Category: Editors’ Blog

3

Doppler radome testing tease: they’re all good

The picture tells much of the story. In rain and fog, the three 7-inch Garmin, Simrad, and Raymarine multifunction displays are each showing their respective solid-state Doppler-assisted radomes capturing well the complexity of Rockland Harbor moored vessels and shoreline while also automatically highlighting the most significant moving object…

8

Raymarine LightHouse 3 calibrates Oceanic Systems tank senders, on my float mate’s boat

Way down the long list of new features that came with April’s LightHouse v3.9. update for Raymarine Axiom MFDs is “Tank naming and Sender Calibration” and it turns out that means NMEA 2000 tank senders made by Oceanic Systems. Which is a semi-big deal because a significant disappointment of N2K is that while many standard data PGNs are truly plug-and-play across brands, sensor calibration is usually not…

11

Is Visible’s $40 cell plan better than Verizon’s defunct $65 unlimited hotspot deal?

Visible, a relatively new Verizon subsidiary, has been offering a $40 per month (taxes included) unlimited plan for about a year.  While the plan’s pricing is great, its usefulness has been potentially limited by a 5mbps speed cap. Today Visible announced that they’re removing this speed cap while keeping the rest of the plan the same.  Is this as good as it sounds?

4

Cruisair AC unit extraction, quality Wera tools helped

How different are boats, boaters, how we boat, and where we boat? On the very day that Ben Stein despaired about Have Another Day’s South Florida air conditioning addiction, I proudly humped this old Cruisair AC unit off Gizmo with no replacement plans. The sense of accomplishment actually came from a challenging extraction process, and that may have been much harder without some particular hand tools…

13

Geek Alert: ngrok remote tunnels make connecting to devices on the boat easy

Prior to being a boating geek… I was a professional geek. I have a lot of data on the NMEA 2000 network on Have Another Day but no way to access it all remotely. I’m getting ready to leave the boat for a few weeks so I really want to access all that data off the boat. After some digging for a way to make that off boat access possible, I found one with which I’m currently thrilled.

12

Eye popping electric bills, monitoring and reducing electrical consumption

Have Another Day is currently in Fort Myers on the Caloosahatchee River where the daily highs are in the low to mid-90s, and even the marina water is nearly 90 degrees. Last month the boat sucked down over $300 in electricity, more than she uses in an entire season in Chicago, and I figured my biggest culprit is likely the 48,000 BTU split gas Salon AC unit…

2

FloatHub, Boat Beacon and Boat Watch work with Amazon Alexa

You may realize that Amazon’s “smart assistant” Alexa is like Apple’s Siri, except that you can ask “her” questions through an Echo speaker instead of an iPhone. But did you know that some marine app developers have created Alexa skills as free and possibly useful features? The underlying technology is awesome, but you don’t have to know much to make it work…

12

Heat shrink solder sleeve butt connectors, great for skinny boat wires

The small gauge wire connections usually required when installing NMEA 0183 data sharing often fail because normal boat wiring techniques don’t work well at this scale — or at least not in my clumsy DIY hands. So I was intrigued at first sight with this relatively new type of heat shrink butt connector that uses low-temperature solder instead of a crimping sleeve, and so far I’m quite impressed with the results.

3

Dinghy as depth scout with Garmin QuickDraw Contours

My boating career started in the generally deep waters of the Great Lakes where the prevailing wisdom is: If you can’t see it, you can’t hit it.  But cruising the Great Loop taught me the perils of shallow water boating, especially because our props hang lower than any other part of the hull by two feet.  So I’ve gotten creative in an effort to make shallow water boating involve fewer clunks of running gear meeting bottom, and the most effective technique I’ve found so far is advanced scouting with our dinghy using the QuickDraw bottom survey feature of its Garmin Echomap 64cv.