Panbo

Long test: "Chart Table 21"

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 11, 2013

Chart_table_21_hidden_mode_cPanbo.jpgOnce I'd bench tested "ChartTable21" in 2011 -- a project Panbo readers helped design -- I planned  to soon post a followup entry showing and discussing the finished install. Well, now I can tell you that this sometimes invisible computer system not only works well but has survived more than three boat seasons without problems. The photo above, worth a click to see larger, shows how Gizmo's original varnished cherry chart table can look nearly as lovely as designed and built. Sometimes you'd even see paper charts there, and obviously the sight lines through the big windows remain unobstructed. But when it's time to "go to the office" or zone out with Netflix, or do extensive nav planning, the scene transforms...

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NMEA OneNet 2013, already ahead of the curve?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 9, 2013

2013_NMEA_OneNet_Committee_courtesy_NMEA.jpgOneNet is the NMEA's ongoing effort to create a subset of Ethernet and Internet Protocol (IP) standards for marine electronics. It won't be fully released for two more years, but I liked what I heard (and could understand) in a September seminar delivered by NMEA Technical Director Steve Spitzer. When I first wrote about OneNet, for instance, some skeptical commenters could only envision it as a way for the major manufacturers to keep small developers out and profits up. But that seems paranoid when you consider the wide variety of organizations who are volunteering time and expertise to create OneNet...

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Long tests: Interlux Pacifica Plus and Torqeedo Travel 1003

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 4, 2013

long_test_2_Interlux_Pacifica_Plus_cPanbo.jpgThat's a darn impressive photo, I think. When Gizmo was hauled on November 22, she hadn't been out of the water since May 2012, and most of that copper-free Interlux Pacifica Plus bottom paint had already endured a seven-month test in 2011, as I wrote about then. So, after more than three seasons, most of the running surfaces are still slick (and probably still self-cleaning when the boat occasionally goes fast).  I did use the remains of the original two gallons to repaint the belly band before the 2012 launch; Gizmo lay in cleansing South Carolina fresh water from November that year through March of this year, and I scrubbed the belly band from the tender last July. But notice how almost no barnacles or mussels -- the critters that can really slow a boat down -- adhered to the Pacifica Plus...

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Standard Horizon Matrix AIS/GPS and Raymarine Ray260 AIS/N2K VHF radios

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 3, 2013

Standard_Horizon_Matrix_AIS_GPS_GX2200_VHF.jpgWhile it looks and works very much like the Matrix AIS GX2100 that caused quite a splash here in 2009, Standard Horizon's just announced Matrix AIS/GPS GX2200 very usefully includes a built-in 66 channel GPS. And it still has the same $400 MAP (minimum advertised price) as the evolved Matrix AIS+ GX2150, which will now get a $350 MAP. Two years ago Standard introduced the Explorer GX1700 -- the first fixed VHF with GPS built in, and still the only one (I think) -- and while I haven't tried one myself, I think that front panel satellite antenna bump works pretty well even when installed under a fiberglass deck or top...

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Argonaut's giant A615 Android tablet, and a Panbo reader survey

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 30, 2013

Argonaut_A615_Android_15-inch_marine_display_.jpgThis is different! While the new Argonaut A615 Smart Monitor has several of the marine display features the company is known for, it can also serve as a large Android tablet. So with its 360° waterproof enclosure, bonded Tflex transflective LED-backlit LCD, and Quad Core ARM processor you can have fast standalone chart plotting on a 15-inch screen in your cockpit or on your flying bridge using only 20 Watts of 12 or 24 volt DC power. And of course that's not all...

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METS 2013: Glomex WeBBoat, fingers on Garmin and Simrad, and more

... written for Panbo by Kees Verruijt and posted on Nov 26, 2013

mets_2013_glomex_webboat.jpg

The Marine Equipment Trade Show 2013 held in Amsterdam last week lived up to its reputation again. The trade floors were packed with exhibitors, and I was told that the booths were packed with visitors on the first two show days. Fortunately, it wasn't as busy during my third day visit and I could move around easily -- if not as anonymously as before; at Garmin I was welcomed as "Hey, you're the guy from Panbo!"  Ben has already reported on Garmin's down- and side scanning sonar, xHD radomes, etc., plus the new Simrad NSS and B&G Zeus2 Series, but I got to see the new products in action and there was much more to cover, like that neat Glomex WebBoat WiFi/3G access point seen above...

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Furuno MUxxxT monitors, Hatteland X Series, and TimeZero Coastal Monitoring

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 21, 2013

Furuno_MU240T_monitor.jpgFuruno's new multi-touch MUxxxT monitors are intended to play nicely with NavNet TZtouch MFDs. Using its DVI output, the TZT9 or TZT14 can send a screen mirror to the wopping 24-inch widescreen MU240T above -- at 800x480 and 1280x800 pixels, respectively -- and USB takes the touch commands back to the TZT (using a standard Windows driver). Meanwhile, the TZT Black Box has enough DVI and USB ports to drive two of these glass-bridge-style monitors (and two keypads, like the one KEP recently introduced or the one Furuno is purportedly working on)...

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Simrad NSS evo2, multi-touch 7-inch to 16-inch and beyond

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 19, 2013

Simrad_NSS9_evo2_new_11-13.jpgAt METS this morning,  Simrad announced an evo2 update to the NSS Series and quite an update it is. The new multi-touch wide screen models will come in 7-, 9-, 12- and 16-inch sizes, and since they are close family in every way to the recently discussed NSO evo2, a boater will be able to mix and match bright, glass-bridge-style displays from 7 to 24-inches. And while NSS evo2 can network with Simrad's radars, sonars, SonicHub audio, WiFi 1 etc., all four sizes come with "embedded CHIRP enabled Broadband sounder and StructureScan" (which can probably network out to the whole family)...

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Holy Garmin cow: SideVü/DownVü, GPSMAP 800/1000, GMR 18/24 xHD, Meteor 300, gWind & the Helm app

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 18, 2013

Garmin_SideVü_DownVü_800_kHz.jpgGarmin is purportedly announcing nearly fifty 2014 marine products today!  A lot are related to the company's new ability to offer the high resolution down and side scanning that's become so popular with freshwater and near coastal fishermen (and curious gunkholers like myself). Soon the relatively easy-to-understand (and fit-on-a-small-screen) down view will be available in new echo dv fishfinders and echoMAP dv fishfinder/GPS combos that will then better compete against similar products from Lowrance, Humminbird and Raymarine. Moving up the cost curve you'll find CHIRP-assisted DownVü and SideVü, which look wicked sharp in the screenshot above (imaging what's likely the remains of a bridge in a man-made lake)...

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Ancor goes NMEA 2000 & the BEP Pro Installer line

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 15, 2013

Ancor_NMEA_2000_cables_n_connectors_cPanbo.jpgPerhaps, coming soon to a marine electronics store near you (though not yet online) is a fairly complete line of NMEA 2000 cables and connectors under the well-known Ancor brand. I particularly like how the kits and explanatory packaging will encourage consumers to set up their own small networks. The 2 and 5-meter cables, for instance, are sold as Backbone/Drop Cables, while the 10-Meter is simply a Backbone Cable (because a spur shouldn't exceed 5 meters). I saw the preview Ancor line above at IBEX, but learned more about it in a special Soundings Trade-Only advertorial publication designed for next week's METS show...

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