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Ben

Ben

  • Commented on Marinebeam: Ultra Long Range LED flashlight tested, MarineKinetix wind turbine admired
    Thanks, Stuart! I've recently chatted with two acquaintances in this area who bought MarineBeam Ultras for their boats. Both are extremely pleased. I don't know of a comparable handheld long range light. Also, I am finding uses for the Ultra...
  • Commented on The state of marine Ethernet connectors, and hello to RayNet
    Thanks, Ewen! I really don't know when or what Raymarine will do with those extra cores. But I am fairly certain that the current radars don't use them. I think the radars are now shipping with RayNet connectors but I...
  • Posted EchoPilot Platinum FLS, better than expected to Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub

    Echopilot_Platinum_FLS_on_Maine_ledge_cPanbo.jpg

    She: "HEY! Do you realize you're steering right at a ledge?!?" He: "Yes, dear." While it was a tough cruise for my lovely first mate, I did learn a lot about what an EchoPilot FLS Platinum Video Engine can actually do. If you click the photo above to full size, for instance, note how the FLS in the Garmin video window is showing especially shallow water about 55 feet ahead, though in a rather vague, pixilated manner. Note too that the more conventional and less expensive Raymarine CHIRP DownView/sonar is at least suggesting a shallowing trend. Still, as the title says, I am finding that the EchoPilot's performance and usefulness is better than I expected, but then again -- a big 'but' -- my expectations were quite low...

  • Commented on Marine fuel prices, why so hard?
    Excellent! ActiveCaptain has vastly improved its fuel price services. You can now look at price sorted lists by state (and some foreign countries) if you are registered member: https://activecaptain.com/fuelLists/fuelIndex.php There are still plenty of missing marinas, but we users can...
  • Posted Cruising Solutions headsets, testing the Bluetooth update to Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub

    Mariner_headset_review_PMY_9-2004_cPanbo.jpg

    Apparently the folks at Cruising Solutions have not forgotten that I once characterized their still popular Mariner 500 intecom headsets as "making a boater look unfashionably similar to a Soviet tank driver" and hence asked me to test their latest solution to the problem of verbal communications when captain and crew are in different areas of a boat. They are called "My Team Talks" Bluetooth headsets and they're much more than modern looking intercoms. "Bring state-of-the-art multiplex communication technology to your boat" is not an overstatement...

  • Commented on Navionics SonarCharts, now via SonarPhone or GPX file, plus the Lowrance autopilot
    Perhaps unfortunately, Pencil, it does not seem to be natural for government charting agencies to accept outside data. The tendency -- understandable, I think -- is get ever stricter about data validity requirements and to be very conservative about change....
  • Commented on Smartgauge battery monitor, RC proclaims "paradigm shift"!
    I don't understand, Bob. Isn't RC's incredibly detailed testing and write-up all about how accurate and useful the Smart Gauge SOC is? http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/smart_gauge...
  • Commented on Simrad RS35 & Lowrance Link-8: DSC VHF + AISrx + N2K = YES!
    Hi Nick, I haven't done enough research to tell if it's a feature or a bug, but I did figure out how to make it stop. Go to Menu/Radio Setup/WX Alert and turn it off. Reading the manual (p. 32)...
  • Commented on Quality NMEA 2000 cabling, the eBay way
    Hello FatDash, Adam is quite correct but there are other ways to use the Turck JBSS multiport. My install looks something like the last photo. The backbone is Mini not Micro cable with a Mini power tap tee'd in. One...
  • Commented on Garmin SmartMode, and here comes Simrad Bridge
    Bill, look in Functions/Gauges/Wind. Full screen on the 8212 it's even sexier than the 741 screen, w two wind history graphs and more data windows. Great by default but much customization possible under Menu key. My water speed and wind...
  • Commented on Garmin SmartMode, and here comes Simrad Bridge
    Once I noticed the little multi-screen icon that now appears at the bottom of the NSS evo2 home screen, Bridge Control works great. The network sees all the screens already created for each MFD in the Bridge group and let's...
  • Posted Garmin SmartMode, and here comes Simrad Bridge to Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub

    Garmin_8000_SmartMode_home_page_cPanbo.jpg

    Garmin's SmartMode station control seemed like an obviously great idea when introduced with the 8000 Glass Helm series in early 2013. The basic feature simply let's you group 8000 displays at a helm (station) and control what the various screens are showing all at once. But the interface designers went a smart step further by naming the default SmartModes after the overall tasks at hand instead of the conventional specifics about the tools needed, like "chart/rader/cam". Thus the 8212 now being tested on Gizmo came with CRUISING, DOCKING, ANCHORING, and FISHING modes already suggested, and I've been adding my own in the same task-not-tool spirit...

  • Commented on MBHH Show 2014: Akalaria RC3, Dock Works utility cat & other surprises
    Thanks, Peter! You're going to like the video too; there's even a clip of a good size tractor driving off. But you have to view it in Internet Explorer and it took nearly 10 minutes to "buffer" on my usually...
  • Commented on Gizmo glass bridge MFD testing 2014, specs & prices
    It's largely a matter of available space, Raul, but I also like to be on the flybridge in fog and when gunkholing close to shore, ledges etc. Plus there's a 12" charting PC also at the lower helm. The three...
  • Commented on New Garmin GPSMap 741sx, 741, etc.; signs of what's to come?
    Hi Jay, Good question and fortunately I'm seeing the evolution hands-on. The 741xs mounted at my lower helm has an Airmar B75 medium CHIRP transducer plugged into it, which it's sharing quite nicely with the 8212 on the flybridge. It's...
  • Posted Gizmo glass bridge MFD testing 2014, specs & prices to Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub

    Gizmo_flybridge_sonar_testing_8-14_cPanbo.jpg

    Now we're talking. Gizmo's flybridge feels like the starship Enterprise now that the Simrad NSS16 evo2 is installed in its Seaview Power Pod and the Garmin 8212 has been moved closer to the helm since I first discussed the 2014 glass bridge install. Recent visitors tended to break into giddy laughter, but the marine electronics horsepower at my fingertips is truly phenomenal. In this scene, for instance, I'm exploring a dicey area of Camden outer harbor -- hence the lack of moorings -- using StructureScan and medium CHIRP sonar on the NSS16, CHIRP DownView and sonar on the gS125, and EchoPilot FLS via the Garmin's video port. Today's subject, though, is about how and why I selected the particular gear I hope to test and compare for quite a while...

  • Commented on Cangarda, the touchscreen steam yacht
    Small world, Eugene, and so glad you came by! Steve Cobb is no longer on Cangarda, and I've heard the vessel has been laid up with mechanical issues quite a bit, but Steve is now running the beautiful Atlantide: http://www.charterworld.com/news/newly-refitted-122-classic-motor-yacht-atlantide-leaves-front-street-shipyard...
  • Commented on Ray i60 on bridged Simnet-Ray N2K network
    Hi Dan, Frankly, I'm surprised that your "bridged" system is working as well as it is, as what you're doing seems well outside the norms for CANbus and NMEA 2000 network architecture. I suspect that you might see other problems...
  • Commented on Testing the Wilson AG Pro Quint, and hello Shakespeare Anywhere cell boosters
    4G in Perry Creek is really nice, especially when those massive squadrons of Perry C. mosquitoes are on the blood hunt ;-) For readers from away, Perry Creek is on the NW corner of Vinalhaven, only about 11 miles from...
  • Commented on Siren Marine cellular boat monitoring long test, reliable & powerful
    Gotta wonder if some boats don't have a mind of their own. Here's a "lucky" story like yours that just happened here Wed. night: http://www.penbaypilot.com/article/harbormaster-act-god-kept-loose-sailboat-causing-damage-camden-harbor/38961 Gizmo was one of many boats in between the J-24's mooring and the patch of...
  • Commented on Testing the Wilson AG Pro Quint, and hello Shakespeare Anywhere cell boosters
    Thanks, RC! I didn't even realize that Wilson had come out with the Mobile 4G and it looks right for a lot of boat situations: http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/store/display/245/38/mobile-4g Dare I ask if your combination of antenna, cable, and amp meet the new...
  • Commented on Navionics SonarCharts, now via SonarPhone or GPX file, plus the Lowrance autopilot
    Thank you Giuseppe and Greg! It's fantastic when developers stick their necks out here on Panbo, and the pride and passion both of you have about what you do is obvious. But please play nice. I don't think I'm the...
  • Commented on GPS vs Tablet
    Dan, I'm surprised you didn't mention the problem of seeing the tablet screen in open sunny conditions. It really is a problem (as you've mentioned before). At any rate, I've started testing an Android tablet put together specifically for boating...
  • Commented on Ray i60 on bridged Simnet-Ray N2K network
    Dan, what do you mean by bridged? Are you using a bridge device like the one from BEP CZone or did you simply remove two terminators and one power drop and use a new cable to make the Raymarine and...
  • Commented on MBHH Show 2014: Akalaria RC3, Dock Works utility cat & other surprises
    Rumor has it that the Akalaria Open 40 and also Rich Wilson's new Open 60 Great American IV will be in the Penobscot Bay Rendezvous races starting tomorrow, and I hope to see them in action. More info: http://www.penobscotbayrendezvous.com/Notice-o-race http://www.sailfeed.com/2013/08/rich-wilson-looking-ahead-to-the-2016-vendee-globe/...
  • Posted MBHH Show 2014: Akalaria RC3, Dock Works utility cat & other surprises to Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub

    MBHH_Show_2014_Ben_on_MYC_Akalaria_Open_40_RC3_cPanbo.jpg

    I knew I'd gotten Maine Yacht Center's Brian Harris to photograph me in the comfortable driver's seat he designed for the second Aklaria RC3 finished out at MYC, but how did the shot come out of my camera like this? Did I fall into some revery imagining the 20 knot reaching this exotic Open 40 racer is easily capable of? The 12th annual Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show was rich in the elegant lobster yachts and daysailors my state has become famous for, but there were also plenty of interesting surprises. Even Mainiac boat nuts don't realize how versatile we are...

  • Commented on More Gizmo 2011, the solar panel project
    Hi Jack, A year after this entry I wrote about the system I actually installed, which is slightly different: http://www.panbo.com/archives/2012/08/greening_gizmo_17_amps_of_solar_panel.html I'm very pleased with the long term performance of two Kyocera 140 Watt KD140SX-UPU panels and a Blue Sky 2512i...
  • Commented on Furuno 711C Navpilot head & MCU002 remote keypad, TZT style
    Thanks, Johan, but actually Furuno is the only manufacturer I know of that offers an automatic standby (and resume course) autopilot feature like Garmin's ShadowDrive. Furuno calls it Safe Helm and it requires an accessory valve block and Furuno (Accusteer)...
  • Commented on Siren Marine cellular boat monitoring long test, reliable & powerful
    Hi Quitsa. The (slightly) more expensive and more versatile Sprite model I'm testing has a "9' temperature probe for 'spot' temperature. -22 F (-30 C) to 230 F (110 C)". I don't see it pictured anywhere but it's in the...
  • Posted Siren Marine cellular boat monitoring long test, reliable & powerful to Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub

    Siren_Marine_TRANSGRES_warning_text_cPanbo.jpg

    Boat theft is very rare in Maine, but on a recent Saturday night someone apparently "borrowed" a big twin outboard off a local dock for a "joy ride" during which something was hit hard enough to hole the topsides, and then they put the boat back on the dock and vanished! To my knowledge the mystery remains unsolved, but it sure jogged my memory about the Set feature on the Siren Marine cellular monitoring system I've been testing for over two years. The partial phone screen above shows what happened when Gizmo moved more than about 15 meters several days after I texted the "SET" command to the Siren. First I was notified that she'd TRANSGRESsed the geofence set up by the SET command and then the Siren started texting me every five minutes with GAT (Geofence Automatic Time-based) reports that included course, speed and a lat/long link to Google Maps. I could have guided the Maine Marine Patrol to the transgressor pretty quickly, if the "villain" hadn't been myself...

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