Panbo

Heat shrink solder sleeve butt connectors, great for skinny boat wires

24 May

The small gauge wire connections usually required when installing NMEA 0183 data sharing often fail because normal boat wiring techniques don’t work well at this scale — or at least not in my clumsy DIY hands. So I was intrigued at first sight with this relatively new type of heat shrink butt connector that uses low-temperature solder instead of a crimping sleeve, and so far I’m quite impressed with the results.

The three skinny wire splices above may not look neat and tidy, but I’m confident that they’ll hold up to a lot of abuse.  And the heat shrink solder ...

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Electronic visual distress signals: Sirius Signal (Weems & Plath) versus Orion, plus a new option

16 May

 

In 2015 I enjoyed testing, and then enthusing about, the first electronic distress signal that could effectively and legally replace the flares required on most of our boats by the US Coast Guard. Hot flares always struck me as a dangerous way to seek help, they are distinctly unpopular with the folks who protect our environment, and their short lifespan is a boating hassle.

Now the original SOS C-1001 “LED flare” I wrote about  — designed and engineered by Sirius Signal, and currently distributed by Weems & Plath — has competition from Orion Safety, the company that ...

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Mr T goes to sea, hopefully leaving us a safety lesson

8 May

 

I was on Sombrero Beach in Marathon, Florida, yesterday when the loggerhead sea turtle known as Mr. T was released into the ocean after several months recuperating from a torn lung (probably caused by a high-speed boat hit). It was easy to presume his joy — he powered flipped the last few feet of beach without hesitation — and the high emotion of the crowd was both undeniable and very special. Just look at the faces of the fellow boating writers who had just helped the Turtle Hospital staff to lift Mr. T out of his travel tray.

Boating

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Simrad, B&G, and Lowrance Link app working well with off-the-shelf WiFi router

25 Apr

 

This was a nice surprise. It used to be tricky to connect a Navico MFD Ethernet network with a consumer-style boat router — and it remains impossible with some MFD models I’m pretty sure. But that’s exactly what’s happening on Gizmo right now, even with older Simrad NSS evo2 MFDs, and the benefits are multifold. I’m also pleased with the latest version of the Navico Link app, which is seen running fine over the boat router above and which is also compatible with many B&G and Lowrance displays.

While the Netgear N600 WiFi router currently installed on Gizmo is

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Victron Venus GX MFD integration, nice Simrad & Garmin surprises so far

20 Apr

 

Behold the Victron “app” now running on the Simrad NSS7 evo2 that I’ve been long testing on Gizmo. Now I can see all sorts of power data on a bright MFDs at the helms, and I can even use the integration to control the boat’s Victron Multi charger/inverter or configure many of the power system components. And this valuable feature only required some software updates and an Ethernet adapter cable.

beta test Victron app running on Simrad NSS16 evo2

beta test Victron app running on Simrad NSS16 evo2

In fact, I’m running a beta version Victron Venus software, and I don’t usually write about beta testing, ...

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Doane safety advice regarding Transderm patches & psychotic breaks

15 Apr

 

When the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Virgin Islands charged Rick Smith with “seaman’s manslaughter” last fall, it kicked off months of press coverage and a fire hose of sailor opinions about what exactly happened onboard Smith’s yawl Cimarron that led to the death of David Pontious, and whether Smith did a proper job as captain.

But the incident seemed fairly mysterious to me — and without any particular safety lessons — until I read THE TRAGEDY OF DAVID PONTIOUS: Did a Scopolamine Patch Drive Him to Suicide? by Charles Doane. I think it’s must-reading for all of us ...

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VIKING’s remarkable 800+ person LifeCraft system, Torqeedo powered

9 Apr

 

Viking Life-Saving Equipment has designed an almost frightening number of innovations into its LifeCraft system, so it’s good to see that it apparently tested fine in North Sea waves ranging from 12 to 15 feet with 33-foot peaks (gCaptain has more testing details here). The system may soon make big cruise ships safer, and perhaps some of the technology will work its way down to recreational vessels.

The big LifeCraft idea is to combine the compactness and seaworthiness of a liferaft with the self-propelled maneuverability of a lifeboat, and a key enabling technology is Torqeedo electric ...

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Actisense NMEA 2000 cables & connectors, plus network design tips

1 Apr

 

If you need a small NMEA 2000 network, Actisense’s all-in-one 4 Way at upper left is an especially simple and rugged way to go.  In fact, it includes all the components seen in their starter kit at right and the resulting network is a bit better as it will offer four female N2K connectors for drop cables to devices like plotters and sensors while one of the starter kit’s four connectors will be occupied by the power drop.

On the other hand, the Actisense RIB Starter Kit is a better choice if the N2K network backbone ever needs to ...

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A Marine Installer’s Rant golden oldie: “High Maintenance”

15 Mar

 

Editor — Are you too missing Bill Bishop’s wry take on the world of marine electronics? Or perhaps you never even stumbled on his Marine Installer’s Rant?  Well, it’s intriguing that Bill is deep into writing a novel; there are still many relevant entries at the Rant; and Panbo is very pleased to republish a golden oldie:

High Maintenance

From: Bill Bishop
Date: Monday 21 August 2014
To: John Rhoades
Subject: Invoice

Dear John, I gather you’re upset about the invoice to replace the oil pressure sender on your boat’s generator, although it was hard to understand ...

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Shakespeare inflatable emergency VHF antenna, smart design with 3dB

14 Mar

 

That’s Shakespeare Marine Electronics manager Bill Eastwood hamming it up with their just-announced inflatable VHF antennas at METS last November, and the grin is well deserved as the product had just won the DAME Award for the Safety category. In fact, I was the DAME judge who got to pull the cord to inflate the sample — worked like a charm — and I think we were all impressed with how rigid it became. The antenna also received a SAIL magazine 2019 Pittman Innovation Award, for which I also serve on the editorial panel.

I have not ...

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