Category: Network & control


Starlink Mini is available, but with limited data options

We’ve been hearing about Starlink’s Mini terminal for a long time now. Recently, hints from regulatory filings, new documents on their website, preparation for the new terminal in the app, and even a Tweet from Elon Musk made it seem the introduction was imminent. This week, Starlink made links on the website live and started sending emails to some long time subscribers offering an opportunity to purchase the new terminal. Now we have the opportunity to see if the Mini answers some of boater’s gripes with the current hardware.


Getting Technical: Standard upgrade

NMEA OneNet is the National Marine Electronics Association’s most recent standard, one of only three major electronics standards the organization has released in the past 40-plus years. First came NMEA 0183 in 1983, then NMEA 2000 in 2001, and now OneNet. The previous standards stood the test of time. In fact, despite being 41 years old, NMEA 0183 continues to be built into many electronics and remains the preferred standard for many light commercial vessels.


Starlink spring 2024, making sense of continued changes

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted a Starlink update. Frankly, that’s because things have (mostly) been humming along pretty well with a relative minimum of changes. While there have been developments, including new hardware, none of them called to me for an update. Until last week. That’s when subscribers to Starlink’s Mobility – Global package received an email notifying them their monthly charges would double. So, now seems like a good time to dive back in and take a look at the state of affairs at SpaceX and Starlink.


Garmin GPSMap 9000 series, high resolution and big power

Garmin’s GPSMap 9000 series is a tour de force in many ways. At 27 inches, the largest member of the line is the largest main stream MFD out there. With 4K resolution it’s the highest resolution MFD on the market. It has ample processing power, myriad interfaces for integration, and ample screen real estate.


MIBS 2024: Dockmate DPS

Dynamic positioning systems (DPS) have been around for over a decade. But, until now, DPS has been a feature of joystick control systems tightly coupled with propulsion packages. So, a boater interested in adding DPS to their boat couldn’t unless their existing engine and control package offered it. Typically, that means pods or recent outboards. That propulsion integration means if you own a boat with traditional inboards, shafts, and props, there very likely isn’t a viable DPS option. Until now! Dockmate now offers DPS as an add-on to any twin-engine boat fitted with their remote control.


Digital Yacht 5G Xtream brings ultrafast internet on board and with Starlink connectivity too

For boat owners looking for ultra-fast internet on board, the new 5G Xtream from Digital Yacht offers 4G and 5G connectivity as well as integration with Starlink satellite systems for the best and affordable blended internet afloat. The 5G Xtream can support 5G (shoreside) connection speeds up to 3.1GBs but also integrates a 4G Cat 20 modem which offers…


Garmin’s new flagship chart plotters, the GPSMap 9000 series announced

It’s been seven and a half years since Garmin unveiled its flagship GPSMap 8600 chart plotters and more than 10 years since the 8000 series was announced. The new GPSMap 9000 series represents quite a few firsts and appears designed to anchor the top of Garmin’s line for many years to come. Let’s take a look at the new chart plotter, networking technology, and accessories.


Maximizing solar production with Victron GX

After the loss of Have Another Day, my primary DC test platform is Harvey, my family’s RV. Over the winter we upgraded from our previous 35-foot coach to a 43-foot Newmar Dutch Star. With that upgrade, I’ve added 1,350 watts of solar to the new RV. With all that solar, I wanted to ensure I was taking full advantage of the potential production. That sent me diving through the settings in my Victron system to figure out the best way to manage my system. Currently, I’m using a Virtual Switch in the inverter to manage DC power sources and it’s working quite well.


Starlink Maritime – affordable options?

Starlink has changed the landscape for those searching for internet connectivity in out-of-the-way places. If those out-of-the-way places happened to be on land, there have been good and cost-competitive options. But, if you have been after service on open water, the options have been less affordable. However, as I mentioned in my last update, there seems to be little Starlink likes more than change, so it shouldn’t come as a shock; there’s more change. This time that change brings a Maritime plan that may be in reach of many recreational boaters.


MIBS 2023 – Battle Born with Dragonfly IntelLigence

Battle Born is possibly the most recognizable brand of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries in the market today. They’ve built a strong brand around their tagline of “Get out there, stay out there” and the concept that their batteries will help you enjoy your adventure. Their marketing concentrates on what their batteries can help you enjoy, not on the nitty-gritty of their batteries. That strategy has worked for them, even as others have advanced the capabilities of their batteries past Battle Born’s position.