Monthly Archive: April 2010

Helping Heloise, to preserve digital charts 4

Helping Heloise, to preserve digital charts


This, friends, is a screen shot from a circa 1980’s Offshore Systems PINS 9000 digital chart system. And it’s a rare image indeed.  One of the odd things about the fast moving world of electronic charting is how ephemeral it is.  To get the best historical sense of what early digital chart plotting was like you really need the hardware powered up on a moving vessel, or at least connected to some simulated inputs.  But the truth is that even decent photographs and/or screen shots of early plotters are hard to find.  That’s the problem Dr.
Heloise Finch-Boyer of the UK National
Maritime Museum
has run into, and I’m hoping that some Panbo readers can help her…

Coastal Explorer & ActiveCaptain, YES! 59

Coastal Explorer & ActiveCaptain, YES!

Garmin just announced several new products which will be shown when the doors open at METS tomorrow morning. The 6000 and 7000 series are very much like the successful 4- and 5000 series except that apparently they’ve got enough processor speed to warrant a new expression for how fast and smoothly they pan and zoom charts — Garmin G Motion. They’ve also got …

Garmin’s latest, in Serbia 11

Garmin’s latest, in Serbia


Just yesterday, in my blogging birthday post, I commented on Panbo’s international reach, and today I’ve got some interesting evidence (and more tomorrow).  That shot of the new Garmin 700 series above was recently sent to me by Petar Maksimovic of Info Team, Garmin’s Serbian dealer.  And there’s more of interest on that screen than just the language.  Info Team has been working for nearly a decade to create Serbian road and waterway maps under Garmin’s MPC system, and says that its latest SCG RoadMap includes official Plovput data for about 1,600 kilometers of rivers and canals.  Apparently that effort was not only an innovation for inland European, but also helped Info Team create a market for marine electronics.  In fact, the company, which also is doing some things I haven’t yet seen right here in the world’s largest ME market, as Petar explains…

Panbo at five, fun with demographics 19

Panbo at five, fun with demographics


Five years ago today my first Panbo entry entered cyberspace, and some 1,300 entries later I could hardly be more pleased about how the site has evolved.  It arguably has become “The” marine electronics blog that founder Yme Bosma envisioned, and that’s largely because such a boat load of readers visit on a regular basis.  According to StatCounter, Panbo topped 90,000 unique visitors in March, and according to Google Analytics about 27,000 of those visited more than 25 times during that month.  Wow, and thank you, thank you, thank you all!  And now, thanks to the MTA Survey, here’s a bit about who you are…

The Class B AIS filtering myth revisited, arrrrrgh! 74

The Class B AIS filtering myth revisited, arrrrrgh!


Click above for a readable image, and see how blithely an anonymous Sailing Anarchy poster spread AIS misinformation, reinforcing a myth that threatens to curtail adoption of Class B transponders.   After first establishing himself as a sailor who uses an AIS receiver, he writes knowingly (but ignorantly) about specific AIS requirements around the world.  And then comes the doozy: “My recollection is that AIS Class A transceivers fitted to commercial
vessels have a big red IGNORE CLASS B Transceivers button to declutter
their displays and concentrate on avoiding vessels that will do more
than smudge their paint in a collision
“.  That’s unadulterated BS on all counts — the big red button DOES NOT EXIST, the watch standers who don’t care about small vessels are rare, and this blowhard has probably never seen a ship’s bridge to “recollect” — but the myth continues to spread…

Shore power #1, Marinco GalvanAlert 10

Shore power #1, Marinco GalvanAlert


I’ve had a Marinico GalvanAlert “Shore Power Corrosion Detector” for a year, but I only got to use it briefly at first.  That was time enough to see how handy it is to have a power tester right in hand as you hook up your shore cable.  At minimum, a green LED will tell you that a dock receptacle is live.  Plus you’ll get a red LED if the polarity is reversed, and two yellow levels of warning about stray current in the ground line, i.e. the stuff that can eat metal parts off your boat’s bottom.  By now I’ve used the GalvanAlert, which costs about $140, a fair bit at a dock and even in a shed, and have seen how its steady monitoring can reveal shore power mysteries…

Gizmo holed, for a sonar summer 14

Gizmo holed, for a sonar summer


That’s a beautifully built Interphase forward looking sonar (FLS) transducer — actually two phased array transducers, one 90� vertical and one 90� horizontal, cast into the same epoxy block (hence the dual outputs).  It can be used with several Interphase FLS models, but I’m looking forward to trying it with the company’s new Ultrascan PC90, discussed here last Fall.  And I went to some trouble, including the careful band sawing of that fairing block above, to give it a good view.  In fact, some may call me crazy…

Steve Jobs, listen up! 40

Steve Jobs, listen up!

Panbo at the Apple iPad store.JPG

Honest, it was purely coincidental that I booked a hotel room in Boston that’s three blocks from an Apple mega store. But, sure, we checked out the iPad opening day phenomenon, and the scene was actually impressive.  Out on the sidewalk, happy new owners showed them off to friends and the media, while others waited in lines to pick up preordered units or to place orders.  Inside iPad classes were underway and images of new iPad apps lined all three floors. Most important, there were lots of iPads online, loaded with apps, and easy to try out as long as you wanted, and they are nifty (as you can read in umpteen places). But the abundant and generally well informed staff were not able to answer my main question, which, in fact, has become my to-buy-or-not-buy line in the sand…

NMEA 2000 bandwidth, Garmin & Furuno issues? 31

NMEA 2000 bandwidth, Garmin & Furuno issues?


Maybe you thought I was off drilling multiple holes in Gizmo’s bottom — and I was! — but I’ve also been toiling away at the lab’s test NMEA 2000 network.  You see, I’d heard that Garmin’s GXM 51 XM Weather sensor might be a bandwidth hog, and also that Furuno’s NN3D MFDs generate an inordinate amount of network traffic.  There seems to be some truth to both accusations, but don’t panic!  (And you N2K naysayers, please save your snarking until you hear the whole story.)  Yes, as you can see on the table above, removing either of these devices reduced bandwidth use of a fairly large network significantly.  But even with both devices live on the network, I didn’t see any data problems, and am pretty sure these Garmin and Furuno issues will only cause real issues on very large networks.  Let me break down the testing and what I think I’ve learned…