February 2nd

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 2, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Arvid n Annika of_Stainless_Lobster cPanbo.jpgHere are Arvid and Annika Elias as they showed me a prototype of their very first marine electronics product in the press room of last fall’s Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. I was quite impressed and am now pleased to report that the Stainless Lobster Fridge Optimizer is official and shipping. If you’d like better monitoring and control of your boat’s electric refrigeration system, and/or automated defrosting (fridge only, not freezer), and/or improved battery time at anchor, read on…

SL_Fridge_Optimizer_overview_aPanbo.jpgHere’s an overview diagram of the Fridge Optimizer concept, with the parts that get added to your existing system outlined in orange.…

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January 26th

Electric Boats: Steyr HDS+, LTS Marine, Torqeedo, windmills & more

Posted by // January 26, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 26, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

eCraftYachts_20_WOT_cPanbo.jpgThe first U.S. Electric and Hybrid Marine Expo was wonderfully educational, though I hardly knew any of the companies involved and could only understand a fraction of some seminars. On the other hand, I met a familiar fellow enthusiast before I even left the Lauderdale airport. Rufus Van Gruisen is the esteemed owner/operator of Cay Electronics, and it turns out he’s done more than just dream about quiet, efficient electric pleasure craft. That’s him in the orange cap above, showing Newport the first eCraft Yachts 20 that he helped his son to build.…

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January 22nd

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 22, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Icom_M93D_DSC_VHF_prototype_aPanbo.jpgI’m slightly reluctant to mention this Icom M93D announcement because it’s only “scheduled to be available in the second half of 2016” with price unknown, but, dang, it sure looks like an interesting DSC VHF handheld radio. I still think that many boaters don’t realize the added safety, tracking, and navigation capabilities possible when GPS is integrated with portable VHF, though the Standard Horizon HX870 (that Icom is clearly gunning for) has been earning great reviews for a while. Also, note the lovely color-screen Icom GM600 fixed VHF “coming soon” with an SSB sibling.…

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January 19th

Kees’ cool sloop Merrimac, home of CANboat and more

Posted by // January 19, 2016 // COMMENT (0 Comments)


Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 19, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Kees_Stadtship_Merrimac_cPanbo.jpgA memorable moment of 2015 was waking up in Kees Verruijt’s attic guestroom in Harlingen, Netherlands. If my lens were wider, you’d see the thick thatch capping his sturdy brick home. And if I’d waited a bit, the photo might include one of the family-owned-and-operated cargo vessels that often motor by enroute to or from the Wadden Sea. What you can see clearly, though, is Kees’s own dream boat Merrimac, which I would soon tour. I’d been following this boat project for years, knew that it motivated Kees’s valuable CANboat work, and given that CANboat helped birth Signal K, I figure that Merrimac may earn a special spot in marine electronics history…


Before the electronics, though, let’s have a look at an impressive cruising vessel.…

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January 8th

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 8, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


Let’s begin 2016 TidBit Fridays with Torqeedo Deep Blue Hybrid, a new system I’d like to know a lot more about. It seems to be the most fully integrated electric propulsion and power management system yet, by far, and two independent gentlemen who know a lot more about these technologies than I do feel that Torqeedo has done a great job here. And it’s not just for sailing catamarans 40 to 80 feet; Nimbus 365 Coupé Cruisers are being built with twin 80hp equivalent electric inboard motors and the Deep Blue components seem to lend themselves to many configurations.…

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January 6th

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 6, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Raymarine_Quantum_solid_state_radome_cPanbo.jpgWow, Raymarine is kicking off the new marine electronics year in grand style. Debuting today online (and at the New York Boat Show) is the Quantum Q24C solid-state radar seen above. While Ray apparently managed to keep this product a deep secret — I only heard about it yesterday afternoon — it appears to be thoroughly developed and near ready to ship. In fact, you’ll see that the install manual is already available, and I understand that the production line is rolling, with first deliveries expected around the time of the Miami Boat Show.…

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December 31st

Autorouting: Navionics new Dock-to-Dock kicks it up a big notch

Posted by // December 31, 2015 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 31, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Navionics_Dock-to-Dock_AR_Gloucester_cPanbo.jpgLet’s end 2015 with some new technology that will really make a difference, I think. It’s Navionics’ new Dock-to-dock autorouting system, and It may not be getting the recognition it deserves because Navionics already offered autorouting that was only marginally useful (like the others I’ve tried). Dock-to-dock is not perfect, but it still strikes me as a quantum leap improvement that many boaters are going to appreciate…

Raymaine_Navionics_auto_routing_issues_cPanbo.jpgI first tried Navionics original autorouting algorithms when they became a $10 option in its Boating app, and then again when Raymarine Integrated the Navionics feature into its Lighthouse MFD software.…

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December 21st

Underwater lights, Lumishore EOS blazes trail

Posted by // December 21, 2015 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 21, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Lumishore_EOS_Mini_controller_aPanbo.jpgLet’s talk about the pleasures of lighting on this shortest day of the year (at least on this side of Equator). Not that many boats have underwater lights (yet), but it is a highly dynamic and competitive sector nonetheless. Every year it seems like multiple manufacturers are offering greater LED brightness in more rugged fixtures with yet further advanced features and nicer controls at less cost in money, electricity, and install hassle. One product family that shows many such areas of improvement is the new EOS Surface Mount system from Lumishore, a company which seems to be leading the pack, at least currently…

Gizmo_w_Macris_underwater_light_cPanbo.jpgFirst let me acknowledge that some boaters don’t like underwater lights, a few even despise them.…

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December 18th

Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 18, 2015 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Simrad_OP50_B_G_ZC2_cPanbo.jpgAt METS it was good to see Navico out with a compact remote MFD keypad, which will be available soon as either the B&G ZC2 or the Simrad OP50. There will be landscape and portrait versions to fit different nav stations and that big rotary knob is also a cursor joystick. This $399 NMEA 2000 networked and powered remote includes a “high-decibel” alarm speaker and can switch among as many as six displays, with the active display shown on that skinny LED panel just under the remote’s brand name (which also shows red/green indicators when the keypad is controlling an autopilot).…

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December 11th

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

Spinlock_Lume-on_DAME_winner_cPanbo.jpgIt’s easy to understand and appreciate Spinlock’s new Lume-On lifejacket illumination lights. The $20 pair should stick easily to the underside of any inflatable bladder (as long as you can get access) and then use the bladder’s translucence to nicely diffuse their flashing LEDs if and when they are water activated. It seems a small cost in money, weight, and hassle for an added aid to person overboard recovery, and thus Lume-On won a 2015 DAME Award in the safety category. It also shared the overall DAME award (the Grand DAME?)…

Gillxxx_All_Speed_Stabilisation_cPanbo.jpgThe other overall DAME award went to this Electric Stabilising Fin & Interceptor System designed by Humphree.…

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