Sailfeed
April 15th

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

Navico_WR10_autopilot_remote_cPanbo.jpg

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 and can 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

Navico_WR10_autopilot_remote_wBT-1_cPanbo.jpg

This diagram shows how the full kit works.…

Read More
April 13th

10 years in the Panbo wheelhouse, some improvements made

Posted by // April 13, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 13, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Panbo_office_desk_3-10-2014.jpgWhile I was already fairly “seasoned” when I wrote my first Panbo entry 10 years ago yesterday, I feel like I have a few more years of obsessing over marine electronics left. Today, though, I’m going to share a few non-marine infrastructure improvements I’ve made, mainly to Panbo’s completely redone edit office. I haven’t been very shy about personal matters over the years, but I never showed the horrid mess of a home office where I did much of my work. And I wouldn’t now, except as a “before” to an “after” I’m very pleased with…

Panbo_office_desk_4-13-2015.jpg

Ta-da!…

Read More
April 9th

Apple Watch boat applets, Pocket Mariner is raring to go

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

, ,

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

PocketMariner_SeaNav_on_Apple_Watch_aPanbo.jpg

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…

Pocket_Mariner_Boat_Watch_on_Apple_Watch_aPanbo.jpg

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.…

Read More
April 6th

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

Online_Boat_no_boosters_cPanbo.jpg

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).…

Read More
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

Wemar_Nautipad_displays_aPanbo.jpg

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…

Wemar_Nautipad_video_aPanbo.jpg

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).…

Read More
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)…

Madman_AP-WRC3iF_for_Raymarine_aPanbo.jpg

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.…

Read More
March 10th

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 10, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

OpenSeaMap_Depth_Data_call_aPanbo.jpg

I’ve been cogitating a lot about crowdsourced depth data lately, including the realization that “community sourced” is a better term. Whatever it’s called, Navionics in particular has made it wonderfully easy to collect and share sonar files and especially wow with the Vexilar integration. But the business stakes are high and thus we have the frustration of Navionics and Garmin butting heads. Upon further contemplation, a wistful thought from that last entry — “Wouldn’t it be great if we could upload our data to some service that would make it available to any chart developer?

Read More
March 6th

The Navionics SonarCharts for Garmin conflict, messy business!

Posted by // March 6, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

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

Navionics_Garmin_SonarChart_beta_New_Bern_NC_cPanbo.jpgThis screenshot shows the Garmin GPSMap 8212 installed on Gizmo displaying the same crowdsourced Navionics SonarChart bathymetric data that I recently enjoyed improving via the Navionics Boating app and Vexilar dinghy sonar. In fact, all the chart data seen above came from Navionics, even the beta version was fairly usable for navigation (I thought), and the finished chart cards are now for sale. But I doubt that many will be purchased once potential users realize how Garmin is reacting to this development! Navionics and Garmin seem nearly at war, and this entry will attempt to untangle what’s happening.…

Read More
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