Panbo

Victron Cerbo GX, good AC/DC power monitoring gets better

6 Dec

Victron introduced Cerbo GX and GX Touch 50 at METS

The existing Victron Venus GX and Color Control GX are both excellent AC/DC power monitoring products in my estimation, but with many boat systems it’s hard to decide which one to use. While the Venus blue box is less expensive with more networking capabilities, none of its display and control abilities are as fast and easy as the CCGX’s screen and button interface. I’m happy to report that this purchasing dilemma will end next year with the new Cerbo GX and GX Touch 50, and valuable additional GX features are ...

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Return Link Service, a major PLB & EPIRB improvement

26 Nov

 

Many of us carry an EPIRB or PLB satellite distress beacon for worst-case emergencies at sea, and while they’ve earned an excellent success record, they also have a nerve-racking drawback. The rare boater who actually activates one will not know if the distress message was received until the search and rescue heroes actually show up. Or don’t show up! But that intensely tense uncertainty is about to change thanks to a newly revealed technology called the Return Link Service (RLS).

Orolia introduced Return Link Service at METS with a big blinking blue light to suggest how the small blue ...

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NOAA will sunset traditional nautical charts, sad but inevitable

16 Nov

 

NOAA will stop updating charts that look like this, paper and electronic, by 2025 or sooner
NOAA will no longer update charts that look like this, paper and electronic, by 2025 or sooner

Things are just things, right, and they don’t really die. But during a recent conference call with Capt Chris van Westendorp, Marine Chart Chief John Nyberg and several their colleagues at NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, a genuine feeling of grief bubbled up within me. And since I can’t keep my mouth shut, I learned that some of our “Nation’s Nautical Chartmakers” are also feeling it. The demise of the traditional chart is going to be sad for many of us, no ...

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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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