Panbo

Gizmo’s new Firefly battery bank, working out the details

6 May

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

Gizmo_Firefly_Carbon_Foam_AGM_battery_bank_cPanbo.jpgWhen I wrote about replacing Gizmo’s house battery bank, I was already inclined to try Firefly Oasis AGMs, and my enthusiasm has only grown. It certainly helped to have RC Collins and Nigel Calder testify further in that entry’s comments about how deeply they’ve “abused” these batteries in ways that boaters like me tend to do. I’m excited about gaining significantly more usable, easy-to-replace power capacity, and the Firefly’s smart, colorful exterior design is a nice bonus. But the switch from two conventional 8D AGMs to a four Firefly bank naturally led me to rethink Gizmo’s battery storage, cabling, charging, and monitoring systems.…

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SSECN and MITA cruising info apps, Doyle Bon Voyage, and Cuba Ho!

26 Apr

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

SSECN_app_for_ICW_cPanbo.jpg

If I was once again in New Bern, North Carolina, about to cruise north with spring — instead of watching late April freaking snow fall in Maine — I’d certainly have the new Cruisers’ Net app loaded on my iPad and might well use it all day every day while I was still in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). It’s absolutely loaded with solid, well presented information, and I’m happy to add that the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) has done something similar for my local cruising waters…

SSECN_app_Bridge_Pointe_marina_cPanbo.jpgWhile the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net website has long offered a vast trove of ICW cruising info that’s edited by obviously caring professionals, the ambitious-yet-free SSECN iOS app may display all the info even better (especially on a fast iPad).…

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ScanStrut Rokk Mini, premium marine mount system

22 Apr

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

ScanStrut_Rokk_Mini_cable_tie_mount_fishing_cPanbo.jpgI used the Garmin demos in Miami to also test the new Rokk Mini mounting system recently introduced by ScanStrut. There are many ways to attach a Virb XE camera to a boat, as I’ll detail further down, and almost all are less expensive than the system of three Rokk components at work above. But I doubt that there’s any mount with so much range of motion and yet so rock solid when you find the position you want. The Rokk Mini system is also exceptionally well made and can solidly mount phones, tablets, smallish marine displays and more…

I’m pretty sure that the rock solid Rokk Mini mount is partially responsible for the smooth quality of this boat video, which also shows off Virb data integration and which I originally posted at the end of last week’s Garmin demo entry.…

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Garmin demos: GPSMAP 8600, ForwardVu, Fantom, Virb XE, Quatix3 & more

15 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 15, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Garmin_GPSMAP_8617_on_Contender_25_aPanbo.jpgAt this moment in time, the Garmin GPSMAP 8600 multifunction display announced in February may be the most powerful premium MFD available. That’s the “little” 8617 model of the series above — apparently now shipping at $7,500 retail — and that Quatix 3 smart/fitness/boat watch is not trivial technology either. So even given two full days with four Garmin-loaded boats, I feel like I only grazed the surface of all that’s going on. And frankly, the story is similar across the four major electronics brands and beyond.…

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TBF: Modeling NY40 Marilee, Weems & Plath magnifier & young Mr. Harding

25 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 25, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Stephens_Waring_proposed_Marilee_design_aPanbo.jpg(Bits are back, if you know what I mean.) I skim a lot of email newsletters but this recent Stephens Waring Yacht Design creation brought the process to a quiet halt. I clicked up this image as big as possible and became mesmerized, and it later turned out that even the newsletter text is only a sketch of the bigger story. Before we get into that, I suggest you get mesmerized, and I snagged even higher resolution images. Clicking them big may be slow, but you should be getting yourself stilled and ready to simpy wonder…

Stephens Waring proposed Marilee design nav station aPanbo.jpgWonder about the unusual grayish paneling?

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Gizmo’s house battery replacement: consulting with Cole, Collins, Calder, Schwab & you {draft Fri}

18 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 18, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Gizmo_2X_8D_AGM_house_battery_bank_cPanbo.jpg

The time has come. Actually, it was a specific day late last October when I Torqeedoed out to Gizmo only to find a dead ship. Not even a modest LED light nor the panel voltmeter would power up, and this dual Deka 8D house bank measured 5 volts at the studs. While I later figured out that only one had suffered a catastrophic malfunction, I’d already sensed that these AGM batteries were on borrowed time. They’d been on the boat at least a season when she became mine in early 2009, and at least occasionally mistreated since.…

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Flash: C-Map and Navico become sister companies

16 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 16, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Boeing_sells_C-Map_to_Altor_(Navico)_aPanbo.jpgHere’s some big news in the small world of marine electronics. Boeing company Jeppesen just sold its marine cartography division to a formerly unknown entity named Digital Marine Solutions (DMS) and it “will trade under the C-Map brand name” (as it did before Jeppesen came along and as many of us could never stop calling it). DMS belongs to the “Nordic-based Altor family of private equity funds” which also owns the Navico family of Lowrance, B&G, Simrad, and GoFree brands. Interesting?

I should not be awake at 2am — a caffeine related miscalculation — but what a lark to receive the Digital Marine Solutions press release and the Jeppesen press release almost simultaneously.…

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New NMEA 2000 stereos: Rockford Fosgate PMX-5, JL Audio MM100s & Navico SonicHub2

9 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 9, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Fusion_MFD_integration_collage_cPanbo.jpgBeing able to use your helm’s bright waterproof color screen to run your stereo system has to be one of the most appreciated benefits of multifunction display evolution and the NMEA 2000 network standard. Typically the stereo head unit is installed in the boat’s living area while one or more MFDs serve as remote controls in the cockpit, on the flybridge, etc. The interface can be a simple mute/volume/next menu bar leaving ample screen room for navigation or a screen window with more controls and info. Usually, you can also go full screen to easily browse a phone or iPod full of music, or access the stereo’s deeper settings better than you can on the head unit.…

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Solid state radar #2: the Doppler effect

1 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 1, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Furuno_NXT_demo_w_Eric_Kunz_cPanbo.jpgWhy is this guy grinning? At the end of the solid state radar #1 entry, I suggested that the Doppler target speed discrimination feature just introduced by Furuno and Garmin is truly game changing. Now I’ll try to break that down. While Doppler effect is a seasoned and fairly well known concept, I suspect that its sudden and intriguing arrival to marine electronics is going to effect change…

AN-APN-81_Doppler_Radar_Navigation_system,_General_Precision_Laboratory,_mid_1950s_-_National_Electronics_Museum_-_DSC00313.JPGIf you’re not a pilot or meteorologist or similar, you too may appreciate the Doppler radar pages in Wikipedia.…

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Solid state radar #1: long ranges and deep thoughts

22 Feb

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

MIBS_2016_mostly_DeLorme_radar_demo_tracks_cPanbo.jpgWhile we’ve barely begun 2016, the state of recreational marine radar is entirely different than it was in 2015. The simultaneous introductions of Furuno and Garmin solid state Doppler radars in Miami was a stunning coincidence, but the bigger picture is that all four major brands have now embraced solid state technology and a major transition is underway. During the show I spoke with a lot of product managers as we checked out their particular new radar underway, and my (partial) track map above (in two scales) may help readers to better understand the screenshots I brought home..

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