now out with support of Furuno WiFi radar and it's interesting to see how these two radar solutions compare. It looks to me like Nobeltec and Furuno are blazing two distinct paths to primary limited visibility navigation without multifunction displays...

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YB3i tracker/messenger, a highly evolved system

Jul 10, 2015

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The hardware portion of the YB3i tracker/messenger couldn't be much simpler or tougher. It's just a little bigger than the GPS mushrooms also installed on Gizmo's flybridge and it feels solid, while the ScanStrut Rokk rail mount that it fits is truly rock-like. The black cable only leads to a power source (9-30v DC) and the YB3i can get along without that for quite a while, thanks to an internal backup battery. And finally, the single LED "interface" is really only needed for extreme trouble shooting. But such hardware simplicity is only possible because of the impressive array of satellite services, cloud server wizardry, and mobile apps that comprise the rest of the ecosystem...

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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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NMEA okays Signal K, a milestone in marine electronics?

May 11, 2015

NMEA_recognizes_Signal_K_aPanbo.jpgWow! Today the National Marine Electronics Association -- also known as NMEA, or IMEA for its International reincarnation -- announced recognition of the Signal K open source marine data project. It's clearly not an endorsement, but it does provide clear methods to gateway NMEA 2000 boat data to the Internet-friendly universal marine data model that Signal K is about. And that's plenty good enough, I think. In fact, as the title above wonders, this may turn out to be a very big deal. I also think it marks a nice evolution for NMEA. Though criticism of this trade and standards organization from outside the small world of hardcore marine electronics has largely been unfair, NMEA could do better fitting into the much bigger and faster-moving data/app universe, and now they're trying harder...

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Teak Isle, Boat Outfitters, and Qi wireless phone charging

Apr 29, 2015

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Yes, you can have wireless phone and tablet charging built into your boat right now. What's more, the Qi wireless charging standard that's powering the demo above is picking up support at a rapid rate, and the company building it into boat cabinetry is top drawer (so to speak). In fact, you should know about Teak Isle and its DIY retail outlet Boat Outfitters even if you don't give a hoot about induction charging...

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Digital Yacht Sonar Server, keeping it simple!

Apr 20, 2015

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I'm really impressed with the Digital Yacht Sonar Server introduced last week, though it has almost nothing to do with the technology involved. In fact, I think the DY developers could have engineered this product in their sleep, as could several other companies that specialize in NMEA 0183 utility hardware. What's brilliant here is a simple, reasonably priced, and fast-to-market solution for certain boaters who are understandably hot to use the Navionics SonarCharts Live app feature on their phone or tablet. And Digital Yacht has backed up their marketing smarts with deep info on how to install the Sonar Server...

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