Panbo

Marine fuel prices, why so hard?

9 May

Written by Ben Ellison on May 9, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

MarineFuel_app_cPanbo.jpg

 

I’m so close to home!  But good old Maine welcomed me with a full menu of fog, rain, and wind — topped off with a foul tide — so it seemed wise to take a break behind the Rockland breakwater, make some tea and discuss marine fuel prices. One of many things I learned on this trip to South Carolina and back is how much diesel prices can vary, even within the same harbor. So I was quite keen to give the new MarineFuel.com IOS app

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BEP CZone Signal Interface, a NMEA 2000 winner

3 May

Written by Ben Ellison on May 3, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

CZone_SI_tank_monitoring_on_Simrad_NSS8_cPanbo.jpg

That screen above makes me so happy!  I had been reluctant to give up on Gizmo’s standalone tank monitoring system but circumstances forced a change. Had I realized how easy and relatively inexpensive it was to switch the tank senders over to BEP CZone NMEA 2000 monitoring — and how accurate and flexible the output would be, even to the point of custom (and juvenile) tank labels — I would have made the leap a long time ago…

Aside from the Volvo Penta engine panels the ...

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Garmin GMI 20 & GHC 20, back on top?

29 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 29, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Garmin_GHC_20_and_GMI_20.jpg

In my opinion it was the Garmin GMI 10 that trail blazed the wonderful world of color NMEA 2000 all-in-one displays, but it’s gotten major competition from the Raymarine i70 (comparison here), the B&G Triton (first look here), and the Furuno RD-33 (hand’s on here). And when Garmin demoed its new 800 Glass Bridge Series in Miami, the GMI 10 also installed on the dash looked decidedly out of place. So it was really no surprise when they announced ...

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Verizon LTE nirvana, can it last?

22 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 22, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

MyVerizon_usage_April_cPanbo.jpg

I lucked out. Just look at all the data I’ve been slurping through my Verizon Galaxy Nexus cell phone while living and working afloat. Up until this month I didn’t think that using 21,482 megabytes on a $60 data plan was possible without repercussions — like Verizon throttling me down or even saying “bye-bye, buster!”  But apparently it’s perfectly OK for me to keep right on slurping at this piggish pace. Am I just enjoying a short term sweet spot?

When describing my three-layer data strategy ...

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KVH V3-IP Broadband & Thuraya SatSleeve

18 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 18, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

KVH_mini-VSAT_CommBox.jpg

Since leaving Myrtle Beach on April 1, I've spent a fairly ridiculous amount of time messing around with WiFi and cellular Internet connections, and not only is Gizmo quite well equipped in those categories but she's stayed within a mostly first world country (just kidding, North Carolina). Admittedly my thirst for connectivity is high, but I might trade a small body part for a system that simply put me online 24/7/wherever. That's the promise of KVH's latest TracPhone mini-VSAT V3-IP, and 'simply' is the key ...

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Gizmo’s air draft sensor & my Panbo 8th

14 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 14, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Lafayette_River_trawler_bridge_cPanbo_.jpg

This was Thursday's little challenge. It's what I've starting calling a "trawler bridge": a span high enough to let motor cruisers get at some good anchoring and/or gunkholing, but not so high that they have to share it with pesky sailboats. I kid, of course, but I had spied out a great little spot on Norfolk's Lafayette River (Google Map here) to ride out the frontal passage and it would likely be free because there's only 24-feet under this bridge at high tide. However, ...

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C-Maps in Coastal Explorer, never enough charts!

11 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 11, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Gizmo_lower_helm_April_2013_cPanbo.jpg

Yes, it sure looks like overkill — and this shot doesn't even include the iPad that's often mounted here at Gizmo's lower helm — but I've definitely found ways to put all these screens to work. In this particular scene the boat is crawling out of a very shallow back creek (actually called Back Creek) where we'd hidden from the worst of a cold gusty low that had me wondering if spring would ever materialize. It was still gusting in the high 20's and that's only ...

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inReach SE, will the screen do it?

4 Apr

Written by Ben Ellison on Apr 4, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

DeLorme_inReach_SE_collage_Panbo.jpg

I was so focused on finally heading north that I forgot the April 1 announcement of DeLorme's new inReach SE, even though one standard step in getting Gizmo underway these days is firing up the original inReach for tracking, messaging, and much more (as discussed here last fall). But my forgetfulness does not indicate a lack of appreciation for the new model (which I've already handled briefly in prototype form). To the contrary, I think the SE (Screen Edition)  will likely make a lot of boaters as ...

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Paul’s Cape Dory 25, just doing it!

26 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 26, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

1984_Cape_Dory_25_at_Osprey_cPanbo.jpg

What the heck? This morning In Myrtle Beach it was the same frosty 36 degrees as it was in Camden, Maine. I've got lots more install work I can do before heading north, but it's fun to check out the odd lot of early ICW cruisers who turn into Osprey Marina's narrow entrance channel. Particularly curious was this venerable Cape Dory 25 that came in looking like it had been knocking around at sea. In fact it had just come non-stop and single-handed from St. Augustine, ...

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Gizmo’s antenna mast 2013: FLIR, Rogue, Wilson & more

25 Mar

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 25, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Gizmo_3-2013_new_antenna_rig_from_bow_cPanbo.jpg

I've heard it said that if you heeded all the manufacturer advice about antenna placement, you'd need a boat 100-feet long with four or five masts. I've been meaning to ask Panbo readers about how to best use Gizmo's single (though beefy) antenna mast, but instead I went and rejiggered everything last week and your advice will have to wait for the next revision. What mainly drove the change is the long term loan of a FLIR M-Series camera system, which certainly deserves the premier masthead ...

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