Sailfeed
March 1st

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 1, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Navionics_Vexilar_SonarChart_Live_skinny_water_cPanbo.jpgThis mid-January screenshot represents a very pleasing experience in marine electronics testing. Thanks to a Vexilar SonarPhone T-Box SP200 and the Navionics Boating app I’m cruising around in my 9-foot dinghy with more than just charting and a fishfinder. I have access to three different chart formats plus a live SonarChart being created as I move along, and the data I’m collecting will be available to my fellow cruisers a week or two later. It sounds exotic, but the total cost was about $250 (iPad mini excepted), installation was fairly trivial, and it all worked quite well right out of the box.…

Read More
February 25th

Furuno TZtouch2 and FI-70, back in the game!

Posted by // February 25, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

, , ,

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 25, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

MIBS2015_Furuno_NavNet_TZT2_intro_cPanbo.jpg

Sorry for the blown out screens, but the point of this photo is Furuno USA marketing manager Dean Kurutz, who co-delivered the NavNet TZtouch2 introduction with senior product manager Eric Kunz just like they did with the original NavNet in 2001 — when I was just getting into electronics writing — and every NavNet update since. The dynamic duo have been coming to Miami with the company since well into the last century and a lot of their colleagues have similar histories. If you go Furuno you get remarkable management consistency and institutional memory, but that doesn’t mean they’re old school…

Well, in some ways Furuno is old school: they distribute mainly through traditional dealer/installers; their famous customer service apparently stocks spares for decades-old equipment; and they’ve earned high esteem in tough niches like offshore commercial fishing and the US Coast Guard.…

Read More
February 11th

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 11, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Garmin_Panoptix_PS30_n_31_transducers_aPanbo.jpg

The Garmin Panoptix “All-Seeing” sonar announced this morning sounds fascinating, but be aware that it’s meant for smaller boat fishing, at least at first. The $1,500 rectangular “multi-beam transducer that utilizes a phased-array scanning sonar technology” will come in two styles, with the tilted Panoptix Forward model oriented vertically on a trolling motor or transom mount and the Down Transducer with its horizontal orientation only available for transom installs. Neither one looks easy to transform into a thru-hull fitting but judging from the screenshots a lot of bigger boat owners will be hoping that’s possible…

Garmin_Panoptix_LiveVu_Forward_w_diver_aPanbo.jpg

This is the PS31 Panoptix Forward Transducer purportedly imaging 80 feet of slightly upsloping bottom and also a diver about 20 feet ahead of the transducer in what Garmin calls LiveVü mode.…

Read More
February 9th

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 9, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Wilson_Sleek_4G_460107_cell_booster_cPanbo.jpg

New FCC regulations have caused turmoil in the world of cell boosters and now leading manufacturer Wilson Electronics has changed its name to weBoost. Thus, the Wilson Sleek 4G (460107) above, one of the very first new breed boosters last April, has just morphed into the weBoost Dash 4G-S (470107). Adding to the confusion is the boater’s need to replace that wimpy car top antenna with a possibly illegal marine model – I’m happily using a Digital Antenna 1285 Bullet in my testing — but the whole package ends up relatively simple to install and effective for its cost.

Read More
January 30th

GoFree goes online & Insight Genesis Social Mapping goes free

Posted by // January 30, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 30, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

GoFree_gets_online_cPanbo.jpgThe 2015 Navico writers event was in the same Florida Keys location as last year’s spectacular, which only seemed to highlight the rapid development pace we witnessed. For instance, fishing in a now familiar place and style with the new Lowrance HDS Gen3 multifunction display really showed off the phenomenal variety and quality of functions built in. It may even qualify as a “revolutionary” MFD feature set, despite my earlier skepticism, and it wasn’t even mentioned at the 2014 event. But that story will have to wait.…

Read More
January 26th

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 26, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

digigone_DigiMed_Mini_aPanbo.jpgSail’s 2015 Pittman Innovation Awards were just announced and one of several interesting winners is a series of DigiMed wireless kits that work with Digigone’s existing telemedicine service. Even the smallest DigiMed Mini above can teleconnect you to a 24/7 emergency medical center via Android tablet and Bluetooth headset and I’ve seen how the included wireless macro camera allows the experts to examine the victim down to skin pore level…

I first saw the DigiMed tablet and camera system demonstrated last February in Miami and in 2013 Digigone set me up with the bandwidth-efficient SecureChat video chat software and compression service that’s behind all their products.

Read More
January 19th

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 19, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Torqeedo_TorqTrac_Module_cPanbo.jpg

I declared my love for the Torqeedo 1003 electric outboard in 2011 and the feeling only deepened after two seasons of long testing, despite a glitch or two. Well, wow, the same motor has run like a top ever since, and as of a few days ago, it has a very cool accessory. The TorqTrac Bluetooth module and apps were announced some time ago, but apparently the $149 kit is only becoming available now. The version 1.0 app does not look like what was originally announced, or even what’s shown at Torqeedo USA right now, but my first underway tests suggest that TorqTrac is going to add some nice spice and utility to my Torqeedo 1003 relationship…

Torqeedo_TorqTrac_Module_test_cPanbo.jpg

First I did a dry run in Gizmo’s salon.…

Read More
January 7th

Raymarine Wi-Fish and FLIR One for everyone

Posted by // January 7, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

,

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 7, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

WIFISH_Facing_Left-WithPhone.jpg

Some days I feel like retiring, but wow, the changing technology I enjoy covering just won’t let up. Yesterday Raymarine introduced the wonderfully named Wi-Fish, which seems at least visually even more a sign than Furuno’s DRS4W WiFi radar of how mainstream marine electronics can accomodate our collective fascination with mobile computing. Wi-Fish is essentially a Dragonfly sonar display without the display but with an app that can purportedly do its job and more. And Raymarine didn’t stop there, also introducing a variety of new 4- and 5-inch Dragonfly models, including Pro versions that support the Wi-Fish app while also offering an “All weather viewable” display and GPS plotting on a great choice of chart formats…

Raymarine_Dragonfly_5_model_line_up_aPanbo.jpg

The Dragonfly 5 model lineup tells the story, and it’s the same tale for the 4-inch models.…

Read More
December 7th

Fusion BB300 black box stereo & a peek into 2015

Posted by // December 7, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

, ,

Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 7, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Fusion_MS-BB300_black_box_marine_stereo_aPanbo.jpg

It’s not on the Fusion website yet, but the MS-BB300 black box marine stereo was introduced in Fort Lauderdale — press release here — and is scheduled to ship this month. In a way it’s Fusion’s first black box unit, but then again they built the trailblazing Simrad SonicHub in 2010 and then the Garmin Meteor 300 last year. In fact, the BB300 is very similar to the Meteor 300 and whereas Garmin acquired Fusion in May, the BB300 can be viewed as a statement about Fusion’s continuing independence.…

Read More
December 2nd

Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 2, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Nobeltec TimeZero app 2015 w Furuno WiFi radar cPanbo.jpg

Yes, iPad navigation fans, that is Furuno 1st Watch WiFi Radar overlaid on the Nobeltec TimeZero charting app. I wasn’t even sure that an iPad could overlay radar over a simple vector chart, but here it is over a finely rendered raster chart blended with hi-res satellite photos. This is virtually the same mix of navigation data that I’ve found so useful on a Furuno TZT and the short demo file I saw running in Fort Lauderdale suggested that it may pan and zoom (and even go 3D) almost as smoothly on an iPad.…

Read More