Garmin wireless wonders #1: Virb XE and now the Virb Ultra 30

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

9 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hmmm…apparently the Virb Ultra 30 has a USB power port like the first generation, and unlike the proprietary multipurpose connection on the Virb X/XE. That may mean that the available external power cable… …is not as boat friendly as the one that goes with the X/XE

  2. Hi Ben, As always, I thoroughly enjoyed your article. I must say I always learn something very useful from every one of your articles. I catch them regularly through your emails and Passage Maker Magazine. Thanks so much for educating us. It’s much appreciated.
    I was wondering if a Garmin GPS 6212 would interface with a Go Pro Hero 4 camera and accomplish the same things you have done with the VIRB. I have the GoPro and would like to avoid the additional expense of buying a VIRB. I tried seeking an answer via internet search but, it yielded nothing.
    I see a lot of benefits to having the camera interface.
    I hope to hear form you. Thank you. Dave

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thank you very much, Dave!
    But, sorry, there’s no way to get this sort of full integration with any GoPro or similar on any marine MFD.
    It could happen, though, as GoPro definitely supports third party developers —
    But I’d guess that the most likely marine company to do that is Navico, in order to offer their customers Virb like integration.
    Also, I’m testing a neat FLIR FX camera — — and can “picture” how some of the technology could become an interesting boat camera, maybe Raymarine integrated.
    But maybe it’s possible to stream video out of your Hero4 and into your 6212’s RCA composite video port by cable. There would be no camera control from the MFD of course and it may not work at all. Conflicting information here:

  4. Jeffrey Sandor says:

    So in the Garmin sailing video why are the boat speed and the wind speed only in integers and no decimal places… not even tenths?… The can do angles to degrees… So what with the gross numbers for boat speed and wind speed?

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Garmin’s Jon Josephson guy saw your question, Jeff, and sent an answer:
    “It was edited with an older version of software. The new version (notice the older wind cups where the video you made has the newer “Garmin prop”) will allow for tenths in boat speed and wind speed but only below 10 knots. This was to save display space and software complexity in dampening. In the video the boat was just always going faster than 10 knots along with the wind speeds above 10 knots so no tenths (I was there). May be we need to put it on the software update list.
    Also in the current version of software you get more options for displaying data values with one of those options being with tenths and one without. Totally up to the person doing the editing.”
    Jon is in this video, which also illustrates his points:

  6. douglas nicholson says:

    Ben, it appears the cam runs by battery so mast mounting could be pretty frustrating as battery time max would be maybe 20-30 minutes run time? Am I correct in the battery powered assumption?

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Doug, the VIRB XE I had at the masthead runs about 2 hours fully on, but the MFD interface has a sleep mode that can extend that quite some time. Better yet, Garmin has a 10 meter 12v power cable and the XE’s power connection is close to waterproof:
    But I’m not sure that the new VIRB Ultra can be boat powered so well.

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    And now the Garmin Virb 360, which apparently also integrates with Garmin multifunction displays:
    I’m amazed at how many Garmin GPSMAP 74XX/76XX/84XX/86XX MFD owners still don’t realize that they can easily add a Virb X, XE, or Ultra to their boat and fully stream/manage it on their big bright color screen, plus overlay boat data like wind, rpm, etc on the videos.


    Hi, I run Virb cameras with the 10 metre power cable and they are awesome ,turning on every time the batteries for the race boat are turned on , I have Simrad Displays but cannot connect to the Garmin Vic with the wifi from the cameras

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