July 2007 Archives

Swift Hitch, first viewing

Jul 31, 2007


So a friend of mine recently returned from the Upper East Side of Manhattan reporting a New Yorker cartoon seen live: A madame parking her large and shiny SUV while getting backing directions from a lady friend stationed on the sidewalk via cell phone! No wonder there’s a Web site for rear-view cameras. Which, in fact, quite likes this portable Swift Hitch device. I’m fairly impressed too. It was just a matter of installing the li-ion battery in the display, charging it and the camera’s built-in battery with the dual 12v charger before I turned them both on and—lights, action!—everything worked fine. Hitting the main button reverses the image, which is helpful when also using the rear view mirrors, like above. I also tried it in the dark and the automatic infrared lights came right to life (the image goes to grey scale then, but is usually color, if not exactly rich color).

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Krill SS BB PC, N2K too

Jul 30, 2007


Krill Systems just announced its solid state (SS), black box (BB), marine PC, which means I get to drag out this shot of Casey Cox mugging with it at my kitchen table in June. The box uses a flash disk drive and embedded Windows XP for 24/7 reliability with a current draw of only 55 watts. It’s meant to run Krill’s monitoring software exclusively (though it’s powerful enough to run other applications, and Cox said that he’s willing to talk with developers who might have an appropriate, and rock solid, co-use for it).

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Camden Harbor Master, WTF

Jul 28, 2007


We haven’t had any “weekend weirdness” or contests for a while, and this seems so right. That’s Camden’s ever enthusiastic Harbor Master Steve Pixley holding up his recent invention. Your challenge is to figure out what its purpose is and why it might be valuable to certain boaters. Give us your best guess in the comments section. I’ll either confirm a winner, or explain the gizmo on Monday. The prize, per usual, is a free subscription to Panbo ;-)

7/30: OK, maybe I was misleading…the “certain boaters” I meant above are all the mooring installers and inspectors who may save time and fingers with Steve’s “Harbormaster” tool. Instead of having to haul up mooring chain one section at a time, the tool let’s them grab it just about anywhere they want, as surmised by Terry, and shown in video here. Congrats to Terry, and Steve, and thanks for all the…um…creative guesses. Whoever handles moorings in your harbor may appreciate learning about www.harbormastertool.com.

On SoZ with Bruce, & FUBAR

Jul 27, 2007

SoZ Camden cPanbo

Darn, I was hoping to get a shot of Bruce Kessler in his wheelhouse departing the Camden Public Landing this morning, but got distracted by a contest idea (that you’ll find here this weekend). When I looked up, he and his all-ladies-of-a-certain-age crew were headed out into the haze. You may still be able to catch Spirit of Zopilote at Shine Micro’s Live AIS, which, as shown below, can now overlay on Google Earth  (and shows Penobscot Bay thanks to the Penobscot Pilots). I really enjoyed meeting Bruce last summer, but my admiration is up a few notches further after a couple of coffee-sipping hours with him this morning.

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Bebi LEDs, from Fiji yet

Jul 26, 2007


Bebi Electronic’s LED lights most likely don’t employ the latest technology, like touch dimming, but there’s a lot to like about them. The company purportedly provides clean work for folks living in the village of Nakabo, Fiji, which is about 40 kilometers from the nearest power line. Bebi has all sorts of styles, including units that can be used for running and anchor lights, and prices seem quite reasonable. This Beka style cockpit light, for instance, is cleverly housed in a PVC pipe cap and only costs $36.50. I saw it last summer hanging aboard Dan Gingras’s Lionheart (thanks, Dan!).

Hella red/white LED, touch dimming too

Jul 26, 2007

Hella EuroLED touch

Neato! Touch the red button on this new Hella Marine EuroLEDTouch dome light, and you get red light; hold your finger there for two seconds and it will cycle through four dimming levels. The white button gets you white light, and your preferred dimming level is remembered for each color until you do the two second thing again. The dome is 5” across, 1.2” deep, completely waterproof, retails at $180, and can be had with a black shroud instead of the white shown. Hella doesn’t claim any sort of brightness equivalency for this LED fixture, unlike, say, Sailor’s Solutions 10–watt-halogen claim for its Sensibulb. I dare guess that Hella is using up-to-date LED technology, but I have learned that all LEDs are not the same, by any means. Maybe I can get one of these to test alongside the new version Sensibulb that’s headed this way.

Boatsense revisited, works good

Jul 25, 2007


Hot and humid in Maine, a good chance to hang in the lab with the Boatsense Solutions remote monitoring system I’ve been meaning to test further and photograph. Today I learned to program it so it will send the particular message you might want depending on the particular sensors you’ve hooked to the three auxiliary inputs. You have to get the syntax right, but once I sent the text message “#AM3Intruder!” to the monitor’s phone number, then broke the connection between the Aux #3 wire and ground, the unit called me with the “Intruder!” message above.

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Yamaha Command Link, NMEA 2000 or not?

Jul 24, 2007

Yamaha Command Link

Yesterday commenter JC asked how to connect his new Yamaha F250 to a Garmin 5212. The answer is a little less definite than I thought. I certainly remember Yamaha talking about how their coming CANbus engine system, Command Link, would be NMEA 2000 compatible—can even find a company reference as recent as last year—but check out the official Command Link Web pages, and see if you can find a single mention of NMEA 2000! Strange.

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Garmin 3D AIS, & an 0183 issue

Jul 23, 2007


Not one of my better pictures, but the bigger version here will give you some sense of how the Garmin 4– and 5000 Series handle AIS targets. At upper left you can see the AIS target on a the regular 2D chart; my first impression is that the icon representation may in some situations be a bit too busy compared to a standard AIS triangle. But I do rather like the 3D target representation in the Mariner’s Eye 3D view (sorry it’s a bit indistinct; I’m going to have do videos of this stuff at some point). You can also see the target icon just showing on the radar screen (which also gives you a reference to how the 3D radar overlay looks in 2D).

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The Panbo lab, show business!

Jul 20, 2007


Oh my! Or maybe “Ole!” as I’m posed like some sort of honky flamenco dancer. Actually I was trying to get the propeller beanie spinning with my left hand while I took the photo with my right. I once teased about the lab coat, and today can reveal its purpose…an August PMY column opening with a less demented version of this shot and describing the setup of what I dubbed the “Marine Electronics Performance and Interface Testing Facility.”

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