Sailfeed
April 20th

Digital Yacht Sonar Server, keeping it simple!

Posted by // April 20, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 20, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I’m really impressed with the Digital Yacht Sonar Server introduced last week, though it has almost nothing to do with the technology involved. In fact, I think the DY developers could have engineered this product in their sleep, as could several other companies that specialize in NMEA 0183 utility hardware. What’s brilliant here is a simple, reasonably priced, and fast-to-market solution for certain boaters who are understandably hot to use the Navionics SonarCharts Live app feature on their phone or tablet. And Digital Yacht has backed up their marketing smarts with deep info on how to install the Sonar Server…

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It’s no wonder that many boaters are confused about SonarCharts, as they’ve evolved in many directions.…

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April 15th

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 15, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Last week Navico introduced a Wireless Pilot Controller that can be added to B&G, Simrad, and Lowrance autopilots that connect to their control heads (and/or MFD controls) via NMEA 2000. It can do more than the keys indicate — like tack a sailboat that’s being steered in wind mode — and it will retail at $349 with a BT-1 Bluetooth Base Station. The WR10 remote will also be available by itself for $150 as four can work with one BT-1 at once, and eventually the remote may be able to work directly with the Bluetooth built into displays like the recently introduced Lowrance HDS Gen3 or the new Simrad Go7 / B&G Vulcan V7 twins

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This diagram shows how the full kit works.…

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April 9th

Apple Watch boat applets, Pocket Mariner is raring to go

Posted by // April 9, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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

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I find the Apple Watch fascinating, even if I have no plans to own one myself, and I encourage anyone else with an interest to read David Pierce’s Iphone Killer: The secret history of the Apple Watch at Wired.com for a deep look at what the obsessed designers were up to. The first hands-on reviews are coming out now, pre-orders start late tonight, and at least one boating apps developer will be ready to go when the watches release to the public on April 24…

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Pocket Mariner has developed many apps for iPhones, iPads, and Macs — as well as Android devices — and three of the AIS-related ones that run on iPhones will soon have free Watch extensions.…

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April 6th

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 6, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I’ve given numerous seminars about what modern mobile communications can do on boats these days and I’ll be presenting the latest version at TrawlerFest’s new Essex, Connecticut, location in early June. Aside from guidance about useful apps and the neat ways phones, tablets, and the Internet are integrating with marine electronics, boaters want to know how to improve their WiFi and/or cell connections with shore. But when I start talking about typical methods of installing wireless boosters, confusion sometimes follows! So, I’m working on a series of diagrams that Panbo readers might also find useful or might help improve…

The first diagram (above) is meant to show what happens when your boat doesn’t have any “coastal Internet amplification” systems (“booster” is not really the right term for much of what I’m going to describe).…

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March 29th

Wemar Nautipad, why not e-paper instrument displays?

Posted by // March 29, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 29, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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They look like excellent instrument displays, especially when you realize that they’re portable, wireless, waterproof, touchscreen tablets that rarely need charging and shouldn’t be wicked expensive. Unfortunately, though, they’re not currently available. I hesitate to write about a discontinued product, but the seemingly well-developed Wemar Nautipad system above could come back on the market if another company wants to give it a go, and e-paper screens seem like an interesting idea for boats anyway…

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Information about the Nautipad system is still up on the site of developer Wemar (Weber Marine) in Slovenia, and this Nautipad video nicely shows off what the displays can do (this one, too).…

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March 25th

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

Madman_ap_control_for_Raymarine_cPanbo.jpgSome people think it’s crazy to run an autopilot with a smartphone, so maybe it’s fitting that a company called Madman Marine is the first to make this possible with Raymarine pilots. But then again Madman’s AP-WRC3iF comes with two fobs that run on a separate wireless frequency and that can also make course changes, initiate autotacks and change pilot modes. And it only costs about $235 U.S. plus shipping from Australia (with the fob-only model at about $190)…

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What Madman has done is to figure out the autopilot commands in regular SeaTalk so that the installation only requires 12v power and a three wire ST connection to a (hopefully) spare ST terminal block on an older Ray course computer like the STx000 or SPX series.…

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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.…

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February 25th

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

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

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

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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.…

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February 11th

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

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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…

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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.…

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February 9th

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

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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.

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