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Panbo Marine Electronics's blog

Furuno at MIBS 2013; CHIRP, FCV587/627, and NavPilot FPS8

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 12, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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When I was at the in-water powerboat portion of the Miami show before it opened one morning, I discovered Furuno marketing manager Jeff Kauzlaric and product manager Eric Kunz making video. Of course I interrupted them for a photo but I was also hoping to see their long-rumored CHIRP fishfinder in action. But while it turned out that the big sonar screen behind Eric was not showing CHIRP, Furuno did announce the new DFF1-UHD during the show and Eric showed me the nifty NavPilot Safe Helm and Power Assist modes just about ready for release...

My Pebble, more PAN in Panbo

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 9, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I've been waiting so long that disappointment loomed large. It was mid-April last year when I became a Kickstarter 'backer' in the Pebble E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android, which really just meant that I might get a good deal by buying one upfront for delivery the following September. But I wasn't the only geek who thought they'd sniffed out a bargain. Though Pebble's Kickstarter goal was only $100,000, almost 69,000 backers sent them over 10 million dollars! Which was neat in the sense that the Pebble people could then make the watch waterproof and add other features, but not so great in that suddenly they had a LOT of watches to build, which took much longer than 'estimated'. However, I've been smiling about Pebble ever since I opened my mailbox last week and found the box with "It's Time" printed on it in large, ironic type...

AC34 Mark/VIP vessels, seeking perfection

Written by Dan Corcoran on Mar 7, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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A visit to the America's Cup World Series in Newport, RI in June 2012 provided an opportunity to tour the engineering spaces and helm of this second-generation mark/VIP boat as a follow-up to Ben's visit to hull number one. Before the engineering tour I spent the day on the race course in the vessel's predecessor, observing the racing and learning what drove the design improvements to this latest generation.

Navico's numbers, should you care?

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 5, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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As a privately held corporation Navico doesn't have to reveal anything about its financial state, but last week it issued a proud press release claiming a dramatic 15% sales increase in 2012, which resulted in revenues of 256 million dollars and EBITDA earnings of 41.4 million. And at the Las Palmas B&G event, the mother company added some claims about what their numbers meant versus the competition, as seen in the slide above. Is Navico painting a fair picture of where the recreational marine electronics market is at? Does it matter to consumers anyway?

Samsung Chromebook, your $129 'burner' boat laptop?

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 3, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Before discussing my brief but positive experience with a Samsung Chromebook, I have some important advice. Do not brag about how little financial (or data) risk is involved in boating (or traveling) with this 11.6-inch, 2.4-pound laptop even though it looks and acts something like a precious MacBook Air. There's a fair bit of truth to the brag, but the deities of humility may then make you prove the point by, say, leaving your nice new Chromebook on a airport security belt in the Grand Canary Islands...

B&G in Las Palmas: "Products for All Sailors"

Written by Ben Ellison on Mar 1, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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I know several sailors who have installed Lowrance MFDs as an economical way to gain access to Navico's sailboat-friendly Broadband Radar, and the scheme made sense as there wasn't really all that much difference between the fishing-focused Lowrance systems and even the sailor-centric B&G Zeus versions of the Simrad NSE and NSS displays. But those days may be over soon as one of several stories Navico presented to the boating press in Las Palmas was a simplification of its three-brand strategy. Now B&G intends to serve all sailors, from grand prix racers to weekend cruisers, and from premium to value-oriented budgets. Moreover, B&G demonstrated that it's fast putting together a suite of features that should appeal to every type of sailor...

On board Gizmo, the last frontier

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 25, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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In retrospect, it's almost funny that the very first picture of Gizmo I published on Panbo (repeated above) highlighted that mess of wiring tucked under the circuit breaker panel. In the four years since, I've at least figured out, and in many cases changed or removed, nearly every electrical component on the boat. Just before I went to the Miami show it seemed like the time had come to attack what lay behind that nice little access door, but things did not go well...

Maretron DCR100 partial install, lights on & Labels up

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 22, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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There's lots more to report on from the Miami show, but partially installing a Maretron DCR100 Direct Current Relay on Gizmo just got me so excited I want to share. This boat has never had switches for running and flood lights on the fly bridge -- especially annoying when I wanted to light myself up when crossing paths with a possibly unaware stranger -- and it didn't have a switch for the new bow LED spot at all (to be explained). Now for relatively little effort and expense, I'll not only have switching at both helms but also be able to monitor and even alarm on real-time circuit currents. The installation isn't complete but I'm fairly confident that Gizmo will trek north with that often-cited feature of digital switching, an immediate warning if any one of the four incandescent running light bulbs blows. Plus I got to experience the beauty of NMEA 2000 Labeling, a feature that Maretron has trail blazed but which will hopefully become common across brands...

MIBS 2013 Raymarine: Dragonfly, gS-Series, Evolution AP & much more!

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 19, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Raymarine was a little slow getting their Miami press releases out, but then again they have a LOT to talk about. And even with the six releases you'll find at that link, they left out what I think is a significant move: the "coming soon" Lighthouse 6 software release for all a-, c-, e-Series multifunction displays -- as well as the new gS glass bridge MFDs -- will include support for Empirebus NXT digital switching and distributed power technology. With Ray's endorsement, the fully integrated bridge just got a little more real...

Garmin GPSMAP 8000 Glass Helm series, oh yeah

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 14, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

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Garmin isn't messing around. The 8000 Series announced this morning includes three MFD sizes -- 8-, 12-, and 15-inch -- as well as the 8500 Black Box that can drive new Garmin monitors available in 15-, 17, and 19-inch sizes. Do click on that family photo above to not only see the whole range but also something called the GRID for Garmin Remote Input Device. I've wondered if Garmin would ever add a rotary knob or joystick to its touch screen interface and the answer is that now you can have both...