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Monthly Archive: November 2010

5

BEP CZone seen live, more coming

Simrad_CZone_live.JPG

I wrote about BEP’s CZone distributed power last April, but didn’t get to see it live until I got a ride aboard Simrad’s demo boat during the Fort Lauderdale show.  Isn’t it neat that the control screen can show you the amperage flowing through a specific circuit (and apparently detect a fault)?  And if it’s on an MFD, couldn’t valuable details like that also be on iPad or apps phone like I recently saw live with Maretron’s N2KView?  In April I also wrote about what a difficult niche distributed power is, but I still think the magic of digital switching is one of the most interesting frontiers in marine electronics. And that we’re going to hear a lot more about it in 2011.  BEP, for instance, made a series of announcements during METS…

8

BGAN on a boat? A test in Hawaii

A question I’ve never known the answer to:  Can a cruiser use Inmarsat’s BGAN service — the much less expensive “land” version of Fleet Broadband — at least when at anchor in an exotic...

22

Gizmo Thanksgiving, & the Garmin 740 networked

Gizmo_lower_helm2_fall_2010_cPanbo.JPG

It’s about to be Thanksgiving here in the states, and — aside from the normal family stuff (which is huge) — I surely am thankful for being the custodian of a wonderful boat, for living in a beautiful corner of the oceans, and for getting to fool with some great technology.  Above is Gizmo’s lower helm, the Fall 2010 edition, and while there’s a lot here that I haven’t written about yet, I’m going to focus today on that little Garmin GPSMAP 740 on the chart table…

40

Bad Elf GPS, & the not-so-bad Verizon iPad deal

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Hurray for the Bad Elf GPS!  While it’s simply a high-performance GPS receiver that fits into the data/power port of any Apple iThing, it means that an iPod Touch can finally run mapping and charting apps like an iPhone 3Gs can, perhaps even better given the Elf’s high specs. Ditto for older iPhones with their crummy internal GPS receivers and for WiFi-only iPads which — like Touch’s — don’t contain any sort of GPS.  I’m sure that there will eventually be all sorts of ways to get GPS, and even other boat sensor data, into iDevices, but the Bad Elf seems to be an easy solution, and it can be had at Amazon for $100 right now.  Here’s hoping that it will also help some boaters untangle the confusion around iThing GPS, and data plans, which recently got worse…

16

METS 2010 roundup, thanks to Kees

METS_ExNC_booth_KeesV.JPG

Once again — and a nice contrast to my various METS ramblings — the good Kees Verrujit kindly wrote up his impressions of the huge Amsterdam marine equipment trade show:

Today I visited METS for the fourth year in a row. This year the show was even bigger than last year, by about 20%. Anyone who still claims they can do all halls and booths on one day is a close relation of Baron Münchhausen. I visited some booths as a NMEA 2000 enthusiast, some in my role of technologist for a yard, but most in my role as a delegated Panbo blogger. This year that was a lot easier than last, as more and more people seem to read Panbo or at least know Ben’s name — most vividly portrayed by a huge quote sign in the Fusion Marine Audio booth {like this one, only bigger!}.  The major themes I noticed were: Pads (and iOS apps) were everywhere; AIS is taking off in a major way; Chinese electronics are coming; and
NMEA 2000 is here to stay…

2

DAME Awards 2010, part 2

ODEO_laser_flare.JPG

DAME Awards will be chosen at METS this coming week for multiple categories, but there are electronical things well beyond the main marine electronics category discussed on Thursday.   Consider, for instance, how the ODEO Flare seen above attempts to replace pyrotechnics with four lasers and a revolving prism.  It does cost almost 100 pounds, but purportedly stays lit for 10 hours on 2 AA batteries, and it won’t burn you.  Also in the Lifesaving and Safety Equipment category are SeeTrac’s Jet-trak high-end PWC tracking system, McMurdo’s SmartFind S5 AIS SART, and Weatherdock’s easyRescue, which seems to be a personal-size AIS SART.  And of course there’s the Marine Related Software category…

7

DAME Awards 2010, part 1

Echopilot_3D_FLS.JPG

EchoPilot’s 3D forward looking sonar, mentioned here last year when Kees covered METS,  purportedly just started shipping, and the screen shots posted at the company site are even more compelling.  That spire imaged above, for instance, represents a navigation buoy with a triple mooring system.  But might this product be causing the judges of this year’s DAME (Design at METS) Award some anguish?  They did choose it as one of the six finalists in the Marine Electronics category, but it’s got to be difficult to judge such a unique technology on the basis of screen shots, especially when they can get more hand’s with some of the other other nominees…