Panbo

Gadget’s new battery, the Chrome Pro Series iGel

19 Apr

Chrome-Pro-YTX5L-BS-iGel-battery-cPanbo

This was such a pleasant surprise. Perhaps you recall how I built a solar-charged bilge pump system into Gizmo’s beloved Fatty Knees 9 tender Gadget in early 2016. Well, it has worked very well but also taken some abuse, and the already seasoned 3AH motorcycle-type battery died last December. There were a great many choices on Amazon (even with the same YTX5L-BS model name ;-), but if you want the amazing technology seen above, get the Chrome Pro Series iGel (somehow only $22.50 with shipping in January).

Yes, that is a built-in voltage tester, and if you hold down ...

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Marina WiFi can be weird, report from New Bern

15 Apr

Holy cow!  I’ve never seen WiFi download speeds over 100 Mbps on land, let alone in a marina, and nevermind a dreaded marina well populated with liveaboards and northbound snowbirds. I measured the internet connectivity above while logged into New Bern Grand Marina‘s WiFi and was so dumbfounded that I tested the connection with multiple internet speed apps on both iOS and Android devices over four days. The amazing results were consistent — and, zounds, did those apps download fast — but there is much more to the story.

In last week’s feature titled Marine internet, a connected year ...

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CZone Signal Interface module long test, replacement impressive

11 Apr

In early 2013, installing a CZone Signal Interface to put Gizmo’s tank levels on my NMEA 2000 network was a very pleasing experience. In fact, I’ve kept it installed for long testing and have become quite dependent on its reliable performance. So it was bad news in January when I somehow bricked the module while trying to update its firmware after all these years — hey, the CZone system isn’t really meant for DIY use — and even worse when I didn’t get back to the boat until just before heading north. But, dang, replacing the Signal Interface also turned ...

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SureCall Fusion2Go 2.0 cell booster, the testing begins

7 Apr

This is the selection of SureCall Fusion2Go cellular booster system components I’ll lug to the boat in North Carolina early Monday morning. The white outdoor antenna should mount fairly easily on Gizmo’s mast, the booster itself will tuck behind the lower helm with switchable 12v power, and I’ll put my phone on that indoor patch antenna when boosting is needed. In fact, I tried roughly that configuration in my basement shop yesterday, and the results were quite promising.

Note the signal strength graph in the Network Signal Info app running on my Google Pixel 2 XL Android phone. Without boost ...

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Garmin OneHelm (HTML5) #1: Lumishore, Seakeeper, and Shadow-Caster

4 Apr

Though multifunction displays have been steadily gaining new functions, the Seakeeper and Lumishore buttons above represent a new era. Garmin calls it OneHelm, but the underlying HTML5 app technology is an important innovation that all the major MFD manufacturers are embracing. It significantly simplifies the process of creating MFD control for other manufacturer’s onboard systems, and so a lot of interesting integration options like these will soon be available.

After the Miami show Ben Stein and I wrote “Raymarine MFD apps three ways: from drone control to sat comms to video streaming” because Ray’s latest operating system update ...

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Problem with COG/SOG smoothing on Garmin handhelds?

30 Mar

It’s often hard to get big companies to change or fix arguably minor product issues, and I’m pretty sure the best path to success is to clearly, politely, and persistently state the facts, maybe even illustrate the problem on YouTube. But that doesn’t necessarily work either, which is why I’m publishing this email from bluewater sailor Bruce Balan in full:

I’ve been exchanging emails with Garmin for years over their lack of COG and SOG smoothing in their handheld GPS. I know it is low-tech compared to a lot of equipment you report on, but we find using a handheld

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Problem with COG/SOG smoothing on Garmin handhelds?

30 Mar

It’s often hard to get big companies to change or fix arguably minor product issues, and I’m pretty sure the best path to success is to clearly, politely, and persistently state the facts, maybe even illustrate the problem on YouTube. But that doesn’t necessarily work either, which is why I’m publishing this email from bluewater sailor Bruce Balan in full:

I’ve been exchanging emails with Garmin for years over their lack of COG and SOG smoothing in their handheld GPS. I know it is low-tech compared to a lot of equipment you report on, but we find using a handheld

... Read More

Panbo’s new website, woooohoooo!

29 Mar

Zap! Woosh! Bang! Yes, I am super excited that Panbo has an entirely new website with more and better ways to cover the ever-changing world of marine electronics. I’m also hoping that readers will get better access to the news and reviews on whichever screen they’re using, plus an improved notification service and an easier time joining the crew of commenters. But you may have to help us find the bugs first.

So here’s a list of what we hope to accomplish with this new design:

  • Panbo is going from one to three content wells. The long Features aren’t going
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B&G NOS 18.1 software update with Advanced Windplot

27 Mar

B&G just released the NOS 18.1 software update for most of its multifunction displays. A key new feature is called Advanced Windplot — for Zeus only, sorry not for Vulcans — and I find the screenshots interesting but somewhat mysterious. I’m sure that the graphics are a lot more obvious when they’re live on deck with the wind gusting into the 20’s, but I think this boat is on a very broad reach, headsail possibly close to collapsing, but probably moving right along.

How about it, performance sailors: Does B&G’s explanation of these and other Advanced Windplot screens make sense ...

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SailRacer inkDisplay, e-paper fit for a boat?

22 Mar

The just-announced SailRacer inkDisplay seems impressive. For about $360 you get a sunlight readable 6-inch Android wireless tablet so waterproof that it can purportedly run in that aquarium forever. In fact, the video shows it bouncing onto concrete –hey, it’s also rubberized — and then into an icy Lithuanian puddle, with the screen still running. What it’s running is a special remote display version of SailRacer, so the app is controlled on a phone anywhere on the boat while the inkDisplay can even be attached to the lower mast (somehow) like the fancy racers do.

What may be most interesting ...

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