Panbo Features

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Fusion XS series speakers: Quality sound & cost-effective

Fusion offers two lines of speakers: The XS series are the value models and Signature is the mark for their high performance, more expensive line. I’ve recently outfitted my 22-foot center console with a full XS suite, subwoofer included. Open, relatively high speed boats like mine create a challenging environment for speakers. The noise from an open boat on plane often reveals a speaker’s weaknesses. Although they’re probably helped by a powerful amplifier, I’m pleased by the performance of these value-oriented speakers.

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Lost Bens? Nope, we’re in the lithium mines, finding gold!

The caption is serious, because right in front of your eyes is the most basic — and possibly dangerous — mistake anyone could make while setting up and bench testing a fully integrated lithium-powered marine electric power system. And it’s a mistake I made even though it was truly right in front of my eyes during the many hours I spent trying to figure out why Victron’s brand new and quite amazing Lynx Smart BMS would not power up. So if…

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Garmin GPS 24xd: inexpensive Heading data to stabilize charts, radar, and AIS

The Garmin GPS 24xd combines a high-performance GNSS receiver with a heading sensor though it only costs $50 more than their GPS 19x GNSS receiver. Thus it can inexpensively stabilize chart and radar views on your MFD while also ensuring that your boat’s AIS target is headed in the right direction even when it’s tied up. I’ve been testing one, successfully, and also investigating why the GPS 24xd is not a good replacement for a more accurate, faster-updating, and likely better located Heading sensor that’s appropriate for autopilots and radar ARPA/MARPA calculations.

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Helm ergonomics #2: Gizmo’s pilothouse

“Your boat should fit like a glove!” yacht designer Dave Gerr wrote in the 1990’s, and the 2020 refit of Gizmo’s lower helm is the closest I’ve gotten to that excellent advice yet. The ergonomically arranged array of displays and controls above are also a somewhat experimental mix of PC and tablet navigation tools with dedicated marine electronics and oodles of monitoring in the background. I could talk for hours about the gear choices and install details, but the focus of this entry is how well this helm layout works

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Upgrading our house battery system, part 2; life is better with lithium

In part one of this series, I explained our motivations for upgrading to a lithium house battery bank, my choice of all Mastervolt components, and the pleasing results of early testing. Now let’s talk about what makes lithium different and what you need to consider if you too plan an upgrade. Active battery monitoring and control are critical to protecting other power components, for instance, and there are other important install details. Plus, I’ve got more real-world testing results to share.

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Upgrading to lithium batteries & testing an all Mastervolt DC power system

Like many boaters, I treasure the peace of a serene anchorage, but not the sound and smell of a generator. So the high energy density and fast charging abilities of lithium batteries got me interested, and eventually led to an all-Mastervolt system that should also improve my 12-volt DC house power system in many other ways. This is part one of a series detailing the reasons for that decision, the installation, and how well it performs.

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SV Delos, much more than fun in the Pacific

“Another interesting bluewater cruising boat smartly visiting Camden in October,” I thought to myself, “but what’s up with that giant VSAT dome?” Yes, I failed to recognize one of the world’s most famous cruising boats until I ran into an excited passenger schooner captain/friend waiting for the Delos crew to come ashore. But many more boaters than I envision Delos perpetually adventuring to exotic Pacific locales; for example, check this 2014 Episode #22 video that’s drawn 4.3 million YouTube views…

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Mercury’s new 600hp Verado V12: truly different & surprisingly smooth

Mercury Marine’s highly secure and unusual Lake X facility has decades of history as a research, development, and testing skunkworks for the company’s many outboard innovations. So it was a fitting location, even on a gloomy Monday afternoon, for the unveiling of Mercury’s latest creation. And what an outboard they revealed: a 600 horsepower, twelve-hundred plus pound V12 with a two-speed automatic transmission, counter-rotating props, and a lower unit that rotates while the engine itself only tilts.

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Vesper Cortex update: Boat Networks, squashing bugs & more

Vesper Marine’s Cortex AIS, VHF, and monitoring system is the most innovative marine electronics product I’ve tested in a long time. But Cortex is also a serious challenge to review properly because it has so many useful capabilities — some of which look and feel strikingly different from their antecedents — and it’s also a system designed to evolve. That’s the justification for this update, even though…

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Zipwake interceptors, dynamic trim control installed and tested

Last fall I installed Zipwake interceptors on Panbo(at), my 22-foot center console, to help control motor torque trim, level the boat while running, and reduce some rolling. At first, I was highly impressed by the design and quality of the hardware, but I had some concerns about its automatic control mode. However, after some tuning by an Imtra field technician — Imtra is the exclusive U.S. ZipWake distributor — I’m sold.