Ben Stein

Yacht Devices J1708 Engine Gateway brings data from older engines to NMEA 2000

22 Aug


When I bought Have Another Day I really wanted the data from my early electronically controlled diesel engines available on my MFDs. I’ve had access to this data previously and knew the value of the data for fuel management and engine monitoring. My path to getting that data wasn’t easy but I think I helped blaze a trail to easy engine data on your NMEA 2000 network.

Have Another Day came equipped with Volvo-Penta electronic displays

The monochrome 4″ electronic engine displays that came on board Have Another Day only display a few pieces of data at a time ...

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DirecTV on water, the future is clear as mud

12 Aug

A lot has changed in the 25 years since KVH started making their TracVision line of satellite TV receiving dishes. But, the upcoming reconfiguration of DirecTV’s satellite constellation brings more changes and a lot of uncertainty for on the water DirecTV subscribers. Hopefully I can clarify what’s happening.

A recent Panbo comment expressing frustration with DirecTV’s announcements caused me to do some more research and I can report the situation isn’t as bad as described in the comment. But, it’s also unclear what will happen. Depending on what DirecTV does the situation could improve for a lot of boaters or ...

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GFCI and ELCI breakers can be confounding, but heed their warning

6 Aug

I recently met cruisers who have been having trouble connecting their mid-80s boat to shore power pedestals equipped with GFCI (ground fault current interrupters) or ELCI (electric leakage current interrupters). Many months of working with electricians allowed them to plug into GFCI breakers without tripping them but still not ELCIs. So, what’s the problem, why did it take months to get it fixed, and what serious safety issues were uncovered? Read on…

In 2011 the National Fire Protection Association changed the national electric code (NEC) to require marina shore power systems be equipped with ground fault protection (GFP). These code ...

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Monitored boats, connected boats and smart boats, what does it all mean?

27 Jul

Siren Marine, Boat Command, Nautic-On and BoatFix's apps

Siren Marine, Boat Command, Nautic-On and BoatFix’s apps

If you’ve been reading Panbo, boating magazines, or spent any time at a boat show you’ve likely seen boat monitors, connected boat products and smart boat products. But, you may well not know what these things are or how they’re different from each other. Hopefully, I can help shed some clarity on this latest collection of buzzwords.

Many people get into boating as a way of relaxing, but, as most boaters find out sooner-or-later, when things break on your boat it can be anything but relaxing. Nothing will ruin a weekend faster ...

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Visible Part 2: Hands-on testing Verizon’s $40 per month unlimited brand

19 Jul

In 8 days I ran up 50+ gigabytes of usage with no problems

A couple of weeks ago Visible announced they have removed the 5 megabits per second speed cap making their $40 unlimited plan even more interesting. In my entry on the change I promised I would order a line and see how it worked out. The SIM has arrived and testing is well underway and although it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses I’m going to try using Visible as my main cell carrier (though I have an embarrassing number of alternatives).

Using the service

Visible is quick ...

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Flir thermal cameras get Raymarine ClearCruise Augmented Reality

9 Jul

A screenshot of the display of Have Another Days Axiom 12 displaying ClearCruise AR targets overlayed over the images from a FLIR M232 camera

Raymarine’s ClearCruise AR (augmented reality) is very cool technology and it’s getting even cooler with support for pan and tilt thermal cameras. Clear Cruise AR overlays information about chart objects, AIS targets, and waypoints over a camera image displayed on Raymarine MFDs.  Though the first version — unveiled at IBEX in the fall of 2018 — only supported fixed visible light cameras, I’ve thought its greatest value would come when overlayed on thermal images.

While I ...

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Is Visible’s $40 cell plan better than Verizon’s defunct $65 unlimited hotspot deal?

27 Jun


Visible, a relatively new Verizon subsidiary, has been offering a $40 per month (taxes included) unlimited plan for about a year.  While the plan’s pricing is great, its usefulness has been potentially limited by a 5mbps speed cap. Today Visible announced that they’re removing this speed cap while keeping the rest of the plan the same.  Is this as good as it sounds?

A snippet from Visible’s FAQ section about slowing data speeds

Visible’s $40 per month plan is different from the $65 prepaid unlimited plan Verizon offered until mid-May.  First, it’s a phone plan, not a mobile hotspot ...

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Geek Alert: ngrok remote tunnels make connecting to devices on the boat easy

12 Jun


Prior to being a boating geek, I made my living running mission-critical computing operations for financial services firms. Which is to say I was a professional geek; I have a deep background in networking and still enjoy when I can use networking tools to make things easier. I have a lot of data on the NMEA 2000 network on Have Another Day but no way to access it all remotely. I’m getting ready to leave the boat for a few weeks so I really want to access all that data off the boat. After some digging for a way ...

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Eye popping electric bills, monitoring and reducing electrical consumption

8 Jun

A Blue Sea M2 1838 Meter installed on the side of the control box for Have Another Days Salon AC

Have Another Day is currently in Fort Myers on the Caloosahatchee River.  It’s quite warm here with daily highs in the low to mid 90s.  As a result, the water in the marina is also quite warm at nearly 90 degrees.  Last month Have Another Day sucked down over $300 in electricity, that’s more than she uses in an entire season in Chicago.  During the day, with the thermostat set to 76 degrees the salon air conditioner runs nearly continuously ...

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Fusion Apollo and Signature Series, a boatload of audio goodness

3 Jun

The cockpit Fusion MS-RA770 head unit running in PartyBus mode (as indicated by the green border) from FlyBridge stereo

A day on the water is better with good tunes, and the rise of streaming has changed how we get music on board a lot.  For the last decade, Fusion has lead the way with stereos that use the latest technology to deliver audio on boats.  I’ve just finished a complete install of the company’s current gear aboard Have Another Day and as you will read, Fusion continues to leverage the latest tech and deliver great sound.

Fusion has been busy ...

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