Panbo

Nautic Alert, excellence in monitoring and control

9 Feb

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 9, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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While my boat, thankfully, doesn’t need six bilge pumps like the system above, four months of serious testing has left me deeply impressed with the Nautic Alert bilge, battery and GPS precision sensor platform. Yes, it also manages one pump or many — probably better than any us ever will — and it clearly informs a skipper of problems whether you’re on board or off. Finally, Nautic Alert regularly assures me that all is well, and it’s ripe for expansion. I think I’m in love…

Nautic_Alert_NMEA_booth_w_Nick_Velado_cPanbo.jpg

First, ...

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PanPan CrewWatcher, smart MOB beacon for smartphones, plus Sea Tags & Fell MOB+

23 Jan

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 23, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Does it make sense to use smartphones and tablets for a man overboard alarm and recovery system? I can testify that the first reaction of Sail magazine’s Pittman Innovation Award judges was skepticism. Nonetheless we found PanPan’s CrewWatcher so well thought out and potentially so useful that we gave it an award in the safety category, and then an independent second set of judges picked it for the Overall Winner. And truth be told, the finished CrewWatcher personal beacons and apps don’t actually exist yet!

man_overboard_courtesy_Sail_magazine_Steve_Sanford_aPanbo.jpg“Everyone’s ...

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Ebikes for boats, learning from a Sondors

11 Jan

Written by Ben Ellison on Jan 11, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Folding bikes seem great for cruising boats. You can extend your sightseeing, fetch supplies, or simply get some rolling excercise. But I’ve wondered if a compactable electric bike could be even better and more fun. While that manly beast above is certainly unfit for stowing on even a mid-sized trawler, it’s led me to love the ebike concept and taught me what a good one may look like for my cruising situation…

Ben_on_GoCycle_in_Lauderdale2_cPanbo.jpgMy first ebike experience was a brief test of the Gocycle G2 at the ...

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Cartography lessons learned searching for the best charts of Cuba

30 Dec

Written by Ben Ellison on Dec 30, 2016 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Pardon my photography, but the point is that many detailed, up-to-date, and well-crafted official paper charts of Cuba do exist. Unfortunately, they’re not easy to own and the good work of the Cuban hydrographic service is also not yet fully available in any electronic form. In fact, many “current” electronic Cuba charts are based on shockingly old data with substantial chunks of critical cruising detail missing. But visiting boaters do have at least one good current chart choice, GeoCuba is moving into the modern world, and ...

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McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB, first of many, PLBs too?

9 Dec

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

McMurdo_SmartFind_E8_G8_and_G8_AIS_EPIRBs_aPanbo.jpgLet’s first note that McMurdo’s trailblazing SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB still awaits FCC approval and probably won’t be for sale in the U.S. until spring (along with its more conventional E8 and G8 siblings). But McMurdo has definitely developed this useful combination of local and global rescue beacon, other manufacturers may have AIS EPIRBs in the works, and I’ve got some details about how they’ll work. I also have some safety tips from an acquaintance who just dramatically experienced the effectiveness of a current ACR EPIRB…...

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Testing the Garmin Fantom 24 in a new world of solid-state radar

1 Dec

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

Gizmo_testing_four_solid-state_radars_11-2016_cPanbo.jpgIt went unmentioned at our large family Thanksgiving feast last week, but I am thankful that solid-state radar became omnipresent in our marine electronics world this year. In fact Gizmo’s four test radomes now all share the solid-state virtues of near instant power up, low power draw, low emission levels, and long life (at least theoretical). They are all decent performing radars, too, and several offer very special features that only seem possible with solid-state technology. In this entry I’ll try to sort out the field, ...

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WilhelmSK app shows what Signal K, good boat WiFi, and smart DIY coding can do

15 Nov

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

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Hey, those are all solid-state radomes showing on the 7-inch displays at Gizmo’s lower helm, and you’d see a fourth one running on the flybridge. Comparative testing is underway, but today I’m going to write about the rather amazing WilhelmSK app running on the iPad above. It is not only mirroring the Raymarine a77 screen, touch control included, but also neatly displaying lots of NMEA sensor data that’s been converted to the app-friendly Signal K protocol, thanks to Digital Yacht’s iKommunicate gateway. In my opinion, WilhelmSK ...

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If you want to sail away, free FastSeas weather routing can help

9 Nov

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

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If you’re looking for a real getaway this morning, or even just an online distraction, FastSeas.com can help. It’s also a testament to how much goodness a smart boater/coder can create for his or her fellow mariners these days. And while FastSeas is primarily an online weather routing service for sailors embarking on ocean passages, it’s easy and flexible enough that even a coastal power cruiser can benefit…

FastSeas_routing_includes_ocean_currents_cPanbo.jpgYou could say that FastSeas.com is just a website, but in fact when you click that Calculate Route ...

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New Garmin: Fantom radomes & Panoptix thru-hull FLS, plus radios & “budget” MFDs

2 Nov

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

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Were you hoping that Garmin would bring its Fantom solid-state radar technology down to radome size, including the Doppler-assisted target motion highlighting they call MotionScope? How about two sizes, 18 and 24 inch? Or maybe you’re a Garmin owning cruiser jealous of Simrad or B&G users with ForwardScan forward looking sonar? That’s also taken care of, sort of. And these are just two highlights of all the new products Garmin announced today, many of which will ship soon…

Garmin_GPSMap_7x2xs_touchscreen_MFD_aPanbo.jpgLet’s start with the new GPSMap multifunction display ...

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Lauderdale ‘lectronics: sensors, sats, cams, boats, ROVs and ?

1 Nov

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

Fort_Lauderdale_Boat_Show_2016_maps.jpgThe Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) has become an enormous event, and I would have a hard time covering all the interesting electronics-related exhibits even if I actually motivated my lazy old butt out of Maine this week. But I do have the goods on one important set of new products (that I can share tomorrow), and I’ve also got some ideas about booths and docks to visit that some of you might enjoy and perhaps even report back about…

Maretron_CLM100_Current_Loop_Monitor_aPanbo.jpgAnyone interested in marine electronics ...

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