Monthly Archive: October 2011

FLIBS 2011:  Geonav autorouting, from C-Map & Navionics 2

FLIBS 2011: Geonav autorouting, from C-Map & Navionics


FLIBS was my first chance to see the autorouting capabilities of C-Map 4D in action, and I liked what I saw. And not only is Geonav the first to make the feature available but it’s also the first to enable a similar autorouting feature from Navionics (which I wasn’t even aware of). As with other “Dual Fuel” chart features, Geonav tried to make the interface on the G12 (and G10) the same so that users switching between C-Map and Navionics cards aren’t confused. That’s why the details of the menus above and below are the same no matter which type of chart you’re using…

Navico Broadband Radar 4G, the launch demo 29

Navico Broadband Radar 4G, the launch demo


Holy cow!  The just-announced-today Lowrance/Simrad 4G Broadband Radar may look just like the original BR24 and its 3G upgrade, but there’s some astonishing NEW technology under that dome. In fact, Navico engineers seem to have overcome what I thought was an immutable law of radar physics, that beam width is purely a function of radar antenna length. I understood how the original FMCW solid state transmit technology — which is like CHIRP sonar — could produce better range resolution, but the BR24 and 3G are still limited to a 5 degree horizontal resolution just like all the other radomes in that 20″ size range. Not 4G!…

IBEX 2011: Vetus, Volvo Penta, Tallon & Southco 1

IBEX 2011: Vetus, Volvo Penta, Tallon & Southco


Vetus already had wireless remotes for its thrusters and windlasses, so why not develop a Bluetooth hardware interface and an app that can do more than even a wired control head using the smart phone many skippers already have in their pocket? I can’t find anything about this Remote Monitoring and Command app online but Vetus was showing it off at IBEX and it will probably be officially launched next month at METS. I understand that they’ll also have a new rim drive thruster there, and at Newport they were demoing a 4- and 5-cylinder diesel design that can supposedly benefit from its turbo at any rpm…

Aquatic AV, doing what Fusion hasn’t? 6

Aquatic AV, doing what Fusion hasn’t?


The Aquatic AV AQ-DM-4B Media Locker is purportedly so waterproof and rugged that you could install it on a Jet Ski, and though the company is relatively new to the marine world, it does have years of experience making stereos for the highly humid and harshly chemical environment around hot tubs. Plus there’s a nice simplicity to a black box iPod/MP3 amp run only by a wireless remote, especially when that’s a two-way RF remote capable of 50 foot range and even of showing iPod tune titles on its little screen… 

Fish Gate 100, the IBEX launch 6

Fish Gate 100, the IBEX launch


I got such a kick out of these guys. Not only did they come to IBEX with an exceptionally innovative new product, but they seemed to confirm a couple of my pet theories. One is that even a tiny startup company still has a chance in the marine electronics industry. And the other — which is definitely related — is that NMEA 2000 can make it easier to develop new products which are usefully unique while still leveraging off and/or integrating with, existing systems…

Raymarine i70 vs Garmin GMI 10,  mission accomplished? 16

Raymarine i70 vs Garmin GMI 10, mission accomplished?


A bigger and at least as bright a display? Check!  Able to show vaguely as many NMEA 2000 data fields in vaguely as many ways? Check!  Also manageable with a clean and intuitive interface? Check!  Don’t take me too seriously as I’ve only tested the new Raymarine i70 for maybe an hour now, but it’s no doubt an impressive parry at the venerable Garmin GMI 10…

From Tallon, smart iPad & electronics mounts 12

From Tallon, smart iPad & electronics mounts

The Lowrance Elite press release is here and indicates that this product is a conscious colloboration between Tallon, RAM, and Lowrance. Smart!  Which is also what I thought when I learned about Tallon’s Ultimate iPad Mount a few months ago. Why design and manufacture your own iPad holder when RAM has it covered? But do develop a socket system that makes the RAM gear easier to use and nicer to look at on a boat.
   Incidentally, I asked Tallon about what’s on the other side of the Elite USB Socket. I was hoping for a single 12v lead that would power both the USB and lighter-style outlets, but in fact they’re separate male USB and 12v leads. So installing one of these requires a 5v USB supply, and a 2 amp one if you want to charge an iPad (mind you that most any RAM device holder will work with the socket). At any rate, I’m looking forward to seeing this gear in the flesh at IBEX next week (though I have a lot to do beforehand).


NMEA 2011 Expo, neat new stuff #2 17

NMEA 2011 Expo, neat new stuff #2

Furuno NavPilot 700 safehelm n power steering module cPanbo.jpg

Yes that’s an Accu-Steer reversing hydraulic pump meant to push a rudder around, but that block on top is a patent-pending sensor co-developed with FurunoUSA, and the whole package leads to the very interesting “Safe Helm” and “Power Steer” features coming to the latter’s NavPilot 700 (which explains why the pilot came out elsewhere earlier).  Safe Helm sounds a lot like the “Shadow Drive” feature so far only seen on the Garmin GHP 10 pilot for hydraulic steering systems; instead of poking a StandBy button, you simply turn the wheel to disengage the pilot and steer around an issue, then let the boat settle on a course again to re-engage. It’s elegantly simple (I’ve tried the Garmin version), and it’s potentially great that it’s is no longer exclusive to one manufacturer. And apparently Furuno’s unique method also means that the pump can be used to power assist a steering system, with numerous controls for how that’s done — like variable assist at different speeds — built into the NavPilot 700…

NMEA 2011 Technology Award, the pace quickens 7

NMEA 2011 Technology Award, the pace quickens

The Florida trip was a hell of lot more fun than the virus problems I came home to. For instance, just like last year’s NMEA Technology Award, I got to accessorize my noggin with an interesting gadget (though I’ve worn weirder). In this case it’s a David Clark Co. marine intercom system, which now has a wireless gateway that the company had nominated for the award. To test its claimed 300 foot range, my fellow judge Bill Bishop hiked down to the end of the Expo hall and eventually outside the huge building, all the while chatting with myself and third judge Tim Queeney, all of us in a beautifully noise-cancelled full duplex sonic cocoon. Though it’s quite expensive, Clark really has this technology down. There’s even a virtual lady in there somewhere who tells you when you’ve lost or regained contact with the base station…