TBF: Torqeedo Hybrid, transparent displays, DY Aqua Compact PC, Volvo screen repair & more


Let’s begin 2016 TidBit Fridays with Torqeedo Deep Blue Hybrid, a new system I’d like to know a lot more about. It seems to be the most fully integrated electric propulsion and power management system yet, by far, and two independent gentlemen who know a lot more about these technologies than I do feel that Torqeedo has done a great job here. And it’s not just for sailing catamarans 40 to 80 feet; Nimbus 365 Coupé Cruisers are being built with twin 80hp equivalent electric inboard motors and the Deep Blue components seem to lend themselves to many configurations. I’ll know more very soon…

Electric & Hybrid Marine Expo

Electric_n_Hybrid_Marine_Expo_cPanbo.jpgNext week I’ll be attending the Electric and Hybrid Marine Expo in Fort Lauderdale, the first ever in the U.S. A lot of the exhibiting companies are aimed commercial — because high service vessels are where the high upfront costs of electric propulsion currently make the most sense — but Torqeedo and several other companies more targeted to the recreational market will be there. Please let me know if you see something I should look into.

Panasonic transparent display

Panasonic_transparent_display_courtesy_The_Verge.gifSpeaking of possible future recreational boats, how about a large main cabin side window that could also be a big screen entertainment center? Or how about a pilothouse window that could display critical data and/or alarms in one corner, or even show you a big planning chart when you weren’t underway? The Verge checked out Panasonic’s prototype transparent display at CES and it sure looks intriguing. I haven’t had much chance yet to check out this year’s show, particularly the CES Innovations Awards, but I know that some of the major marine electronics companies send representatives from their R&D departments.

Digital Yacht Aqua Pro Compact PC

DY_Aqua_Compact_PC_aPanbo.jpgIf I were setting up, say, Nobletec/MaxSea TimeZero charting software to run on a big (transparent?) display, I’d consider the new Digital Yacht Aqua Compact Pro PC I saw previewed at METS. It’s specifically designed for the task, with lots of computational power and connectivity, plus 160 gigabytes of solid state memory, all running quietly in a small box on 12 to 16 DC volts.

Burnt Screen Services (BSS)

BSS_Volvo_screen_repairs_before-n-after_aPanbo.jpgBut, alas, we don’t get to change our electronics that often, and sometimes the more vexing issue is perfectly good gear that fails. For a couple of years there’s been the disturbing thread on the Panbo forum about burned out Volvo Penta EVC engine monitoring screens and the extremely high replacement expense. Well, happy day, the discussion eventually turned to a gentleman named Heinz Wahl who can apparently repair the screens at a relatively low cost (usually $500). Now he’s set up Burn Screen Services with a good website and I believe he’s going to make some boaters happy. (By the way, I love seeing the Forum work like this.)

Furuno radome durability

Furuno_DRS2D_radar_7_years_old_cPanbo.jpgSpeaking of durability, click on the photo above for more detail of what a Furuno DRS2D radome looks like after seven years of service on Gizmo. It was exposed to the weather a large portion of that time, and while the (never cleaned or polished) cover is slightly chalked, there is no sign whatsoever of corrosion inside. In fact, that soft black gasket feels new. Note the quality cable management and how Furuno even provides a way to secure the cover if this radar ever did require onboard repair. This is the last to be returned of the 18-inch radomes tested in 2009 — not that any of them failed — and one I once characterized as punching above its weight. But Furuno has a couple of new radars in this size range (like here and here), with maybe more coming, and Raymarine’s new Quantum already means that 2016 is going to be big for Panbo radar testing.

And speaking of Panbo testing — and my penchant for oversharing about the indignities of old age — let me close with a photo of my sad left hand! Taken early on the morning of December 23rd, I am stretching my fingers out as much as I can, but the fingertip dots are about the Dupuytren’s contracture surgery about to happen. I could only half touch type by this point and only get one glove on. The current “after” photo would be gross — picture 40 stitches, not very close together — but I think my hand will soon work better than it has in 15 years (which included four other Dupuytren’s procedures). So while I may be using Dragon speech recognition software to “write” this, I’m prepping for an active year in marine electronics. I’ll discuss more about Panbo 2016 soon, but for now how about a big hand for all the advertisers who have continued support this site in new year.


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.

15 Responses

  1. fixer01 says:

    Good luck with your recovery from the surgery!

  2. Well good luck with the surgery Ben. You of all people should know about exceeding the design life of a object. So take it easy and we are thinking about you.

  3. Randy George says:

    Could not find anything on burn or burnt screen services, Heinz Wahl. Can you give me a website or other contact information ?

  4. Wil says:

    Here’s Heinz’ website: http://bsserv.com/
    …and here’s a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trKp3kkPrPM

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sorry, Randy, and thanks, Wil! The BSS link is in the entry now. Thanks also Allan and Fixer1; the hand looks is healing well. There will be an “after” photo once the sight is decent.

  6. Norton Rider says:

    Good luck with the Surgery.
    I am a terrible typist and used Dragon Naturally Speaking 16 years ago, when I went back to school for an MBA. There was no way that I could have done all the required work on time without it.
    Back then the software compared what was typed to a dictionary in real time. The problem with that was that the system often used the wrong word in the case of homonyms or when words sounded similar. Careful proofreading was required to avoid errors. Hopefully Nuance has developed a fix for this.

  7. Don Joyce says:

    re: Digital Yacht Aqua Pro Compact PC. Sure looks like an Intel NUC…….

  8. Bob Muir says:

    re: Digital Yacht Aqual Pro, Ouch, $1,300! That’s quite the premium over an Intel NUC.

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Which NUC model has all the specs of the Aqua Pro Compact, including 160GB solid state drive? Please include link, as some readers might want one.

  10. Bob Muir says:

    Ben, I don’t think you can buy a NUC complete. It’s more for the DIYer. If you like PC DIY, you can whip one up for about $500.
    The NUC comes with a 19v AC adapter, but the board inside is good for 12-24v. https://communities.intel.com/thread/49219
    Here’s a link to how to set up your own system:
    If one is uncomfortable with hardware drivers etc., it might be worth paying the premium to Digital Yacht for a complete system with support.

  11. Bob Muir says:

    Here’s one for $450 that includes 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD and Win7 installed:

  12. Leo Starrenburg says:

    Hope the surgery works out fine for you Ben, all the best !
    As for the electric propulsion I’m curious for the battery developments, they are the Achilles heel for this mode. Last fall I sold my collection of working Johnson “egg” 2-stroke 3hp trolling outboards dating from the sixties and bought two electric contraptions to play with. Small trollers of 54 and 86 lbs trust respectivly but even then a sizeable load for my batteries.
    The designer from Torqeedo sums it up perfectly when he compares the ‘clip-on’ battery for their smallest outboard to the volume of gasoline it represents, and thus the need for a super-optimal controller/motor/proppelor combination to make the most of it.
    w fr greetings, Leo

  13. PeterH says:

    I hope the Dupuytren’s surgery goes well for you. I have it too, and I had the Xiaflex injection on my one finger that was driving me crazy. (Mostly it drove me nuts when I’d want to pat my wife on the back and I felt instead like I was poking her with a stick.) It worked astoundingly well and recovery was fast. Have a speedy recovery!
    – Peter

  14. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Peter! But while I’m hesitant to tell you this, you should know that the very bent ring finger you see in the photo above was treated with Xiaflex about 4 years ago. The procedure worked well and left the finger almost straight, but it did not last. The same was true of the needle aponeurotomy treatment I had on the same finger about 5 years before that. The needle was even easier to endure and recover from, but it did not last. There’s little doubt that I have a particularly aggressive Dupuytren’s in that hand and especially that finger, but I’ve now come full circle. I believe that very invasive surgery by the right surgeon is the lasting solution. I ended up with about 40 stitches with the second and last round of stitch removal this afternoon. My hand still looks it’s been in a rotary mower, but the three main fingers are straighter than they’ve been in 15 years, when I had a disappointing full surgery on the forefinger, and I think that they will stay this way for quite a while because the surgeon took out so much of the offending tissue. Sorry, but after 5 procedures, Xiaflex is at the bottom of my list.

  15. PeterH says:

    Interesting to hear Ben. I think my Dupuytrens has not been so aggressive, but I realize, and was told, that the Xiaflex doesn’t stop the progression of the disease. I was told that the surgery is the ‘gold standard’ for treatment in advanced cases. So…i hope your tissues and 40 stitches heal up well! Enjoy the straight fingers! It’s hard to appreciate until you don’t have it.

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