Panbo Features

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An update on internet options, strong cellular and variable WiFi results

My family and I have been back living and traveling aboard Have Another Day for about nine months now.  Our boat is a huge consumer of bandwidth so I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.   Here’s an update and some tips on what we’re doing to maintain reliable connectivity.

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Dockmate wireless docking remote, life is easier with a remote control

Many times I’ve wished I could step away from Have Another Day’s helm but still control the engines from a better vantage point, or from where I want to handle a line. So it was great when Dockmate U.S. representatives came to Gulfport, FL to install their wireless remote system for me to review. In this entry, I’ll describe the system and my experiences with using it so far, which have been positive.

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Actisense NMEA 2000 cables & connectors, plus network design tips

If you need a small NMEA 2000 network, Actisense’s all-in-one 4 Way at upper left is an especially simple and rugged way to go… there’s lots more you can do with a short N2K backbone and drop cables than many people realize, and that’s a small portion of what I’ll detail below. I had fun mocking up various network designs, and they will hopefully illustrate what you can and can’t do within the NMEA 2000 standard, plus some techniques that are simply good practice…

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Information display and Ship Control, hands on with next generation boat management interfaces

Controlling the multitude of systems on modern boats can be complex and many modern boaters expect the same level of automation and convenience they find in their cars.   It’s clear the industry has realized this and is working hard to develop systems that make controlling your boat simpler and more intuitive.  I had the opportunity to try out two such systems at the Miami International Boat Show…

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Full duplex wireless headsets, truly marriage savers

I’ve often heard wireless headsets referred to as marriage savers but before cruising full time I didn’t realize the accuracy of the nickname.  Now after several years of regular use, I wouldn’t want to cruise without them.  But there are multiple brands and types of headsets, and two we’ve used extensively each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

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Weego Crankenstein, serious jumpstart pack with 24v capabilities

Weego’s Crankenstein is the first lithium chemistry jumpstarter under $1,000 that can start large 24v diesel engines, and its intuitive display with multiple powering options are noteworthy features that will hopefully come to more modestly priced designs.  My testing started in an unusual way and while my first test turned out not to be a big diesel it did offer a nice glimpse of the 9-pound, 12x6x8 inch Crankenstein’s always ready design.

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GPS date rollover affects older GPS units

On April 6th, 2019 older GPS units may experience a range of problems because of a limitation in how they handle dates.  Thos problems could include not being able to receive location data.  It turns out the way dates are stored in older GPS units has a rollover event every roughly 20 years and we are about to experience the second one since the GPS constellations came online.  The rollover last happened in 1999 but in the last 20 years, the use and dependence on GPS has increased dramatically.

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Innovative electronics like Navico ID hardly mentioned, a new paradigm?

What is arguably the most innovative electronics system in recent times debuted at the Miami boat show and very few people noticed! I’m talking specifically about the Navico Information Display that was purportedly integrated into the dashboards of some 14 new boats around the show, but…

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Raymarine and Mercury’s preview of semi-autonomous docking assist

For many of us docking maneuvers are the most stressful part of boating. So engine manufacturers, electronics companies and boat builders have introduced systems like integrated joystick control and dynamic positioning to make the task easier. Last Friday I got hand’s on with a new technology from Raymarine and Mercury Marine that takes docking assistance to a new level. They call it Virtual Bumper and I can attest that it lets you dock like a pro, even if you’re not.

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Helm ergonomics, Steve Dashew style

Cochise is certainly eye-catching, and especially so when you realize that you’re looking at the personal cruising “dream machine” of the relentless innovator Steve Dashew. So even though the navigation setup inside that huge combination flying bridge and pilot house was brand new state-of-the-art in 2016, it’s been so radically modified since then that I burst into uncontrollable giggling on first sight…