Sonar wars flare: Humminbird Mega, Garmin UHD, Lowrance FishReveal & more

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Mar 16, 2018


This week both Garmin and Lowrance made major fishfinding announcements, but the overall Sonar Wars context most definitely includes the sharp Humminbird Mega high-frequency side imaging seen above. There's also some good news for cruisers in the Navico MFD software update, plus an opportunity to preview a new press release feature coming to Panbo...

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ActiveCaptain: Data delivery changing, but free access assured

... written for Panbo by Ben Stein and posted on Mar 9, 2018


Within minutes of announcing Garmin's acquisuition of ActiveCaptain in May 2017 commenters here and elsewhere immediately began to worry about its future. On Wednesday evening, the Polar Navy announcement above poured fuel on that fire, suggesting that the many non-Garmin charting apps and MFDs which display ActiveCaptain cruising information would lose access to the database this May. But that quote is not the whole story by a long shot. Actually, Garmin is emphatic that AC data will remain freely available to developers and users...

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Furuno MIBS 2018: from TZT2BB megaMFD to GP-1x71F plotter fishfinders

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Mar 6, 2018


At the Miami boat show, Furuno showed off interesting new products aimed at both ends of the market. Prominent at their booth were two strikingly large multi-touch displays being driven by a single TZTouch2 Black Box, a new choice for larger vessels and an especially easy upgrade for existing Furuno black box systems. But nearby were entirely redesigned multi-touch 7- and 9-inch plotter/fishfinders (that even have a radar option), plus an innovative new autopilot that further confirms Furuno's growing attention to smaller boats...

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Raymarine MFD apps three ways: from drone control to sat comms to video streaming

... written for Panbo by Ben Stein and Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 26, 2018


MIBS 2018 saw the manufacturers putting the multi in MFD, with Garmin and Raymarine each introducing multiple new multifunction app and app-like display integrations interfacing to all sorts of third party boat systems, plus consumer electronics gadgets and online services -- actually every single brand seen below, with lots more likely coming. The results are exciting, but what the heck are MFD apps? Fortunately, Raymarine is illustrating all three ways they can be created and why it's useful to know how it's done...

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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


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


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


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


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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