Monthly Archive: June 2010

Low power PCs #1, & Farallon Electronics 15

Low power PCs #1, & Farallon Electronics


I’ve been trying to search out a low-power 12v PC for Gizmo, though I might give up for this season — I’m so behind project-wise — and it may not be such an issue once I install a decent solar panel or two.  But it’s certainly a dynamic subject, and one way to keep up is to watch the folks who are truly obsessed with power efficiency (and low weight)…offshore racing sailors. The photos of that unusual PC in the spartan interior of an Open 40 above were sent along by system designer Eric Steinberg, founder of Farallon Electronics, along with a few details…

Gizmo fixed, thanks to a crack mechanic/technician 8

Gizmo fixed, thanks to a crack mechanic/technician


That big fella scrunched alongside Gizmo’s Volvo Penta diesel is the new love of my life 😉  It’s hard to imagine a better engine guy experience than what I got this week from Pat Ricci, proprietor of Thomaston Boat and Engine Works.  When I called him on Tuesday, after Monday’s somewhat traumatic break down, I knew there was a major fresh water coolant leak somewhere around the exhaust manifold, and an engineer/sailor friend who had a look predicted a two phase repair — dissemble and diagnosis, then parts ordering and repair — that would total several days labor and several large boat bucks.  But Pat did the diagnosis right on phone and said he’d order parts and do the whole repair in a half day, soon.  Which is exactly what he did, and more…

SailorPC, a true PC/MFD hybrid? 5

SailorPC, a true PC/MFD hybrid?


Bless the Google (and the whole ever-improving info Web)!  Minutes after I stumbled on this intriguing SailorPC tucked away on Avia Sail’s purchase page, I’d found the manufacturer’s product site with the high res promo photo above and downloadable brochure and manual, as well as pr about the “Engineers’ Choice Award” it recently won and even what appears to a U.S. semi-wholesale distributor.  This thing is very interesting, about as close to a modern multi-function navigation display as I’ve seen a PC get…

NDCS See Cannon, ultra low lux boat cam 12

NDCS See Cannon, ultra low lux boat cam


The name “See Cannon” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but the concept is interesting.  Encase a new generation ultra low lux camera in a small aluminum housing sealed to IP66 standards, offer a variety of 12v/video cable and marine mounting options, and market it as night vision for the many boaters who yearn for true thermal vision but can’t quite afford it.  That seems to be the strategy of newcomer Night to Day Camera Systems, and I suspect its success turns largely on just what “ultra low” means…

Tracking every which way, & Gizmo blows a gasket 4

Tracking every which way, & Gizmo blows a gasket


Yeah, yeah, yeah; the new iPhone 4 was announced and it looks pretty cool.  And if its GPS and background apps processing are good enough, maybe it can track as well as my Droid Incredible ;-).  That track above especially exemplifies the value of easy tracking as it documents my five-month-old granddaughter’s first boat ride, a row around Camden Harbor in search of my bird buddies.  Though I simply fired up Google My Tracks and stuck the phone back in my pocket, the accuracy is excellent, even in my truck as I drove home, as you can see here in a Google My Map (which I was able to create from the phone with a couple of clicks).  That’s why My Tracks is a favorite at the moment, though I have so many tracking options my head spins, and sometimes the memories captured are a lot less pleasant…

iNavX on the iPad, a Beta tester’s enthusiasm 23

iNavX on the iPad, a Beta tester’s enthusiasm


Navigation on iPad is a hot subject, as discussed here recently (and, mind you, Navionics has now joined the iPad possibilities).  So I’m pleased to publish the following excerpt from a review by Tom MacNeil, a long time beta tester for the GPSNavX/ MacENC/iNavX family of charting programs.  To say that he’s enthusiastic about how developer Rich Ray’s software runs on an iPad is an understatement!  Tom has been sailing and messing with boat technology for thirty years, and currently runs an marine electronics and electrical shop somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.  Warning:  If you read the following, you may soon find yourself at the Apple Store typing in your credit card number…

Panbo moving & changing; cross your fingers, please 24

Panbo moving & changing; cross your fingers, please

State of Panbo.jpg

Starting tonight, Panbo is getting moved from one hosting service’s server farm to another’s, which means that commenting will be shut down for an indefinite period so that the databases stay in sync until the transfer is complete, and also that I’m wicked nervous about losing bits and pieces of content (as has happened during past moves).  Cross your fingers, and be patient, please.  And if things go well, you’re going to see some good changes around here…

Furuno NAVpilot 700 Series, w/ CANbus 7

Furuno NAVpilot 700 Series, w/ CANbus


Just as with the nifty-looking new RD- and GP-33 color 4.3-inch displays, Furuno Japan is ahead of FurunoUSA in announcing the new NAVpilot 700 series.  (Sorry, Klamath, but if it’s on the Web somewhere, some Panbot is apt to find it — thanks, Frank! — and I feel obliged to write about it ;-).  Aside from the brochure downloadable at that link, the most information I’ve found so far is a press release at the Australian Furuno distributor, which discusses a “unique Fish Hunter Mode” as well how highly sailboats figure on the feature list.  While I’m not sure such features are new relative to the existing NAVPilot 500 series, the use of CANbus (aka NMEA 2000, an unfortunate word game we discussed here) in the three control heads and the processor definitely is.  But the brochure diagram has me scratching my chin…

M/Y Adastra, a win for Palladium 8

M/Y Adastra, a win for Palladium


Regardless of anchoring acrobatics — and just how the heck do you tie this 146′ tri alongside a dock, with a line throwing gun? — M/Y Alastra joins the short list of exotic vessels I’d love to cruise around Penobscot Bay, if only briefly, and if only to freak out the traditionalists.  And you can bet there will be some pretty interesting systems on board; in fact, I heard about this creature because Palladium Systems just announced the monster gear contract they’ve won.  It includes not just their Ethernet/Windows-based SiMON monitoring system — with some 269 data points reporting to wheel house and engine room, and probably various iThings as well — but also their new Titan electrical system

Furuno MaxSea TimeZero 2010, valuable dual Navionics/C-Map & more 58

Furuno MaxSea TimeZero 2010, valuable dual Navionics/C-Map & more


Last February Furuno made a lot of promises about improved charting in NavNet3D and MaxSea TimeZero, and it seems to be making good on all of them.  At least the North American MapMedia versions of “C-Map by Jeppesen” vector charts (explained here) are now available, as are the NN3D 2.05 and MSTZ 1.9 software upgrades that can display them.  Those upgrades purportedly do a lot more than make TimeZero the only charting software that can support both Navionics and C-Map cartography (given that Geonav’s “DualFuel” is only available in Europe until Fall, and the fate of Raymarine’s ambitious dual cartography plan is apparently uncertain.)  But before I get into those other improvements, I have some good examples of why you might want to have both Navionics and C-Map at your helm.  First, click on that image above showing Jeppesen C-Map coverage of the Exuma Islands in the Bahamas…