Monthly Archive: March 2009

Google Voice, call me! 8

Google Voice, call me!

Some of you may remember my enthusiasm for the GrandCentral, a free online voice mail, PBX, and one-#-for-life scheme with fantastic potential for cruising boaters (as well as mere mortals).  In that March, 2007, entry I even hoped for/predicted the startup’s purchase by Google, which happened almost immediately.  It remained functional, but very quiet, all these months. (I never did use it as a real contact number, because I like the Maine numbers I have, but did use its fabulous call recording abilities for tasks like testing the Cobra noise cancelling cell mic.)  Well, finally GrandCentral has emerged as Google Voice, with several added features like…

Underwater lights, stupid & offensive? 30

Underwater lights, stupid & offensive?


I was surprised when Tim Flanagan went all Glen Beck on underwater lights last week. It hadn’t occurred to me that “no boat owner with an ounce of sense” would drill a hole below his or her waterline just to “make the water glow pretty colors”.  In fact, senseless me has long considered going for the dramatic effect above (compliments DeepSea Power & Light) on Li’l Gizmo, which has become fairly reasonable and easy thanks to gear like OceanLED’s Amphibians

Discount Marine Electronics, ripping off Panbo?!? 22

Discount Marine Electronics, ripping off Panbo?!?


Well, ain’t that a bitch!  Thanks to the vigilance of Steve Roberts I now know that an online “store” called Discount Marine Electronics is posting Panbo entries as though “it” created them. Actually all they’re doing is putting up the same first picture and paragraph anyone can get via XML feed or email (see Subscribe button top right). But Discount Marine Electronics is cutting out the “read more” link, so readers really don’t get the whole jist of the entry but may be fooled into thinking that the diligent staff of Discount Marine Electronics is testing gear and writing about it on a regular basis.
   Here’s the irony: I’ve spent the last two days surveying and test running the still maybe future Gizmo, and am so besotted that I don’t care if these rip off artists suffer consequences immediately, or just rot in hell at a later date.  But I will be pleased if Discount Marine Electronics has automated the posting of my posts, and hence we might see this post go up on their site.  If so, grab that screen!  And don’t forget to buy all your marine electronics at Discount Marine Electronics.

CruzPro CS60, solid state switching 9

CruzPro CS60, solid state switching


Like so many CruzPro instruments, the CS-60 fits a 54mm hole, comes round or square, and has a three-button interface (with a surprisingly deep menu structure behind it).  But what’s a “Clocked Switch”?  Actually that “gauge” contains four solid state switches each capable of handling a load up to four amps and each programmable to its internal clock in two ways…

Shipnet, “reality tagging” on Nomadness 8

Shipnet, “reality tagging” on Nomadness


Zounds!  When we last checked in on Steve Roberts, he was installing a Simrad AP20 with a rudimentary NMEA 2000 network, and waiting on a Furuno NN3D MFD12. It was pretty standard stuff for a guy who’s into “geek expressionism, gonzo engineering, gizmological expeditions, and applied technomadics.”  Well, check out Steve’s current vision of the network that will eventually reside on his 44-foot steel pilothouse cutter Nomadness

Battery Bugs, new monitoring tech? 5

Battery Bugs, new monitoring tech?


Lest you think I’m just about big diesels, check out the good Annie G.’s auxiliary propulsion power system. Years ago I bought the cheapest Minnkoda electric trolling motor I could find (visible on Annie here) and moved the control switch to that battery box where the ‘custom’ wooden shift/throttle gives me five speeds in forward and three in reverse. None exactly makes the 18′ iron-keeled sloop jump, but the rig is handy for getting into the Camden Inner Harbor slip I often use. But I always had a problem knowing if I had enough charge to use the motor as needed. That was neatly solved last summer with the addition of that solar panel and most especially the Argus Analyzer Battery Bug

NMEA 2000, the power “problem” part 1 5

NMEA 2000, the power “problem” part 1


Sigh, that’s my first NMEA 2000 network, circa Spring 2005, when there wasn’t much more than Maretron to hang on it, and not many boaters were interested anyway.  Now many N2K devices have joined these on the lab’s snaking backbone (and there are many others I’d like to try), N2K is an active topic on Panbo forums and elsewhere, and the network for my maybe-new Gizmo boat is going to be a serious undertaking.  The Standard has come a long way, and methinks it’s time to reveal a little drama that went down along the way. Yes, those gray Micro cables and the yellow powertap did incur drama, even soap opera…