Lowrance & Simrad StructureScan 3D, hello interferometry

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 6, 2016

Lowrance_Simrad_StructureScan_3D_kit_cPanbo.jpgWhen I wrote about the StructureScan 3D announcement last July, I recall feeling a dite skeptical. Sure, the screenshots suggested that new users could more easily understand the 3D presentation of the sidescan data, but I wondered if they wouldn't go back to the apparently more detailed 2D presentation once they got a handle on it. But I was wrong. On-water demos have taught me that SS3D is much more than a visual gimmick. The 3D view can be really useful, especially for fishing, even though the new 3D transducer also produces the best 2D StructureScan imagery yet, plus there's some interesting and potentially valuable science going on behind the screens...

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SL Fridge Optimizer, smart new product from a new company

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 2, 2016

Arvid n Annika of_Stainless_Lobster cPanbo.jpgHere are Arvid and Annika Elias as they showed me a prototype of their very first marine electronics product in the press room of last fall's Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. I was quite impressed and am now pleased to report that the Stainless Lobster Fridge Optimizer is official and shipping. If you'd like better monitoring and control of your boat's electric refrigeration system, and/or automated defrosting (fridge only, not freezer), and/or improved battery time at anchor, read on...

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Electric Boats: Steyr HDS+, LTS Marine, Torqeedo, windmills & more

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 26, 2016

eCraftYachts_20_WOT_cPanbo.jpgThe first U.S. Electric and Hybrid Marine Expo was wonderfully educational, though I hardly knew any of the companies involved and could only understand a fraction of some seminars. On the other hand, I met a familiar fellow enthusiast before I even left the Lauderdale airport. Rufus Van Gruisen is the esteemed owner/operator of Cay Electronics, and it turns out he's done more than just dream about quiet, efficient electric pleasure craft. That's him in the orange cap above, showing Newport the first eCraft Yachts 20 that he helped his son to build. It looks like an excellent design to me -- more detail on Facebook and in Great Lakes Scuttlebutt -- and I'd presume a well-engineered power, control, and nav electronics installation.

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TBF: Icom M93D, Garmin Quatix 3 & GNX Wind, Imtra Largo LED, and Navico makes ForwardScan more accessible

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 22, 2016

Icom_M93D_DSC_VHF_prototype_aPanbo.jpgI'm slightly reluctant to mention this Icom M93D announcement because it's only "scheduled to be available in the second half of 2016" with price unknown, but, dang, it sure looks like an interesting DSC VHF handheld radio. I still think that many boaters don't realize the added safety, tracking, and navigation capabilities possible when GPS is integrated with portable VHF, though the Standard Horizon HX870 (that Icom is clearly gunning for) has been earning great reviews for a while. Also, note the lovely color-screen Icom GM600 fixed VHF "coming soon" with an SSB sibling.

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Kees' cool sloop Merrimac, home of CANboat and more

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 19, 2016

Kees_Stadtship_Merrimac_cPanbo.jpgA memorable moment of 2015 was waking up in Kees Verruijt's attic guestroom in Harlingen, Netherlands. If my lens were wider, you'd see the thick thatch capping his sturdy brick home. And if I'd waited a bit, the photo might include one of the family-owned-and-operated cargo vessels that often motor by enroute to or from the Wadden Sea. What you can see clearly, though, is Kees's own dream boat Merrimac, which I would soon tour. I'd been following this boat project for years, knew that it motivated Kees's valuable CANboat work, and given that CANboat helped birth Signal K, I figure that Merrimac may earn a special spot in marine electronics history...

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TBF: Torqeedo Hybrid, transparent displays, DY Aqua Compact PC, Volvo screen repair & more

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 8, 2016

Torqeedo_Deep_Blue_Hybrid_diagram_aPanbo.jpg

Let's begin 2016 TidBit Fridays with Torqeedo Deep Blue Hybrid, a new system I'd like to know a lot more about. It seems to be the most fully integrated electric propulsion and power management system yet, by far, and two independent gentlemen who know a lot more about these technologies than I do feel that Torqeedo has done a great job here. And it's not just for sailing catamarans 40 to 80 feet; Nimbus 365 Coupé Cruisers are being built with twin 80hp equivalent electric inboard motors and the Deep Blue components seem to lend themselves to many configurations. I'll know more very soon...

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Raymarine Quantum, solid-state CHIRP pulse compression radar in radome form!

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jan 6, 2016

Raymarine_Quantum_solid_state_radome_cPanbo.jpgWow, Raymarine is kicking off the new marine electronics year in grand style. Debuting today online (and at the New York Boat Show) is the Quantum Q24C solid-state radar seen above. While Ray apparently managed to keep this product a deep secret -- I only heard about it yesterday afternoon -- it appears to be thoroughly developed and near ready to ship. In fact, you'll see that the install manual is already available, and I understand that the production line is rolling, with first deliveries expected around the time of the Miami Boat Show. I won't get to see Quantum 24-mile CHIRP radar in action until then, but I was definitely impressed with yesterday's briefing...

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Autorouting: Navionics new Dock-to-Dock kicks it up a big notch

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 31, 2015

Navionics_Dock-to-Dock_AR_Gloucester_cPanbo.jpgLet's end 2015 with some new technology that will really make a difference, I think. It's Navionics' new Dock-to-dock autorouting system, and it may not be getting the recognition it deserves because Navionics already offered autorouting that was only marginally useful (like the others I've tried). Dock-to-dock is not perfect, but it still strikes me as a quantum leap improvement that many boaters are going to appreciate...

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Underwater lights, Lumishore EOS blazes trail

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 21, 2015

Lumishore_EOS_Mini_controller_aPanbo.jpgLet's talk about the pleasures of lighting on this shortest day of the year (at least on this side of the equator). Not that many boats have underwater lights (yet), but it is a highly dynamic and competitive sector nonetheless. Every year it seems like multiple manufacturers are offering greater LED brightness in more rugged fixtures with yet further advanced features and nicer controls at less cost in money, electricity, and install hassle. One product family that shows many such areas of improvement is the new EOS Surface Mount system from Lumishore, a company which seems to be leading the pack, at least currently...

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TBF: Simrad/B&G compact remotes, Ocean Signal AIS MOB alarm, Digital Yacht PC Radar PC & more

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 18, 2015

Simrad_OP50_B_G_ZC2_cPanbo.jpgAt METS it was good to see Navico out with a compact remote MFD keypad, which will be available soon as either the B&G ZC2 or the Simrad OP50. There will be landscape and portrait versions to fit different nav stations and that big rotary knob is also a cursor joystick. This $399 NMEA 2000 networked and powered remote includes a "high-decibel" alarm speaker and can switch among as many as six displays with the active display shown on that skinny LED panel just under the remote's brand name (which also shows red/green indicators when the keypad is controlling an autopilot). I'm hoping we'll get to try the ZC2/OP50 when Navico again runs a writer's demo session in late January.

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