Airmar 2018 part 2: Ultrasonic and EM speedo mysteries unraveled, plus new UDST800

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 14, 2018

Airmar_UDST800_ultrasonic_triducer_for_real_2-2018_cPanbo.jpgAirmar's newly announced UDST800 Ultrasonic Smart Triducer is real! I've held one in my freckly hand and even installed it on Gizmo. The reality of a new product would not normally be news, but the history of Airmar's high tech ultrasonic and electromagnetic speed sensors has frustrated boaters wanting the promised precise and reliable Speed through the Water results, which should be many boaters, I think...

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Airmar 2018 part 1: Newly certified installers toting TDT1000 transducer testers

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 11, 2018

Airmar_TDT1000_kit_case_n_ACI_logo_cPanbo.jpgDoctor Ducer is in the house! Seriously, the already impressive Airmar TDT1000 Transducer Diagnostic Kit is now key to the company's new certified installer program, and thus you and your sick fishfinder may one day appreciate a boat call by an informed ducer doc with the right tool. And if an ACI installs the transducer in the first place -- let's call it "preventative medicine" -- you get a significant warranty upgrade. I tested the tester last month and learned a lot about Airmar and sonar nuances in the process...

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Simrad NSO evo3 multifunction displays, and hints of Navico future

... written for Panbo by Ben Stein and Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 28, 2018

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That new 24-inch Simrad NSO evo3 screen must look spectacular with its 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, 1200 nits of brightness, and IPS-style wide viewing angles. And these big screens -- there will be 16- and 19-inch models too -- can purportedly be viewed with polarized sunglasses, thanks to the use of combined LCD and polarizer. The new NSO design is also packed with connectivity, including a Simrad-first J1939 engine input, and a black box processor is no longer needed. We've got details on the series, and then let's ponder recent Navico acquisitions...

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Seakeeper install... 7,000 miles later

... written for Panbo by Ben Stein and posted on Jan 15, 2018

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As I sat down to write this article I flashed back to an eye-opening technology experience at the 2015 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. My wife and I found ourselves on the Seakeeper roll stabilization demo boat in the mouth of the Port Everglades inlet with a Viking 60-foot sportfish doing circles around us throwing as big a wake as possible. Our demo ride led to a major install on our Carver motor yacht, which I can recall in vivid detail, but which also significantly improved our subsequent family voyage around the Great Loop...

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Ode to hydronic boat heating, and Sure Marine Service

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 9, 2018

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It seems appropiate to kick off 2018 with a discussion of heating technology, specifically the diesel-fired hydronic system I installed on Gizmo last year. It was a significant purchase and a major install, but the 66 degree pilothouse temperature seen above certainly made my early December ICW trip a lot more pleasant. I'll explain why I chose hydronic, detail how the system went together, and profusely praise Sure Marine Service, a marine heating equipment distributor par excellence...

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Doppler radar: Simrad VelocityTrack & Furuno DRS6A-NXT

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 22, 2017

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Simrad has now officially joined Furuno and Garmin with a solid-state radar feature using the Doppler effect to instantly highlight targets moving relative to your vessel. "VelocityTrack" can be added to any existing open array Halo radar with the purchase of an unlock code, and it appears to be the most sophisticated version of the feature yet. Simrad also created a thorough VelocityTrack presentation that even explains technical subtleties common to all such Doppler radar features. Meanwhile, Furuno is now challenging the Simrad and Garmin solid-state Doppler open arrays with its new DRS6A-NXT...

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Computer-assisted groundings? Bad Navionics charts?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 7, 2017

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Despite incredible advances in chart availability and chart plotting, keels keep banging on reasonably well charted ledges and reefs all over the planet. Why? I've made far too many navigation errors to play the righteous scold, but I am taken aback by the tendency of boaters to blame technology and especially the recent trend toward castigating chart manufacturers like Navionics as if perfect data is a possibility or even an entitlement...

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New in safety: Exposure OLAS Float-On, Vesper smartAIS deckWatch, and Digital Yacht Nomad portable AIS

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 21, 2017

Exposure_OLAS_Float-On_aPanbo.jpgThe Exposure OLAS Float-On is one hell of a flashlight (or "torch" in Brit speak). That's because it's also an automatic water-activated MOB strobe light and a Bluetooth MOB alerting device that can network with smartphone apps and more familiarly styled MOB tags. Details follow, along with several other interesting new safety products that also got the attention of the DAME Award judges at METS...

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AIS issues: Garmin, Navico, McMurdo, AMEC and SRT

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 13, 2017

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I like to write about marine electronics that facilitate safer, more enjoyable boating, especially new developments that seem headed in that direction. It's been gratifying, for instance, to see the infant Class B AIS that Panbo began covering in 2005 grow into a highly appreciated tool for cruisers, racers and fishermen. AIS is a huge success on many levels, but today the subject is two issues that may concern some Class B AIS users...

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Garmin & Navionics part 2, a close look at ActiveCaptain the app

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 6, 2017

Garmin_ActiveCaptain_app_notifications_Navionics_cPanbo.jpgIt's odd that I was writing about the Navionics Boating app's excellence at MFD integration when Garmin purchased the company and downright weird that the acquisition news arrived via a beta version of the brand new Garmin ActiveCaptain app that takes MFD integration to some other excellent places. For instance, have you ever seen phone notifications pop up on your helm screen while you're underway (if you choose)? The two apps are good news for lots of boaters as they are right now, but what fun to think of all their key features made into one...

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