Ben Stein

Active Captain Community app support

31 May

On May 23rd Garmin shut down the old way of distributing ActiveCaptain (AC) data and turned on the new ActiveCaptain Community (ACC) servers.  All the mobile apps, charting programs and MFDs programmed to work with AC stopped updating — and, in some cases, stopped showing AC points of interest (POIs) altogether — unless they had been newly modified for ACC. In the table below I’ve tried to show what’s going on, but you’ll see that the number of products currently able to display and edit ACC POIs is pretty small. Hopefully, more blue checks will soon be added, and that’s ...

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The quest for the perfect boat, month 14

23 May

As well as our Carver Voyager 570 has served us we know it’s not the right cruising boat for us as we look to cruise further afield

Like many boaters, I’m always on the lookout for the right next boat.  Since joining Panbo I’ve written somewhat frequently about my recently completed trip around America’s Great Loop.  That trip provided my family and me with an amazing adventure as well as the opportunity to think about what makes the right boat for us.

We currently own a 2003 Carver Voyager 570 named Have Another Day.  We bought Have Another ...

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Uniden MHS335BT handheld: VHF, GPS, DSC and texting!

21 May

When I first read Uniden’s MHS335B handheld VHF press release, the feature that really intrigued me was “Maritime Industry-First Private Text Messaging.”  The release was a little short on details but did say, “Text directly from your phone to other VHF radios.”  I was left with more questions than answers, but was glad when Uniden kindly loaned me two radios to see all their VHF, GPS, DSC, and texting features hand’s on.

Thinking about the use-cases for the VHF-to-VHF texting, I came up with two scenarios, the first from my own cruising experience.  Cell phone service in the Bahamas ...

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An ode to buck-boost DC power converters

8 May

In a comment on my recent Ubiquiti EdgeRouter configuration article, frequent Panbo reader Hartley noted the unfortunate 24v DC power requirement.  The ER-X model of the EdgeRouter is actually capable of running on 12v, but that version can’t supply 24v POE (power over Ethernet) to connected devices.  So I was reminded of my good experience with buck-boost type DC converters like this Drok step-up converter, which can power a 24v device on a 12v boat.

I have both 24v and 12v DC power available on my boat so I haven’t needed a buck-boost converter for step-up functionality, but ...

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Configuring a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X for WiFi and cell internet on your boat

2 May
My workstation for the configuration

My workstation for the configuration

In my feature Marine internet, a connected year on the water, I referenced a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter as the “heart of our boat network.” It manages multiple WiFi and cellular internet connections to multiple computers, tablets, etc. around the boat, and is remarkably capable for its cost. However, I also described configuring the EdgeRouter as not for the faint of the heart, which drew many requests for more detail. So this follow-up entry is the step-by-step guide to setting up this specific router on your boat, and fortunately it turned out to be easier than ...

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A (long) note on Ethernet connector weather protection, or lack of it

25 Apr

I’m noticing a trend and I don’t like it.  You see that nice, metal wrapped RJ-45 connector in the picture?  It’s junk now, corroded and unusable.  It’s sitting on the counter in my galley clipped off the Winegard Connect 4G1xM I’m starting to test.  I believe this is because of the cabling approach Winegard has used on this otherwise very well designed piece of hardware and Winegard isn’t alone.

As I promised I would in my recent marine internet article, I’m getting started testing WiFi and 4g internet connectivity devices.  So far today I’ve spent about an hour dealing ...

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Garmin addresses ActiveCaptain’s future in email, AC Community is coming to Navionics

20 Apr

Despite our phone conversation with Garmin cartography manager Ken Cirillo, the company had still not officially declared their plans for ActiveCaptain in writing.  That changed today with a  Garmin email to AC captains beginning: “ActiveCaptain Community will continue to be a free online site…”  That statement echoes what we were told by Cirillo, along with his assurance that Garmin remains committed to working with AC partners (i.e. independent app developers). And there’s more official good news in the email.

Since Garmin acquired Navionics the obvious question has been, will Garmin integrate ActiveCaptain Community into the Navionics Boating app?  ...

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Marine Electronics Forums, now presented by Panbo and SailBits

16 Apr

Ben and I are excited to report that we’ve teamed up with Steve Mitchell from SailBits to co-present the Marine Electronics Forums.  Steve brings a wealth of knowledge to the forums and if you haven’t checked out SaillBits, I encourage you to do so.   Steve, Ben and I will all be regular participants in the forums, and we encourage all of our readers to join us there for conversations about marine electronics installs , use, and troubleshooting.

We’ve expanded the number of major forums to four with dedicated categories for networking and projects.

The forums will be hosted on ...

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Marine internet, a connected year on the water

9 Apr

Diagram of boat, router and internet connections

My family and I just spent a year on the water.  When we left, some members of our crew were hesitant about the whole idea, so I knew we needed as many comforts of home as possible.  High on that list was an always-on (almost), always-available (almost) internet connection.  It turns out this isn’t a simple or one-size-fits-all issue.  It’s also something I’m most frequently asked about.  What follows is a primer on marine internet and the start of an article series about the myriad tech options to keep your boat connected.

There are three basic ways to get internet ...

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New Panbo Forum launched

9 Apr

We’ve launched a new Panbo Forum today.  It uses the same user membership as the new Panbo website, so if you’ve joined as a member since the migration to the new website you’re all set to post on the new forum.  You can get to the new forum using the forum link in the toolbar at the top of each page.

We will also keep the old forum around read-only so that all discussions will remain available.  If you’re wanting to continue a conversation started in the old forum you can start a new topic in the new forum and ...

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