New at ICAST: Evinrude iDock and Raymarine Axiom Pro

10 Jul

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 10, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


I won’t be at the ICAST fishing show this week, but I do know something about two of the major pre-show product announcements that came out today. For instance, while the introduction of yet another outboard engine joystick control system might seem insignificant, what if the technology is deeply integrated into the outboards, requires little rigging work or locker space, and costs a whole lot less? Say hello to iDock as it joins Evinrude’s Intelligent Piloting System…

Evinrude_E-TEC_iDock_simple_rigging_cPanbo.jpgWhat’s significantly different about iDock is that all E-TEC ...

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Garmin inReach Explorer+, armchair transatlantics & hands on

2 Jul

Written by Ben Ellison on Jul 2, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


A big kick in my small life is seeing a technology I champion do well (especially when it involves a small company in Maine). I became a DeLorme inReach fanboy before it even shipped, and a succession of models have not let me down over thousands of testing hours. And I believe that the Explorer+ jointly developed with new owner Garmin is the best yet, based on personal experience and also on observing one serve well over thousands of transatlantic miles aboard S/V Lunacy (above). However, ...

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Raymarine Axiom & LH3, a little fishing & then the install

20 Jun

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 20, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


There is understandable grumbling about how Raymarine’s new 7-, 9- and 12-inch Axiom multifunction displays shipped (somewhat late) without several significant features that Ray plans to deliver with a software update at a yet unspecified date. But I’m fairly confident that the longer term story is rosy. After two days of fishing with beta MFDs in Florida and installing a test Axiom 7 myself, I’m impressed with both the hardware and the new LightHouse 3 interface, and I’ll be surprised if the missing features and more...

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LED headlamp beanie, your boat may need one

9 Jun

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

Ben_w_LL_Bean_LED_Beanie_cPanbo.jpgThis LED beanie has gotten a lot of use since a knowing Secret Santa gifted it to me at our family Chrismakah celebration, and I think it would make an excellent Father’s Day gift for many dads I know. Or maybe you just need to buy one for yourself, in which case the magic words apply: “I need it for the boat”…

LL_Bean_n_Panther_Vision_LED_beanies_cPanbo.jpgThe headlamp cap I’m still using when working in Gizmo’s dark and cool engine “room” is the $30 L.L. Bean Pathfinder Lighted Beanie. ...

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NMEA to WiFi gateways: TeamSurv’s & FloatHub

2 Jun

Written by Ben Ellison on Jun 2, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

TeamSurv_NMEA_Tools_NMEA0183-WiFi_bridge_collage_cPanbo.jpgWhen it rains, it pours (particularly at Panbo HQ this “spring”). NMEA-to-WiFi bridges are quite useful — mainly for getting basic boat data like depth, GPS, and wind into the wonderful world of marine mobile apps — and there have been numerous choices for a while. But yesterday TeamSurv started offering an interesting and notably inexpensive new bridge on KickStarter, and the intriguing FloatHub bridge and monitoring system will join it there soon…

TeamSurv_NMEA_Tools_NMEA0183-WiFi_bridge_comparison_cPanbo.jpgSince 2010 TeamSurv has been involved in crowdsourcing depth survey data, and thus ...

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Is it true news that “NOAA wants to stop making NOAA charts”?

30 May

Written by Ben Ellison on May 30, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


I’m a longtime fan of Landfall Navigation and I’m sure their intentions were good when they emailed this call to action Friday afternoon. But please don’t file a comment or call your congressman without looking deeper into the “news” that NOAA plans to discontinue all (paper-chart-like) raster files. In my read the end of rasters is only a far future possibility suggested in a recently published National Charting Plan that has some real meat (discussed below), and I’d be flabbergasted if it happened soon, or ever ...

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Monitoring 2017: Siren, QuikTrak, DotMobile, Yacht Protector, GOST, Maretron, Boat Command & GoFree

23 May

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

MIBS2017_Siren_Marine_Dan_Harper_cPanbo.jpgThere was so much going on with remote boat monitoring, tracking, and control at the Miami International Boat Show that I started wondering if 2017 would be the year this technology takes off. I’ve long thought that many boat owners would really appreciate the peace of mind offered by good monitoring if only they experienced it. And while this hardware/service category is confusing because there are so many things that can be done in so many ways, wow, there sure are a lot of companies that ...

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Glomex USA, Shakespeare and the search for better antenna cabling systems

14 May

Written by Ben Ellison on May 14, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


Recently I struggled installing a typical marine antenna with its included cable and annoying 0.71-inch (18 mm) diameter PL-259 connector. I could have cut the coax, run the cable, and attached a new PL-259, but I’m not sure that any human can install a cable connector as well as a machine, and certainly not me. That’s why it’s nice that Glomex now offers a variety of antennas and machine-made cables that use 0.35-inch (9mm) FME connectors. But for U.S. boaters, the Glomex news is better still…...

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Garmin acquires ActiveCaptain, now what?

11 May

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


This morning Garmin purchased ActiveCaptain and I have no idea if that will turn out to be good news or otherwise. Will this large and growing database of crowd-sourced cruising information change now that it belongs to a major electronics brand? I have no bold opinions but I do have lots of questions I hope to discuss…

For instance, will access to all the ActiveCaptain cruising data remain forever free as promised by the founders but now former owners Karen and Jeffrey Siegel? The Garmin press ...

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News+: Victron Venus, CruzPro SOG2, DY WindSense, Vaavud Ultrasonic, & Panbo “News+”

21 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 21, 2017 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub


Victron’s new Venus GX is a dauntingly complicated looking blue box, but it could beautifully simplify and improve the monitoring and control of a boat’s electrical power system. Essentially, Venus is a Color Control GX without the screen, which makes it less expensive, and it also has extra goodies like 3 tank level and 2 temperature inputs, built-in WiFi, and yet more I/O that hasn’t been enabled yet. The Color Control has evolved (and been used) a lot since I wrote about it in 2014, ...

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