Ben Stein

Fusion’s new RA670, completing the Apollo line

26 Apr

 

Today Fusion announced the MS-RA670, the third head unit in their Apollo line of marine stereos. I’ve been testing one for a few weeks and it looks like the 670 slots in between the top-of-the-line Apollo MS-RA770 and the much smaller MS-SRX400.  Here’s the lowdown on what the 670 offers and how it fits within the line.

As I mentioned, the $450, three-zone RA670 is the third stereo in Fusion’s Apollo line joining the $350, single-zone SRX400 and the $650, four-zone, touchscreen controlled RA770.  Like the SRX400, the RA670 has a button-driven interface with a 2.7″ full-color display.  ...

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Fusion ARX Remote: simple, effective and convenient

17 Apr

 

Sometimes you just want to turn down the volume or skip to the next track, and the Fusion ARX remote is the right tool for that job. The remote’s simplicity, size, and flexible placement allow it to be mounted in the perfect spot to control your stereo, or in several such spots.  I now have four of them installed on Have Another Day and this entry will detail why they’re making me happy.

The remote is available in white or black and comes with the mounting ring seen on the right

The $50 Fusion MS-ARX70 (Introduced in October ...

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An update on internet options, strong cellular and variable WiFi results

12 Apr

 

My family and I have been back living and traveling aboard Have Another Day for about nine months now.  Our boat is a huge consumer of bandwidth so I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.   Here’s an update and some tips on what we’re doing to maintain reliable connectivity.

Verizon

Last fall Verizon started offering a $65 truly unlimited prepaid rate plan that I quickly jumped on, also purchasing the cheap MHS900L Jetpack mobile hotspot pictured above.  Let’s just say it wasn’t even worth the $50 I paid for it; several commenters on the initial article ...

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Testing Blue Guard’s BG-One oil detecting bilge pump switch

10 Apr

 

In the last six months Blue Guard Innovations’ BG-One Smart Bilge Pump Switch with Oil and Fuel Detector racked up new product awards, winning an IBEX Innovations Award, a SAIL magazine Pittman Award, and a DAME design award Special Mention. So it’s great to have one now installed on Have Another Day, and so far I’m liking both its performance and the amount of information it provides.

The $220 Blue Guard BG-One can prevent your boat from pumping out oil and fuel that might be floating on top of water in your bilge, and it’s also highly configurable, ...

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Dockmate wireless docking remote, life is easier with a remote control

3 Apr

Dockmate Twin on the left and Twist on the right

Many times I’ve wished I could step away from Have Another Day‘s helm but still control the engines from a better vantage point, or from where I want to handle a line. So it was great when Dockmate U.S. representatives came to Gulfport, FL to install their wireless remote system for me to review. In this entry, I’ll describe the system and my experiences with using it so far, which have been positive.

The System

The Dockmate receiver installed under Have Another Day’s upper helm

Dockmate is new to ...

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SiriusXM InfoLink, new features and lower priced SiriusXM weather receivers

27 Mar

The new receiver on display at the Miami International Boat Show in February

SiriusXM Marine Weather on your boat is getting cheaper and likely to get more capable in the near future.  Furuno and Raymarine have both recently released new SiriusXM weather and audio receivers at very attractive price points.  The two receivers look very similar and it turns out there’s a very good reason.

Previously, SiriusXM provided core modules to their marine weather partners — Furuno, Garmin, Navico, and Raymarine — which those partners used to build their own finished satellite receiver products.  Now, SiriusXM is working with a ...

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Aqua Map Master adds AIS, WiFi instrument data, USACE surveys and route explorer

20 Mar

Aqua Map has added a premium tier called Aqua Map Master that adds AIS overlays, data via NMEA-0183 and SignalK over WiFi, US Army Corp of Engineers survey data overlayed over charts and a new route explorer.   With Master, Aqua Map adds several features I haven’t seen on any other mobile app that I’m excited to try out.

Aqua Map Master is a $10 per year subscription that Aqua Map says will get all their new premium features.  Aqua Map already has a nice suite of features including support for both Waterway Guide and Active Captain Community crowdsourced data, a ...

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Information display and Ship Control, hands on with next generation boat management interfaces

10 Mar

 

Controlling the multitude of systems on modern boats can be complex and many modern boaters expect the same level of automation and convenience they find in their cars.   It’s clear the industry has realized this and is working hard to develop systems that make controlling your boat simpler and more intuitive.  I had the opportunity to try out two such systems at the Miami International Boat Show: Navico Information Display (ID) on the new Sea Ray 350 SLX-R and Prestige’s Ship Control aboard a Prestige 460 Fly.  While these systems vary in several meaningful ways they both give an ...

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Full duplex wireless headsets, truly marriage savers

1 Mar

 

I’ve often heard wireless headsets referred to as marriage savers but before cruising full time I didn’t realize the accuracy of the nickname.  Now after several years of regular use, I wouldn’t want to cruise without them.  But there are multiple brands and types of headsets, and two we’ve used extensively each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Before getting into the details, I’ll explain when the headsets became important to us. Early on, it was fairly easy to tie up at our home slip in Chicago with dock lines preset and a well-understood plan, and unfamiliar docks were ...

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Weego Crankenstein, serious jumpstart pack with 24v capabilities

25 Feb

Weego’s Crankenstein is the first lithium chemistry jumpstarter under $1,000 that can start large 24v diesel engines, and its intuitive display with multiple powering options are noteworthy features that will hopefully come to more modestly priced designs.  My testing started in an unusual way and while my first test turned out not to be a big diesel it did offer a nice glimpse of the 9-pound, 12x6x8 inch Crankenstein’s always ready design.

As I left the St. Pete Beach post office where I picked up the C-154 Crankenstein ($699 list price) I saw the car behind me had their hood ...

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