Panbo

Category: Wireless & Apps

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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Navico WR10 Wireless Pilot Controller & BT-1 Bluetooth-to-N2K gateway

Apr 15, 2015

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Last week Navico introduced a Wireless Pilot Controller that can be added to B&G, Simrad, and Lowrance autopilots that connect to their control heads (and/or MFD controls) via NMEA 2000. It can do more than the keys indicate -- like tack a sailboat that's being steered in wind mode -- and it will retail at $349 with a BT-1 Bluetooth Base Station. The WR10 remote will also be available by itself for $150 as four can work with one BT-1 at once, and eventually the remote may be able to work directly with the Bluetooth built into displays like the recently introduced Lowrance HDS Gen3 or the new Simrad Go7 / B&G Vulcan V7 twins...

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Apple Watch boat applets, Pocket Mariner is raring to go

Apr 9, 2015

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I find the Apple Watch fascinating, even if I have no plans to own one myself, and I encourage anyone else with an interest to read David Pierce's Iphone Killer: The secret history of the Apple Watch at Wired.com for a deep look at what the obsessed designers were up to. The first hands-on reviews are coming out now, pre-orders start late tonight, and at least one boating apps developer will be ready to go when the watches release to the public on April 24...

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Onboard WiFi and cell booster strategies, the diagrams

Apr 6, 2015

Online_Boat_no_boosters_cPanbo.jpgI've given numerous seminars about what modern mobile communications can do on boats these days and I'll be presenting the latest version at TrawlerFest's new Essex, Connecticut, location in early June. Aside from guidance about useful apps and the neat ways phones, tablets, and the Internet are integrating with marine electronics, boaters want to know how to improve their WiFi and/or cell connections with shore. But when I start talking about typical methods of installing wireless boosters, confusion sometimes follows! So, I'm working on a series of diagrams that Panbo readers might also find useful or might help improve...

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Wemar Nautipad, why not e-paper instrument displays?

Mar 29, 2015

Wemar_Nautipad_displays_aPanbo.jpgThey look like excellent instrument displays, especially when you realize that they're portable, wireless, waterproof, touchscreen tablets that rarely need charging and shouldn't be wicked expensive. Unfortunately, though, they're not currently available. I hesitate to write about a discontinued product, but the seemingly well-developed Wemar Nautipad system above could come back on the market if another company wants to give it a go, and e-paper screens seem like an interesting idea for boats anyway...

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Wireless autopilot controls: Madman for Raymarine, Si-Tex SRS-100 for any brand

Mar 25, 2015

Madman_ap_control_for_Raymarine_cPanbo.jpgSome people think it's crazy to run an autopilot with a smartphone, so maybe it's fitting that a company called Madman Marine is the first to make this possible with Raymarine pilots. But then again, Madman's AP-WRC3iF comes with two fobs that run on a separate wireless frequency and that can also make course changes, initiate autotacks and change pilot modes. And it only costs about $235 U.S. plus shipping from Australia (with the fob-only model at about $190)...

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Vexilar T-Box WiFi fishfinder & Navionics SonarChart Live wow

Mar 1, 2015

Navionics_Vexilar_SonarChart_Live_skinny_water_cPanbo.jpgThis mid-January screenshot represents a very pleasing experience in marine electronics testing. Thanks to a Vexilar SonarPhone T-Box SP200 and the Navionics Boating app I'm cruising around in my 9-foot dinghy with more than just charting and a fishfinder. I have access to three different chart formats plus a live SonarChart being created as I move along, and the data I'm collecting will be available to my fellow cruisers a week or two later. It sounds exotic, but the total cost was about $250 (iPad mini excepted), installation was fairly trivial, and it all worked quite well right out of the box.

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Furuno TZtouch2 and FI-70, back in the game!

Feb 25, 2015

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Sorry for the blown out screens, but the point of this photo is Furuno USA marketing manager Dean Kurutz, who co-delivered the NavNet TZtouch2 introduction with senior product manager Eric Kunz just like they did with the original NavNet in 2001 -- when I was just getting into electronics writing -- and every NavNet update since. The dynamic duo have been coming to Miami with the company since well into the last century and a lot of their colleagues have similar histories. If you go Furuno you get remarkable management consistency and institutional memory, but that doesn't mean they're old school...

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