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Monthly Archive: February 2013

10

On board Gizmo, the last frontier

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In retrospect, it’s almost funny that the very first picture of Gizmo I published on Panbo (repeated above) highlighted that mess of wiring tucked under the circuit breaker panel. In the four years since, I’ve at least figured out, and in many cases changed or removed, nearly every electrical component on the boat. Just before I went to the Miami show it seemed like the time had come to attack what lay behind that nice little access door, but things did not go well…

6

Maretron DCR100 partial install, lights on & Labels up

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There’s lots more to report on from the Miami show, but partially installing a Maretron DCR100 Direct Current Relay on Gizmo just got me so excited I want to share. This boat has never had switches for running and flood lights on the fly bridge — especially annoying when I wanted to light myself up when crossing paths with a possibly unaware stranger — and it didn’t have a switch for the new bow LED spot at all (to be explained). Now for relatively little effort and expense, I’ll not only have switching at both helms but also be able to monitor and even alarm on real time circuit currents. The installation isn’t complete but I’m fairly confident that Gizmo will trek north with that often-cited feature of digital switching, an immediate warning if any one of the four incandescent running light bulbs blows. Plus I got to experience the beauty of NMEA 2000 Labeling, a feature that Maretron has trail blazed but which will hopefully become common across brands…

41

MIBS 2013 Raymarine: Dragonfly, gS-Series, Evolution AP & much more!

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Raymarine was a little slow getting their Miami press releases out, but then again they have a LOT to talk about. And even with the six releases you’ll find at that link, they left out what I think is a significant move: the coming-soon Lighthouse 6 software release for a-, c-, e-Series — as well as the new gS glass bridge MFDs — will include support for Empirebus NXT digital switching and distributed power technology…

33

Garmin GPSMAP 8000 Glass Helm series, oh yeah

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Garmin isn’t messing around. The 8000 Series announced this morning includes three MFD sizes — 8-, 12-, and 15-inch — as well as the 8500 Black Box that can drive new Garmin monitors available in 15-, 17, and 19-inch sizes. Do click on that family photo above to not only see the whole range but also something called the GRID for Garmin Remote Input Device. I’ve wondered if Garmin would ever add a rotary knob or joystick to its touch screen interface and the answer is that now you can have both…

80

Navico: new GPS/Heading sensor & VHF/GPS handheld

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Whether it’s called a Simrad GS50 or a B&G ZG100 or a Lowrance Point-1, it does not seem to be just another NMEA 2000 high-precision, high-refresh-rate GPS/Glonass sensor. Also integrated in is an “e-Compass/Gyro” heading sensor “that ensures access to stable and smooth vessel orientation” and “when used with a compatible” Navico display “greatly enhances navigational information by providing accurate course over ground (COG) data at any speed and enabling radar overlay on charts.” I’ve quoted the press releases heavily because I’m not yet sure that the sensor actually outputs Heading data, but I do know that whichever brand you buy, this souped-up overlay-enabling GPS is just $199 retail, and that sounds good…

20

Yacht Phone, a ‘burner’ for the boat

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I’m apologetic to all the manufacturers who’ve loaned me products I still haven’t tested or written about — so many gizmos, so little time! — but maybe it was a good thing in the case of the Yacht Phone which I first saw (floating) at the Lauderdale Show. Because the $20 three-month 50 minute prepaid card included with the sample had run out, I bought another 50 minutes at yachtphone.net. The purchase process turned out to be easy, in a few minutes the phone was able to make calls (aside from 911), and customer service even answered a few questions within an hour on a Saturday.  Plus the phone itself exceeded expectations…

17

Did Briartek “invent” two-way distress beacons?

DeLorme_inReach_user_web_site_2013_cPanbo.jpg

I really enjoyed being part of Trawler Fest last week. It was inspiring to meet relatively new cruising enthusiasts who are working to expand their skill sets, and trying to explain and demonstrate currant technologies rekindled some of my own enthusiasms. I hadn’t turned on the DeLorme inReach in months, for instance, but it located itself and paired with my iPad for easy backup navigation, tracking, and two-way messaging no problem, even though I was standing in front of an audience under a large aluminum-framed tent. Plus I got to see the entirely new User and Map Share web pages DeLorme recently developed for inReach, and they are sharp. However, I was also reminded of a disturbing behind-the-scenes patent issue that may hobble all SENDs (Satellite Emergency Notification Devices) and will likely tax consumers no matter what happens in court…