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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TBF: Spinlock, Humphree, Actisense, Victron, GC Rigging, and Minn Kota's must see

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 11, 2015

Spinlock_Lume-on_DAME_winner_cPanbo.jpgIt's easy to understand and appreciate Spinlock's new Lume-On lifejacket illumination lights. The $20 pair should stick easily to the underside of any inflatable bladder (as long as you can get access) and then use the bladder's translucence to nicely diffuse their flashing LEDs if and when they are water activated. It seems a small cost in money, weight, and hassle for an added aid to person overboard recovery, and thus Lume-On won a 2015 DAME Award in the safety category. It also shared the overall DAME award (the Grand DAME?)...

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Raymarine AIS intercept graphics, better collision avoidance?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 8, 2015

Raymarine-eS12-Pilot-Rendezvous.jpgGiven the recent strong interest in MARPA collision avoidance, let's look at Raymarine's new AIS target interception graphic overlays. I've only had a little on-the-water experience with this and other collision avoidance features that came in the LightHouse Release 15 update last October, but I sense that a lot of boaters will appreciate the intercept zone concept, plus it may encourage other brands to follow suit or work on other ways that our very talented multifunction displays (and PC charting programs) can help us avoid unpleasant surprises. First, though, I have one substantial gripe...

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MARPA on small radars, is Navico 4G especially bad?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 3, 2015

Simrad_4G_radar_MARPA_in_2011_cPanbo.jpgDoes Navico 4G radar (branded as Simrad, Lowrance, or B&G) have a "ridiculously broken MARPA" function? I've heard similar words from three different 4G owners in the last few weeks, and that's enough to interrupt the boat show and summer testing entries I'm way behind on. I don't have a definitive answer, however, plus I'm skeptical that Navico's MARPA is especially bad because in my experience all small radar Mini Automatic Radar Plotting Aids are somewhat flaky for what seem like fairly obvious reasons...

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Digital Switching: Raymarine, Empirbus, Simrad, Naviops, Offshore, Octoplex, Garmin and CZone

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 30, 2015

Raymarine_digital_switching_FLIBS2015_cPanbo.jpg

Digital switching is one of the most intriguing aspects of modern marine electronics, but also one of the most mysterious. At FLIBS, for instance, I wasn't the only boater jealously admiring sexy screens like the one above running on a Raymarine gS15 multifunction display. But when you try figuring out how you can get this elegant level of system control and monitoring onto your boat, you'll eventually realize that there is a complex conglomeration of hardware and software behind it, and it's usually under marketed and lightly documented. In fact, the whole concept still mainly makes sense for new and higher end boats, because it's an expensive and entirely different way of doing things, and those builders remain understandably cautious about adopting it. Nonetheless -- and another sign of a re-invigorated recreational marine industry -- I detected lots of digital switching progress at the fall shows...

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Sailing @ METS 2015: Anemomind, Astra, LCJ Capteurs, Garmin, Harken & Edson

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 24, 2015

METS2015_Anemomind_cPanbo.jpgXavier Righetti and Julien Pilet pose in their first METS stand with the three tangible elements of Anemomind. The white box contains a fast GPS receiver plus barometric pressure and 9-axis inertial motion sensors, as well as NMEA 0183/2000 ports, WiFi, Bluetooth, and lots of computing power. The connected app delivers wind, boat speed, and percentage of target speed attained, and it also passes the data along with notes and photos to the Anemomind cloud for near realtime race analysis. That's all good, but the special sauce is less tangible...

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FLIBS 2015: Telemar superyacht helm, Hatteland 55-inch Chart Table, and Triton luxury submarines

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 12, 2015

Hatteland_Series_X_55_inch_chart_table_cPanbo.jpgImagine running Coastal Explorer, or your favorite charting program, on a 55-inch multitouch display with 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution -- also known as UHD or 4K -- secured to a sturdy base with pushbutton up/down and tilt controls. I've never so enjoyed tapping out a route, and the Hatteland 4K Chart Table is way sexier than that...

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Seapilot Vector Compact GNSS Compass, sweet deal that usually works well

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 10, 2015

Seapilot_Compact_GNSS_Compass_cPanbo.jpgThere's lot to report from the Fort Lauderdale Show, but the calendar dictates that I first write about this Seapilot satellite compass. That's because a startling 50% show discount is still available this week, so you can buy the Vector Compact-N NMEA 2000 model seen above for $500 simply by applying the code "FLIBS2015" in the shopping cart. The Compact seemed like a relatively good value at twice the price when I first discussed its features last November, and since then I've seen it perform pretty well on Gizmo...

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Garmin 2016: Quickdraw sonar charting, smaller Panoptix, Striker, and lots of CHIRP

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 4, 2015

Garmin_Quickdraw_aPanbo.jpgGarmin put up a Marine 2016 site this morning and one thing many current Garmin owners will be excited about is the Quickdraw Contours sonar charting that will come to many current Garmin displays in January. Yup, you're going to be able to easily collect soundings as you cruise, sail or fish and, if you want, you can watch the resulting high def sonar chart materialize in your wake, as suggested above. Quickdraw is no surprise given the tussle over Navionics SonarCharts for Garmin, but naturally Garmin added some special sauce...

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TBF: FLIBS, dAISy, YDVR, G-Metrix OBD2, and DAME nominees

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Oct 30, 2015

FLIBS_transit_map_n_app_aPanbo.jpgWith Panbo's first TBF now a week old, how about some more acronym madness? This marine electronics TidBits Friday can't include any of the tasty stuff being served at next week's Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS), but there certainly will be some, and I've been studying the transportation options for making the most of my four days at this huge event. The MyBoatShow app has not achieved perfection, but it's better and may help. Come if you can or come by here for some TBL, and in the meantime...

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