Panbo

Inside the DAME Design Awards, and a lovely TBS Electronics battery switch

14 Nov

METSTRADE opens next week at the huge RAI Amsterdam Convention Center, which also owns the show. I again look forward to joining a global crowd of marine equipment folks amidst a forest of manufacturer stands and other exhibits. But actually I already spend two October days in a RAI warehouse with fellow jurors carefully examining an interesting selection of new gear, and the goal of this entry is to shed some light on the DAME Design Awards choices that resulted.

Of course, the winners must remain confidential until the show-opening breakfast event, but the 2019 Nominees are already announced ...

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Snagging lobster pots & a DIY hookah solution

5 Nov

 

With winter setting in fast, it’s nice to remember summer, even a cruising hassle like snarling lobster trap gear around Gizmo’s running gear. During my 48 years in Maine waters, the catch has increased from 20 to 120 million pounds and the pot buoy systems have gotten significantly tougher; so snagging one has become much more of a hazard. But the grin above is not just because I’d finally cut away this particular mess; I think I’ve found a reliable snarl solution that will even work out in the remote Maine islands that lobsters, lobstermen, and cruisers all appreciate....

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Kobelt Vitals: a new sensing, monitoring, and gateway powerhouse

29 Oct

 

Long Maretron experience has taught me that the key benefit of boat monitoring is not screens of sensor readings, though they can be useful; it’s warnings and alarms. Done right — which is not easy — they can help a boat operate longer without major issues, but with a more relaxed operator. So I’m pleased to report that the new Kobelt Vitals offers similarly sophisticated alerting in a freshly thought-out, reasonably priced, and very flexible design that may be just right for many mid-size vessels.

The heart of Vitals is the 6700 Vessel System Monitoring & Smart Alarm Device...

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DC-DC chargers, Victron introduces Orion TR Smart series

21 Oct

 

I just recently developed an interest in DC-to-DC battery charging and — bada bing — Victron introduces a whole series with the “Smart” Bluetooth configuration feature I’ve greatly appreciated in two of their other power components. But DC/DC is an unfamiliar technology for me, so I’m hoping readers will help out with possible misunderstandings, though even I can detect some confusing nomenclature and product naming.

An Orion-Tr DC-DC converter is not a charger (and not "smart")
An Orion-Tr DC-DC converter is not a charger (and not “smart”)

For instance, Victron already offers numerous DC/DC products — most named Orion, and several Orion-Tr — but they are all converters, not chargers. ...

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Panbo test fleet adds a fast outboard: Gizmo Junior

14 Oct

I’m generally content to operate at trawler speeds these days, on and off the water. But — boy, oh, boy — taking on a new boat has definitely brought out the kid in me. Though it was only a few weeks ago when I finally realized that rebuilding the 14-foot power cat (and original Gizmo) is not in my future, the new plan has already hosted some electronics testing that would have been much more difficult with the 37-foot Gizmo, and it’s a different kind of pleasure on the water. Say hello to Gizmo Junior.

Gizmo Junior is 2000 Maritime Skiff 20-D with a 2019 Evinrude Etec HO 115
Gizmo Junior
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Digital Yacht Trinav GPS160 & NMEA 2000 MoB buttons

8 Oct

MoB alarm generated by Digital Yacht TriNav GPS160 button

When Digital Yacht announced their TriNav GPS160, I was impressed with the details. For starters, it offers high-performance GPS for $190, and it can integrate with most any navigation electronics environment because it has numerous interface options and its various user-selectable settings are done internally with good old DIP switches. But the cherry on top is support for a manual MoB alarm button that should work with most any current multifunction display, along with some PC charting programs and mobile apps.

TriNav MoB feature explained

In fact, Digital Yacht is using the specific AIS SART/MoB message that’s standard ...

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Ugo waterproof tablet and phone cases

5 Oct

At the 2017 Annapolis Sailboat Show, the two cheerful founders of Ugo gave me their original smartphone case to test. And while I find it awkward to use with the large phones I prefer, it is beautifully built and seriously waterproof. So I suspect that Ugo’s new and similarly designed tablet case will be a winner.

The Ugo Signature Collection designs function as dry bags in addition to being water and shock proof cases for precious portable electronics. I can picture this 12 by 9-inch Tablet model protecting a folded paper chart and/or guide book in the cockpit of a ...

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Panbo fun at the NMEA/RTCM Conference

30 Sep

It may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but trying the first dual-color electronic Visual Distress Signal Device (eVDSD) is how a writer trying to cover the present and future of marine electronics gets his kicks. And it happened because the annual and always valuable NMEA Conference is now also the annual RTCM Conference, and also because Panbo covered the event with dual Bens.

Ben E with Sirius Signal dual-color eVDSD

Before discussing RTCM and why we plan to give its work more coverage, the specific eVDSD I’m holding is the recently announced Sirius Signal C-1002. Third-party ...

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Bliss: 100hp diesel powers trawler, SeaKeeper, and huge battery bank

12 Sep

The goal of the makeover certainly sounded like cruising bliss, but could a 100hp Yanmar diesel really propel a 39-foot trawler while also producing gobs of 12 volt DC to feed both SeaKeeper gyrostabilization and a huge battery bank? I’m pleased to report that the dual MGDC 250 amp alternator setup seen above on the actual trawler Bliss has proven my skepticism unwarranted, and an already beloved cruiser became a “new boat” in the process.

Actually Bliss’s makeover sounds even more radical when you realize that the boat’s generator had to be removed to make room for the SeaKeeper 5...

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Chuck Berry, Ali’s butterfly, and the National Hurricane Center

1 Sep

 

Dorian is powered up and perilously close, but while the forecasting is better than ever — based almost entirely on massive data collection and modeling by NOAA — the meteorologists are still quite uncertain about the hurricane’s path. I’m thinking a lot about folks in the Abacos and in the vast areas that might be struck next, but, sorry, I’m also remembering how I managed to use Chuck Berry and Muhammad Ali in the opening paragraph of a July 2003 SAIL magazine article about visiting the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

So, yes, this entry is partially about a ...

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