Category: How-to

9

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

11

Cordless tools make marine electronics installs easier and faster

I’ve just completed an entire electronics refit on a 60-foot boat without ever plugging in a power tool. Besides never having to find a working AC outlet, and never tripping over a power cord, I think that my families of drills, drivers, saws, grinders, vacuums, and heat gun with interchangeable lithium batteries made the job faster and neater. There are many decent cordless tool families to choose from these days, but some detail on my experience may help you make the right choice.

6

Helm ergonomics part one: Junior’s makeover

This spring and summer I redid all three of my boat helms — Junior’s above, plus the flybridge and pilothouse stations on Gizmo. So I’ve been thinking a lot about what electronics I need and/or want in those different locations and how to arrange them just so for maximum utility. And I’m eager to share my thoughts and photos in this Part One of a three-part series. But first…

14

Inventor of Ethernet confused by his new Garmin marine electronics!

Bob Metcalf doesn’t deserve this entry’s title, but he’s a good sport and I wanted to get your attention. Plus, I did indeed spend a morning helping the Ethernet’s inventor get more comfortable with his extensive new Garmin system, and got reminded of several marine electronics truths in the process: Current systems can be dauntingly complex no matter who you are (or who designed them), Smart guys like this one are usually adept at…

11

A dry bilge for $50

Water in the bilge, even small quantities, is a recipe for bad smells and generally unpleasant results. Every boat I’ve owned accumulated water somewhere that a traditional bilge pump couldn’t entirely remove. I’ve long been aware of commercial kits designed to completely dry bilges, but the problem never got high enough on my list to spend the money. Recently I came across an article on how to build your own dry bilge system and decided to give it a try. The results are impressive and the cost low.

3

Getting the decals off, and why

Alas, the old Maritime 20 I bought last fall is still a driveway boat, but I’d like to think that Junior will look sharp when it does launch. I extended the black trim paint to the dash — and have almost finished all new wiring and electronics (and am excited about testing that Humminbird Solix 10) — but to my eye, the good looks of the Maritime and Evenrude E-Tec designs really popped when the branding decals came off. Getting some of them off wasn’t easy, however, so I’ll share what I learned…

18

Data overload with Signal K Server, a Raspberry Pi and a whole lot of tools

I have been wanting to explore more about what’s possible with Signal K server, and quarantine 2020 gave me the time. I’ve spent the last week or so exploring all that the server and its array of plugins make possible. I’m impressed and the dashboard you see above is just the tip of the iceberg of what I’ve been able to do with it so far. If you stick with me and some geeky talk I’ll tell you about what I’ve been able to do with all the data on my boat and the tools Signal K Server offers.

13

Easy heat-shrink wire labeling with a Brother P-Touch label-maker

I run a lot of wires on my boats and often in a hurry. I used to tell myself that I’d remember what a wire was for and hence didn’t worry about labeling it. Experience — and the sheer quantity of wires I run — has demonstrated that’s not a winning strategy. So, a few months ago I undertook figuring out how to label my wires better. Here’s what I’ve learned.

14

Yacht Devices Run Indicator and Alarm Button, alarmingly flexible

Yacht Devices Limited builds an impressive array of clever devices that solve specific needs aboard your vessel. Recently they’ve introduced a NMEA 2000 run indicator to monitor circuits aboard your boat and an alarm module that can notify you of problems or provide a man overboard button. These new products build on their impressive array of capabilities and make monitoring your boat easier and more powerful.

19

Quality crimp connections, the right tool makes all the difference

I think we’ve all heard the wisdom about the right tool for the job and how much easier it can make it to complete your task. I have something of a tool habit, so I frequently use this wisdom as an excuse to go buy another tool. But, sometimes the cost of the “right” tool is high enough to cause me to try some intermediate steps first